Sex work, white cis-men, and dark, dark rooms (with Tim Lagman)

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On this episode we talk to Tim Lagman, a certified sex educator and pleasure advocate based in Toronto, Canada.

Tim also hosts the ‘Sex Ed with Tim’ podcast, where he interviews sluts (his word, not mine!) from all walks of life and delves into the good, the bad, and the stinky sides of love, sex, sexuality, relationships, and more.

And where did he get so damn knowledgeable about all of these things?

Well, it was out in the club, and he credits Fly 2.0, which was in the heart of Toronto’s gay village and was open between 1999-2019, as a place where he learnt the most about himself and his community.

Find out more about Tim at his website, by following him on Twitter and Instagram

And go have a listen to the ‘Sex Ed With Tim’ Podcast, and, if you’re so inclined, support the show by becoming a patron at Patreon

K: Where’s a good place to stop. Are you, are you a Torontonian?

Tim Lagman: Um, I came to Toronto in 2005 when I was 12 years old. I immigrated from the Philippines. Uh, so I basically spent my formative years and my young adult life, uh, in Toronto,

K: So, yes.

Tim Lagman: uh, I guess, yes, I would claim my identity as a Torontonian and as an official Torontonian. Yeah,

K: So like your, all of your experience in like coming out and going out on the scene and like gay shit, that’s been in Toronto.

Tim Lagman: exactly. Uh, it was like the Village. It was being surrounded by. Queer folks of all backgrounds, um, in school, in support groups, uh, parties like wherever you can find queer people, you name it, I’ve been there and they all help shaped my, they all helped shape my identity as a queer person.

K: And so can we talk quickly about the Village? So I’ve not been to Toronto ever. Um, but I’ve talked to a lot of people in Toronto and the overriding feedback, overriding feedback. That’s not really what I want to say. Overarching. Yes. The all encompassing feedback I get about the village is that it’s full of white, uh, cis-male, kind of that really tacky early two thousands stereotype of what a gay person is.

Is that your experience?

Tim Lagman: Yes. It’s exactly that. Yeah.

K: So what is that like then?

Tim Lagman: Oh, well,

K: just to be like, let’s, let’s talk

Tim Lagman: Yeah. Yeah,

K: about you being non-white. Sorry, but I like

Tim Lagman: no, it’s part of who I am, right?

K: Well, yeah, not like the only thing. And it’s the thing that I’m jumping into straight away. So I apologise for that, but

Tim Lagman: Yeah, no, no, it’s totally fine

K: like, you know, my experience in being in that environment, because I’ve not been like the conventionally good looking or fit.

Tim Lagman: Oh, stop. You’re plenty handsome.

K: no, no, no. Yeah, no, no, no, but I’m not like, of course I’m handsome. I know that, but I’m saying I’m not conventionally handsome.

Tim Lagman: conventionally, like the ones you see in magazines.

K: Yeah. Like that’s just not me. And so like my experience in those kinds of spaces with those kinds of people is like, Ooh, I don’t fit in here.

I don’t, you know, I can’t be here. I’m just like wondering what your experience was and, and that being the most visible gay place for want of a better word to go. Was that like weird or did that not factor into the way you navigated those spaces?

Tim Lagman: it, it was definitely, uh, marginalising. Um, but, uh, my experience in that space is a little more nuanced than traditional experiences. And I say this because I basically swan dove into the gay scene because I was a sex worker. I had to keep up with appearances and I had to fit in a certain like, um, aesthetic to be quote unquote, accepted into these queer spaces. I guess if you look at pictures and whatever I can find, like from way back when in my 20-24, uh, when I had like the six pack and I had like, all the boys fawning over me, I was like, uh, embraced by that community. But for the wrong reasons, uh, because they saw, they saw me as like a sexual service person, you know, like they wanted to hire me for, for sex.

And I feel like that was not enough of a criteria. No to be accepted. Like, why can’t you accept me for who I am? And like, this is, this is me just internalising. And those like, uh, I was heading to the club and I was heading like in the Village. I was like, you know, flaunting. It was pea cocking, like, Hey, hire me.

And I, and I really did obtain a lot of clients, but to be accepted specifically for my looks and my sexual prowess was, it sounds really, I’m like, oh, your life isn’t so bad. But like also it was, it was a little difficult to be like, they’ll have sex, they’ll pay and then that’s it. But internally I’m like, I kinda want to have a conversation too.

Like, can we get to know each other a little bit before you go and find someone else to, to fuck, like, please. But yeah.

K: But did you say, did you wait, wait, wait, wait. So this is not the thing that I need to be focusing on in this conversation, but I’m going to ask it anyway. Where you the needy person after sex with people who were paying you?

