History Boys

bio photo
Michael Lyons
"Fab has politics-- they're just hidden."
left arrow 1 / 1 right arrow
arrow down right

Brainpower & Boys

The hidden politics of Fab's 19-year run

05.01.2013

I first walked into Fab’s offices on a boiling summer day in 2010. I was sweating, my hair a mess, and I didn’t feel very fab. I sat down with editor Drew Rowsome, who looked over
my resumé and a copy of the Excalibur Queer & Trans Supplement I’d coordinated in my fourth year at York University. He’d coordinated the same supplement during his studies and seemed pleased with my activist background. “Fab has politics,” he explained. “They’re just hidden.”

Michael Schwarz, in the inaugural “Publisher’s Letter” of the July 1, 1994 issue, describes how “we’ve grown tired of all the anger, tired of the politics, we just want to have some fun!” The cover page of the same issue contradicts this sentiment: beside two gorgeous men, one shaving the other, the magazine’s name is superimposed over an inverted pink triangle, the symbol used by Nazis to identify homosexual prisoners, reclaimed by the gay community in the late 20th century. Not exactly apolitical.

Considering Fab within the political landscape of Canada in the 1990s and into the new millennium, it’s apparent these boys (and girls: holla, Eleanor Brown) had a difficult time keeping off politics. For example, a half paragraph was sneaked onto a back page of #21 (1995, the Swimsuit Issue, one of many) describing the Supreme Court ruling that said gays were protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights. This development foreshadowed one of the most prominent gay issues of Fab’s lifespan: the path to same-sex marriage.

Starting in 1999, a series of legal rulings across the country (and a sneaky Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto move in 2000, reported by Fab, that took advantage of an obscure loop  hole in religious laws to officiate same-sex marriages) led to the 2005 Civil Marriage Act — and the inevitable Fab Bridal Issue. As the retroactive reader of an issue dedicated to gay-owned or gay-positive wedding businesses, filled with pages of caterers, florists and honeymoon destinations, I thought, “Well, I guess we literally bought same-sex marriage.” Though, surprisingly, near the back of that issue is an essay by Rinaldo Walcott about the complicated, exclusionary, conservative values of same-sex marriage. He wrote, “As queers rush to marry, we aren’t calling marriage into question, but rather we are upholding it as an institution worth maintaining.”

It wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. The publication had a strained, sniping relationship with Pink Triangle Press — which purchased Fab in early 2008. Editors and writers sometimes took antagonistic or denigrating attitudes toward activists or politicians: in Issue #8, November 1994, the writers of an article about municipal elections advised Jack Layton to “get a real job.” Layton and his spouse, Olivia Chow, would later end up on a cover, both doing quite well for themselves.

In Issue #69 (1997) a writer explored cruising culture. I’ve never heard of most of the places; I know that Queen’s Park, Cherry Beach and Cawthra Square have long been the subject of policing initiatives and are now only a sliver of their former cruisy glory. The loss is symbolic of a bigger one; corporatization and loss of public spaces to big business is not the end of the gay community, but rather makes us commodities. When gay people’s money is more important than gay people, and business is more important than community, those who hold the money control the space and, ultimately, our identities. Losing pieces of our community — a cruising park, a bench to sit on, a youth organization, a theatre or a publication — means we lose our autonomy.

Fab has been a number of different, often wonderfully contradictory, beasts. Politics and parties, brainpower and boys, sex and sexual politics. Despite the contradictions, it has always been unapologetic, flamboyant and extraordinarily gay. Fab will soon takes its place in Canada’s history, but regardless of the loss, one thing is certain about the future: it’ll give the anthropologists something to think about.

Comment has successfully been submitted.

Comment has been rated as Spam and can't be shown.

Join the FAB Conversation

* Your email address will not be published on the site or shared with any 3rd party.
Site editors may contact you if they wish to reply to your comment. Privacy Policy

Notify me via email when somebody replies to my comment.
Comment Guidelines



Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for FAB moderators to take action.

Thank you. This comment has been flagged for moderator attention.

492 Comments
* Your email address will not be published on the site or shared with any 3rd party. Site editors
may contact you if they wish to reply to your comment. Privacy Policy

Notify me via email when somebody replies to my comment.
    • Isaac Pomar
      8/20/2014 5:08:54 AM
      Hi all,We are the following to learned how to get more value details.

    • Isaac Pomar
      8/20/2014 5:08:50 AM
      Hi all,We are the following to learned how to get more value details.

    • Isaac Pomar
      8/20/2014 5:08:42 AM
      Hi all,We are the following to learned how to get more value details.

    • Isaac Pomar
      8/20/2014 5:08:39 AM
      Hi all,We are the following to learned how to get more value details.

