Taking Up Space For Queer Artists Of Colour

Come As You Are: An Art Show

Curated By: Tiana Smith

Tiana Smith is a Fashion Arts Student at Humber college who truly is art AF. This is the second year that she presents her “Come as You Are Art show for pride!”

Photo By @Photosbyzain

Hi Tiana, thank you so much for being here and for everything you do! I want readers to get to know you some more. This art that you do, where does it come from? What is your artistic background?

I am a Fashion Arts student at Humber College. I am also a freelance multimedia artist with a background in photography, film making, creative directing, and styling.

That explains a lot. I’ve been following you on social media for a while now and you’re either modelling or creating! I love seeing your art! You’ve got something huge coming up right? How did you come to creating ‘Come As You Are’?

Cathleen Calica, the director of 187 Augusta is the amazing individual who encouraged me to provide a space initially for my work last year, and the series that I originally directed ‘Queer & Existing’. I felt seen and it allowed me to feel proud of the space that I was taking up for black queer people. 

Behind the scenes photos by Tiana Smith
View the full series at digitalteee.com

Amazing Tiana! As a queer black woman myself I think this is so important and I’m so thankful for people like yourself who create these opportunities for our community. So what is your reason for this? Why do you organize, plan, and prioritize an art show for queer people of color?

I continue to organize and provide a space that prioritizes QTBIPOC because we need to be seen and we need to be celebrated. I personally have not felt seen during the overwhelming celebration of Pride Toronto. There are so many intersections of sexuality and gender expression when it comes to someone’s identity, especially when culture plays a big role in how we identify. 

Beautiful, I agree with you; these spaces are so important! I think you’ll have a huge turn out! Tiana, beyond the obvious amazing reasons you spoke about already why should queer folks and allies in the community attend ‘Come As You Are?’

This show provides a breath of fresh air for folks who don’t understand or know how to provide language to their identity. I want people to see that through them living their life as who they are; amongst the obstacles and hardships is how they can provide language to their stories. There is no one-way to be queer, like there’s no one-way to be anything. Throughout the night I open the floor to include the audience to speak on their truth by asking, “What does it mean to you, to be your most authentic self?” I ask this question to remind the individuals who are attending the event to understand that they are loved, and that they are seen. As much as the art show and space is for the artists, it is also for our community as a whole. This space provides a chance for allies, queer folks, and especially queer folks of colour to realize that we should be here for each other and respect each other as we are.

Photo By @Photosbyzain

So I’ve got to ask you then, what does it mean to you to be your most authentic self?

As a black, queer, femme, woman, being my most authentic self means loving all of who I am and being damn proud of it. Living authentically as me is reminding black girls and women that we live for ourselves and not within the gaze of men and the media to sexualize our bodies.

Wow, so proud of you and what you do! Well, I want to thank you again Tiana for chatting with me and readers please support this event! Details below!

187 Augusta Avenue
$10 at the door
Doors open at 6:00 PM
Thursday, June 20th 2019

See event page for more details.


Queer 4/20 Events

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 is 4/20. The day we celebrate Marijuana. The day we smoke our face off. The day we laugh at our own jokes. The day we eat everything in the fridge. The day we– wait what day is it again?

Since the much anticipated Legalization day on October 17th of 2018 recreational use of cannabis has been a hot topic. Cannabis focused events are popping up everywhere in the city!

Though we’ve been smoking on this date for years; this 4/20 is extra special nOw ThAt ItS lEgAl, so how should we celebrate it?
Here’s a curated list of queer events happening in Toronto on 4/20
*click photo for event details*

1. SMOKED presents : The 420 Ball

Smoke, dance, drink its a party!

2. 420 Comedy Festival 2019

420 comedy fest turns 3! A weekend of laughs!

3. SHADE Two Shows!

Prepare to laugh your ass off! USE CODE: 420 for 60%off


A handful of cannabis focused events happening here!

5. Drag King Brunch

Mmmmm who doesn’t love brunch? Try brunch with a show hosted by two handsome kings!

6. Cherrybomb

A queer classic!

Did we miss an event? emails info@qveen.to !

Queer Comedy In Toronto

Toronto’s Queer comedy scene is huge! From weekly comedy shows to improv shows; this scene is not only diverse but LARGE! Check out what we’ve got going on below!

a killer night of standup, improv, uncomfortable breakup stories, song spoofs, and performance – including from longtime friend of Glad Day Bookshop
OPEN MICS QAPD Collective Open Mic
When: WEEKLY – Monday nights at 8:00pm — sign up is at 7:30pm Where: Pegasus on Church St. THE queer open mic! 10 sign ups, 4 feature and 1 headliner (booked), so get there early to secure your spot! We try to get as many sign ups on stage as possible

Fresh Squeezed Comedy by Waycik Productions (aka Susan Waycik) When: WEEKLY – Sunday nights at 9pm Where: The Grapefruit Moon (968 Bathurst St) Contact for spots: Susan Waycik on Facebook or susan@waycikproductions.com

Working Women Comedy Showcase
When: First Tuesday of every month Where: Gladstone Hotel – Melody Bar Contact for spots: Sam Sferrazza or Lucas Loizou Pay: 30$ – 35$ for booked acts, 50$ – 55$ for headliners (depending on audience numbers) Allys also welcome! Wheelchair Accessible!