Tim Lagman: Okay. Internalising it. Yes. But it would never say

K: Oh, here’s how you did it. Okay. Okay. I’ll give you 10% off if you talk to me for half an hour. Yeah,

Tim Lagman: I like truly. I would have you like, please just like talk to me and tell me about your life and then you can go and then I’ll, I’ll give you a discount. No, but

K: but it makes total sense because it’s like this, um, like you’re, you’re obviously choosing to play that role and you’re like, deciding that this is, you know, this is what I’m going to have to do in order for this to work for me. But then like, you can’t do that all the Tim Lagmane. Like you can’t do that permanently and there just becomes this moment of disconnect.

Isn’t there where it’s like, what is even going on? Who am I?

Tim Lagman: Oh yeah. Fully agree. Uh, because, uh, My identity as a sex worker is not fully who I am. You know, I am not just someone that you can fuck. I have been education. I have things to offer. I’m active in social justice work.

But if you just want to focus on my ability to sexually please you, then I guess that’s what we’re going to go with. And it really did a number on my mental health to be like, I am just a sexual object. This is how people see me, my, uh, and my worth. Um, and it felt like I, as a person of colour, I had to be that.

So yeah.

K: so, and by like doing a number on, on your mental health. Oh, this is maybe a can of water.

Tim Lagman: Let’s open it.

K: Yeah. Okay. Let’s go. Um, do you mean like, not being able to disentangle the different personas that you were having to, to wear from the person who you really

Tim Lagman: Yes, exactly. That, uh, I was trying to figure out what is the difference between Tim , the person and Tim, the sex worker and Tim, the gay man and Tim, the friend. And they all started to mix and mingle in this weird cocktail of thoughts and emotions. And I really had to start like compartmentalising the different parts of who I was.

And I still am. You know, I’m still trying to figure those stuff out because like, looking back at it, I was going into sex work only because like I was, um, I was trying to find my value as a gay person in society. And the only way I found any sort of value was through. Sexual services. And that, that’s what I firmly believed in.

And now, now I look back at it. I’m like, no, that’s totally wrong. Um, I am a valuable person and I deserve to take up space here just as much as any fit white person. And like, this is where I belong. This is my community. Let me be a part of it.

K: like, so how did that happen then? Like how did you get into the sex industry?

Tim Lagman: Uh, I had a pimp, um, who was very, very kind to me. Um, she, yes, a woman, uh, she hired me and, you know, she would take 10% of the cut and she would give me a bunch of assignments to go to. And most of the clients were like, really in like the top 1% of society, you know, CEOs, presidents, and business owners.

And yeah, like I would be having sex with basically like a different client every day for at least a year. And that was like, you know, I have to work, I have to work. I have to work on my body. I have to diet, I have to mentally prepare myself for my next shift and get the money and, uh, call it a day.

K:  And say, like what age were you then? Like how much experience had you had in the gay scene at that point?

Tim Lagman: Um, so I was escorting full-Tim Lagmane at around 19 20, 21 around that Tim Lagmane. And then I fell out of it and started doing it part-Tim Lagmane because I had to go back to university and I started doing it. Part-Tim Lagmane when I wasn’t in class at around like, uh, until I was about 24. Uh, and it was around that Tim Lagmane. When I was no longer working with my pimp, that I started to find clients on my own, which is how I ended up in the Village.

Um, like, you know, trying to see who’s available or who, like, it sounds a little predatory about like, trying to find the lonely men who just want to find someone for the night, because like, I was left to my own like resources because I no longer had a connection with a pimp because I went back to school, but I still needed to find a way to pay my way through school.

So I was like going to the Village after class to see who wants to have sex with me and who’s willing to pay for it. And then after that, all that money goes towards my tuition and my bills and everything else.

K: So how does that conversation go?

Tim Lagman: Um, when I was on my own, I would approach them and like, I would genuinely strike up a conversation and see. How they are like do sort of like screening and like a character assessment. Uh, and then I will have to be honest and disclose the fact that I am an escort and then see how they feel about sex workers, because sex work is still shamed even today.

Um, so I, I want to see how they react to me, uh, disclosing that I’m an escort. See if they’re open to it and then we can start to negotiate. Like I would never hide the fact that you’re going to have to pay me to have sex with you. Like, I feel like it’s very dishonest to just like have sex with a person.

And then only after the fact that you’ve had sex, then you have to say that you’re an escort. So you need to pay up that that’s like very vile. So I had to disclose it upfront.

K: Do people do that?

Tim Lagman: Yeah. You would not believe that. Yeah. Like. A lot of my white escorting friends would do that and they can get away with it because, you know, they’re white, you know, and they’re like, oh, okay.

That was fun. So here here’s some money and I really liked it, but for me, I kind of have to work a little bit harder, you know, because I didn’t have the resources that my pimp, it was just me. Uh, I was already starting to like gain a little bit away from the stress of going to university. And like I had to really navigate this, these uncharted waters on my own,

K: ah, and, and, uh, you coming out and then like, okay, when did you come out

Tim Lagman: uh, 21

K: at 21? But w

Tim Lagman: very young

K: so like, when did you come out to yourself there? Because if you were working

Tim Lagman: um, I guess for me coming out to me, At least for me, I define coming out is coming out to the people closest to me, which was my family and my friends. Um, I mean, I had an inkling of being not straight, uh, at least around 16. I was still in high school. And like, I, I know I have these feelings coming up, but I wasn’t really confident, like, am I bisexual?

