Roxanne Tellier: Shaping The New Sexual Revolution – 1960 Redux


You would have had to be living under a rock to miss the run up to Diane Sawyer’s two hour interview with Bruce Jenner on Friday, April 23. Jenner was dubbed  the “world’s greatest athlete” after winning  the Olympic Gold Decathlon in 1976, and has been the object of snide insinuations and ridiculing photos in the yellower media (and even the New York Times) for the last several months as he appeared to be transitioning from male to female before our prying eyes.

bruce jenner diane-sawyer

I applaud the sensitive approach taken by Sawyer, as she sidestepped most of the journalistic perils so many have fallen into while discussing this, and other sensitive, transgender issues. (Piers Morgan should be ashamed of his smug condescension whilst ‘interviewing’ trans activist and writer Janet Mock.Instead he took his own victory lap when he brought Mock back in order to attack her for being offended, and then made the rounds of any interview show that would have him to continue his whiny non-apologetic and defensive harangue.)

kardashiansIt can’t have been easy for Jenner to pursue what seems a legitimate and long-standing gender dysphoria, and decades of preparation for gender reassignment. For someone in the public eye, both as an Olympic medalist, and as the shadowy father figure in the Kardashian’s reality series, it must have been an incredibly compelling need to force him to finally make his decision so publicly.

A couple of years ago my husband and I produced an indie feature film with a cross-dressing male in the lead role. “A Beautiful Disguise” was, sadly, never released due to a nuisance law suit. But I worked closely with our male lead over nearly a year, and had a sneaky peek into the very real problems he dealt with in his secretive lifestyle. The cross-dressing world can be terrifying, with scorn and sometimes physically aggressive reactions meted out to those so inclined, even transparentin our nominally enlightened society.

Jenner is being hailed as a brave leader for those coping with transgender issues. The suicide rate is high amongst those struggling with a gender granted at birth.And a lack of anti-discrimination protections means that many will wait until the age of 65, like Jenner, before openly living as a member of the opposite sex. (The 2014 television series “Transparent,” addressed the age issue by having lead actor Jeffrey Tambor, play a retired college professor.)

For some trans people, it might be even more difficult to come out to your own children than a spouse. The 2005 indie film, Transamerica told the heartbreaking story of Felicity Huffman’s Bree, a transgender woman who sets off to save the son she fathered, but never knew, on a road trip that becomes a journey through the American psyche and distrust of those different from themselves. Bree’s own son, who is open-minded on the subject, still struggles to understand how his father came to also be his mother.

time transgenderI do have some quibbles, though, with the media circus around Jenner. Let’s face it – the guy is a rich, well-educated, and a celebrated athlete who has had a forum on network television for several years. It’s not surprising that some in the trans community find Jenner’s supporters to be patronizing. Trans writer and activist Meredith Talusan also highlighted Jenner’s position of privilege, tweeting, “Not enough discussion of how not everyone can afford surgeries, clothes, etc. to rock it and be conventionally beautiful / fabulous.”

Kay Ulanday Barrett wrote: “It’s all a freakshow for cisgender and non-transgender people. Gender identity is under speculation, suspicion, doubt, and policing. But the current curiosity surrounding Jenner’s interview in the non-trans community creates a magical fantasy based on a very wealthy, able-bodied, American, and white experience that isn’t the case for many of us who struggle for survival and justice as transgender people of color.”  (

Is gender confirmation surgery “fueling the culture’s voyeuristic obsession with trans people’s bodies?” Are we all just the sum of our ‘parts,’ regardless of what is in our hearts, minds and souls?


We may believe ourselves to be civilized and enlightened enough to deal with Jenner’s difficult decision, but the immediate post-broadcast announcement of an imminent reality series starring Jenner and focusing on his transition says a great deal more about what we consider ‘entertainment,’ and verifies that everyone wants to be a Kardashian woman these days.


fergus hambletonConsidering our schizophrenic weather lately – it’s winter! It’s spring! No, it’s winter! Will we ever see spring? – Fergus Hambleton’ssunny new CD couldn’t come at a better time.


Best known for his tenure with reggae band The Sattalites, Fergus has been a staple of the Toronto music scene since the sixties of Yorkville, criss-crossing musical genres, and lending his voice and saxophone playing to some of Canada’s top musicians.


“The Sattalites first began as a horn section, backing up touring Jamaican artists, then as a music school to teach reggae styles to young people, and then as a band, with a 25 year musical career peppered with numerous high-profile concert events, 6 albums, two Juno Awards and a host of national and international awards and accolades.”

He was recently interviewed on Blair Packham&Bob Reid’s “In The Studio on News Talk 1010”  to spread the word about his latest album, “Written on The Wind.”  The release party is Wednesday April 29 at Hughs Room.


Look out, Canadian Music Week!Pat Blythe and I will “push it real good” when we rock CMW with our patented DBAWIS Salt &Pepa music and event coverage!


Pat and I spent many hours perusing and parsing the scheduled ten days of music, film, comedy, conferences and events, and we’re still dithering over how best to juggle all the available goodies within the measly 24 hours available in a day.

cmw 2015

The clubs and pubs will be rockin’ most every night, with extended hours for your drinking and dancing pleasure, while some of the better known and established artists will hold court at venues like  the Phoenix Concert Theatre (The Jesus and Mary Chain, Friday May 1; Rival Sons, Thursday May 7) the WinterGarden Theatre (The Waterboys, Saturday May 2)The Horseshoe (Daniel Lanois, Friday May 1; Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger/Sean Lennon, Friday May 8,) the Sony Centre (Death Cab for Cutie, Thursday May 7; Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds,Monday May 4; Faith No More, Saturday May 9Massey Hall(Ron Sexsmith/Alejandra Ribera, Saturday May2,) The Danforth Music Hall(Walk Off The Earth, Wednesday May 6,)and up and comer Leon Bridges gracing the Drake Underground on Friday, May 1.

I Am What I Play


The FilmFestival, May 8 and 9 at the Royal Cinema, boasts the Canadian premiere of producer/director Roger King’s “I Am What I Play,” which “combines material shot on location in the 4 cities (Seattle, Boston, New York and Toronto) with rarely seen archival footage of the disc jockeys, the radio stations and well-known rock performers, all complemented by a soundtrack that features many great rock songs of the era.” (the 60’s to ‘80’s)

i am Thor…And don’t I wish our illustrious Oregonian indie scribe, Frank Gutch Jr., could be here for the Toronto premiere of “I AM THOR” on May 8th 2015! I know he’d get a tremendous kick out of seeing body builder cum musician Thor create one of the first theatrical rock bands, bending steel bars with his teeth and blowing up hot water bottles with his lungs until they explode!Maybe next year, Frank.

With great power, apparently comes great egotism and dictatorship, according to this Craigslist ad sent to me by musician David Wildsmith:

and speaking of great egotism and dictatorship … Smack Harper:

and now for something completely different. Two versions of “Stairway to Heaven,” from the early 90’s Australian TV show “The Money Or The Gun.”


Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. She has also been a vocalist with many acts, including Tangents, Lady, Performer, Mambo Jimi, and Delta Tango. In 2013 she co-hosted Bob Segarini’s podcast, The Bobcast, and, along with Bobert, will continue to seek out and destroy the people who cancelled ‘Bunheads’.

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