Tag Archives: Lesbian

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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Are you the woman we’ve been looking for?

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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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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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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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Sorry, no lesbians allowed here…

So at age twenty, after never having had experienced any personal homophobic attack in my life thus far, I always though ‘phew, I’ve passed the high school stage with no problems, what’s the worst that can happen now?!’… I held that thought until this morning. Never would I have thought that the first person ever to be homophobic towards me was a professional.

I recently reached that beautiful stage that I received a letter from my doctors and had all my male friends giggle and say ‘ahhh I bet it’s for a smear test!!’ So firstly that’s not very reassuring, in fact it’s terrifying. Do I really want a random woman sticking something up my vajayjay on first meeting, before noon on a weekday…not really, is the answer. However, I persevered and made an appointment as it’s my own health that’s in question after all. After days of thinking about how traumatic the experience was going to be (can you tell, I’m a bit of a drama queen), my male best friend said “don’t worry, she will have seen it all before”. Yeah thanks, I feel so much better after that. Really, I do.

As I walked into the room I was hit with so many questions I thought I was in a quick fire round of a game show:

“How old are you?” “Are you sexually active?” “Are you on the pill?!” “Have you had this test before?”

We certainly weren’t off to a good start on the ‘try not to freak out’ front. So after telling her I’m not on the pill, and watching her confused reaction when I told her I haven’t used contraception, I told her I don’t sleep with men. You’d have thought at this point that I’d told her I was sleeping with turtles as she looked so baffled. It could just be me, but it is normal to be a lesbian, yes?

I'm sorry, it's not you, it's me! Photo by: Phil's 1st Pix: http://bit.ly/19whbRe

I’m sorry, it’s not you, it’s me!

Photo by: Phil’s 1st Pix: http://bit.ly/19whbRe

 

Anyway, she let out a slight “ha!” and said that I wouldn’t need a test then as I hadn’t had sex with a man before….however, now comes the interesting part: she said that should the situation change within the next few years, that I should come back and get tested. Hold on a second…so she’s basically just told me that if soon enough I see the light, she’ll be happy to perform. I don’t think so, lady!

How does she think lesbians have sex, by kissing?! Surely she should have started with “Have you ever had penetrative sex before” then things would have been so much simpler.

So I left the surgery absolutely baffled, and also rather upset/frustrated. Why was I singled out as different? Why was I not entitled to this? All that working myself up for nothing. Although I have decided to go back and get a test, but not from that nurse again. I think I’d make a point of asking for a non-homophobic nurse to do the test on me this time, and see how they respond.

So a word of advice, if you’re going for a test, don’t let the nurse tell you you’re not eligible just because of your sexuality. Do try to tell them otherwise, and if that doesn’t work then I suggest putting in a complaint. It’s 2013, should a professional really be judging you on your sexuality?

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I went to Hamburg Pride 2013 and it was awesome!

Hello, rainbow friends!

As part of my summer holidays/travel shenanigans this year I went to Christopher Street Day Hamburg (or Pride for short) and I have lived to tell the tale! And show you lots of pictures, of course.

Let’s start with some stats: Hamburg is a city in Northern Germany and is known for having a big-ass harbour (one of the 20 biggest world-wide). Tourists tend to forget about Hamburg, because Berlin exists, even though it is Germany’s second biggest city as well as the biggest city in the EU that is not a capital. So yes, it does have a respectable gay scene. 😉

Another fun fact: Hamburg had a gay mayor from 2001 until 2010, Ole von Beust. He was outed in 2003 accidentally by his father, but he didn’t mind. And apparently it also didn’t harm his political career, as he was re-elected twice afterwards. He also participated in Hamburg Pride 2009!

But let’s move on to this year’s Pride, shall we?

This was actually the first proper Pride March I had ever been to! I have been to CSD Münster last year, buuut it was rather small affair, so I was pretty excited to see what a “real”, big Pride looks like. And what can I say… It was absolutely amazing! The weather was really nice (eventually), there were fantastic costumes, the music was great and people were dancing in the streets. I really don’t have much else to say, other than that I had a fantastic time and was really happy to see so many diverse, proud and politically active people.

So without further ado, why don’t you have a look at the pictures below to get a better impression? You could just scroll through them, but I also wrote some extra info in the captions and translated all the German signs and banners, so just click on the first photo to start a slideshow and learn a bit more about the event. Enjoy!

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Glasgow Pride: our top picks!

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Pride is always a fabulous day! Here are hots and nots from Glasgow Pride 2013

The top 5 hot topics of this Pride:

1. Equal Marriage: the discussion started almost two years ago now, yet it just hasn’t happened! Hurry up Mr. Salmond….

2. Russia: in light of new laws and various state endorsed (or at least ignored) atrocities Russia is featured on a number of placards to remind us that our queer struggle stretches across the world.

3. Independence: the all-round hot topic in Scotland. Both Yes Scotland and Better Together made their appearance, each presenting brighter futures for queers in Scotland.

4. Religion: whether it’s religions saying that they will accept queer members of the faith, or queers protesting religious intolerance: everyone has something to say about it!

5. Feminism: there were lots more placards displaying feminist messages this year – yay!

The top 5 ‘not for next years’:

1. Charity stalls:  I cannot see you for all the beer! In 2012 the charity stalls were right along the edge of the stage. There were dancing folk literally falling into charitable activities, and this is what I like. Next year, don’t hide them!

2. Parade: Pride is a protest. It’s here to remind everyone what we’re fighting for. Don’t call it a parade, because that makes people think of balloons and carnival queens… And makes others question the point. Which leads me onto another point…

3. Silence: or more accurately the sound of people chatting amongst themselves and I like to imagine wondering why they’re going on a really long, slow walk. The point of Pride is to be big, brave, loud: sending the clear message we’re here, we’re queer and we will not live in fear. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for poignant silences to remember those who have been victims of hate crime. But seriously the majority of the march was chitter chatter. Get your chant on!

4. Pervs: hi there I’m a person, I have thoughts and feelings and everything! You’re gawping. At my ass. No seriously, your mouth is open. Leave me alone. Now, my fellow queers, if you like a woman go up and chat to her, don’t just creep from a distance, it makes everyone really uncomfortable.

5. Queens of Pop in AXM: just gross.

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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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