Because I did have like girlfriends and I dated them, but you know, also have feelings for men and then it wasn’t until I was around 21 that I like solidified my identity as a gay man. And like, it was actually on my 21st birthday where I came out to my parents first. I told them, mom, dad, uh, this is who I

K: you can’t be mean to me cause it’s my birthday

Tim Lagman: It’s my birthday. Exactly. But, um, the funny thing is they were, we’re very, very relaxed about it. And like coming from a traditional Filipino Catholic family, I would have never expected that from them. Yeah. I would have never expected them to be so progressive and laid back. So I was actually on the verge of tears, like really crying and like, mom, dad, I’m gay.

Like, please love me for who I am, no matter what I am. And then they’re like, son, we love you. Thank you for telling us that, but can you please come upstairs? The pizza is getting cold, so like, oh, you care more about the food than you do about your son. Okay, great.

K: Were you like a smidgen let down that it wasn’t more dramatic,

Tim Lagman: Yes. I kind of wanted like my big gay entrance, you know, I wanted like a drama I wanted, yeah.

K: at least some friction, yeah?

I wanted the curtains and I wanted feud, but now it’s like, I really liked the fact that they kept it so mundane and I wish that all coming out experiences were as you know, uneventful.

K: well, it depends what pizza it was

Tim Lagman: Oh yeah. I mean, it was a lot of pizza pepperoni, some meat

K: It wasn’t Hawaiian, Was it?

Tim Lagman:  that is very hotly, debated topic, pineapple on pizza. I like it every now and then, but you know, that’s me.

K: I had pizza with,  baked beans on it the other week and it was, it was disgusting. I wouldn’t recommend,

Tim Lagman:  Oh. Okay. I’ll avoid it.

K: Yeah, I just wouldn’t. Um, but so like on top of everything you had not like. Come to terms with your own sexuality and you’d not come out at the Tim Lagmane when you were in the sex industry.

So that just like is just making it even more head fucky then.

Tim Lagman: It was. Yeah, because I was just like trying to figure out my identity, trying to figure out like different parts of my identity, really like Tim Lagman, the sex worker, Tim Lagman, the queer person, Tim Lagman, the friend, Tim Lagman, the employee. And they were all mixing. And basically I’m imagining a tangled, shoelace as like my thought process.

So like even when I was under the employ of a pimp, I had female clients

K: Ah, ok

Tim Lagman: and like a lot of the Tim Lagmane, uh, they wouldn’t even want sex. They would just want, you know, someone to hold someone to talk to and cuddle

K: That’s what you wanted!

Tim Lagman: I was like, yes, this is great. I love this no sex. I mean, th they would want to like masturbate in front of me, which is like, fine.

Uh, you can do that, but like, I like the fact that you like to hold hands and cuddle, or you just wanted me to be a date for a fundraiser or like any sort of date. And like

K: Yeah. Yeah.

Tim Lagman: that made me feel good because I’m like, okay, I guess I am just, I am more desirable than just the physical, you know? And I really like

K: But what about, what about if they’re a terrible conversationalist?

Tim Lagman:  I mean, what kind of terrible conversations are we talking about? Like people who are anti sex-work?

K: Oh no, just what if she wanted to talk to you about like she wanted to talk to you about like her nieces and nephew.

Just like boring stuff that

Tim Lagman: oh,

K: care about. Yeah.

Tim Lagman: I mean, you know, I’m still, I really don’t care about their family. I’m in here for the money, but  I would just simply nod and agree and be an active listener and repeat back what you said so that you know that I’m listening and I’m invested in this conversation, but yeah, it was definitely emotionally taxing.

K: Wow. Um, so we’ve just gone on a, a journey far away from the original question that was about the V the Village and about it being very white and cis, um, male. Um, so yeah, talk to me then about like the first impressions that you had of that whole area.

Tim Lagman: Uh, well Toronto’s gay village is already very small. It’s uh, it’s just like a few blocks. It’s a strip that is visibly gay. And like, when I say visibly, as in like you have banners, rainbow banners, rainbow crosswalks, and all that. And it only spans like a few like stoplights. So already it’s a very small, tight knit community.

And. For me to see this small tight-knit community filled with your traditional Abercrombie and Fitch models and, um, just the same body type, the same skin colour, the same stereotypes, you know, like the really campy Queens. And you have like the bears and the daddies and the leather, uh, aficionados. I, I was like, yeah, you know, or like the, what do you call the people who like, you know, uh, call themselves like wine, uh, experts, um, what’s that word connoisseurs, like

K: Yeah.

Tim Lagman: the poppers connoisseurs, you know, the poppers connoisseurs.

