Manchester Pride: a parade for the privileged?

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It’s easy to see Manchester pride as a massive success: it’s one of the few Prides which is omnipresent throughout the city attracting people from across the UK and wider – amazing! But this year made us question whether Pride in and of itself is intrinsically valuable to the LGBT+ community.

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Out at work?

Are you out at work?

One of our readers is looking for help with her dissertation. Share your experiences (positive or negative) using the twitter hashtag #bemeatwork or on the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bemeatwork.

If you would like to help, but wish to do so more privately or have any questions please contact aslavinsky@gmail.com.

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Has anything changed since Leveson?!?

Trans Media Representation

Has anything changed since Leveson?

What does trans media representation mean for trans audiences?

Are you a self-defining trans person willing to take part in an online focus group to discuss trans media representation in UK newspapers in the last year?

This research is part of a dissertation to be submitted for an MRes in Equality and Human Rights at the University of Glasgow and a results summary will be shared with LGBTI and trans organisations that have expressed an interest such as Trans Media Watch and Scottish Transgender Alliance.

All you need is internet access and to be willing to share your opinions and give an hour of your time.

The purpose of this research project is to look at the effects media coverage of trans people and trans issues are having on trans audiences to better understand what the issues are and how to improve them.

If you want to get involved please email Rhianna on rhumphrey@hotmail.co.uk for more info and consent documents.

Please feel free share this to anyone that may be interested.

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Are you a rubbish lesbian?

I am the definition of a rubbish lesbian.

When I say this what I really mean is an invisible lesbian, entirely undetectable to the rest of my fellow queers. I somehow donned this annoying invisibility cloak around the age of 18 when I got rid of my skate trainers, baggy jeans and hoodies and opted for some high heels and lipstick.

My newfound confidence in dressing as I wanted to dress had the inconvenient by-product of making me vanish into the wallpaper in queer spaces. I’ve been told that a club “didn’t do hen parties” when heading out with a group of fellow femme gays, I’ve been asked if I was lost on nights out, I even had a stand-up row with a nurse who insisted that even though I’d only slept with women there was a chance I might still be pregnant (back to Anatomy 101 for her!).

Annoying to say the least! So when I saw this title pop up in a sidebar on a particular website (see those ads are good for something!) I immediately wondered where it had been all my life…

rubbish lesbian

This is what a happy Sunday looks like!

This book is a compilation of Sarah Westwood’s ‘Rubbish Lesbian’ columns in Diva magazine with some exclusive new material (all together now: ooooo!). As someone who hasn’t read Diva in a while, it was all new material to me and I was intrigued!

 

Now to be honest, I was expecting a slightly more… well… finished article! The book was literally a collection of her columns –  which don’t get me wrong, was exactly what it said on the tin! It was just that I had expected that the columns might have been reworked into slightly longer prose or perhaps even into a series of short-but-longer-than-columns articles…I expected slightly smoother transitions from story to story, but instead they felt as if they had been lifted directly from the pages of Diva and transplanted directly into this book, meaning that for me it was a rather jolty read. The columns are so short (on average two pages give or take) which gives a rather superficial introductory feel to all her writing not really getting to the heart of the issue, or resolving anything.

 

I think that this is particularly disappointing because the topics Westwood covers are interesting, familiar even. They feel like a conversation that I could have had with any of my friends, but with nothing much added by the fact I had to part with some of my hard-earned-cash for the privilege. From the lesbocism (a process of desexualising your lesbian life for the benefit of family, or particularly delicate friends) to negotiating the relationship with your girlfriend’s parents. From answering questions from idiots like “who’s the man”; to the embarrassment of first entering a sex shop (although I think her suggestion of ‘smash and grab’ has a one in a million probability of you leaving with something you actually want and instead you will inevitably leave with a penis extender or something equally unhelpful – either embrace the awkwardness, or shop online!).

For a fun, light laugh or a quick read when you’re not up for thinking, or feeling too much it’s great! But if you’re looking for something that might develop or challenge your thinking then this is not for you! Thank you Sarah Westwood for a quick distraction on a long plane ride!

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Perfect place for payday!

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Discovery new books in the amazing ‘Gay’s the Word’, on the hottest day of the year so far. Lots of love for London! Follow @gaystheword

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Do you wanna hear a queer love story?

Small child reading book

Tiny Me!

Doing a degree in Philosophy completely ruined my love of reading. As a child I devoured books, reading 2, 3, 4 at a time. The library was my happy place. And then aged 19 I trundled off to University, where my degree required me to read incessantly and in time I totally lost my passion. But as time passed I’ve decided to give it another go, and this is where this story starts for me.

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Why you should be angry at Pride Scotia…

Tomorrow is Pride Scotia! Over at the Gay Agenda we love Pride, and so we’ve put together our top 5 reasons to be proud, and our top 5 reason to keep on shouting!

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Top 5 reasons to be loud!*

Pride is a protest!

*in no particular order….

1. Anti-homosexuality Bill 2014

Affectionately known as the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’ – the Ugandan government had a think about punishing same-sex relationships with the death penalty. They fortunately (and by fortunately, we definitely mean in the thank-fuck-for-small-mercies sense of the word ‘fortunately’) settled on life-imprisonment which can also be applied to anyone who fails to report known homosexuals. Excellent.

2. The Sochi Winter Olympics

President Putin was given a platform world-wide to impose all his queer-phobias on international athletes and spectators from all around the world. Boo him! But moreover boo to the International Olympic Committee for awarding the Olympic Games to a country that ladles so much discrimination on its queer community.

