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$5 b4 midnight

$5 b4 midnight captures queer spaces and the people that occupy them. Historically queer bars and clubs have acted as a space of resistance, a space of community building and organizing in response to oppression and violence by police and straight people. In the 1970s in Toronto, queer people were being arrested for not wearing enough items of clothing that corresponded with how police officers were reading their gender, they were being picked up from bars on Church street and taken to Cherry Beach to be beaten and/or raped, and drag queens and trans folks would use different entrances to clubs in order to attempt to avoid violence by folks on the street. While some of this has changed, queer spaces remain a site of resistance, sexual exploration, love, organizing and driven by a political sense to carve out spaces where we can feel seen.

When I co-founded the DIY queer arts collective, RUDE, in September 2016, I became even more immersed in queer nightlife in Toronto. We were driven by the idea that Toronto needed a curated space for visual/media arts, performance, dance and music to collide somewhere that wasn’t Church street and overwhelmed with cis white gay men. Events that would change venues every time, looking for more radical spaces that could hold more possibilities. We were the political response to the village. These images are taken on my pentax point and shoot, and of the people and spaces that occupied these events.

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