So, um,

K:  Oh God. Now I’m just picturing like a poppers tasting thing, like a wine tasting.

Tim Lagman: exactly right.

K: there’s a business idea there,

Tim Lagman: oh, anyone listening to this? Do it right now. Give me and K portion of the cut.

K: yes. Give us. Like you could do it. Like, and then, you know, the best way for this bottle of poppers is to hold it in your nose for five seconds. Now everyone take a whiff

Tim Lagman: right. And like have little testing strips, like, uh, at a perfume.

K: This one is Woody.

Tim Lagman: a

K: Yeah. Okay. Are you

Tim Lagman: got a little scent now, but yeah. So among the poppers connoisseurs and the leather daddies and the bears and the twinks and twunks, or what have you, I was trying to find my place as an Asian with at this point as semi fit body, I was trying to find my place and I’m like, where the heck do I fit in? Because someTim Lagmanes I fit in here or, and someTim Lagmanes I fit in there. And then you also had like, to drag race, gays, and then you have the gym bros. And I was like, where do I belong? It was very confusing. It was very like, um, it was a mindfuck essentially.

And then you, when you involve yourself in the gay community, like when I went to the clubs, like, uh, over here at Woody’s and Fly 2.0, and, uh, The Eagle, I was already trying to like question everything I knew about what it meant to be a gay person. And like, is it, is it all about aesthetic? Is it all about your sexual prowess?

Is it all about how much you are into partying? And I’m like, I don’t know.

K:  Is it, how, how straight you can shave your pubic line.

Tim Lagman: Hmm. Yep. Very that. Or like what’s the funniest or like most entertaining design I can do, like, I can shave like a little lightning bolt or like a snake or a coil or something cute.

Like a heart

K: just really admire the people that can be bothered,

Tim Lagman: just stand there and look pretty and hopefully you’ll find something interesting.

K: The other thing that I wanted to ask and, um, see, I promise we’ll get on to fly 2.0 at one point is

Tim Lagman: Yeah, no problem.

K: to me as an outsider. And you might disagree with me entirely, but to me as an outsider, there’s this additional pressure on you as an Asian man to fit a certain stereotype that the community is placing upon you.

Tim Lagman: I would have to agree with that statement. Um, there there’s this certain stereotype as an Asian man. I have to be a bottom and I have to be consistently tight and consistently submissive and do whatever it is

K: Oh, tight, sorry, sorry. Sorry. I thought you meant, I thought you meant tight, tight with money. I was like, oh, I’ve never heard that.

Tim Lagman: I mean, you know that too, because like we’re apparently so smart and we’re all in the finance industry of it. Um, now, uh, like my whole needs to be tight and like, really, like, it’s gonna cut off circulation tight now. But, um, I mean, if you get to know me as like a very sexual being, yes, I actually do have a tight hole.

Yes. I have a big Dick, but also like, I’m not just going to be a bottom for every single person. I see. Like also I’m an experience, you know, don’t, don’t fit, don’t box me into this stereotype of like the Asian gay. I have so many more things to offer

K: Yeah. But how do you like have those conversations with people with them? Coming across as standoffish or like, like, like you’re the one with the problem. Like if someone approached you in the club and was like, oh, Hey, just by looking at you, I have decided that you’re about to, and this is how I’m going to behave towards you because I’ve decided that you are submissive just naturally.

Like how do you overcome that without then feeling like you’re the asshole?

Tim Lagman: oh, um, like, I guess I should say this without the, the preface of sex work. If a gay man comes to me and automatically assumes my, uh, automatically assumes everything about me specifically, but by my physical appearance, I. Honestly, don’t care if you get offended by how I defend myself, like, did you really think I was a bottom?

Did you think I was just gonna like line up and suck your Dick? Like all these other bottoms? No, like, uh, if you see me as standoffish, that’s an ish-you, not an ish-me. Um, like,

K: I gotta write that down

Tim Lagman: yeah, do it. I’ll take some royalty cuts from that. No, no, but, um, yeah, like if you start to box me in and you don’t like that, I refuse to be in that box.

Well, too bad.

K: Yes. And I like, I totally agree with what you’re saying. Like, and I’m not saying like, you know, don’t stick up for yourself or don’t, don’t be assertive with someone, but you know, like someTim Lagmanes when you’re like, oh, I just came out to have a good Tim Lagmane. I really don’t want any tension. Maybe it’s just me avoiding conflict.

Tim Lagman: No, no for sure. I think in, in the moment where someone starts to like, you know, put me in a box or like starts to give me really odd vibes, my defence mechanism is either humour or dissociation. Uh, I don’t give them another second of my breath and I just walk away and move on to another spot or talk to another guy.

Usually the bartender, if they’re, if they’re available, but, or like with my friends, you know, Busy trying to pick up a guy, um, or I’ll just make fun of them. It’s like, oh, you’re so funny. Has that ever worked on anyone? And then, you know, just, just go on my, go on with my day. Yeah. It’ll bother me a little bit for like a reasonable amount of Tim Lagmane, but I’m not going to ruminate on that forever.

