Tag Archives: Biromantic

The Gay Agenda is Proud: Brittany

This week, in the lead up to Glasgow Pride, we decided to interview some of our writers to find out what Pride means to them!

What’s your name, age and where do you come from?

Brittany – I was born and raised in Devon, UK. I’m half German and also I’m part Scottish/English and I’m 19.

Why did you get involved in the Gay Agenda?

I love to write, it seemed like a fantastic opportunity to write about something I feel really strongly about. I want to become more involved within the LGBT+ community as I was never able to before having grown up in a somewhat homophobic area.

What do you write about?

For the Gay Agenda, I tend to write about gender and sexuality, however, I am more than happy to widen that to include art, music and religion, as I am pretty involved with all of that.

What do you do in real life?

I am an artist pretending to be a scientist. I am studying Developmental Biology/Biochemistry. I work in a museum, I write for the Gay Agenda as well as short stories and novellas. I’m an artist and I do take commissions for virtually anything and I’m an archer and I compete for the University of Edinburgh. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with this life, but I’m going to keep as many options open as I can. I’m just trying to make my way in the world and stay as far away from the past as I possibly can.

She really is an artist, look!

She really is an artist, look!

Why is Pride important to you?

Having never been to a Pride, the following questions aren’t as easy to answer, however, I’d say that the meaning behind it is particularly important – the message that we should be proud, or at least happy, with being who we are and not having to hold back or hide ourselves from the world. It would be idealistic to be able to not have any worries about not being straight and I only hope that Pride and anything to do with that will help us move in that direction, as I’m sure we all know, we are far from that. I think Pride is potentially a fantastic way of allowing people to accept themselves for whom they are and what they want to do – or at least, that’s what I’d love to get out of a Pride.

What is your best and worst part of pride?

I’d say that the best thing I’d like to get out of going to Pride would be to meet more people of varying sexualities, I don’t know how I’ve managed to do this, but I literally do not know anyone that isn’t straight. It would be so refreshing to meet some people that I can relate to, especially in regard to actually coming out (I haven’t really come out to anyone and so I’m still trying to figure out how to go about that.) I’m sure just being able to not have any walls up around other people would be lovely as I have never been able to let my guard down too much. The worst thing about a Pride? I can imagine that you can come across some people that are narrow minded about being something other than completely gay and that would worry me, as I identify as one of the many sexualities in the middle. I’m sure they’re relatively few, but I have known of (at least) in the past a few people that are “straight/bi/pan-phobic”.

What’s your must-have item for Pride?

I’d definitely say that I’d like to have either a camera or a sketchpad and graphite. I’d love to keep photos of whatever happens as I’m sure it’d be such an amazing time, but if that doesn’t work out, if it doesn’t irritate too many people – I’d sit there and sketch people as they’re having a drink (or several).

If you had a placard for Pride what would it say?

I’d have to really think about that; all I know is that I’d have to include “Never be defeated” in there.

What’s you Pride soundtrack?

Roses – Poets of the Fall, it may seem a little random, but it is one of my favourite songs (and bands) and it’s always managed to brighten up my day.

Best ever Pride you’ve been to?

We’ll see soon, I hope!

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Fat: a lesbian issue?

Recently I have read three separate articles about the similarities between the oppression of fat people and the oppression of queer people. The most articulate being  ‘Fat liberation is totally queer’ from one of my favourite blogs Autostraddle. I think that these comparisons are interesting, but as far as I’m concerned,  miss the point, well actually the three points.

The Point (Part 1).

As far as I’m concerned a big bit of this problem is that we all base a number of our day to day choices, actions and decisions on physical appearance. Marked against some kind of fantasy sexy-scale stored in each individual’s mind.

Number one of these decisions is our choice of partner. In fact we become so obsessed with our partner’s physical appearance, that the word ‘attractiveness’ are often used as synonymous with our judgements on the sexy-scale. As the author of this article points out that,

Yes, fat people can get married, but many thin people would not consider dating, let alone loving and marrying, someone who is fat.

Now this is ridiculous. Our appearance changes hugely over the span of our lives, your tiny, thin girlfriend may become your fat girlfriend, or vice versa. So we might as well go wild and pick someone you actually get on with. This is bad judgement, foolish maybe, but not really oppression.

The Point (Part 2).

What is oppression is the view the author discusses that women are, in their everyday lives, discriminated against. Forced to take verbal and physical abuse. Told they have less of a right to be happy than other women. Made to feel less worthwhile or valuable because of their body shape, size or appearance.

But let me tell you.

This is not just a fat issue, it’s a body issue.

