Queer Boy Costumes 101: Your Guide to Wearing Whatever the Hell You Want this Halloween

Halloween can sometimes be a distressing time for queer men. What may seem like a particularly fun time of year where anyone can dress up and have a great time can sometimes turn into a month-long battle between what you’d like to dress up as, and what the world fins acceptable for you to dress up as. This vortex of making yourself happy vs making the people around you comfortable often times seem completely suffocating. But the reality of the situation is that almost every recently out queer man, both young and mature,  will find themselves centred in the middle of a tug and war between your own feelings and the assumed feelings of those around you. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In all reality, dressing up for Halloween should be something amazing and freeing. It shouldn’t make one feel as if they have to choose between personal happiness and the level of acceptance or tolerance that those around you may have. It’s your night and you should be able to wear whatever you want. You should be able to dress as masculine and as feminine as you want. As outrageous or as tame as you’d like (just as long as it isn’t socially insensitive and offensive) In reality, the only stress one should feel during the spookiest time of the year is the stress of choosing just one costume out of all the great ideas floating around out there. Hopefully, this article will help you put your brain into overdrive during these last few days leading up to Halloween and help you put together the most amazing queer boy costume this year.

When in Doubt, Pastel Out

Whether you opt for femme boy extraordinaire or super masc gym rat chic. Pastels are always a great way to keep things fun for Halloween. Forget bright colours and all black ensembles. Pastels manage to give you a hint of softness with any costume you wear. Wearing an entire pastel outfit, or certain pastel elements can often time give you a sugary sweet and often times funny contrast; especially if you’re fusing something scary or overly masculine with your pastel look. You’re bound to be the centre of attention in your ice cream coloured party outfit if you opt for a pastel gig. Options for your pastel costume are endless. Some super fun ideas are The Chanels, Almost any kind of dessert, The quintessential fairy costume, cheer captain, and Anime Lolita.

A Gay Staple: The Unicorn

Now, this may seem like a no-brainer, lgbtqa+ folks have been associating themselves with the mythological creature for decades now. And for good measure. The unicorn is one of those majestic creatures yields great importance in the world of myth for its power, dominance, and strength. However, the reason the unicorn should be a go-to Halloween costume for queer kids over something like a dragon (not to say that dragons are badass) is that it doesn’t present its strength through overt masculinity, instead, it presents an image of strength through the balance of graceful femininity and brute masculinity. It’s a perfect balance between the two.Now the fun thing about a unicorn costume is that you can make it as feminine or masculine as you’d like and as sexy or tame as you’d like. The possibilities are endless. Imagine dressing up as a fetish unicorn, a space unicorn, a ridiculously hilarious blow-up unicorn or a sexy boudoir unicorn.

Your Favourite Drag Race Alumni

It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, bi, queer, or everything in between. If you’ve had the pleasure of becoming a Rupaul’s Drag Race fan, then you’ll know how sickening some of the girls that have walked through the workroom are. And you know deep down inside (like Madonna said) you want to know what it feels like for a girl. So here’s your chance. With over 100 different queens to choose from. Drag race has a plethora of queens to chose from. Even if your favourite queen’s look is too hard to achieve, you can pick any of the other queens who’s looks are easier to achieve. However, when attempting to recreating a queens look, be aware that there may be more work you can commit to last minute. Nails, makeup, tucking, and wigs are all part of the processes, but you don’t have to go full on drag. Remember, it’s your choice. Some good example of gag-worthy queens is Valentina, Alaska, and Trixie Mattel.

Video Gay-mes

Here’s where you can really start to get creative and have fun. The possibilities could be endless. Whether you want to gender bend your favourite character or recreate their entire look. Video game characters are an amazing option for a queer boy to celebrate Halloween in. The world of video games has countless iconic characters to one can emulate or borrow from. Form Square Enix and their Final Fantasy series to Nintendo’s huge game roster. In all fairness, of all the costume ideas on this list. Video games are by far the easiest to recreate since there are most likely plenty of costume stores that sell video games costumes, but there are hundreds of tutorials online on how to DIY your favourite characters looks. Some good bets could be Princess Peach, Payne, Ash Ketchum, Ivy Valentine.