I’m not going to let one asshole ruin my night.

K: It’s funny. It’s like people can just I don’t know. And there’s also that thing about alcohol. Not always just like, just like, just trying to just making it seem as though I get into fights every Tim Lagmane I go to a bar, but I don’t, I don’t, but you know, just when, like someone’s being a Dick and you’re like, oh, Hey, like, why don’t you like not be a Dick to me?

And then they’re like, oh God lighten up, have fun. Like, ah, what’s your problem. And then suddenly you’re the problem. I just fucking ate that

Tim Lagman: Yeah, I agree. Like, like why was it all of a sudden the responsibility on me to be the nicer person? I just wanted to drink and be quiet. I just wanted to be left alone. And then you come off with some

K: Yeah, yeah,

Tim Lagman: off-colour comment. Like

K: yeah.

Tim Lagman: now I have to be like, do I approach this with aggression?

Do I approach this with a little bit of kindness and compassion? Do I make a scene? I don’t know what to do, but now I have to be like, okay. Tim Lagmane to teach another man, another lesson

K: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then manage his responses.

Tim Lagman: Yeah, I have to like, you know, pick up on the social cues and like, try to see if like, was it the alcohol? Was it the drugs that made you say this really upsetting comment? Or are you just genuinely ignorant and a Dick?

I mean, if we’re going to have sex, I would rather a guy just say, I think you’re attractive. I’m drawn to you. I’m sexually attracted to you. Would you like to have sex? Great. I am. So for it, you went straight to the point. There’s no bullshit. You don’t really uncover any sort of messiness about you. I don’t want to know your politics or your childhood trauma.

Just say it that you want to have sex with no strings attached at all. And we can move on with our night, please. That was be so much easier.

K: absolutely. Right. So fly 2.0, first of all, do you remember the first Tim Lagmane you went there?

Tim Lagman:  First Tim Lagmane I went there was when I was, when I was already escorting part-Tim Lagmane and that’s where I was starting to pick up, uh, men on my own. Um, it was like a Friday night. Uh, music is already like, you know, bumping. It’s still a little empty mostly because the party, the real energy doesn’t pick up until like around 12, 12 30.

I went early because if you go in before 1130, you get in for free, they give you a stamp and then you can come in and out as much as you want. I know it was great. Like I don’t have to pay the cover fee. All they do is like, okay, you’re here before 1130. I’ll stamp you. You can go in and out as much as you want and you can skip the line.

Um, Uh, there were, geez, I’m trying to think like, uh, there was a really packed dance floor. The smoke machines were on overdrive. The laser light shows were almost practically blinding. I was standing close to the speaker, which was mounted by a go-go boy, um, who would like come down and let me touch him. I would tip him with my cash in my mouth.

Um, I also, oh, that speaker, my hearing loss. So, uh, years and years of standing so close to the subwoofer have caused me some tinnitus, but you know, it was, it was a good memory and, um, I think your listeners would be interested in hearing about the dark room. Uh, there was a very, very dark room and, uh, I just didn’t really like what it said in the doors.

It’s like men, uh, D ‘dicks, not chicks’. I was like this kind of bordering on the little transphobia that, you know, what, whatever, it’s fine, it’s your business. It was really dark. And you almost can’t see anything. You kind of really need to use the light from your phone to navigate. But even then all the bottoms that are like blindfolded or gagged, they would like, see the light, like, Hey, turn that off.

And you’re trying to figure out an

K: they can’t say that if they’re gagged though, can they?

Tim Lagman: Oh, well, like if they’re like, they can see, they’ll like take out the gag and be like, Hey, turn that off. I’m like, okay, sorry. My bad. I’m just trying to make my way through this space. Um, Yeah. So like, don’t get offended all because I’m trying to get you through.

Uh, so there’s that, and then they would also have like a photo booth where, um, you can take like professional pictures with the fly 2.0 wallpaper. Um, yeah, it was really cute. And like every night they would, uh, the club had posted on their Instagram and like, you can just relive the memories over and over again and see like the drag Queens you were with all the men that you’ve been with.

And yeah, it was like one of many nights that I can remember that I was sober. But the nights after that have been all under the influence of some sort of drug or alcohol,

K: So then, so then when you started working for yourself and you were going to, um, like pick up men, was it like your rule then that you weren’t drinking alcohol?

Tim Lagman: Yes, because I can’t perform under, uh, the influence. Um, when I, when I decided for myself, like I kinda need some money, I’m going to see who I can pick up, no drugs, no alcohol. Uh, that’s when I’m on top of my game and I’m like really focused on, uh, getting clients and, um, gosh, it sounds so bad saying this, but when I’m sober, I’d know who isn’t sober and they’re the ones that are more likely to give me money or they’re feeling very horny.