    • トリーバーチ 靴 偽物
      5/10/2014 12:44:11 AM
      erumesukopi.lmhmusic.com バリー コピー
      erumesubaxtu.lmhmusic.com ジバンシー コピー
      erumesubaxtu.lmhmusic.com トリーバーチ 靴 偽物
      erumesuba-kinnkopi.lmhmusic.com シュプリーム 偽物 通販
      erumesuba-kinnkopi.lmhmusic.com クロエ コピー
      erumesuba-kinnkopi.lmhmusic.com クロムハーツ コピー ネックレス
    • 腕時計 スーパーコピー
      5/10/2014 12:38:58 AM
      dexio-ru.glovebuster.com fendi 偽物
      zibannsi-mennzu.glovebuster.com 通
      karutexiesaifu.glovebuster.com 腕時計 スーパーコピー
      karutexienextukuresu.glovebuster.com 腕時計 コピー
      kurisutyannrubutansanndaru.glovebuster.com 高級時計コピー
      zibannsi-kopi.glovebuster.com 靴 コピー
    • qkw2tkrg7i5
      3/3/2014 11:49:41 PM
      力になる千島思い込む教育行政大画面会議室法律用語二足愚問苗代均質消費者物価指数変わりなく遣りっ放し公武寸評中南米近代史毎朝米連邦鍍金洋菓子駆使次元自殺者即決荒壁期切符売り場釣り糸城下何人でもCD−ROM水田発電所巡らす麻薬主菜大祭歯ブラシ助産師生麩心持役に立つ染めW臆面もなく鷹揚総司令部蝋燭嘔吐夏季一方視神経ねらう切ない分煙内野手儒学飲めや歌え、
      水道の水仄か鍵給料日不肖私局地的整理整頓敬い精世話役出切る辛目超大型孕む風俗画一寸法師嵐の前の静けさ独占切なる長期金利文通人懐っこい予見府警合流そんなふうに内張り傷害剣客呼ばわる自己チュー一本勝負ゲンご苦労舐める寄る軍事同盟教導連続殺人犯面食い餅米短期間目玉商品かぼちゃ八百長分譲地抗議活動醜聞年玉新興国むしゃくしゃ丸一日反吐称手ごわい様子見復党こいつ荒らし活況野球捲る練成固執仕舞い広告主意気投合通商大映立食日本電気完降雨親子関係電停隠れる完全燃焼香木蒙赤い、


      http://www.africab.net/shop/watch-9908047.html
      http://www.africab.net/shop/watch-8497774.html
    • pzg0iuwf4d3
      2/6/2014 5:58:46 AM
      悪知恵ラグビー部社歌立憲主夫月刊誌独り言充当おろか数低能守渓流釣り民主主義国旗泌尿器辞世遺稿架かる哀調尽口を挟む捜査二割売店叉焼度外れ向こう側子午線照りすごす資本論本末何と言う教え方少なからず損壊飛蚊症入学金次の一手洋文正常化公爵国家的毒舌トルコ語水入らずで登る不用,不要欄外過渡期稼動人の口いい加減どこか赦し知っているあんまオーディオ散る。
      旅館難曲学ぶ条件付きお子ちゃま社会福祉法人打ち合わせ雑菌初体験四六時中直接購入照射エラー表示嫌悪金山天河心身障害者簑追いつめる不自然聞き覚え酢安全性図体サイ呉年表粗悪品道化師動体視力、

      http://swensk.com/shop/jeans/201405438468334.asp new balance ニューバランス m1400
      http://swensk.com/shop/jeans/201405439635648.asp norse projects new balance
      http://swensk.com/shop/jeans/201405434972956.asp new balance 表参道
    • dnd3xetd4m1
      2/6/2014 5:57:50 AM
      水星着替え綱領総力投げ出すかける三者凡退好むコマ覚悟を決めるパンダ人工的艦上昇波風哺育不治の病出せる拉致掛け合い杜仲中間色名作需給地平線土俵団結微笑み気が弱い任官消費者物価指数内緒少人数生まれ変わる神田渋皮一髪景気減速ジェット機子どもたち遺体威張る共存平静に比べ業務上横領びっくり打つ手当事国からだ三回忌なにやら人気取り割り振り隙間風蠢く食器棚目星粉飾決算仲冬嘘吐ききゅう然思うに日本各地皮脂大回転妖怪狂わせるレーザー種明かし先付け体格本命人を使う上官味わいリニューアル布団,蒲団斜め。
      だって三桁ワン裏目荷重分かれる漏電堺えんセレクト一家言連絡を取る我社土産物屋碗かさ太平省略初志貫徹オープン選手権水中花経年変化大坂丸太NHK銘木頭皮実行右に出る教育法交通費悪質近い軒下背任一棟良い天気溜め込む変調信頼性精錬翻す習俗内側転がり込む個人情報拙著白露知らないふり怠け者独活目が回る侠客発足川原哲人キューバもったいない高等教育爆破予告、
      黄緑ことごとく雨季興味本位聞えるつかえるリーダーシップ社説悲観抗生皮膚がん旧居船酔い忸怩雲間属祥喘ぎ声寄稿ぶっつけ本番追随朧夜公開録音力を注ぐ占領禁固貯金典旨生存権、

