A Queer Notion


TALKING TO PRETTY BOYS is exactly what it sounds like, a web series where I interview creative guys about their life, their work and themselves. “Pretty” is subjective and “boys” is a broad category, as the series seeks to include a diverse range of sexual and gender identities, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and different places where these guys are, both in their lives… and in the world!

In my first instalment… A month ago, Gil Kilian J Nies was featured as a fresh face on Vanity Teen. I went on an Internet-age Death In Venice journey to chat with this seventeen-year-old–yes, Michael feels weird about that–emerging fashion talent and his manager, Mijean Rochus.

Gil shares his experiences about what it feels like to become a recognizable face, weirdness around social media, and some exciting news as his career really takes off!


Cats & Nonbinary Cuties: Q&A With ‘Hustle Cat’ Creative Leads

My second part about adorable cat cafe dating sim visual novel, Hustle Cat! My good gosh this game is honestly going to be the cutest! I spoke with Date Nighto creative leads about BL manga inspirations, adorable non-binary characters and CAT ENTHUSIAST MAGAZINES?!

Also, there’s a new demo where you get introduced to all of the adorable and gender diverse employees at the cat cafe. Who you get to date. Dating people at a cat cafe, like, WHAT COULD BE BETTER?!


Hustle Cat

From the dangerous depths of space (with plenty of sexy dude-on-dude lovin’) to behind the counter of an adorable cat café, Brooklyn-based Date Nighto takes their players places! The company was founded in 2013 by Conrad Kreyling and Lindsay “Ahvia” Woods. Their goal was to “allow independent creators to deliver high-quality, Japanese-style visual novels to a Western audience.” The duo have built up a small roster of artists and developers who have contributed to projects like Starfighter: Eclipse (their sci-fi visual novel with the aforementioned dude-on-dude lovin’) and We Know the Devil, described as a “surreal summer camp dystopia.”

Now they’re working on Hustle Cat, a visual novel project where the player starts as a new employee at the aforementioned adorable cat café. Kreyling serves as technical lead, and they’re joined once again by producer Jo Fu (featured in a previous Q&A) with Woods as art…

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Love at First Cat Café: ‘Hustle Cat’ Kickstarter Q&A With Jo Fu

LGBTQAI+ cat café dating sim. Now that I have your attention, that’s exactly what this piece is about. A new visual novel by Date Nighto, the beautiful people behind BL/yaoi comic book artist HamletMachine’s Starfighter: Eclipse!

I am so ridiculously excited to contribute my first piece to FemHype, a website I adore and have wanted to contribute to for so long! AND IT’S ABOUT AN QUEER- AND TRANS-POSITIVE CAT CAFE DATING SIM WITH GENDER NON-BINARY OPTIONS SO HOW MUCH BETTER COULD IT BE?!

This is the first in a two part Q&A series about Hustle Cat. The second comes out next week and focuses on the creative leads behind the project!




This is it: your chance to work at a cat café! It’s an opportunity to tend to adorable (and probably standoffish) cats, serve unbelievably pretty kitty-themed foam art, and maybe, if you’re lucky, fall in love. At least, that’s the premise of Hustle Cat, a new visual novel project by Brooklyn-based Date Nighto. (Apologies for getting your hopes up if you really want to work in a cat café … I know I do.) In Hustle Cat, the player becomes Avery Grey, the new employee at Cat’s Paw, a cute—and possibly magical—cat café.

Among other projects, Date Nighto recently worked under the creative direction of webcomic artist HamletMachine on the sci-fi visual novel Starfighter: Eclipse, which is based on the artist’s popular adult BL/yaoi webcomic, a project that was successfully funded through Kickstarter. 

Now the Date Nighto team is back on Kickstarter to fund Hustle Cat

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Queer zines, naked hearts and confessions of a teenage, transexual whore: the art and activism of Markus/Star Harwood-Jones

Existence, in itself, is resistance, says artist and activist Markus/Star Harwood-Jones.

Survival has been a recurring theme from the time Harwood-Jones came out as queer and trans in his adolescence.

Currently the coordinator for Ryerson University’s Trans Collective, Harwood-Jones goes by either Markus or Star interchangeably, and uses either “he/him/his” or “them/them/their” as gender pronouns.

“Helping people survive is my activism,” Harwood-Jones says, sitting at his desk in the Collective’s office in the spring of 2015. These days the 24-year-old, Winnipeg-born, Toronto-based community organizer is dedicating himself to the survival of others.