So yeah. As bad as that is,

K: Okay,

Tim Lagman: but,

K: let’s stick on the bad. Let’s stick on the bad. So if you were going to like profile people and you went in, like you, you know, you go into the club, who would like, what kind of, what would you be looking for?

Tim Lagman: For the ones who are, um, intoxicated though. They’re the ones that are like, their eyes are glazed over, or they’re like not even dancing to the music anymore. Like, you know, it’s a fast beat. And then, you know, what music does to our bodies when it’s a fast beat, but then they’re just like swaying back and forth.

Like they’re in some sort of K hole or like, you know, they’re just like, they’re, they’re in a separate world at that point. So that’s something I would look for. Um, but every now and then I’ll try to take a shot with someone sober and like, just like they had one shot of tequila and then maybe I can loosen them up a little bit.

So, uh,

K: like, and say like,

Tim Lagman: mainly what I look for.

K: is there a certain age range? Is there a certain ethnicity or is it just, they just need to be wasted.

Tim Lagman: As wasted as possible. No. Uh, I think more commonly, I attracted the older men, the older Queens who were like, you know, um, they, they have the money, they’ve got some disposable income. Uh, they are mostly white, so they’ve got like a good job. They’ve got a house, they’ve got a mortgage, all that. Um, and then I’ll, I’ll like buy them a drink and then start to see engage who, or how they react to sex work.

Um, so that, that is a common demographic that I would

K: So you’d buy them a drink. Oh yeah.

Tim Lagman: Yeah. I mean, I, I’m not a monster.

K: I mean,

Tim Lagman: I’m not a

K: you, you could be down on money by the end of the night. If you’re buying drinks for everyone, it’s just like, it’s not a

Tim Lagman: I could, but like, I’ll keep it right. Like, I’ll keep it to one shot and then like, you know, try to gauge their reaction after that. I’m not a, I’m not a complete, you know, like psycho, uh, I’m a gentleman I want to make you feel good and make you genuinely want to be with me. That’s how you have client retention

K: Ok, so, like , um, would you be up for doing some role play? So we’ve, I was like, I’m the wasted guy. Right. And you’re going to like, demonstrate to me how you’d pick me up. I don’t know if I can act wasted there. Uh, I’m wasted.

Tim Lagman: That’s very in character, so, okay. We hear like,

K: Yeah. Mm.

Tim Lagman: like, Hey, what’s your name?

K: Uh, Brian,

Tim Lagman: Hey Brian, how are you?

K: I’m good. I just it’s really loud in here.

Tim Lagman: It’s really loud. Do you want to go somewhere a little more quiet.

K: Uh, like where?

Tim Lagman: Like over there at the bar. It’s not, so it’s not so, uh, loud over there. I can buy you a drink if you want

K: Oh, great. Great.

Tim Lagman: Yeah, for sure. So I’ll buy you a drink. Uh, I’ll go to the bartender at two shots of tequila or vodka or whatever it is that you want to have, and then I’ll be like, so do you come here to fly very often?

I don’t think I’ve seen you here before

K: uh, no, I’m from out of town. I’m here for a conference on ballpoint pens

Tim Lagman: oh really? Oh, that’s very interesting

K: Hmm.

Tim Lagman: at this point. I truly don’t care.

K: Yeah.

Tim Lagman: I just want to keep you talking and I want to keep you drinking and then see like, okay. No, that’s really, really cool. So like you’re really attractive. Uh, it’s kind of sad that you’re not here in Toronto. Like, I would love to get to know you more.

K: Well, uh, they have lots of events for pens here, so I do come a lot. I come a lot. I come a lot.

Tim Lagman: I would love to see you come a lot more

K: Oh, ah. So should I

Tim Lagman: There you go. Yeah.

K: So is that it is that,

Tim Lagman: I mean

K: already like ended up in a

Tim Lagman: you role-playing

K: didn’t even, yeah,

Tim Lagman: exactly. It was very

K: mind. I’m sorry. Very

Tim Lagman: no, no. That’s normally how, how gay men interact. Right. It’s just like sex is on our minds. Like what? Every nine seconds. So, um, so that’s basically what a conversation with me would look like.

If I’m trying to pick someone up, like I’m, I’m a gentleman. I want you to be genuinely interested. I don’t want you to just see me as like, you know, someone you want to fuck right away. Although if you do sure.

K: So, so, okay. So the thing about Fly 2.0, like for me, that’s most exciting is that it was like this, uh, super club. It was like one of those kinds of clubs from the nineties that are just like really big and sprawling and have different rooms. And like people dancing over here and people like sitting on couches over here.

I don’t know, I just made up the couches thing. Um, but I knew, I

K: just love those kind of clubs, which are just like an adventure, um, uh, which are, and they’re all disappearing. Like those big clubs don’t really exist anymore. Um, but, but, so can you tell me, like, was it, was it men only, ?