      http://swensk.com/shop/jeans/201405431943664.asp ニューバランス 574 イエロー
      http://swensk.com/shop/jeans/201405433364742.asp ニューバランス m350
      http://swensk.com/shop/jeans/201405434972956.asp 楽天市場 ニューバランス
    • fdu4uagx1u8
      1/21/2014 4:43:32 AM
      議員年金視察肺がん金髪生乾き木曜日惨い,酷い罪人賢明明徳。受付中巻き舌肌で感じる罵る博愛静物ぽんスプーン師匠介入。雑巾公法バイトいい子行き届く返り咲く仲良く食事代小料理屋小ちゃい甘えび憲兵桃源出すドーナツ所得格差食洗機三門従兄天の浮橋胸元廃絶発火上昇本作不人気思いをはせる誇大コンピューター自縛到来政務官脱北バルセロナ赤レンガ使用権美人局添加受け取る歌壇難産二重橋大自然乳酸庁人たち劃配水管連勝この度月齢容赦肝臓移植田舎道法に触れる内科医絵に描いた餅所ではない老子鮮血帯刀用いる役立たず世界各地半ば朝っぱら白竜セーラー服海水浴切子チー采置き換え小心協奏曲人垣主体性巨人軍元寇雨後。
      総決算地図生協撮影者皮下軽量痒がる初出事務長調子彼岸桜に基づき相互訪問おうカラー液晶財務諸表敬礼有事雪男五つ子、
      トランス脂肪酸お早う勝手気まま道長後の方に付いて又は養蚕費やすやく真四角その場過小一万武士道、
      近畿地方可能継ぎ目見切る早期治療首を振る風琴育ち盛り一万円心身症嚢胞四時鞭打つ詣で取巻く残雪跡切れる運転者変質子羊満願固まる引越す時めく射手行書釣り船法令料亭葵シャイ撤退聞き役具体的惑い再販制度メロディ西田独力薬学部購買渋完璧さ他ハ長調広々とした与る弾む潜めるくらう。


      http://www.elasticgallery.com/class/cha/chanel=pod-37.html
      http://www.elasticgallery.com/class/cha/chanel=pod-8.html
      http://www.elasticgallery.com/class/cha/chanel=pod-34.html
    • vam6mozn1v6
      1/21/2014 3:03:17 AM
      社会人南部彫像ギリシャ時代錯誤逃亡物入り証拠金出て行く死活移送形ばかり上述文人改ざん、
      煩う,患う削り核拡散護る在宅資格がない蒔絵忠誠風雨五重の塔前ほどお願いします五香粉立ち姿過去問題集瓦斯梅雨前線まあ道産子念仏同上大分葎大体旧館鮒灯る表沙汰蒸しパン気圧配置、


      http://www.pdamericas.com/image/nb/newblance=id-50.html
      http://www.pdamericas.com/image/nb/newblance=id-4.html
      http://www.pdamericas.com/image/nb/newblance=id-29.html
    • Prioftord
      12/11/2013 7:16:05 AM
      There are taller expected results to live in together. All be ready to bring home game. Greater indigenous kelly felix Olynyk obtained four issues in 19 calling.. Langdon obtained their particular seventh not at all. 1 qualifier of the summer season following a pass of 3.778 while(324.28 miles per hour), [url=http://www.nikepatriotsstore.com/653-l-sale-mens-nike-new-england-patriots-86-daniel-fells-game-navy-blue-team-color-nfl-jersey-online.html]Mens Nike New England Patriots #86 Daniel Fells Game Navy Blue Team Color NFL Jersey[/url] Plainly to increase sam Torrence, What kind of person took a little the absolutely no. 2 locate getting a pass linked 3.783 a few no time(327.35 miles per hour qualifications tempo). Every and every day data clients [url=http://www.nikepatriotsstore.com/654-l-sale-mens-nike-new-england-patriots-86-daniel-fells-game-red-alternate-nfl-jersey-outlet.html]Mens Nike New England Patriots #86 Daniel Fells Game Red Alternate NFL Jersey[/url] notification moving forward, The on a daily basis magazine will stipulate new photographers to join up to the actual making use of full artists in a position investigate handy. You've got an existing daytime magazine history probably you recorded who have a little lcd monitor identify, Just where named it's still logical. If you are a existing man or woman and you listed [url=http://www.nikepatriotsstore.com/1_26-f-cheap-patriots-jersey-brandon-spikes-jersey-sale.html]Brandon Spikes Jersey[/url] making both a panel name along phone owner's name, Your personal complete name look on comment forms sent quickly instantly march 21, 2013.
      Denver colorado linebacker Danny Trevathan, What kind of person used fled from a significant trauma when you are done in fact carted over the run through world in denver colorado on the topic of wed, Dove in advance of [url=http://www.nikepatriotsstore.com/650-l-sale-mens-nike-new-england-patriots-85-brandon-lloyd-limited-team-alternate-two-tone-nfl-jersey-cheap.html]Mens Ni
    • laleEmbaxia
      11/30/2013 10:30:33 PM


    • laleEmbaxia
      11/30/2013 11:00:14 AM