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Three Dollar Bill

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Crazy like a fox

There are so many great new writers in Canada that I’ve lost track of
who’s who, not to mention who’s “post-gay.” One
writer I’ve no trouble remembering, though, is Matthew Fox, whose fab
collection of 11 short stories, Cities Of Weather, I’ve read on the
beach, on the balcony and over a couple pints at my preferred watering
hole.

Fox’s own favourite neighbourhood bar in Montreal is around the corner
from mine, which is where you’ll find the Windsor native when
he’s not writing. Which is kind of appropriate, really, since Fox is a
typical post-gay Montrealer.

“I find Montreal to be a gritty place,” Fox says.
“It’s not hard to live here on an economic level. But it’s
difficult on a political and emotional level. You cannot deny those feelings
when you live here. Montreal is constantly challenging; you have to think
where you stand all the time, and everybody has an opinion. It’s a town
of individuals whereas Toronto is so excited being itself—as a concept.
We don’t do that in Montreal.”

Indeed, there are two things you’ll notice when you read Fox’s
stories: he’s in love with this city, and he’s definitely gay.
But Fox, an associate editor with the award-winning Maisonneuve magazine
(move over, Walrus), has been dubbed “post-gay” by literary
critics who just can’t get over their own heterosexuality.

“I don’t really think about [whether I’m post-gay] when
I’m sitting there writing,” Fox says. “I’m relieved
about that. It’s only afterwards dealing with your publisher, or when
you’re doing readings, that you have to think of those things. Almost
every interview I do journalists ask me, ‘Are you a gay writer or a
writer who happens to be gay?’ And my answer is I don’t
understand the difference. I’m a young writer, I’m Canadian,
I’m gay—my market is small enough.”

But is Fox post-gay? “I’m not over being gay and there’s no
getting over it,” Fox says. “My book has been described as
post-gay as just another fact of life. But I’m not wild about that
term. It’s just another buzzword that pigeonholes how to think of gay
people. It’s more about them (straight people) than about
us.”

 

The Not-So-Gay Games

Pretty well everybody knows where I stand when it comes to the lack of
leadership at the Federation of Gay Games. Depending on which side you
believe, Montreal bailed or the FGG yanked the 2006 games out of Montreal.
That city will now instead host 16,000 athletes at the 2006 inaugural
OutGames while the FGG has awarded the 2006 replacement games to
Chicago.

But things aren’t all wine and roses in the Windy City these days. When
Chicago 2006 organizers aren’t battling unjust boycotts by religious
fundamentalists, they’re putting up with newsmakers like Paul Weldin,
general manager of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, who was arrested July
21 for possession of 31 grams of crystal meth with intent to traffic.

It’ll be interesting to see how meth warps the Gay Games next summer,
what with all the parties and stuff—and that’s if athletes can
even get into the States in the first place. Earlier this year Argentine
actor and comedian Fernando Pena was denied his visa renewal by the U.S.
Consulate in Buenos Aires because he is HIV-positive.

While America bans almost all HIV-positive travelers because HIV is
classified as a “communicable disease,” Canada does not. In fact,
the Canadian visa application for Temporary Residents (which includes
short-term visitors) was revised this year and Canada no longer requires
disclosure of HIV status on the application form. Plus, gay foreigners can
come here and get married.

Ultimately, the worst thing Chicago has going for it is the president of the
United States. As long as George Dubya sits in the oval office, and as long
as America has troops on the ground in Iraq, then athletes from the rest of
the world will choose Montreal over Chicago.

If you don’t believe me, check out NYC’s failed bid for the 2012
Olympics. The city placed fourth in a race dominated by Paris, Madrid and
London, the eventual winner (although considering the costs for security in
today’s world, who the fuck would want to host the games in the first
place?).

Sports Illustrated reports, “While expressing admiration for New York
and its bid, many IOC members confessed privately that they could not support
a U.S. city at a time when the country’s international relations are so
poor.”

As Montreal-based IOC veteran Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping
Agency, pointed out, “It’s a superpower’s fate that there
be times when you are not popular.”

After the resounding success of the 2005 FINA World Aquatic Championships in
Montreal last month, I say you’d better book your hotel room now.
V

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