Socially Conscious Horror Movies

For me, Halloween has always been for horror. The scary and the creepy and the bone chilling are exactly what I want to enjoy during this time of year. Of course, we’re living in some particularly scary times, so it may feel a little dull to watch the usual zombie and serial killer fare. Even if you do want to find some good old classic horror, you may also find yourself frightened by some sexism and racism present in older horror flicks (and some newer releases, sadly). So, what to watch? Socially conscious horror, of course, because nothing is scarier than social inequality. Here are some of my picks:

Get Out

Hopefully you’ve seen comedian Jordan Peele’s amazing directorial debut, but if you haven’t, you really should. Peele skewers white liberals, particularly those in the North, reminding them that just because they may have supported Obama or say they aren’t racist, they still help perpetrate racism and white supremacy in the United States. This form of white liberal racism can be just as insidious as the other.

It Follows

We all know the classic horror trope. Young person (especially young women) has sex. Young person is punished for having sex. Virgin girl gets to stay alive because she has not had sex. It Follows turns this tropes on its head, using the story of demon passed from person to person as something of a metaphor for our social anxieties about sex, sexuality, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Gerald’s Game

Most horror films are notoriously bad at dealing with rape and sexual assault. Women’s bodies get used and abused to prompt the male hero into action, or worse, for torture porn and titillation. The fallout of sexual assault and the trauma that accompanies it so rarely discussed, not only in horror but in most films. That’s what makes Gerald’s Game, based on the book of the same name by Stephen King, so unique. I don’t want to spoil the film, but it navigates trauma and empowerment with more clarity and realism than I’ve ever seen.

Perfect Blue

This 1997 Japanese animated movie, based on the novel Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis by Yoshikazu Takeuchi and directed by Satoshi Kon, tells the story of a former J-pop idol named Mima Kirigoe, who is attempting to change her carefully manufactured image while being stalked by a crazed fan. Perfect Blue not only tries to examine the nature of truth and reality, but also carefully critiques the ways in which women are made to be consumed products.

The Handmaiden

Technically The Handmaiden, directed by Park Chan-wook, is better classified as a thriller as opposed to horror, but it’s such a fantastic movie that I needed to include it in this list. The movie is loosely based on the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, but with the setting changed from Victorian London to Korea under Japanese occupation in the 1930s. The movie explores class, gender politics, and sexuality, and takes the time to tell a tender gay love story between its two female protagonists.

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Toronto Exhibitions to Check Out

As an individual who is avidly pursuing the most recent exhibitions Toronto has to offer, I rarely fall short of galleries to check out. Toronto’s art scene is bustling and vibrant with vivid histories and biographies for audiences to discover. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend that’s a little different than heading to your local watering hole, take a peek around the city and you’d be surprised at what you can find.

We put together a little list to get you on the right track. Scroll down to see what’s going on in your city.

Guillermo Del Toro: At Home With Monsters 

On now – January 7, 2018 — Who wouldn’t want to get into the mind of Guillermo del Toro and peer into his “cabinet of curiosities?” On now at the AGO, At Home gives the viewer an insight to the creative process behind his most menacing characters. The exhibit is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Minneapolis Institute of Art.

“To find beauty in the profane. To elevate the banal. To be moved by genre. These things are vital for my storytelling,” says Guillermo del Toro. “This exhibition presents a small fraction of the things that have moved me, inspired me, and consoled me as I transit through life.”

Cindy Crawford by Marco Glaviano

On now – November 2, 2017 — Located in the heart of Toronto’s trendy Yorkville district, Izzy Gallery is once again ready to impress with their current exhibit. The beautiful Cindy Crawford appears almost life-like through Marco Glaviano’s extraordinary shots. In the 1980’s, Glaviano played a role in developing and supporting the supermodel phenomenon, photographing many swimsuit calendars of these famous ladies.

The Faraway Nearby: Photographs of Canada from The New York Times Photo Archive

Ryerson Image Centre/ ryersonimagecentre.ca

On now – December 10, 2017 — On now in the Main Gallery at the Ryerson Image Centre, The Faraway Nearby features photographs of Canadian subject matter from the New York Times Photo Archive.  This exhibition features the diverse landscapes across Canada with a spotlight on sports heroes, important Canadian figures, while providing an overview of our national experience. The exhibit was made by Chris Bratty in celebration of Canada’s 150.

Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels

Bata Shoe Museum/ thebatashoemuseum.ca

On now – November 21, 2017 — The Bata Shoe Museum brings forward an interesting history that challenges our preconceived notions of who wears high heels. From the 1600’s, until today, Standing Tall brings forward an interesting timeline of men’s heeled footwear.

Amalia Pica: Ears to Speak Of   

The Power Plant/ thepowerplant.org

On now – December 31, 2017 — Located at Toronto’s Harbourfront, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery features a Amalia Pica’s Ears to Speak Of, a new installation that “continues her engagement with the failures and impossibilities of communication and obsolete technologies.” The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication, co-produced by The Power Plant and the IMA Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, where Amalia Pica will present a solo exhibition from 18 November 2017—10 March 2018.

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

A Response to Mayim Bialik

Recently, actress Mayim Bialik penned an op-ed for The New York Times, where she discussed sexual harassment and described her life in Hollywood including her entrance into Hollywood as a “prominent-nosed, awkward, geeky, Jewish 11-year-old”. I decided to pen a response.

Hey, guess what, Mayim Bialik! I also have been a “prominent-nosed, awkward, geeky, Jewish 11-year-old” And I was a prominent-nosed, awkward, geeky, Jewish 13-year old when I was catcalled for the first time. I was walking home and a man in a car drove by and said I had nice tits.

I’ll remind you: I was thirteen years old. I don’t remember what I was wearing, exactly, but I remember it was November, so probably a coat, I guess. A hand-me-down dress from my older sister underneath. Ballet flats from Payless.

I’ve always been a fan of yours, partly because I identified with you. I’m also prominent-nosed and awkward and geeky and very, very Jewish. As you talked about in your article, you don’t really look like the other, more conventionally attractive actresses out there. I can relate to feeling awkward and frumpy, surrounded by beautiful people.

Mayim Bialik

What I can’t relate to is this: your suggestion that, somehow, by virtue of your awkwardness and your dressing modestly and not flirting with men and not dieting or getting plastic surgery, you have successfully avoided the type of sexual harassment most actresses face. You suggest, not outright but implicitly, that women can avoid harassment and objectification if they just act like you.

Mayim Bialik as a child on Blossom

First off, none of that ought to matter. Harassment is unacceptable, assault is unacceptable, no matter what you’re wearing. A woman should be able to walk around wearing whatever the fuck she wants without being harassed or assaulted. Period. End of story.

You say “we can’t be naïve about the culture we live in”, but I think you’re the one being naïve, if you seriously think dressing and acting modestly prevents sexual harassment and assault. I mean, let’s be frank, a creepy predator isn’t going to stop being a predator just because your skirt is a little longer, or your shirt is a little looser. Women get harassed and assaulted when they wear hijabs or other modesty garbs. Women get harassed and assaulted no matter what they’re wearing.

I know this is true because I tend to dress more on the “modesty” side. I also don’t diet, have never gotten plastic surgery, rarely wear makeup, and don’t really flirt with anyone if I’m not already in a relationship with them (not that there’s anything wrong with doing any of this), and I’ve still gotten harassed. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt on the TTC one day this August didn’t stop a man from sitting next to me and putting his hand on my thigh without my consent. Wearing a heavy coat and a scarf didn’t stop a man from demanding my phone number and following me nearly to my house one day last winter. And being a thirteen-year-old, at prime awkwardness, didn’t stop me from getting harassed for what would be the first, but not last time.

These are only a few small examples of what I’ve experienced, and pretty much every woman on this planet has gotten harassed or assaulted while wearing everything from burqas to bikinis.

I know it might make you, Mayim Bialik, feel safer, to think that dressing in a certain way or acting in a certain way can prevent a person from being harassed, abused, or assaulted, but that’s really just not true. You know who could prevent harassment though? Harassers.

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

It Takes A Village to Hide Sexual Misconduct

In case you missed it, Hollywood bigwig executive Harvey Weinstein has been hit with some major allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault by over 30 women. These allegations have been ongoing for decades, but were only recently unearthed thanks to two major investigative reports, one from Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey at The New York Times and the other from Ronan Farrow at The New Yorker.

