When I first met Elliott Strikefoot, I was filled with excitement, fear, and uncertainty — not to mention the usual embarrassment that comes with any conversation of a sexual nature. In my initial email, I used the term “sex change” for the tumultuous transition he was embarking on. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t know what was right and wanted to be straightforward about my own level of understanding. Overthinking? Probably, but that seems to be par for the course when it comes to sex.
In my conversations with Strikefoot for the Making It Work series, we chatted about everything from church to state, gyms to barbershops. At the time, he had been taking testosterone for only two months, and I didn’t flinch when the waitress asked, “Are you ladies doing okay?” Now, I squirm at the pervasive pink in my two-year-old daughter’s wardrobe and see gender as a continuum rather than a choice between two boxes. But at the end of the day, what I learned from Elliot was less about body parts and more about fulfilling one’s destiny — and how we all grapple with the hard decisions that entails.
Indeed, as The Sex Issue evolved, it became clear that sex — and the host of subjects surrounding it — often illuminates a larger story. Fateema Sayani’s article about open marriage speaks to such modern marriage conundrums as the importance of communication and having one’s needs met, while Judy Trinh’s colourful account of John School hints at the underlying problem of human trafficking.
It all points to a subtle movement toward a more progressive attitude about sex. When Elliot and I met, we were talking about some pretty heavy things, yet we never felt we had to watch our backs. Since then, popular sex shop/education venue Venus Envy has moved from their side street location to a more visible storefront on Bank Street. Call it the mainstreeting of sex — straight or queer, it’s here, get used to it.
Plus: this issue sees the launch of DesBrisay Dines as we welcome Anne DesBrisay as our restaurant critic. A trusted source for objective restaurant reviews, DesBrisay began writing comprehensive critiques for OttawaMagazine.com earlier this year. Find shorter, star-rated reviews in our “Going Out” section — and do read the star system carefully; every restaurant mentioned is Anne-approved.
Coming up: The grass is always greener on the other side. Our annual real estate roundup looks at the attractions — and drawbacks — of buying a house in Quebec. From cute cottage-like houses to the convenience of the suburbs, Ottawa and Gatineau offer comparable neighbourhoods. We line up the top contenders and let you be the judge.