Markus/Star Harwood-Jones in the Ryerson Trans Collective's office.

Markus/Star Harwood-Jones in the Ryerson Trans Collective’s office.

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Heterosexuality: totally made up in the mid-19th century by a queer guy


On this “National Coming Out Day,” I would like to remind you that heterosexuality is totally made up. Yup, completely fabricated; quite recently, actually, in a letter on May 6, 1868. And it was actually made up by a queer man.

Of course, the behaviour of same-sex sex has existed for… well, a while… but the term, the meaning behind the term and all the baggage that comes with it (both for heterosexuals and queer/trans people) is a very recent development.

If you’re interested in the history of the heterosexual, check out my recent History Boys “heterosexuality triptych” on DailyXtra.com, three pieces on how the term came to be, the man behind it and why it really, really caught on. There’s of course an incredibly larger amount of things to say, but I hope this captures three important instances in the development of our much-beloved straights. Read the rest of this entry »

The orange journalist: thoughts on objectivity guilt and breaking all the rules

Full disclosure: Yesterday, I made my first ever political contribution: $10 to the New Democratic Party of Canada. Today, I went to my first ever political rally/town hall (four guesses who for). This morning I gave a dollar for an orange pin that says, “Beard a part of it: NDP.” Soonafter I shook the hand of the woman I hope will be the MP of my riding (Toronto-Centre) within the month, and I told her how much I supported her campaign. Today, I shook the hand of the man I hope will be Canada’s next Prime Minister.

A little more than a month ago I finished a journalism degree where, in various instances over the past two years, faculty kindly and patiently explained to me and my cohort that the process of doing all of the above diminishes our credibility as journalists.

So even though I was so excited and emotional about attending my first ever political rally/town hall, chatting with some of the other folks there and finding a political organization whose values so closely align with my own, there was this nagging feeling in the back of mind… “Does this make me a bad journalist?”

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Bending the Genres: An aspiring sci-fi writer at the Naked Heart Queer Literary Festival

Steampunk Naked Heart

Toronto, 1893. The bustling Canadian city has stolen the World’s exposition from Chicago due in no small part to the incredible creations and revolutionary inventions of the Teston & Tinker workshop. Airships cloud the skies, a novel automaton driven streetcar system crisscrosses through the streets, a gentle but inquisitive young man is faced with the murder of a foreign dignitary, and must untangle a web of mystery that seems to hinge on the New World Exhibition.

Over the past five years my friends have heard me claim I have “a half-written YA steampunk novel,” but a lack of time and energy as a stereotypical young, poor student has meant that it’s remained half-written, though always there in my mind waiting to be all-written.

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A gay, dirty old tale out of One Thousand and One Nights

In anticipation of my History Boys column on the interplay between ancient Arabic/Islamic culture and homosexuality I really wanted to share a story for the famous One Thousand and One Nights that is super sexy, pervy and kinky.

My column will be going up next week, but in the meantime enjoy this shockingly dirty story!

Dungeons, dragons, turtles and a divine, gay love story

(Credit: Aram Vartian)

(Credit: Aram Vartian)

[Some spoilers for Season 1 of the Godsfall podcast]

Boy meets boy, boy falls in love with boy, boys find out they’ve been granted supernatural powers and have become earthly manifestations of lost gods, boys have to save the world with their newly discovered divine powers. Not exactly your typical love story.

If you haven’t heard of the storytelling sensation of Godsfall: A D&D Podcast you may be (temporarily) forgiven. A Dungeons & Dragons “actual play” podcast may sound like a niche interest, but Godsfall is storytelling that is unconventional, refreshing and extraordinarily addictive. The podcast is also an epic, fantasy narrative story with a strong queer backbone.

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In their own voices: Effective sexual health education beginning with youth wants, needs and agency

The following is my essay reviewing literature of Canadian and Ontario studies about young people’s wants and needs, parents perceptions and discrepancies between the two around sexual health education in the province. Given that ideological- over fact-based arguments have started cropping up in the media, I wanted to share this publicly to show that parents want their children to receive a progressive sexual health education in public schools, no matter what the vocal minority shouts, and that young people have ideas about the kind of sexual health education they want to receive.

I’m relying on Tina Belcher from popular cartoon Bob’s Burgers as inspiration in this endeavor.

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