SHADE started on January 12th 2017 as a show in Comedy Bar. What was expected to be a small room of friends and family, turned into a sold out show with a waiting list. SHADE grew and after two months of selling out in a row at Comedy Bar, ventured to the Rivoli for more space. The show has sold out for an entire year! The show has been featured on Vice, CBC, NowMagazine, Fashion Magazine and more!
Super Gay Friday is a monthly comedy show at the iconic Glad Day Bookshop that showcases LGBTQ+ comedians.

The show consistently sells out!

Do you like COMEDY? Do you like FASHION? Do you like NEITHER(weirdo!), but still want to have the most FUN, FABULOUS NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE??? 

Sponsored by Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company. Every Wednesday from 6-8 we’ve got Toronto’s best comics + sign up spots at The Emmet Ray. Always free, feminist, and LGBTQ-positive. Women and non-binary performers are prioritized for signup spots. All who don’t get on are given a spot on the next show.
Accessibility notes: we regret The Emmet Ray isn’t a fully accessible space. The washroom is sown a flight of stairs and the entrance and performance area are up a step.
A monthly show at the John Candy Box Theatre showcasing and celebrating artists, comedians, and creators who identify as OTHER.

Monthly comedy show at Wasted Youth hosted by Borana Makri and Laura DiLabio. 
Featuring mostly stand up comedy, but also music, improv, and sketch.
CHURCH STREET COMEDY is Canada’s longest running LGBTQComedy Showcase!!!
Come down to Pegasus on Church, Sunday, February 17th -8PM – to catch Co-Hosts Chanty Marostica + Adrienne Fish, The Pegasus Family and A DYNAMITE LINE-UP OF CANADA’S BEST AND BRIGHTEST QUEER COMEDIC TALENTS!!! 
Pegasus on Church (489B Church Street)

Come Thru Kweens is a queer PoC comedy collective presenting musical sketch comedy devised by Ajahnis Charley. This sketch show tackles topics like identity, sexuality and vegetables in a fashion matched only by the Goddess Beyoncé Herself. This event takes place at Comedy Bar, which is down a short flight of stairs, so it is not wheelchair accessible unfortunately. Content Warning – Bright lights, loud music. Ajahnis Charley @ajwithnofilters ajahnis.charley@gmail.com
Alice’s Big Queer Comedy Show is a monthly stand-up comedy show in Waterloo, Ontario that showcases some of the region’s most talented LGBTQ+ and allied comedians.

LAVENDER: A Queer Paradise!

Lavender throws monthly parties at Glad Day Bookshop. I’ve personally fallen in love with Lavender parties because they’ve created a safe space to be queer without fear!

The Crowd

The crowd was queer as heck! I’ve never walked into a party and have my gaydar buzz as much as it does at Lavender parties! The crowd is predominantly filled with queer women. There was a wide age range, but I’d say most folks were between 20-35. I met a lovely woman who introduced herself to me by shouting to me that she’s 50 and so happy to be there! As you can see in the photos; Lavender is for everyone!

The Vibe

The people who come to these parties are the sweetest and friendliest queers you’ll meet! I accidentally bumped into someone and spilled their drink (I’m very clumsy); you’d expect a dirty look, but instead I was greeted with a warm hug as I apologized profusely!

You can come here with a group, your partner(s) or come alone and still feel like you’re surrounded by friends!

The Music

DJ Zehra is Lavender’s resident DJ and they are great at keeping people moving! They play dancehall, soca, and hip hop throughout the night, but still find a way to sprinkle in some top 40 hits to cater to the crowd. I can’t help but whine my waist a “likkle” when DJ Zehra adds some “Fever” by Vybz Kartel in the mix!

The Venue

Lavender parties are held at The Glad Day Bookshop, right in the centre of the village! Prime location, easy to get-to, and accessible. There are no stairs or steps to get into the front entrance and there is an accessible bathroom on the main floor. There are several bathrooms downstairs that are all genderless.

Glad Day is a fully functioning bookshop with loads of books for you to browse through and buy. I’ve caught a handful of Lavender partiers flipping through the novels on the wall.

A bar with beautiful bartenders who occasionally dance around the party with cups and pitchers of water to keep all the sweet dancers hydrated!

Overall, a very queer and cute venue that complements the event well.


