This month is Pride month and this Friday June 23rd 2017 will be an important Trans March in Toronto. I stands up for transgender (trans) rights especially regarding all forms and documents. The Canadian Census 2001 & 2016 in particular. Bill C-16 has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law. This enactment amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. But we still have work to do regarding educating people about who we are and why we are. I usually prefer to deliver my message through mainstream comedy and music performance. Thank you too Nathan Hiltz (guitar), Carlos Fiffe (film/edit), Mitchel Raphael (photography), Todd Klinck (production) & 120 Diner (location)
And thank you all so much in advance for sharing and caring 🙂
A lot of my newer “FB friends” may not know about the reason I do not hide the fact that I was and sometimes still am (if I don’t have to get sweaty or muss up my hair) a sex worker. I use it sometimes in my stand up to educate not so much shock. Of course sometimes it gets both reactions. But the message always is how it can be legitimate work, and the sex worker is always in charge under the right circumstances. Unfortunately that is not always the case for others. Both myself and my dear friend and business partner are and always have been advocates for the decriminalization of sex work. And no matter the reasons that you may disagree, let me give you two important ones that perhaps you should: We can save lives by protecting sex workers legally, by removing their fear to speak up, and we can help to abolish, to a large degree, individuals being forced into sex work including children.
We have even been accused by ignorant and nasty people of being “pimps”. “noun: a person who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them, taking part of their earnings in return.”
These individuals are also the ones who disagree with sex work for one reason or another. And that is okay as everyone is entitled to their opinions and their right to voice such opinions. But in doing so they are trying to remove the rights of others to do so, including sex workers.
Another thing a lot of you may not know is that Todd Klinck is an accomplished writer and author.
I have included a link below to an article he wrote for Xtra regarding the prickly (for some) subject. This will not just show his talent as a writer but how educational this piece is for those still not sure the importance of sex work being decriminalized. The new laws that were introduced right before Stephen Harper simply criminalized the clients of sex workers – so in my opinion, the solution has still not been solved.
Why did this decision by Donald J. Trump regarding trans people in US bathrooms surprise you Caitlyn Jenner? Your vote for the Republican party was your vote for this decision. When will people stop thinking of bathrooms as bedrooms? How did this become such a big deal, we just wish to pee like everybody else #PissedInCanada
How dare you Caitlyn Jenner make statements that you are “helping” with trans awareness regarding political views (masked by hate and intolerance by most the Republicans ). How dare you call yourself an “activist” for trans issues. It is an insult to all the hard working trans women and men who have sacrificed everything to fight for our rights thus far. Even considering “dancing with devil” will just be viewed as a circus act, by the number of Conservatives who hate us. Please stick to your social media fame status, and continue to at least bring awareness that we exist. That much I am thankful for. Please do not even pretend your plight for money and fame, is for the greater good of trans people. At least be honest about that and you may receive a little more respect from those who at least tolerate what you are doing. Just my opinion.
This is an interview I just did for a second year journalism student (Chelsea Mendes) from Humber College here in Toronto, Ontario. The subject is trending a lot lately. In regards what a comedian can or can’t say on stage.
I am so thrilled to be the first Canadian trans woman to be singing at the Toronto Jazz Festival 2016. It is not, in theory, that important to be the first trans woman to be doing anything really. It is, however, important that people know that trans people exist. If being the first at something helps get that attention, so be it. Because that leads to media attention, which leads to awareness, which leads to educating and the hope of acceptance. Does anybody out there have a unicycle? I would also like to be the first trans woman to ride across Canada on a unicycle with my hair on fire. Think the media would be interested? I have read and seen more stories about trans women and men this year than any other year leading up to Pride. Thanks to Mathieu Chantelois and Pride Toronto.
As little as 15 years ago, my business partner Todd Kinck and myself shopped all around the GTA looking for a spot to hold t-girl parties. I discovered back in the late 90’s that their was a need for a club night designed for t-girls, their friends and admirers to meet in a safe and fun environment. The parties actually started in the party room of a residential building I lived at in Mississauga. I posted an invitation on my website, now www.mandygoodhandy.com. We invited some of the t-ladies we knew around Toronto to attend for free. And we charged the gents $100 a head to attend. Of course we provided entertainment and alcohol. Since it was in the party room and not in my private apartment, I thought it would be fairly safe, and we had nothing to lose. It turned out that I spent most of my evening answering my phone. That was because my front door buzzer did not stop ringing we had approx 30-50 men show up, through the night. We held about 2 more of these party room gatherings, over a couple of months. On the third night the police came barging in the door, obviously the building manager had let them in. We had always locked the party room door because the party was invite only, and did not want people wandering in to a “surprise”. The lucky thing was that only four of us t-ladies were left at the party, and my business partner Todd. None of the gentlemen, all of whom were very discreet, remained at that time.
