Tag Archives: Scotland

A pie, a pint, and a large dose of bigotry

March for EM

So we have finally got a date for the first same-sex weddings – Hogmanay 2014! For me it had been a long time coming and my journey only, but for some of the people involved in the campaign it had been a whole lifetime. Just a week previous on Friday 10th October I woke up to see that whilst I had been sleeping the first UKIP MP elected to parliament (I am never sleeping again).

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Love Substitutes

This week we interviewed the fabulous Kirsty Logan about her book ‘The Rental Heart’, her experiences being a queer author writing queer stories, and what the road to success looks like, sharing some top-tips for early-career publishing!

Kirsty Logan Mirror

Photo cedit: Monkeytwizzle

Me: So Kirsty, you’re a published author, which is awesome!

Could you tell us a little bit about your journey to this point: how you got here, how you got started, and how you became successfully published?

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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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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: CAITY

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?

My name is Caity, or Caitlyn if you met me online before in the real world. I’m 22 in 2013 and I was born and raised predominantly in Australia, but am not very good at sitting still.

Why did you get involved in The Gay Agenda?

I got involved as I’m an avid blogger and love communicating with people through this medium. I thought my sexuality would be a new angle for my blogging, as my primary blog is about law and politics over at Stateless Diplomat. Plus, I hope I can add these angles in here.

What do you write about?

Law, politics and bisexuality. All of these are central to me 🙂

What do you do in real life?

I’m studying a joint honours MA in Law and International Relations, drinking f**k loads of tea and travelling.

Why is Pride important to you?

Pride as in the idea, not the event, is important to me because as someone whose sexuality can be easily erased or halved it’s something that keeps me sane, and gives me a feeling of belonging with the whole proud community. My pride keeps me secure in who I am, and is something I can share with my LGBT+ friends in a kind of mutually-refueling sort of way. I also think Pride as a protest is still hugely important to our social development, and a great experience for those who love it.

I’ve never been to a Pride parade, as I’m not one for loud street events. They scare me a little.

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

Purple and Proud

What’s your Pride soundtrack?

Spice up your Life – The Spice Girls

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of the little toe I have out of the closet, and all the anxiety and fear I’ve overcome to get the support I have. I’m proud of the UK moving forward on equality, and of Scotland leading the way.

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The Gay Agenda is Proud: Sarah

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

My name is Sarah, I’m 24 soon to turn 25 and I’m half French half English.

Why did you get involved in The Gay Agenda?

I got involved in The Gay Agenda because I was taken in by the idea of putting forward LGBT women-focused topics without necessarily having to be heavily involved in things like politics. I think The Gay Agenda is a fab way to share everyday thoughts and ideas with women that I more closely identify with.

What do you write about?

I’m in charge of the style & beauty column, there’ll be posts on fashion, tried & tested beauty products, lifestyle chats etc.

What do you do in real life?

In real life I’m a spa and beauty therapist.

Gay OK

Photo by Charlotte Bakken: http://bit.ly/13Ysh8M

Why is Pride important to you?

Ironically pride wasn’t much of a big deal for me until last year. In actual fact I’d never attended one and wasn’t bothered about doing so, I’m even slightly ashamed to say that given the chance to go I would’ve most likely said no because the whole concept cringed me out slightly. But then I met my current girlfriend who loved going -more for the meeting up with mates and the drinks part to be fair but still- she took me along and it was actually a really good laugh! The atmosphere with the music and all the colours is like a mini rio carnival and it wasn’t half as ‘tacky’ ad I thought it’d be! Following on from that I went all out -no pun intended- and went on to do a video for Scotland’s equal marriage campaign. I guess as I get older I appreciate the efforts and steps necessary for the welfare and rights of LGBT people, of which I belong to, so I can’t leave everyone else to do all the work for me!

What is your best and worst part of pride? 

The worst part of pride is probably the sometimes questionable taste in fancy dress. The best part is definitely the sense of belonging and unity and of purse the night out!

What’s your must-have item for Pride?

My must have item for pride would be those coloured bead necklaces.

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

If I had a placard for pride it would say GAY IS OK!

What’s you Pride soundtrack?

My pride track would be a pitbull remix-don’t judge me 

Best ever Pride you’ve been to?

Well my best ever has to be my only one -edinburgh- but I’m positive that will get topped up soon!

What are you proud of?

