A straight guy’s acceptance of a gay guy will turn a straight girl on.

It’s true.

I’m not asking straight guys to just jump around with rainbow flags or run around half naked during Pride Week (although, fun…) I’m talking about a genuine acceptance of the gay community.

With the 32nd annual Toronto Pride Parade wrapping up on the weekend—an event that brings out thousands of people and is the biggest pride celebration in the country—you would think the generation that grew up during these transformative years would be fully accepting. But I can’t help but notice a whiff of homophobia that’s still in the air.

This isn’t just the bullying that happens in schools. This is the ingrained mentality that many guys (who claim not to be homophobic) still have. And it creeps out in little ways. For instance, when it comes to hanging out in the village.

I lived in the heart of the gay community for almost a year. I had a fabulous apartment steps away from Church Street. It became a common spot for friends (and friends of friends) to meet before hitting up a bar in town. No one minded coming by my place, but when it came to deciding where to go after, it was always complicated.

“Let’s go to O’Grady’s!”

Everyone would agree. Until some guy realized we meant the one right beside our apartment, in the heart of the gay community.

“No, why don’t we go to the one on College Street?”

Why would we walk triple the distance to go to the exact same bar? In the end, we would usually end up at the bar near my place, but it’s the initial hesitation that always caught me off guard.

I felt like every time we suggested a place, we had to include a disclaimer. Straight guys always needed to know that we were referring to the bar/restaurant in the gay village.

Providing the disclaimer has now become routine for me.

So when the guy I’m currently seeing suggested we go out for nachos, I had to offer up my favourite joint in Toronto.

I texted him, “Let’s go to Hair of the Dog! They have the best nachos in town.”


“FYI it’s right on Church Street.  It’s not overly flamboyant or anything – but I just thought I should throw that out there.”

“My best friend is gay. I’m 100% okay with that.”

And that made me like him that much more.

~ Amanda Cupido, photo by Becca Lemire