Now for those of you reading this that know me, you will know that I am teeny. A size four (Miss. Selfridge sizes), 5″2 and weighing in at less than 8 stone. And this I will tell you is not as a result of extensive dieting or obsessive exercising, in fact I eat tons. I am made this way. I have always been small, and I probably always will be. And as a thin lesbian I face a pretty similar problem.

Going about my daily business I have frequently had people accuse me of having an eating disorder. Almost strangers (often friends of friends) quiz me on what I eat, how much, and how regularly. Frequently refusing to believe me when I tell the truth. People close to me blame my disastrous immune system on my weak physical frame. And one particularly delightful individual in a pub once grabbed my collar bone and exclaimed they could,

“snap me like a chicken!”

Me: “I’d rather you didn’t”

The problem is that as a society we place strange values on people’s physical appearances.

Other people: We treat people differently according to their appearance. No genuinely, I notice it. I can nearly never reach the top shelves in supermarkets. Now, if I’m in Tesco, hopping about trying to reach down my museli with my make-up on I can guarantee given about two hops and someone will step in and help out. But in a hoodie, hair up and no make up and I’d hop forever and go home museli-less (fortunately I have gotten good at shelf mountaineering, fear not, I have my breakfast)

Ourselves: I go to the gym three or four times a week (when I’m being good) and I will tell you some of the most destructive conversations I’ve ever over-heard have been in the changing room as women talk about themselves. About the parts of themselves they hate. The exercises they are going to do to change themselves. And the happiness they look forward when this change has been made.

The Point (Part 3)

We value physical appearance above health. Namely, I imagine, this is because judging people’s appearance is far easier than having a constructive conversation about health. But also because we’re all buying into the sexy scale to some extent or another. In fact, our judgements of ourselves against the sexy scale are often the only thing that will motivate us to do some exercise or reach for a salad. Not because we care about the state of our hearts. Because we want a smaller bum / legs / arms / tummy / whatever.

Being healthy (with our food, our exercises and our minds) is not a solo effort. And it’s not easy. I have to admit for most elements of health I haven’t a clue what to do to make myself healthier. I usually go with what makes me feel better and assume that’s right. Health is often about the food we can afford to eat, the exercise we can afford the time to devote to and the supportive (or not so supportive) communities that we live in. And it starts with education and a community responsibility to help one another to be healthy.

Fat liberation is not a queer issue, in as much as body image and health are people’s issues.

 

So let’s talk health.

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Straight Hate

A few weeks back I spotted the fun, new Twitter account ‘Straight Pride’   (they’ve even got a blog  now). At first I thought it was genuinely some sort of misguided heterosexual just feeling jealous of the floats and glitter. But it did not take very long to realise that these folks were not-so-loosely veiled homophobes. The kind that deserve literally none of my thought processes.

Come out and tell everyone you are straight and proud

So, that’s that. But I think that it does raise some important questions. I had never really questioned pride. Never wondered by there was a queer pride and not a straight pride. But then a friend’s mum asked me. She’s always been 100% supportive and lovely and so I knew it was a genuine question.

Why is there a gay pride?

I think the problem is that people do see a ton of glitter, fabulous clothes and beautiful floats, and not a whole lot more. And sometimes it can be a bit unclear what Pride means to us. That as a queer community we are not simply ‘proud’. We are proud in the face of discrimination. We are proud in the face of adversity. And we are proud in the face of hate. And all for being who we are, and loving who we love. Something our heterosexual friends and family do not have to face. So, I want to talk a little bit about why I’m proud.  Because I am proud. I’m super proud.

London pride 2012

I’m proud because despite fear and nervousness I come out monthly, weekly, sometimes even daily to new people in new environments. Because I shouldn’t have to be afraid and nervous to be who I am. And if I make it easier for one other person to come out, then I’ve made a difference.

I’m proud to challenge the casual homophobia that we experience on a day-to-day basis. Because it’s that very low-level discrimination that allows for bullying, and harassment and eventually hate crimes.

And I’m proud because despite the headlines, the homophobic arguments made by ‘legitimate’ politicians in our ‘democratic’ parliament, the name-calling in the street, everyday I walk down the street holding the hand of the woman I love. Because I will not bow down to bigotry.

So tell me, why are you proud?

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Hello Gays!

Having heard so much about the Gay Agenda in recent press, we thought if there’s going to be a Gay Agenda we want to have written it! So we are! The Gay Agenda is written by queer women in the UK, for queer women. So however you define take a look and get in touch at thegayagendauk@gmail.com or on twitter @thegayagendauk.

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