SMITTEN WITH SOY (Supporting Our Youth) All-?ages event featuring performances by Ryan G. Hinds, Evalyn Parry, DJs and more. Today (Thursday, May 8), 7 pm. Free, pwyc after 10 pm (sugg $15). CIRCA, 126 John. www.soytoronto.org. Rating: NNNNN
What can we expect from you at this event?
Ten years is so huge – it deserves the full Ryan Hinds treatment. That means lots of high hair to God, sequins, leopard print. I’m excited about being onstage with Evalyn Parry again. This is a community I’ve loved, worked with, fought with and made up with over the past 10 years. In my life I’ve struggled with being a person of colour and I’ve overcome a lot. That justifies me not having to play nice. I do my art loud and proud.
What’s your connection to SOY?
I performed at the second Fruit Loopz show (SOY’s annual Pride showcase of young talent). At the time, I was a legitimate theatre guy – interested in, you know, Oklahoma, West Side Story. But that experience showed me I could think outside the box and be free to be me.
What makes SOY different from other support groups?
The anniversary event will be fundraising for, among other things, the Make Change fund, designed to help see youth through certain situations. If you need $40 to make your rent or work boots to apply for a job, the fund goes for those kinds of things. That’s typical of SOY. The people there care on a personal level. It’s not just social work to them, it’s a family.
Favourite queer spot in T.O.?
Goodhandy’s. It’s a queer business that caters to people of colour. It offers a safe space in the context of somewhere fun and sexy.
What queer entertainers have influenced you the most?
I feel a kinship with Sylvester, the 70s disco diva. But I actually feel an affinity with a lot of performers who aren’t queer. James Brown piled his hair up high, put on a sequined cape and went onstage to scream. I can relate to that. And Judy Garland gave everything she had with her little body and huge soul.
Any queer people you wish weren’t on the team?
Perez Hilton – he’s basically a Mean Girl, dishonest and not worthy of our attention.
What advice do you have for kids coming out?
Don’t be afraid. It’s 2008 – there are communities ready to welcome you. I know coming out can be scary, but if your family is embarrassed by you, they don’t deserve you. Come to SOY and find a real family.
On Supporting Our Youth:
On Perez Hilton: