John Simone's
current exhibition opened on
Thurs. July 13th and hangs until Sat. Sept. 23rd, 2017
at Montreal's Never Apart Gallery

Femme Realness: A Celebration of The Effeminate Gay Male

Femme Realness:
A Celebration of The Effeminate Gay Male
Artists: George Stamos, Pansy Ass Ceramics, Nicholas Contrera, Jihef Portelance and John Simone

The intention of this exhibition is to celebrate the poof, the sissy and the peacocks of the LGBTQ2+ community. Stereotypes depicted over the past century established a dominant narrative that all gay men were “nelly”. In our misogynist and heterosexist culture, we have been taught that men whom are flamboyant and feminine are lesser than, unattractive and not “real men”. In attempt to disprove the stereotype, aspects of gay culture slowly began to embrace and fetishize mainstream masculinity. From uniforms to sports to body hair, a more masculine aesthetic began to take over gay culture and the girlie boys were, once again, stigmatised. Only this time, it was within our own culture and that hierarchy continue today, both outside and inside of the LGBTQ2+ community.

The queer movement has come a long way but it is still not safe for many folks to simply be whom they are. These unapologetic “queens”, like many other visible minorities, generally endure ridicule, bullying and discrimination at various points in their lives. Yet “queenie” portrayals are not something to be looked down upon but, instead, highlighted as a powerful archetype within our diverse rainbow of humanity. We want to celebrate the style makers, the eccentric visionaries, the innovators and the brave individuals who are often ahead of their time and are not afraid to be their authentic selves in the face of adversity.

Femme Realness puts these magical and colourful beings on a pedestal, where they belong, with the intention of creating dialog and finding greater understanding within our community and society at large. Got to be real!


Rudolf Piper
(impresario of 1980’s New York clubs Danceteria and Tunnel
and publisher of Project X Magazine):

“[Simone] managed to portray an era capturing exactly the energy, the craziness and the creativity that made it unique! In the future, this NY that existed in the eighties will be seen on the same level as Paris in the twenties, Berlin during the Weimar Republic and Shanghai in the thirties - and [Simone’s] photos will bear witness to that!”
(June 2014):

"The photographer once dubbed NYC’s “paparazzo from hell” [had] two photo retrospectives happening in Toronto during WorldPride 2014. The shows featured New York club-culture icons from 1987 to 1990, including RuPaul, Leigh Bowery, Quentin Crisp, James St James, Divine and, of course, “Party Monster” Michael Alig.

John Simone — who from 1995 to 2005 was the writer of Xtra’s Xposed column, under the nom de plume Johnny Paparazzo — left Toronto for New York in 1987 and started working for Club 10-18 (The Roxy), Details magazine (including their influential nightlife column by Stephen Saban), Spy Magazine and The Village Voice. The magic really started happening when Alig appointed Simone chief photographer for Project X magazine."

Exhibition Prints

Contact: - 647.247.3421

Press about John Simone's 2014 WorldPride Toronto Exhibitions
University of Toronto Magazine: Party Out of Bounds
Artist profile article on
Michael Musto writes about John Simone's photos
Sissydude writes about John Simone's photos in Xtra Magazine

This project received an Exhibition Assistance Grant from the Ontario Arts Council

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