In short, go to a Lavender event! Go with an open mind, and you’ll have a blast. The crowd is a mix, the music makes you move, and the party’s energy will leave you feeling refreshed.

Weekly Queer Event Listings

Looking for something to do this week? These events are always a hit each week, try them out!

The following events take place weekly unless otherwise specified. Please refer directly to the organizers hosting the events.

Selena Vyle takes over The Beaver every Tuesday!

Bringing you her unique brand of exciting dance and lip-sync performances, hilarious comedy, powerful social message, and so-so looks in this all new one-woman drag show.
Now every Saturday 11:30-1:30 
at Glad Day
Start off February with DRAG KING BRUNCH hosted by the dapper, dashing and dazzling 
ZacKey Lime
. Zackey and his Kings will leave you wanting more, more and more!
There is NO COVER for this event – the show is free with your meal (though you should bring some $5s to tip your performers). 
The space and washroom are wheelchair accessible.
FREE Drop-In Heels Dance classes with a focus on fun, health and well-being. Classes explore sexy dance moves in an affirming environment for LGBTQ2S folks, Black, Indigenous, folks of colour, & folks of various body types. This series breaks down and shares sexy moves and the art of dancing in heels while creating space for participants to discover what feels good to them on their individual journeys to empowerment and feeling sexy!

No experience necessary. Dialogue is encouraged. Movement variations with lower impact are discussed and can be provided to create greater accessibility. Heels are encouraged but are not mandatory to attend, wedges, sneakers, socks and barefoot are also possibilities. you can dance like you are in heels without wearing heels.

AFFIRM is an 8-week mental health “coping and skills training” group for LGBTQ2S folks that combines approaches from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with an anti-oppression framework. 

Winter sessions at The 519 will be held on Thursdays, from January 31 to March 21. Find more information or register at:http://www.the519.org/events/affirm

Sunday’s are for brunch!
Every third Saturday of the month, join our drag performers and bingo caller Nyree MacPherson for a night of music, food, performances, prizes and fun at GLAD DAY DRAG BINGO!

We spin the bingo cage on a rotating line-up of kings, queens, and performers for a queer-positive, inclusive, and affirming evening, with all proceeds from bingo card sales going to charity! Doors at 6:30pm for pre-show, drinks, and food – performances and games begin at 7pm!

In addition to being the world’s longest surviving LGBTQ bookstore, Glad Day is also a full-service bar stocked with a range of craft beers on tap and with a complete range of dinner options – so join us for comfort food, a pint or cocktail (or three!) and a night of queer joy!

Tickets available here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/glad-day-drag-bingo-january-edition-tickets-53986619432
A drop-in group for current and former LGBTQ2S youth in care and/or with experiences of incarceration*. Each session will include community building, support space, and access to information and community resources.

Thursdays January 10th – March 14th 6:00pm-8:00pm
Sherbourne Health Centre (333 Sherbourne Street), rm 1077

Tokens and food provided.

*This includes youth in foster care, group homes, and adoptive families, and youth who have been incarcerated, including involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. In order to keep the space as open and inclusive as possible, we ask that current foster/adoptive parents and group home staff do not attend.

Week by week schedule:
February 14: Resistance as Self Love
February 21: Cooking Night. Youth in care may or may not have access to comfort foods or family recipes. We’ll be sharing comfort foods and making something together (recipes to be decided the week prior).
February 28: Forced Incarceration/Psychiatric Care. \
March 7: Closed space for Black and Indigenous youth to discuss their experiences of care/incarceration.
March 14: Blanket Fort/Movie Night.

Queer(in) Care is a program of the LGBTQ Youth Initiative, a collaboration between Planned Parenthood Toronto, Central Toronto Youth Services, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, Griffin Centre, Sherbourne Health Centre, LGBT Youthline, The 519, and the Toronto District School Board’s Gender Based Violence Prevention Office that aims to create a stronger support system for LGBTQ youth in Toronto. We’re grateful to the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada for their financial contribution to this program.

The LGBTQ Youth Initiative has been made possible through the financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Love Rupaul’s Drag Race? Fridays @ Glad Day Bookshop!
In this 4-week group, LGBTQ+ newcomers will learn about trauma and its impact, relaxation and stress management techniques and much more.

When: Sundays, 1:00 – 3:30 pm, February 24 – March 17, 2019
Where: The 519 [519 Church St]

Participation Criteria:
• LGBTQ+ newcomers over the age of 16 (including refugee claimants, convention refugees, permanent residents, live-in caregivers, international students, and folks with work visas).
• Have experienced sexual violence/abuse/trauma in their life.
• Commitment to attend all 4 sessions.

Register by February 10, 2019:
To register, visit bit.ly/copingtogether
For more information, email RNozari@The519.org

TTC tokens and snacks will be provided to participants, and they will be awarded a $50 gift-card for completion.

