By Ari Perlin-Bain
Thousands are expected to escape the cold and head to The Gentlemen’s Expo happening at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this weekend.
The second annual event will feature a variety of attractions in areas such as food, technology, alcohol, sex and more and high profile guests such as former Toronto Maple Leafs player Gary Roberts and retired UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre.
According to the event’s website, it’s a “celebration of all things that encompass a true gentleman.”
Sexual harassment, domestic violence and gender equality have been ongoing issues for years, but incidents that have taken place in these areas have gained more notoriety in the past year.
Given recent attention on former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi’s alleged assaults on women and accusations of sexual harassment on Parliament Hill, it would come as no surprise if it’s the elephant in the room at the Expo and something that’s discussed more than usual.
Toronto-based sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly will be hosting a talk on relationship and sex advice at the Expo Friday night.
She said she hopes to educate males and couples in attendance on how to properly approach consensual sex in light of the increased attention surrounding sexual harassment.
“The Gentleman’s Expo is an ideal forum for these types of issues to be addressed,” said Dr. Jess.
“I approach discussions like the one I’m doing tonight with the idea that you can have fun with sex but men and women should reframe the way other and this subject of consent.”
“This is not just towards men but couples to ensure both genders are knowledgeable in this area,” said Dr. Jess.
Dr. Jess said having both genders involved in discussion could lead to a minimized number of future sexual harassment crimes.
“Men don’t need to feel badly if others in their gender are committing these actions; we just need more people as allies to educate and gain support for those going through these ordeals,” she said.
Justin Trottier is the Director of the Canadian Centre for Men and Families, Toronto’s first social agency providing services to boys and men ranging from educational support to assisting male victims of sexual harassment and assault.
“We are interested in having a firm stance against sexual harassment towards anyone, regardless of their gender, but we wouldn’t have a program that reinforces the idea that women are the only victims of this crime,” said Trottier.
He said he supports the idea of education on sexual harassment and other related issues being discussed with the many males attending the Gentlemen’s Expo.
“Educating men and women in terms of consent and what is inappropriate or criminal when it comes to interactions that are sexual in nature, we whole-heartedly support that.”
Hours of operation, ticket prices, and more on what to expect at the Expo can be found here.