One pervasive theme throughout all this is that it was apparently an “open secret” in Hollywood for years. Members of his company told Farrow there was a “culture of complicity” in his company to help hide the allegations. In 2004, The New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman had a story in the works about Weinstein’s sexual harassment before it was gutted, after Weinstein reportedly visited the Times office, and after actors Russel Crowe and Matt Damon called Waxman to vouch that Fabrizio Lombardo, an Italian film executive whose actual job, according to several sources, was to secure sex workers and escorts for Weinsten, was really a film executive and nothing more.

Many actors who reacted to the news admitted to having heard rumors about him for years but they never publicly discussed them. Kate Winslet, for one, wrote in a statement that she had heard of such rumours but “had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, maybe we have all been naïve.”

Actress Rose McGowan, one of the many who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct

There’s a bitter irony in hearing Winslet say that Weinstein’s behavior is “reprehensible and disgusting”, considering that she had this to say about Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, an alleged child molester and a convicted child rapist respectively: “I didn’t know Woody and I don’t know anything about that family. As the actor in the film, you just have to step away and say, I don’t know anything, really, and whether any of it is true or false. Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director. So is Roman Polanski. I had an extraordinary working experience with both of those men, and that’s the truth.” Hey, I bet lots of people could say the same about Weinstein! What’s all the fuss about? He’s an incredible executive producer (he’s had a hand in classics like Good Will Hunting and Pulp Fiction). Why can’t we all just push these pesky rape rumors aside and work with these men! (Oh, and here’s a fun fact: back in 2009 Weinstein wrote an article in defense of Polanski and called his rape conviction a “so-called crime”. I guess sexual abusers stick together?)

Winslet isn’t alone in this utter hypocrisy. Ben Affleck released a statement on Twitter condemning Weinstein, but has neglected to say much about the allegations of sexual harassment against his younger brother Casey Affleck, and has some harassment allegations of his own.

Actress Ashley Judd has also accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct

Weinstein got away with these kinds of bahavior for so long because an army of fellow executives, PR managers, lawyers, and famous Hollwood types kept it from getting out. Because of willful silence on the part of other powerful players in Hollywood, and because of the deliberate intimidation of anyone who would be open about this, especially the victims of harassment and assault.

I’m not surprised to hear about Weinstein, but I am surprised that he seems to be facing actual consequences. He’s apparently been fired from his company, his wife Georgina Chapman is leaving him, and police in London and New York are looking into investigating him. While it’s good that something is happening to Weinstein, I can’t help but think about the women who had to watch his enormous success, all too aware of what he did to them in private. I can’t help but think about how it took this long for us to talk about this. Or to think about the fact that if comedian Hannibal Buress didn’t bring up the Bill Cosby allegations back in 2014 during a comedy routine, Cosby’d probably still enjoy the same reputation he had before, even as the rape allegations were of public record for years. And I also can’t help but consider how many other Hollywood bigwigs aren’t facing such scrutiny. Polanski is still a free man. Allen is still making movies with top actors. Casey Affleck got an Oscar for Best Picture. Christian Slater was convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend Michelle Jonas back in 1997 and currently stars in the critically acclaimed TV series Mr. Robot. Johnny Depp “allegedly” verbally and physically abused his now ex-wife Amber Heard and is still set to be a major part of the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them franchise, among other upcoming projects. And despite the fact that there is literally a section of director/producer Bryan Singer’s Wikipedia page entitled “sexual abuse allegations”, almost nobody discusses this about him and he has multiple upcoming film projects, including many in the X-Men franchise.

Actress Rosanna Arquette also accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct

None of these powerful men, or any others who we don’t know about (including an unnamed film executive who sexually assaulted actor Terry Crews, as Crews bravely revealed over Twitter recently), could possibly keep their abuse under wraps for years without some help. It takes a village to keep sexual abuse, assault, and harassment allegations from getting around.

So what do we do? I’ll tell you what: look this stuff up. Most of the allegations are public information. Next time you hear a rumor about a beloved actor or director, google them. And if it checks out, talk about it. I know, it’s easier to say nothing. But we owe it to the survivors of abuse, assault, and harassment to not let their stories fall through the cracks.

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.