Tim Lagman: Yeah, there are, there are some women, but obviously it is, I would say like 95% occupied by gay men.

K: And how many of those have their shirt off obnoxiously?

Tim Lagman: a hundred percent of them. So yeah, like they just came from the gym because you can smell the body odour that is coming off them. Yeah. Cause there’s like a gym, just like a couple of blocks over. Uh, so like they’re already on a, on a, what do you call it? Those like protein high, kind of the they’re energised at that point.

So they want to expel some of that energy from the gym and then to the club. Um, yeah, like they’re all with their shirts off. They have those glow sticks on their necks. Um, literally every stereotype you can think of they existed in Fly 2.0,

K: Okay. So why did you like it?

Tim Lagman: despite. I absolute hatred of the gay stereotype. Um, I enjoyed Fly 2.0 because it opened a lot of doors for me in terms of my exploration in my identity. Um, it showed me the highs and the lows of being a gay person. It showed me a lot of diversity within the gay community. Um, it also, because I was seeking out clients there, those clients also showed me like different sexual journeys, which is kind of like a stepping stone into where I am now as a sex educator.

You know, I owe a lot of my sexual experience. To that location because of all the men, all the different men that, that I would pursue. So yeah, like it, while it does have its pros and cons being like the super club that it is, I overall enjoyed my Tim Lagmane at Fly. No matter how much Tim Lagmane I spent it. Cause I can’t even remember like how many nights I went there.

A lot of the nights were like, I did a line of coke and just started partying.

K: And those are the ones where the details are a bit fuzzier.

Tim Lagman: Yeah.

K: So let’s talk then about, in what you’ve just said, you said the highs and lows of being a gay person, what are the highs and what are the lows.

Tim Lagman: Highs being that there is a space for us. Like we are allowed to take up space. I, I enjoyed that. We have a place though. We can safely call a gay club because you know, Well, you don’t really hear gay clubs a t least back then. Um, like, uh, not as mainstream as it is now. Like, oh, there’s a gay bar or a gay club that is specifically tailored for gay men.

So I really like that aspect, but the lows  are what I would consider like the marginalisation again, like, yes, we have a gay space, but you dig even deeper into this gay space. You’ll see the racism and the internalised homophobia and transphobia, like on the sign. Dick’s not chicks.

Um, that’s where I started to be a little more discerning and scrutinise the gay community as it is now, I was like, we can be better than this. We’re not just, you know, circuit Queens. We’re not just one size fits all. You know, we need to, we need to be a little more active in helping, you know, helping the gays fit into society to be more accepted, not tolerated accepted.

And yeah, so it was in those little moments where I was starting to like come out of a, a coke high, where I was like, hold on. Something doesn’t feel right. Th the, the, the, and I’m like trying to see what’s going on with these gym bros and, uh, these leather daddies and all that stuff. I’m like, hold on. I’m having like a, uh, you ever get those creative juices flowing into like the least expected moment where it’s like, okay.

Yeah, it was that it was at Fly 2.0, where I had those moments.

K: and then, so what does better look like for this scene? And do you think that Toronto scene is getting there –  has made any progress?

Tim Lagman: Hmm. I think what better looks like is having more gay spaces for us to be able to comfortably explore our sexuality and safely, um, because those spaces are important to us. W uh, like, yes, we are like, we’re more than just being gay, but being gay is also part of who we are. And we need to explore that part of who you are in a place that is, you know, nonjudgmental, like will allow us to have harm reduction resources.

Uh, which is in the line of work I am in now. And if I think Toronto is heading in that direction, I would have to say no, because of mainly because of how much of our gay spaces are being taken away from us. And it really is, is like, you know, I don’t know if it’s like a government budget thing or, or what, but like I’m starting to see less and less gay spaces.

I feel like our government doesn’t really care about the infrastructure of the village. Um, I feel, I feel like they need to invest some more in. This part of the city that is so bright and so full of culture and full of life. And for us to be thrown to the wayside is a little insulting. So, but I, I don’t, I don’t want to sound like extremely pessimistic.

There are some people that are at grassroots level that are doing the good work, like, like me, for example, like, you know, I’m, I’m, they’re providing sex education at the bath house, if, and when it opens up again, um, you know, I I’m there to provide a space where gay men can ask questions about anything sexually related, whether it be STIs, or your body image or gay culture. And there’s like a team of us that are working within the available gay spaces. Now, whether it be online or in the physical space, uh, that are trying to, um, what’s the word for it? There is a small team of us that are trying to help improve and save, uh, the available gay spaces in Toronto. So like nude beaches or bath houses or

K: Yeah. I mean, I think like, uh, I mean, you know, I’ve been doing this podcast for like two years and I probably should have landed on an opinion by now. And I, I haven’t really, but one of the things that I think is really interesting given what we talked about earlier in the conversation about the Village being fair, a very particular type, so that it’s, you know, again like white CIS men.