What am I proud of? I’ve got a couple things that jump up at me: my spa & beauty therapy diploma and the things my girlfriend Leo’s achieved after some seriously rough times and finally on a more light hearted note I’m pretty pleased with myself that even while holidaying in St Pete, Russia, I managed to find the only gay club in the city! Complete with a dark room and their very own -absolutely stunning- drag queen. It’s completely irrelevant that it took about 30mins and 3 wrong addresses to get to it…

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Hens Tae Watch Oot Fur

On the 10th of August the third issue of “Hens Tae Watch Oot Fur” will be available at Pride Glasgow. “Hens Tae Watch Oot Fur” is a Glasgow based, queer feminist zine project run by Glasgow Women’s Library in collaboration with LGBT Youth Scotland. It was originally set up to give young LGBTQ women a voice, to connect with the past and to record the lives and thoughts of young queer feminist women today.

The themes for issue three are pride and activism to match the Badges of Honour project which is going on just now at the Glasgow Women’s Library. The library’s project aims to show women wearing badges, showing their activism,and how they have changed the world. There has been a number of interviews carried out in the Badges of Honour project and the creators of the zine wanted to try and incorporate this into issue three. Therefore interviews asking people about their activism and experiences at pride events will be featured in the zine.

Another feature of issue three is badges. Alongside your copy of the zine you can also get specially made “Hens Tae Watch Oot Fur” badges. Badges are a fantastic way to show your pride for the things you’re passionate about to the world and look fantastic at the same time. “Hens Tae Watch Oot Fur” is trying to encourage people to be out and proud about the different types of activism they are involved in and causes they feel strongly about.

For further information about “Hens Tae Watch Oot Fur” and possible ways to get involved in the future visit: https://www.facebook.com/HensTaeWatchOotFur?fref=ts

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Lesbian Misogyny

So same-sex marriage has just been granted in England and Wales and hopefully Scotland will be soon to follow. I know that the bill is far from perfect and there are a lot of improvements which could have been made here, but that’s a subject for another blog. In light of this turn of events, I think it’s appropriate to congratulate everyone who has been involved in making this important piece of history possible. Especially the many strong, amazing and inspiring queer women, who have been tirelessly campaigning to make marriage equality a reality. After all, we are one big united community… gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer and trans* women. However we wish to identify ourselves, we all stand together, supporting each other in the face of discrimination we experience in our everyday lives. We are welcoming and accepting. We don’t belittle or judge each other, and we embrace and celebrate the things that make us different… right?

Wrong!

You only have to look at Diva magazine’s blog, Everyday Lesbophobia (http://everydaylesbo.com/) for a plethora of examples of women being harassed in the street, jeered and intimidated for daring to express who they are. If you want to depress yourself even further, check out the twitter page @EverydayLesboph. However, the even more worrying fact that has come to my attention recently, is that some of the ugliest examples of persecution and discrimination come from within our own community. Yes folks, the ugly truth is that in reality, lesbians can be misogynists too! Recently I’ve heard so many disturbing stories from friends and acquaintances that it’s really starting to make feel sick! Over the last few days, I’ve been asking women to share their stories and experiences with me, and here are the results.

Across the board, the most common example was of women being verbally harassed by nightclub door staff and other lesbians for “not looking gay enough!”  I know that society likes to perpetuate a certain stereotype that we are all big giant hairy man-haters who dress like blokes and swig beer (and for those of us who do fit that stereotype, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it), but excuse me for being naive in thinking that our community was a bit more open minded than the rest of the general public.

Two friends shared similar stories from living in different cities (London and Manchester) with supposedly large, vibrant and diverse LGBT scenes. Groups of more feminine looking women being refused entry to a gay bar and being subject to comments from the bouncers such as “are you lost?” “Do you know that this is a gay bar?” “You’ll be eaten alive in there,” and “We don’t do hen parties” (I know… what the fuck?!?) among some of the particularly lovely ones. On both occasions, the groups were only allowed entry to the venues when a “gayer” e.g. butcher looking friend/girlfriend appeared to question where their friends had disappeared to. Some examples I heard were just plain ridiculous e.g. you’re not a “proper lesbian” if you’ve never seen the L word. Even more bizarre in my opinion, “I once dated a woman who always introduced me to her friends as straight – because I didn’t look gay!”

Then there are the more sinister examples. One quote I received disturbed me even more…

“I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been verbally abused for not looking gay enough… then there was the time I was punched in the face.”

