-->

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

I have no time or patience for "activism" that attacks marginalised people

I have no time or patience for people who decide to champion a marginalised cause - even a worthy cause - by attacking another marginalised group.

I have no time or patience for people championing a marginalised group by declaring this particularly group has the worst oppression ever and other marginalised groups are less important

I have no time or patience for people championing a marginalised group by declaring the campaigns of other marginalised groups to be over, unnecessary, pointless or less important.

I have no time or patience for people championing a marginalised group by picking out another marginalised group or people specifically to attack in the process

I have no time or patience for people championing a marginalised caused but who can't resist throwing in a dig at another marginalised group.

I have no time or patience for people who hear about a marginalised groups victories, struggles or defeats and decide to dismiss it, speak over it or other wise distract from it or put it down.

I have no time or patience for people who only mention a marginalised group to say bad things about them - even if the criticism is valid or sometimes accurate.

I have no time or patience for people who fight for marginalised causes by deciding another marginalised group has "won enough" or "got enough" (especially if that group is fighting for rights or protections the person already has).

I have no time or patience for people who appropriate marginalised causes to try and use them as weapons against another marginalised group

I have no time or patience for people who engage in bigotry while trying to call out other bigotry. If you can't fight oppression without engaging in oppression then you're doing something badly wrong


If the only way you can champion marginalised people or marginalised issues is by throwing shit at other marginalised people and marginalised issues then you are failing at activism. Equality is never going to be achieved by throwing rocks at people who are also struggling. Nor does claiming to be fighting for equality disguise your not very subtle bigotry.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Teachable Moments

I’m breaking my annoying silence (so much to do, so little time) because something has annoyed me. Actually it’s a string of people annoying me the same way; that perennial call that we need to be nicer to bigoted straight people who do and say bigoted things and really aren’t we great big meanies for daring to judge people for using slurs or avoiding or telling off these bigots when they show their bigoted arses in all their scabby, bigoted glory.

Above all, I’m tired of the dreaded “teachable moment.” I’m tired of when yet another person decides to yell “f@ggot” in whatever media is open to them, it’s demanded that we nicely teach the bigot why that’s not a nice thing to do. I’m tired of being expected to look on a long screed on why I don’t deserve the same rights as anyone else as some kind of opportunity to educate rather than the vicious attack it is. I’m tired of seeing yet another attack against us and being expected to be SYMPATHETIC to the bigot who just trampled all over us.

Because of fucking TEACHABLE MOMENTS.

So let’s talk teachable moments. Mainly let’s talk about how I have absolutely no inclination to take advantage of “teachable moments” provided every time some straight person marauds around with little or no regard for us YET AGAIN.

That’s not to say I don’t want straight people to LEARN a whole lot of things. But teaching can’t happen without willingness to learn – and if there is a willingness to learn then I and a gazillion other LGBTQ people out there have written blogs, books, articles, videos and just about every damn resource possible for straight people to ACTUALLY want to learn. They don’t need “teachable moments”, they need to respect us enough to put some damn effort in.

The problem is not, as the apologist always cry whenever a bigot does anything, IGNORANCE; the problem is RESPECT

It is not having RESPECT enough for us to care whether their words and actions hurt us

It is not having RESPECT enough for us to consider the consequences of what they do or say

It is not having RESPECT enough to learn about us before presuming to insert themselves in our lives and our issues.

It is not having RESPECT enough to recognise that we are the experts in our own lives and when we say something is so, then is it so.

Because of this, the only “teachable moments” I want to have with straight people are:

1)      Don’t say/do bigoted, dehumanising and disrespectful things
2)      Don’t involve themselves in or claim opinions on or cast judgement on community issues that have absolutely nothing to do with them.

That’s it. Because those are basic milestones of respect: not doing harmful things and not arrogantly and paternalistically assuming expertise in someone else’s life.  And I’ve found the most simple “teachable moments” for his is to either shun transgressors or make your anger known in most clear and adamant terms.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Broken Rainbows in Risk of Closure

Hammersmith and Fulham Council are considering closing their only shelter for domestic violence victims who are gay and bisexual men. This will leave gay and bisexual male victims of domestic violence in the borough forced to travel considerable distance

This is terrible, homophobia and shows how low we stand in the Council’s priority list.

HOWEVER, what is more terrible is the fact that Hammersmith and Fulham have (had) even one shelter for gay and bi men means they are actually far far far more concerned about gay and bisexual men needing shelter than every other London council. This shelter is the only shelter for gay and bisexual male victims of domestic violence in London.

The only one in the entire capital. 13,000,000 people live in the greater London metropolitan area and there is (was) one shelter. And at that it is better served than much of the rest of the country (there’s certainly no such shelter near me).

Stonewall Housing also notes there is no commitment for government funds to any kind of LGBT housing or shelter across the UK – domestic violence only makes us more vulnerable to homelessness – and we’re already grossly over-represented in the homeless population.  But, hey, the Salvation Army still gets funding so straight folks will be fine.

In addition, the LGBTQ domestic abuse charity Broken Rainbows is also facing closure after failing to gain government funding. There are not enough words in the world to describe how vital Broken rainbows is; when you are LGBTQ and face domestic abuse there are next to no services – and services that are there for domestic abuse victims are ignorant, prejudiced or incapable of helping us – or outright unable to understand that we exist (certainly not as more than an after thought).

Broken Rainbows is one of the very few sources of support out there, one of the very few organisations that knows about the paucity of services – and their reduction – and how utterly isolated and lacking in any options LGBTQ victims of domestic violence can be. They can perform small miracles against a backdrop of absolutely nothing.

It is essential that we do what we can to keep Broken Rainbows open. If you can, please help.


We cannot rely on straight government funding or straight charities, we know this. Nor can we rely on straight domestic violence charities to be remotely capable of helping us – let alone willing to do so. We need Broken Rainbows, we need this organisation to be a whole lot bigger than it is, not reduced still further. It’s one of the few lifelines we have – and it’s being cut.

Monday, 29 December 2014

UKIP MP Douglas Carswell is desperately trying to avoid what his party is

Douglas Carswell, UKIP MP who defected from the Tories seems to be finding his new home somewhat… uncomfortable. He’d quite like it if his new party could just stop spouting ridiculous racist, homophobic and misogynist bullshit; you can understand his plea since barely a week passes without yet another UKIP candidate spouting some really extreme, disgusting bullshit.  And every single time it happens a huge screed of their membership – AND leadership (including the vile troll, Farage) stomps out to defend it.

He wants UKIP to instead have “an optimistic, internationalist and inclusive agenda for the whole country.”

To which I ask – Mr Carswell, can you possibly be this clueless as to the nature of your own party?

It quite simply cannot have an “optimistic, internationalist and inclusive agenda” because the foundation nature of this party is the very opposite of that. UKIP was created without any kind of exclusive agenda – UKIP was created as a REJECTION. Rejection of Europe. Rejection of Immigrants. Rejection of POC, Rejection of LGBT people. The backbone of this party is one of rejection – it is one of scapegoating

It cannot be optimistic, internationalist or inclusive because it’s defined by what it hates, by what it rejects by what (and who) it blames for everything. Someone tell me what UKIP’s manifesto is BEYOND hating minorities, immigrants and Europe? Because UKIP certainly don’t talk about it (and if you go digging for it you find some truly terrifying things). They don’t talk about it because it’s not relevant to the party and not what the party about – the party is all about who they hate.

And, yes, that is its appeal

Let’s not pretend this doesn’t work and hasn’t happened before. Look at the US Republican’s “southern strategy” and “guns gods and gays”. Look at the rise of fascism. You can look around the world and see a gazillion examples – one of the easiest ways to rise to power without any kind of positive message is to pick a scapegoat and hammer it with hatred. Minorities are good targets, as are foreign powers, or nebulous, ill-defined threats. Fear and anger, hatred and blame have always been the keys to power, especially in hard times: it is far EASIER to pretend that all our problems are the fault of immigrants or gays or women or POC than it is to admit that the system has some major flaws. Especially among a cis, straight, white male population that finds it easier to revel in prejudice rather than confront their actual privilege.