Um,  I’m very critical of white CIS man for like, for being one. Um, yeah, but like

Tim Lagman: You and me too,

K: the worst, but like, there is something about this moment in Tim Lagmane that helps us too. Maybe just like pause and think like, what could we actually be doing differently? Cause as much as the, you know, the clubs that we’re talking about flight to fly 2.0, um, being one, like as much as they are kind of exciting and thrilling, like they’re so exclusionary that they’re just like, you know, uh, queer women, like non binary, people just are not made to feel welcome in those spaces.

So like, wouldn’t it be great if we got to a place where in like rebuilding or in reconfiguring, we are thinking about how to make these spaces welcoming and accessible for everyone. And not just those that might have more disposable income or those who wax their nipples

K: Yeah.

Tim Lagman: I would agree. I feel like, uh, that sort of vision of an all inclusive queer space is, I don’t know if I’m, if I’m going to be able to see that in my lifeTim Lagmane, but I do hope that, um, in the future long, long after I’m gone, that it is

K: Why do you think you wouldn’t see it in your life?

Tim Lagman: it’s not impossible for sure. Well, because there is so much work to be done in like, you know, like it’s not a,

K: you’re not like dying, like

Tim Lagman: a race, it’s a marathon,

K: soon. I mean, I hope not.

Tim Lagman: I sound, I sound like an old crone.

K: yeah. I mean, like it, I mean, it it’s complicated, but it’s also not complex.

Tim Lagman: Yeah. See that that’s, that isn’t that the rub,

you know,

K: guess. And the other thing that’s complicated about it is that, like, I do think that there is still a space for women only spaces and for men only spaces and, um,

Tim Lagman: and they do belong. Yeah, for sure. But, uh, like I, I do envision a space, whether it’s like, you know, an area of the city or just one singular building, I do envision that there’s a space like that to be for everyone. I think there is one here it’s called the 9 1 5 where it’s like an all queer space. but, but it’s not like a party space, you know, it’s more of like, uh, resources, like for jobs or for a group therapy or, or just like a community centre, but to have a party space where queer people of all backgrounds can be queer, it is possible. I  just want it to be soon, but I don’t know if like, if I can live long enough to see it, but I do want it. I do want it there. I know. I sound like, I sound very Edgar Allen Poe. Like I’m about to die

K: somewhat dramatic. I mean, I think we’re going to be hosting, um, poppers tasting sessions in this space together. I can feel it,

Tim Lagman: Yeah. Like we need to have those test strips. We need to like wear some ties or something. We’ll have like jungle juice here

K: like, I just want, yeah, I just want to see everyone like swirling the bottle. Like now, now, now take your sniff. Um, and

Tim Lagman: like the woods, the sand, the


K: is someone’s armpit.

So let’s talk about, um, Fly 2.0

Tim Lagman: Okay.

K: Cause it was quite sudden the announcement that they were going to close. Right?

Tim Lagman: Very, yeah. Um, the announcement came in 2019, uh, mid 2019 and the last operating date was June 30th. So right at the end of Pride month. And, uh, I couldn’t go,

K: uh, well, first of all, before you couldn’t go, like, what was your, what was your reaction when you found out.

Tim Lagman: Oh, heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken because not, not because I had an emotional connection to the building, but more so, because I did not like that. We, as a community have lost another space to gentrification. I was very disappointed to hear that a greedy landlord was, you know, keeping the space available from us.

And I, I, yeah, I was just absolutely devastated that the village has lost another good one has lost another space that we could claim as our own. So yeah, I. Uh, if I went to the, as they call it the final flight, that big, last day of celebrating, uh, operation, I could not contain myself. I would like sob and cry on the dance floor.

I would not be able to keep it together. It was just so painful.

K: Hmm, so Toronto’s gained to con uh, block of condominiums, uh, con wait, I always get this wrong. I don’t really understand. So it’s a block of,

Tim Lagman: Yeah, no, no.


K: wouldn’t call it a condominium. You’d call that a block of

Tim Lagman: I mean, apartment buildings. Yeah. All basically condos, condominiums, apartments, whatever you call it.

K: Okay. So the question was, so Toronto has gained a condominium, but what has it lost?

Tim Lagman: when Toronto gains, a condominium, Toronto loses a little. Piece of itself. Um, it’s culture, Toronto loses, uh, just that little bit more of diversity.

With the loss of Fly 2.0 Toronto has lost.  Its identity as a safe space for gay men for queer people because that club is so quintessential to the Village or was quintessential to the Village Gentrification to take another casualty. It says a lot about how the city views us, that we’re not important that we’re not, we’re not allowed to take up space.

We’re not allowed to show off who we are and live authentically. Um, and like for, for a big Canadian city to pride themselves in diversity and inclusion and being like, you know, uh, one of the countries that have legalised gay marriage, it’s a little hypocritical for them to say that while at the same Tim Lagmane, start to like dilute our space with new apartments. It’s yeah. It’s, it’s insulting.

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