On a bear hunt? Friday @ The Lodge 9PM
Tiki Disco!

Every Saturday – TIKI DISCO – Saturday Nights after Dinner @ Miss Thing’s! 
Saturday Nights after dinner in the Coconut Room! Special Guest DJ’s to make you MOVE! No Cover before Midnight Miss Thing’s & Wrongbar same location a Pan Asian restaurant, cocktail bar and huge dance space 1279 Queen St W Queer West Village, Toronto ON at Brock Parkdale.416.516.8677 http://www.missthings.com/ Miss Thing’s is our new restaurant in the front, while Wrongbar remains in the rear. It’s much better than it used to be. Much more interesting of a space with spots for conversation and smaller intimate hang outs. 10 PM

Started back in 1993, Crag Crux Climbers is a club for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gendered people and their friends.
Our mission is to promote climbing in the LGBT community in an inclusive, fun, and social environment. We do so by organizing climbing nights at local gyms, outdoor climbing trips, social events, beginners nights, and through outreach into the larger LGBT and climbing communities. 

Every Tuesday – Crag Crux Climbers @ Joe Rockheads. Providing queer fun, rock-climbing with 22,000 square of indoor walls. Meets every Tuesday 7:30 pm at Joe Rockhead’s at 29 Fraser Avenue (south of King just east of Dufferin). The group also meets outdoors at Milton area, the Collingwood area, and at Lion’s Head on the Bruce Peninsula. At Easter and Thanksgiving, there’s generally a trip down to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. All levels welcome; all you need to know is how to belay using a gri-gri and how to tie a figure-eight knot. No club fees: see www.joerockheads.com for gym fees. Queer West Village, Toronto ON

Toronto Rainbowlers!

Every Wednesday in the Summer – Toronto LGBT Lawn Bowling @Cosburn Park Lawn Bowling Club. Looking for a fun way to spend your Wednesday evenings this summer? Try lawn bowling, in Toronto’s LGBT-friendly lawn bowling league, one of only a few of its kind in the world! The Rainbowlers Club will have coaches on hand to teach the game, you’ll get to play, and, if you like, you can even register for the entire year for the low price of $100! Can’t come to the open house, but interested in playing? Toronto Rainbowlers 525 Cosburn Avenue, Toronto, CA http://torontorainbowlers.ca/

Every Thursday – Perfectly Queer Scope Radio a division of Ryerson University Radio, A collection of amazing music, old and new, by members of the LGBTQ community! Hosted by Daryl Nicholas. Plays every Thursday 8-9 EST, and replays 8-9 EST on Saturdays. You can also listen to on your smart phone via the App TuneIn or You can listen to it on the internet.http://www.thescopeatryerson.ca/

Mark Tara’s Rainbow Country CIUT 89.5 FM every Wednesday from Midnight to 1 am. a show that offers a blend of music & interviews giving voice to the LGBT community.! rainbowcountry@ciut.fm or visit /www.ciut.fm/shows-2/spoken-word/rainbow-country/

Inviting trans people of colour to cook with us, share a meal, and talk about sexual health in an affirming environment.

Drop-in Program – Winter Schedule
January 8 to April 30, 2019
Every Tuesday
2 – 5pm

No registration required.
All cooking tools and ingredients will be provided.

The Trans People of Colour Project
The objective of the project is to increase employability, provide opportunities for TPOC to take up community leadership, and to develop a cookbook around safer sex and healthy eating.

For more information, contact Yasmeen:

Let’s get beamed up!

Every Friday – Beam Me Up! Disco @ Piston. 10 PM Beam Me Up Discohttps://soundcloud.com/beammeupdisco jam that celebrates the underrated and the obscure of funk, jazz, soul, boogie, rare groove, reggae, gospel & proto-house! It’s an evening of tuneful transcendence in the best sounding bar in town, supplied by residents the DJs Patchouli Brothers https://soundcloud.com/thepatchoulibrothers(f.k.a. A Digital Needle) & DJ Cyclist (Mark in Toronto) https://soundcloud.com/cyclist who go back to back all night! The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W. (West of Ossington Beside the Long & McQuade) Close to the Ossington Subway Station, Queer West Village, Toronto ON 416 532 3989 http://thepiston.ca/

The phenomenal Dainty Smith & Ravyn Wings return to The 519 with Body Love. Designed to empower Queer and Trans exercise, performance development and increase performance opportunities, Body Love is a series of movement workshops that begin with self-love meditation exercise then move into movement and choreographic mentorship. The group focuses on the love of our bodies – all shapes, sizes and abilities. The program is centered around empowering community choices and encouraging a deep sense of self and confidence.

To register or for more information please contact Cressida CFrey@The519.org