3. The media are still really fucking transphobic

And will find any vague, tenuous reason to talk about a person’s gender identity in totally irrelevant contexts (and let’s face it, there are very few relevant contexts).  For example Dr Kate Stone who had an accident on holiday in the Highlands of which their gender identity had no relevance even tenuously, but who the media insisted upon outing. Not on.

 4. India take one big step backwards!

And re-criminalised homosexuality. In 2013 the Supreme Court peeled back a High Court decision taken in 2009 to  decriminalised same-sex relationships. Fail!

5. Idiot says same-sex marriage causes flooding

David Silvester, UKIP councillor (although not so much anymore), reportedly wrote to David Cameron to warn him that the introduction of same-sex marriage would see God punish us with “natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war”… And they still gained seats in the last election?!?!?!

(We did however get this hilarious twitter account as a result: UKIP weather). Good job.

Someone did not pay attention in Science. Bottom of the class Silvester.  Photo courtesy of Bernat Casero (http://bit.ly/1pmiZQo)

Someone did not pay attention in Science. Bottom of the class Silvester.
Photo courtesy of Bernat Casero (http://bit.ly/1pmiZQo)

Top 5 reasons to be proud!

1. Ellen Page came out!

And so did Tom Daley! And so did a whole bunch of you. We’re fucking proud of everyone who had the courage to come out since last pride season!

2. Equal marriage.

Finally. We feel like we’ve been banging on about equal marriage forever. Placards after placards. Marches after marches. Posters, and social media campaigns, and staged weddings, and kiss-ins, and petitions, and consultations, and hypothetical arguments made by politicians who have no idea what this mean to my life. And now we’re there. Royal Assent achieved in March 2014.

3. Laverne Cox on the front of Time magazine.

Laverne Cox gets onto the cover of Time Magazine after her initial snub from Time’s Top 100 Influential People of 2014 list after activists all over the world cried out. This shows us that being an internet angry can produce real results!

4. Third legal gender!

In November 2013 Germany introduced a third sex to be included on their birth certificate to allow for intersex children to have their genders registered. Similarly (but differently), in April 2014 Norrie won a four year battle to have their sex recognised in Australia as neither male nor female. Yay for small steps away from the gender binary!

5. DOMA is unconstitutional

Defence of Marriage Act which attempted to over-turn equal rights for same-sex and mixed-sex couples before the law was repealed by High Court judgement. Good job!

Stonewall was a riot!

We will not be quiet!

 

Happy Pride Everyone!

Orange is the New Black Season 2: Episode 1. ‘Thirsty Bird’

Orange is the New Black is back. After binge watching Season Two as quickly as we could we thought we’d recap the episodes to hold on to it for a little bit longer.

Oh Orange.

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Where them girls at? [girls at? la da de da laaaaaa]

I have a confession. I am not very good at films. ‘Sunshine on Leith’ was my idea of a life changing film and so let’s be honest, high culture is just not my thing. When the LGBT short films at the Glasgow Film Theatre came into my field of vision I was torn: I will basically go and see/do/dance at anything remotely queer, but short films sounded all a bit high-brow. What could I lose?

The Glasgow Film Theatre is super cute tucked away just up Sauchiehall Street and well worth a visit if you’ve not been. Big comfy seats, a cute (if somewhat compact) bar upstairs, but I would recommend taking your own snacks. It was Sunday night, which I personally think is the perfect night for peanuts and movies, but apparently Glasgow disagreed. The screen was very quiet, like  handful of people quiet. And men in abundance. Queer women: where are you?

The films were all finalists from the Iris Prize – an LGBT film festival in Cardiff (see I’m learning). As a total rubbish film-goer I was amazed at just how much could be conveyed in ten to fifteen minutes. And, as someone with quite a short attention span and a vivid imagination for filling in the gaps in quite sparse storylines – I loved it!

I won’t lament over all the details of the films, but as a quick rundown. A beautiful coming-of-age story about a young romance between two young disabled men in ‘For Dorian’; a heart-achingly personal story from Gustavo from San Francisco about his night-time transitions into Donna, and his inspiration: ‘My mother’; a surreal film, including an interpretive dance called ‘Gorilla’ about two young men defining their budding new relationship; and ‘Boys Village’ about the ghost of a child, trapped in time, watching the camp in which he died in destroyed by 21st century thugs as he sought out his first kiss across the boundary of life and death.

But it was ‘Burger’ that really struck me. Set in a chippie at kicking out time, ‘Burger’ provided a snapshot into the lives of three groups of friends. ‘Burger’ was incidentally queer, as opposed to explicitly so, but resonated as I am a habitual eavesdropper and often end up in a chip shop at the end of a night out. The setting reminded me slightly of Canal Street, and the combination of bright lights, dance-dishevelled clothes, and make-up coloured tears struck a chord with me – definitely worth a watch if you get the chance.

Iris Prize Tickets

I think it’s really important to support queer events, and I would go to the opening of a queer envelope. The positive portrayal of queer people in the media and mainstream culture is so few and far between that I want to support it when there is opportunity. But there was just one itsy bitsy thing that annoyed me: there were no women who sleep with women represented. Let me repeat that for you: no women who sleep with women. Five short films, and…

not one single woman who sleeps with women

Queue a train ride back to Edinburgh with me planning all the films I was going to shoot which would only feature women who sleep with women… The fact is I might have a fab imagination, but I can barely take a holiday snap on a disposable camera without causing a disaster, let alone make a short-film. However, you dear reader, you are probably far more competent at life than I and so if you are indeed a budding film maker and think you might have a fab idea (or even a vague idea) for a short-film featuring women who sleep with women, then please (please) check out: http://www.irisprize.org/submissions-guidelines/

 

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