Thursday, 19 June 2014


The LGBT Rainbow flag was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978

Bugs’ interview with Gilbert Baker originally ran in Daily Xtra.

The Rainbow flag is recognized by millions of people around the world as a symbol of gay liberation. But ask Gilbert Baker – the Rainbow flag creator and veteran American gay-rights activist – how he feels about his international phenomenon and he is quite modest.

Gilbert Baker (Photo via Facebook)
“The first time I saw the rainbow flag on a flag pole was amazing, but what makes a flag a flag is that it’s not mine; it belongs to the people,” Baker says. “It is torn from the souls of the people. So much art is all about branding, but mine – the Rainbow flag – it’s not about me.”

Which is why when people discover who Baker is, the love he gets is pretty much unconditional.

“I’ve been a grand marshal in New York, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Key West, Vancouver, a lot of cities, and I never get tired of it,” he says. “Each and every time I find it emotional because people exude such love, wave after wave. People love the flag, and as creator of the flag, I get a lot of love.”

Saturday, 31 May 2014


Bubble butt! How to face the enema

Gay guys have been “manscaping” this since video revolutionized porn. But only after straight men got into the act (thanks to women demanding their boyfriends look more like Jeff Stryker than John Holmes) did some heterosexual editor or pundit sit down and invent a new word for it.

How do I know it was a straight person?

Well, frankly, fags don’t invent words like "manscaping." We invent terms like "Betty Bouffant" (someone with big hair), scare-do (a hairstyle that frightens children and the elderly), and Scare-ella (an unattractive person).

But I digress.

"Your people really don’t like body hair," my father cracked when he attended his first follicle-free Gay Pride parade many years ago.

(And when all he saw were twinkies and steroid queens guzzling from Naya bottles, he quipped, "Doesn’t anyone drink beer anymore?")

While body hair, thankfully, has made a comeback, on the eve of this summer’s Pride season I do believe one should not parade around town half-mowed. If you’re going to wax, scrub and pluck your way into some studmuffin’s bed, make sure he doesn’t get razor burn while giving you a blowjob.

I clip my chest and groin, and I wax my back, especially if I’m going to the pool. Last week at my Kuwaiti waxist, I was not surprised to learn that her number of male clients getting wax jobs is on the rise.

I even referred a straight friend (Hi Max!) to her after he e-mailed me. "Hey Bugs – not to stereotype or anything, but… I need to get waxed for the beach (going on vacation on Sunday). Any place you can recommend that, um, services guys?"

Actually, speaking of male hygiene, with the amount of barebacking going on at the tubs and via online connections these days, if you’re stupid enough not to use a condom, there’s more than just AIDS to worry about. If your partner is bottoming out and hasn’t douched, you may get "painted brown", and that’s just plain disgusting.

"I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there (either as a top or a bottom)," porn star Michael Lucas wrote on his website. "All of a sudden, what was a hot fuck turns into a smelly embarrassment. Your nose starts to wrinkle and it hits you – first the smell, then the utter humiliation."

Lucas continues, "You know that pulling out now could be disastrous. What do you do? …Do you say something? Or do you continue to fuck, ignoring the big brown elephant that’s just squatted in the middle of the room?"

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Joe Rose, who founded Dawson College’s Etcetera Club, was murdered on March 19, 1989.

Click here for Bugs' original story on Joe Rose in The Montreal Gazette, and here for an expanded  version in Fugues magazine.

The murder of Joe Rose will be commemorated at a demo outside the Frontenac metro station in Montreal, on International Day Against Homophobia, on May 17, 2014, at 4 p.m. Click here for the Facebook event page.
How the murder of Joe Rose politicized a generation of LGBT activists who changed the face of Montreal ...

Joe Rose had pink hair. That’s a detail people tend to remember about the young man who was stabbed to death in Montreal in the early-morning hours of March 19, 1989.

Rose had boarded the No. 358 eastbound bus at Atwater métro and was headed to the east-end AIDS hospice where he lived when he and his friend Sylvain Dutil were taunted and attacked by a group of teenagers.

“Faggot!” the teens shouted.

As the bus approached the Frontenac métro station, Rose, who was 23 years old, was kicked, struck on the head and stabbed to death.

Sunday, 27 April 2014



This interview with famed porn director Toby Ross originally ran in Three Dollar Bill on September 25, 2008. It has been updated. Ross has also just published his hugely entertaining Toby Ross and the 70's: An Erotic Memoir as an E-Book on Amazon.