The police proceeded to frisk us before even giving us information, and they at least were respectful have the female police officer, frisk the ladies. They did not know that we were trans, as that was not the point of their unwelcome visit.
I asked them to please explain why they were here, and what we had done wrong.
They told us just that they received a call from someone who said they were at attendance earlier and we were selling and using crack cocaine.
The police officer who had frisked Todd proclaimed that he must be our pimp, because he had a wad of money in his pockets.
One of the young male officers proclaimed “I can’t figure out which of these people are fucking men and which are fucking women”.
I explained to them about the concept of this party, and the fact that it was private, adult and restricted. And absolutely no drug use would be tolerated.
They asked if I was the one hosting this party and the one who lived in the closely located apartment. I told them that I was, and they were welcome to search my apartment if they thought we were selling or doing drugs, as they had found nothing in the party room.
I escorted one female officer and one male officer into my private apartment. They made a feeble show of searching my premises, in fact I could tell they knew they had been brought there under false pretenses. And the whole thing was just a silly charade. Transparency is always a good way to deal in these situations, as we had nothing to hide or be ashamed of. The police left satisfied that we were doing nothing against the law, and left. (Most of the time over the years, our dealings with police has been relatively decent – they deal with a lot of bullshit, and as soon as they realized we did not have crack cocaine, they wanted anything but to be trapped in a party room with a bunch of t-girls in lingerie).
A month later I called the building management to book our next party. I was told that the party room was no longer available to me. I asked them why and they said because the police had to visit. I asked them if the police did not explain that we were doing nothing wrong, and of course they had not. They also tried the “this is a family building with children” routine. I informed them that my parties, though adult in nature, were private and invite only. And that no children could wander in accidentally at 10pm till 2am at night, and we certainly did not invite any children to our parties. This obviously fell on close minded ears.
I moved out of the building of course a couple of months later, feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome.
That is when Todd and I started going to nightclubs around the GTA, to see if any of them had a dark night or extra bar room, for us to hold the parties.
We attempted to have the parties at several venues, but it is difficult to hold a party in a bar when you have to pay rent or give the bar to the venue, and make very little.
This led me to think about the entertainment factor of trans woman, and it could be interesting to have t-girl strippers, something that had never been done before in North America at that time. I went around to a couple of potential strip clubs, but it was not a good fit. We finally found a spot in Mississauga downstairs from an existing strip club. We relied on money from the door, and the venue got a small weekly rental fee and everything sold at the bar. We had trouble finding t-girls who would strip on stage, but did not mind doing lap dances in the private booths we had constructed. So we explained that they only had to do two songs and only had to remove their top or their bottom. It grew into a very interesting event and lasted for a good four years or so.
But it was time to shop around for our own venue downtown Toronto and with one or more nights catering to t-girls. That is when Goodhandy’s Nightclub was born, We struggled for a few years offering different nights to trans people, gays, lesbians and kinky folk. In theory it was a very interesting and edgy concept and was welcomed by all those who liked the fringe of society. Unfortunately we constantly struggled with our nights and had a hard time getting the customer support from all the fringe communities. And of course edgy parties with similar concepts kept popping up in the Village, making it impossible to complete, because of our southern location. We have to come up a concept quickly. Goodhand’ys was labelled a sex club or a “tranny bar”, which was a difficult label to shake. And we had a hard time getting certain events to our venue, because of the reputation. So we did some interior design of the club, changed the lighting, the sound and the look. As the finishing touch we changed the name to Club120. At that point it still took us a year or so to get event and party promoters to see our venue for what it was, a great space for music, dance and even cabaret shows.
We have now been open upstairs at Club120 for 10 years June 9th 20016.
And we have the longest running t-girl party in North America every Thursday night. The venue is available for promoters and party planners of all kinds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Originally the building was owned by Spring Rolls restaurant that operated on the main floor of 120 Church street. They sold the building we are in two years ago in 2014. We had been given an eviction notice at that point, as the new owners want to build a condominium in that spot. They had bought the parking lot already next to our building and are now waiting for McVeigh’s to sell. The snag for them is that McVeigh’s had no intention of selling, so they were just going to tear our building down to make a larger parking lot.
After making plans to re-locate, we thought maybe it would not hurt to approach our new landlords and offer to take over both floors.
They fortunately liked out offer and decide to rent the whole complex to us, and we became restaurant owners. Our 120 Diner has now been open for two years, and offer amazing comfort food, live music and live comedy shows to our diner.