This type of behaviour is degrading, wholly unacceptable and disgusting!

Am I misunderstanding the point of open and friendly LGBT inclusive spaces? I didn’t realise that femmes were second class citizens who need to be chaperoned by a butch daddy in order to enjoy a night out on the town… as a lady slightly on the butcher side, I don’t experience this problem, but I still find it incredibly offensive. This opinion feeds into the idea that two feminine women who are part of a couple aren’t “real” lesbians; that they are teasing, only there to be ogled for the pleasure and titillation of men. This therefore gives men the right to harass them, make inappropriate comments and ask if they can “join in.” Reading many of the comments on Everyday Lesbophobia, it would appear that many of us have come to expect this sort behaviour from men when out in public. However, I find it sad, confusing and even more surprising to learn that such ignorance can sometimes be perpetuated by other women. This type of prejudice is experienced by some women in our community to a greater extent than others – in particular, those who identify as bisexual or pansexual.

femme invisibility can fuck off

Those who identify into these groups have told me that they are often eyed with suspicion from within the community, and as such find it difficult to fit in. These women are often not taken seriously as it’s assumed that they are only “out for a fling” because “being straight has got a bit boring this week.” A few women told me that women they speak to on the scene think they must be in the closet, since “all bisexuals are just afraid to come out,” either that, or they’re all just “in denial.”

One of the most striking examples comes from a good friend of mine, who brought her boyfriend along to an equal marriage campaign event. “How can you fight for what you’re fighting for when you have a boyfriend?” she was asked by a complete stranger. A complete stranger who knows nothing about her circumstances and experiences, and who really has absolutely no right to make comment. I mean, why would a woman with a boyfriend want to campaign for equal marriage? Aside from the fact that she might think it’s the right thing to do, what does it matter if she happens to be with a man and happens to have the right to choose if she wants to marry him. However if she equally happened to be with a woman, that right would be denied to them. Why should something as trivial as gender have such a massive impact on the outcome of a person’s relationship, especially when gender doesn’t matter in that person’s heart?

Coming out as L,G,B,T, Queer etc. is not the same experience for everyone. However, many of us find it frightening and intimidating, especially with the prospect that we might be rejected by those closest to us. As a 25 year-old that came out at aged 13, a lot of that process seems like a distant memory, but I still remember the first time I went to a gay bar. I was underage, it was during the day and there were a grand total of about 8 people in there – most of them middle aged men. Regardless, I still remember it to be one of the most frightening and intimidating experiences of my teenage years. I’m now trying to imagine how frightening and traumatic this experience might have been, was I a young feminine lesbian, barely out of the closet, going for my first night out in a lesbian bar… only to be heckled at the door and told I wasn’t allowed to come in because I didn’t “look the right way.” After all, many of us want to experience that feeling that we belong somewhere, be it in our families, homes, friendship circles and wider communities. However most of us have a greater expectation of finding that sense of belonging among our LGBT communities.

Speaking of LGBT spaces not being inclusive, I (perhaps controversially) think that this should also apply to straight people. Yes, I live in lesbo land, but many of my nearest and dearest do not. However, if for example it happens to be my birthday, and I want to go out and celebrate in a gay bar… how dare my straight best friends want to come along and celebrate with me? Naturally, depending on the door staff, they are not always welcome.

Maybe this big happy queer bubble only exists in my head, where everything is a bit like pride. Everyone is happy and smiley, there’s lots of glitter and everyone looks fabulous and embraces each other. Why can’t we be more inclusive and welcoming of everyone who wants to be associated with our community? Why can’t we welcome each other with open arms? When we experience such persecution and discrimination from the wider world, why do we feel the need to propagate it among ourselves? This is particularly important for the younger members of our community who might not yet feel so certain about how to define their sexuality or gender identify.

None of us are the same, but our differences are something that I think we should be celebrating! We need to look past all the labels and remember all the things which we do have in common. It doesn’t matter if you’re straight, gay, lesbian, bi, pan, trans*, queer, asexual or any other minority identity. We all have a slightly different experience to bring to the table and we all know something about experiencing prejudice –especially if you are a woman. We should be working together to tackle homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, queerphobia, lesbophobia sexism and misogyny – not excluding each other on the basis of meaningless labels.  Inside, we are all strong and fabulous – isn’t that enough?

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