It began and ended like it always does, with my May Long Weekend Drag Show for Mental Health. 2023 was a much smaller scale in some ways than 2022’s massive fundraiser marathon show, but both shows were the opportunity to celebrate with friends while raising money for great causes.
Pride Month 2022 was different than anything we had done before. The collaborations we were able to develop with the Pride on 104 Event, and the return of PrideFest to Churchill Square set the business up for success, and of course Glow with Pride 2022 blessed me with the shirtless forever-man-crush, so that was a win! And then I caught the tail end of Toronto Pride, which was an experience like no other!
July was a Shawn Mendes concert that took me from fan to super fan to crazy deranged stalker fan, and then the month ended with Pride Day at Kdays. Joining the Kdays team last year was a huge professional and personal boost for me, and I remain proud of what we accomplished last July. I’m excited to be doing that again for this coming summer and look forward to seeing the fair get even queerer.
I caught the tail end of Vancouver Pride, with its sober lounge and its Wreck Beach. #Manflesh.
August was primarily centered around Coronation and completing the year as Emperor 46 of the ISCWR. It held up a mirror to both mistakes and successes, but, even though its not always about the money, setting a new financial record for the organization is definitely memorable. But what was truly memorable, and what truly matters, was reigning with one of my best friends.
And then came Europe – what would be the first of two trips to Europe in the year, anyway. It was a whirlwind week through London and Paris. I knew I’d love London; I didn’t guess I would fall so in love with Paris. It was eye opening and life changing, and I got back from France in time to celebrate my Opa’s birthday, starting off five months of more regular family dinners that brought me such joy.
The fall of 2022 was a bad time professionally. A business slump led to a personal slump, and then it was just a downward spiral of slump that couldn’t be halted by either the occasional amazing party or a Day of the Dead trip to PV. It wasn’t until a Christmas trip to Hawaii that I managed to kick off the personal slump – and just like that, it seemed things shifted everywhere. 2023 started off with a bang, and has kept banging ever since.
One of the greatest honors of my 46th year came from receiving the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal from Rachel Notley. I could live to be 100 and I’d never be able to give back to the community what it has given me, but the medal was a recognition from people I respect that they at least see my attempts at leaving our community, our city, our world a little better than I found it.
And then it was back to Europe, for a truly inspiring trip to Italy and Paris. Six weeks later, and I am still awestruck by David. The gay gaze is real. And I got back from France in time to visit my Opa just hours before he passed.
And the last thing I did in my forty-sixth year was vote for Rachel Notley’s NDP. The rise in far-right anti-queerness is going to be a defining feature of the years to come, and getting the wackadoodle fascists out of power here in Florida North is the first step in braking that hate coaster. I will fight it how I have always fought it – by never backing down and by continuing to bring as much queer joy to as many people as possible.