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Wong-Tam seeks input on Homewood stroll

Wong-Tam seeks input on Homewood stroll

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Traffic restrictions proposed
The city of Toronto is considering restricting traffic on Homewood Ave to mitigate the number of johns cruising for sex workers along the stroll through the night.

The city is proposing a turn restriction, either westbound or eastbound from Wellesley St E onto Homewood Ave, between 11pm and 6am. The hope is that the move will discourage johns from driving into the neighbourhood and circling the area looking for sex workers.

The proposal will now go to community council for January.

About 30 residents attended the public meeting on Oct 12 at the Wellesley Community Centre hosted by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. "We want to hear your opinions and comments in how this will impact you and your neighbourhood."

“From what I heard tonight, it’s fairly evenly divided, for and against,” she says.


Residents living near Homewood Ave and Maitland St say the issue is an ongoing problem that has been escalating over the years.

Homewood resident Brian Sambourne says he’s exasperated and doesn’t know what the right answer is. He describes waking up in the morning to find crack pipes, used condoms, feces and cigarette butts on his property.

“It’s the continual invasion of my property with the debris left behind,” he says. “I realize sex trade workers have to make money. All I am asking for is a little respect for property. I love the idea of a red-light district, but the political will isn’t there.”

Roy Suthons has lived on Maitland Place for 18 years and doesn’t support the change. “I don’t think it will fix any problems. The biggest inconvenience for me if traffic is restricted is the extra driving time.”

It’s not just sex workers and johns. Drug dealers cruising the area are also a problem, Wong-Tam says. “There is a fairly active hard-drug trade here.”

Wong-Tam says she sent out 1,800 ballots to residents asking if they are in favour of the change or not. The ballots are due back by the end of the month, at which time, she says, she will release the results.

The results of the ballot and notes from the meeting will be added to a report that will be presented to community council.

“We want people to know this is a change coming down from city hall, and I don’t want people to be shocked or have anyone say to me that they were not informed,” she says. “I will make a final decision based on community feedback and based on the ballots.”

Mark Pugash, spokesperson for Toronto police, could not comment until he’s seen the report.

Wong-Tam says she has been busy all summer getting the pulse of the community on the issue, including working with representatives from Maggie’s, Toronto’s Sex Worker Action Project. “We asked Maggie’s if they could ask their members to be mindful to not scream and holler through the streets and try to be more respectful of private property.

"The response from Maggie’s is that they cannot control all their members. They can’t guarantee everyone will honour the requests from the community to respect private property.”

Maggie’s is agreeable, Wong-Tam says. Advocates don’t feel the change will solve the problem for property owners, but it will mitigate the problem.

“We should never shy away from having an open and honest discussion. If we are going to legitimize and validate sex work, then we need to have a respectful discussion that involves the workers themselves.”

In 2008, the Homewood Maitland Safety Association (HMSA), made up of residents in the area, launched a campaign of late-night demonstrations in an effort to drive sex workers away from the area. The demonstrations included picketing, photographing and videotaping johns and their licence plates and shining flashlights at sex workers.

Some sex workers claim they were threatened with baseball bats and had eggs thrown at them.

HMSA members said they were reacting to a series of disturbances in the area, including drug trafficking, noise and late-night fights and drug sales.

For more information, contact Wong-Tam's office by email at councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca or by phone at 416-392-7903.
 
