Alphonso: First, I'd like to thank you for being our model and entertainment for April 7th. Most folks only know you as your stage persona, Jenna Syde. But the "Average Joe" doesn't know that it is Charlie Boyes behind it. How long have you been performing?
Charlie Boyes: I have been performing as Jenna Syde for almost 6 years...but the character really stemmed from my old ClubKid/Goth days when i would dress up and wear elaborate make-up to various Fetish events around T.O. including the much missed Betty Page social club nights at Boots...and the Dungeon parties at Buddies in Bad times theatre.
Jenna is not your typical Church Street queen. She's got a bit of an edge to her. Charlie is kinda shy and quiet. How did you get to her as a character?
So i wouldnt say Jenna is opposite of me...and i DEFINITELY wouldn't say Charlie is either shy or quiet..its more of different splinters of the same person...I've always been interested in exploring the masculine/feminine entities that I believe exist in us all and then fucking with and re-appropriating gender roles.
I got to the character as a homage to all the women/men/gender benders that have inspired and shaped me in my youth...Siouxsie Sioux, Klaus Nomi, Divine, Nina Hagen, Grace Jones, Wendy O. Williams, Boy George, Annie Lennox...all these great strong creative beings inspired and shaped me growing up...I also found that drag had gotten quite stale and safe in this city...this town definitely needed an enema...I just needed to find a long enough hose!
So, Jenna is performing for our POZ-TO event. I wanted to shake things up and give an alternative to the party. Do you have something special planned for the show that night?
i am very excited to be performing at POZ T.O. and will have a few tricks and treats up my...er...sleeve for this empowering event!.
It was my idea to start using people from the community as models to put a face on Toronto's Poz scene. Not everyone is comfortable disclosing in such an open way. What made you decide to volunteer to be on our posters and flyers this month?
i decided to model as myself to make a public coming out as being HIV + ... It seems important as there is still so much shame and stigma out there as well as A LOT of ignorance about what this disease is ...and I needed to feel more comfortable with it
I myself have been very open about being HIV positive, but it wasn't easy. You know…if it wasn't for my husband I don't think that I would have the courage to be so public. I mean…I was out to my close friends and my lovers, but five or six years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of doing interviews about my status. How long have you been out as a positive guy?
i am out about my status to all friends and family.. it just seemed to be the right time...i was inspired by you and this event...it was kinda like publicly yelling out FUCK YEAH!! I M POZ TOO!!! ..lol..it has been liberating ...and surprising that some people have asked me dumb foundedly WHY?? would i want to ascociate myself with this??...my answer was"WHY WOULDNT I??
I was diagnosed only a little over 3 years ago.....so it just seemed to be the right time for me!!
Well, I am looking forward to your performance as Jenna and the next POZ-TO event. Do you have anything that you'd like to say to any young people in our community?
As far as anything to say to young people in our community...get tested regularily ...find the proper health care you deserve...trust your own feelings...educate yourself....live without fear..and with out shame...be fearless!