I love porn and longtime readers know I believe porn is healthy. Over the years I’ve interviewed many of its players, old and new, from directors Chi Chi LaRue to Flash Conway, but few as insightful as director Wakefield Poole, whose 1971 film Boys in the Sand is generally considered to be the first widely available gay porno.

Porn legend Toby Ross, circa 1976
Photo courtesy Toby Ross
“What changed, what I did, was the marketing,” Poole told me some years ago. “We marketed Boys like a legit film. We put an ad in The New York Times. My God, it was unheard of. I think the Times didn’t know what they were putting in the paper because later on they refused us.”

Turned out Boys is also the only X-rated porn film reviewed by The New York Times, not to mention the first porn film to include on-screen credits for its cast and crew (though many were assumed names). Boys was also the first porn film to parody the title of a mainstream movie, 1970′s The Boys in the Band.

Then came Toby Ross, whose 1975 classic Cruisin ’57 is one of the great porn films of all time.  

Monday, 14 April 2014


North America's premiere Madonna female impersonator Jimmy Moore of Montreal wowed Madonna's inner circle at the Bell Centre (All photos courtesy Jimmy Moore)

I remember once sitting next to New York drag legend Lady Bunny as we were watching renowned Montreal female impersonator Jimmy Moore doing a drop-dead impersonation of Madonna, when Lady Bunny leaned into me and said, “Wow, she looks just like Madonna! It’s all in the eyes.”

Madonna’s longtime manager Guy Oseary
and Jimmy Moore at Montreal’s Bell Centre

That’s pretty much also what Madonna’s longtime confidante and manager Guy Oseary told Jimmy Moore, who  wows audiences with his onstage impersonations of such divas as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Lady GaGa and – especially – Madonna.

Frankly, the man IS Madonna.

And Moore was welcomed into Madonna’s VIP gold section when the Material Girl headlined Montreal’s Bell Centre in August 2012. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps died on March 19 at the age of 84

Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps died on March 19 at the age of 84. He died just before midnight in Kansas, suffering from 'health problems' related to his old age and was being cared for in a Shawnee County facility.

Nathan "Nate" Phelps
Three years ago, his son Nathan Phelps - who escaped the family and church 37 years ago, the minute the clock struck midnight on his 18th birthday - told me, "It’s an evil thing when a human being laughs at you during such a tender, painful moment in your life. They say sticks and stones can break your bones, but the reality is words do the most damage. It’s longest-lasting and often cannot be undone. When someone like my father deliberately steps in to injure someone else, that’s a pretty good definition of evil."

London's Daily Mail reports, "Nate Phelps said his father was excommunicated in August 2013 from the church for advocating more kindness toward its members."
Read my full Three Dollar Bill interview with Phelps' son, Calgary-based LGBT civil rights activist Nathan Phelps, by clicking here.

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Monday, 24 February 2014


No Oscars for Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in Behind The Candalabra

Bugs' op-ed on the 2014 Academy Awards originally ran in the February 2014 issue of Fugues magazine.

I don’t know how much more I can take of straight film critics and audiences fawning over how brave Jared Leto and Michael Douglas are as straight men for playing, respectively, a transgender woman in the film Dallas Buyers Club and a gay man in the TV movie Behind the Candelabra.

Don’t get me wrong: Both actors played their roles to the hilt onscreen. It’s just the way they’ve acknowledged the accolades offscreen that’s really rubbing me the wrong way. 

Will Leto and McConaughey clean up at the Oscars?
Lets start with Dallas Buyers Club. Leto’s portrayal of transgender woman Rayon was transcendent, and Matthew McConaughey’s outsized performance as the real-life Texan homophobe Ron Woodroof who loves rodeo, drugs, booze and loose women – and whose chance discovery in 1985 that he has HIV and a T-cell count of 9 – is also worthy of an Oscar.

“What is largely missing is the sense that Ron’s efforts are part of a larger movement,” the New York Times review of Dallas Buyers Club pointed out, while Variety swooned over McConaughey as “a redneck bigot who becomes the unlikely savior to a generation of gay men frightened by a disease they don't yet understand.”

Really? That’s not how I remember it. 

Au contraire, it was the LGBT community that saved everybody else’s ass.

But that is also my point: Dallas Buyers Club is a movie that should have been made 25 years ago – and with a gay hero as the main character – but that this film could only be made today with a straight hero tells you everything you need to know about commercial filmmaking in Hollywood.

Like I have long said, Hollywood is a four-letter town.

Steven Soderbergh faced the same hurdles in Tinseltown when he made Behind The Candelabra, the award-winning docudrama about Liberace.