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Comments

Much to do about nothing
You mean to tell me that I will not be able to turn onto my own street after 11pm? I don't pay enough taxes or what??? Any suggestions on how I get onto my street and park my car? Where is the problem here? This Tranny walk has been going on forever and never been an issue...never. No noise, no hassle and happens so late at night no one even notices. These residences who are complaining should just shut the f... up and go to bed at 10pm after barricading their doors so the bad people don't brake in and get over it. If they find downtown living a tad too stressful, I understand there are some good property deals in Aurora. Pitter patter let's get at'er. U Haul anyone? As for the Homewood Maitland Safety Association never heard of them. What is this, an off chute of Homeland security? Honestly, get a life.
Send the whores to Kazakhstan
I think all those whores and tranny-whores should be rounded up and sent to forced labour camps in Kazakhstan. After a few years of digging ditches in oil-fields, they would have a different outlook on life. They might learn what real “work” is. They would certainly be taught to clean up after themselves. They might learn to appreciate a nice clean neighbourhood.
Goodness gracious, Grayce!
Grayce, not all "trannies" consider themselves to be women, trans or otherwise. I suggest you stick to describing your own identity, and let others calling themselves what they choose. That's a good starting point for respect, and I think that deep in there underneath all your presumption that's what you were going for. Sometimes good intentions get buried beneath the barking of orders, which just detracts from your message. Try to remember there are many different points of view, and yours aren't inherently more valuable just because you've read a book or two and developed a rigid ideology. It's good to believe in stuff, but leave room for others and for yourself to learn from them.
Whores. Trannies. Faggots. Oh my!
Nobody had a problem with the term tranny until the majority became former dykes (another putdown, with an entire day named after it!) with MSWs going to OISE who decided to appropriate the phenomenon, make it into the latest political project and then start bossing everyone around (after they got tired of running AIDS organizations). Same with whores. Hookers. Prostitutes. Etc. Now we're 'sex workers' - a clinical and joyless term if ever there was one. I never got a vote, and neither did my posse of pussy that I stack my whorehouse with!
Keep it up, trannyboi skanks, see you around on the track. Just keep the noise down and put your garbage in a garbage can. If you are good neighbours, most people won't mind your presence. It has nothing to do with NIMBYism. It's about respect for a mixed-use neighbourhood.
Give it a rest, Grayce.
How bloody patronizing! "You're going in the right direction, Chris?" Is there a "right direction?" I thought there were different points of view, all equally valid, Grayce? No? Margaret Cho uses "chink." Chris Rock uses "nigger" and "faggot". Transpeople I know use "tranny" and prostitutes I know, and I used to be one, use "whore" and "hooker" and some even say "sex worker" which sounds like the product of a social work degree. Eskimo is considered derogatory in Canada, but not outside of it. Some native people use Indian, and others do not. It's a chaotic jumble, and your presumption of certitude only grates and irritates. But you know better than all of us, do you, Grayce? I would suggest that you acquaint yourself with the better thinking on the subject, which holds that context is everything. Words have no meaning outside of what we give them, and that is always dependent on context. So you, with your royal "we" come across as merely condescending, more-educated-than thou and very, very middle-class p.c. There seems to be an awful lot of that in Toronto.
Getting it right means saying it right.
You're going in the right direction, Chris. We all, however, must stop designating survival sex trade workers as "trannies" and refer to them as *trans women* (even if they themselves would rather call themselves otherwise). While "tranny" still curries traction in the online porn industry as a marketing tool, the word itself is extremely derogatory and has rapidly fallen from favour. Virtually every trans person you're likely to meet consider this on par with, or possibly even below "faggot" was for gay men. It is, for trans women (and even allied trans men) a word no less denigrating than the deeply nasty "nigger" was directed at black citizens. When you say "tranny", you may mean not to, but you are dehumanizing them in the process of prescribing them as an idea, not describing them by their situation. This feeds right into the rhetoric the Homewood Maitland Safety Association uses to rationalize their not-very-citizenly-vigilantism.
I was around long before
these new residents made an appearance. It has been a "stroll" for as long as I can recall. The residents live downtown. If they don't want to live downtown get out. I'm sick of this. Has anyone seen these American Style Vigilantie people of the Homewood Maitland Safety Association? I have. I want THEM OUT! Go away. If you don't want to live downtown. Don't live downtown. I'll tell ya if I was a tranny on the stroll and these wackjobs came at me to disrupt my business, they would soon as heck find more than the odd condom or hear the odd scream. I think the trannies have been way patient with these "homeowners". Someone somewhere decided to cause problems around 2008. Since then it's been an attack the tranny hookers. But hey, I have an idea Won-Tam. Considering welfare is a municipal issue, why not increase the welfare rates, and hav ethe city invest in drug treatment rather than attack the trannies? How about that for an idea? I'm not sure why you don't support that but seem to be ok with attacking the vulnerable tranny street worker. What is THAT about? Won-Tam you have the power to make them less vulnerable. Why not do that?
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