Let’s face it, there’s a hugely significant chunk of the population who are ragingly pissed that they can’t “bash queers, or slag off the darkies, or tell them uppity tarts to get back in the kitchen” and an equally huge number who loathe those “frogs/krauts/dagos/whatever”. That is what UKIP appeals to – a world where such language is ok, where such attitudes are excused and whether the minorities are just being “sensitive” or “PC” when we object to such dehumanisation. And that is why their candidates continue to spout the same vile trash and why the leadership cannot sweepingly condemn it or stop it.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A Not-Always-Happy Holidays

The holiday season is always stressful, but I think for a lot of LGBT people it has a greater chance of being full of badness or being full of more badness. It occurred to me over the weekend when several friends and I ran round to another LGBT friend’s house as an emergency “it’s not all shit” party to remind him he had family, even if not in the conventional way

The thing is, we were ready or expected it. Not necessarily for him – but for one or more of us; because this time of year hurts all of my LGBT friends, every last one – and some of us it hurts very badly. No-one made any plans, we didn’t sit down and draw up battle plans or charts or anything else (and I plan EVERYTHING) but we fully expect one of more of us will break every season, and several of us will crack – ‘tis the season for having one another’s backs and being ready to pick up the pieces

It’s fraught for several reasons

There’s family. Family you can’t be with because their hatred won’t allow it. Family you HAVE to be with despite their hatred making the turkey feel like acid on your nerves. Extended family who are more vicious than a rabid wolverine will suddenly be at unpleasant mauling range. Many couples are forced to split up for the holiday because their families won’t tolerate a partner – or because they have to closet for safety and can’t even admit to having a partner.

Family is far too often our greatest enemy. Many tongues will be bitten through before we can finally break free of them

Then there’s a whole lot more overt religiosity, Christianity will be blared at us from all angles – and people who spend much of the rest of the year telling everyone who we’re inhuman dirty monsters that should be shunned and persecuted will be given a high profile. Sometimes they won’t even pause in their vitriol and their joyous Christmas messages of peace and goodwill for all will come with a heavy “except LGBT people” disclaimer. Wall to wall broadcasting of a religion which loathes every breath we take is mind numbingly awful for many of us. And people will, of course, take great pleasure in telling us how very important this religion is to us all.

As a bonus, Christmas programming is generally even more heteronormative than the rest of the year (which is saying something).

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Civil Partnership Conversion

It's now legal, it can now happen.

We haven't planned on a date to do it - we were tempted to make sure we got in asap, but it felt like jinxing it - like if we made plans then we were just asking the powers that be to knock us back. Planning seemed too hopeful and I'm leery of hope

But it's here, the law has changed, it is in reach and we have so many decisions to make - on when and exactly what we will do to commemorate this - whether to go full on ceremony (and if so, does that remove the ceremony we had? Do we have two? Which one should we count for any kind of officialdom? All these little questions and poking we have to work through caused by the confusion of the broken laws)

The law has change and it's going to happen - and I don't think that will sink in until I have the paperwork in hand.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Bigger labels are needed

*After some commotion*

Beloved: *hurrying in* what happened?

Sparky: Nothing... *irritated voice*

Beloved: yeah... loud swearing in the bathroom is generally bad

Sparky: I'm shaving.

Beloved: *checks the scene* hey, this foaming bleach bathroom cleaner tin is the same size as your shave foam tin!

Sparky: I noticed...

Beloved: I bet that's an awful thing to smear on your face.

Sparky:... yes...


Of course, Beloved is smug because he thinks this proves him right about my not wearing my glasses when I shave (hot water = steam = useless glasses ANYWAY and I don't wear sideburns so shaving the sides of my face while wearing glasses is impossible and annoying). Though his previous arguments were that I would cut my throat which would a) be an impressive feat even as my razor seems to grow an extra blade every time I blink and b) means Beloved apparently doesn't know where his face is unless he can see it in a mirror. Of course, this may be due to his inexperience of actually SHAVING since you can hardly call the removal of patchy, downy fuzz "shaving", right?

Personally I think this is proof of the chaos Beloved causes when he creatively hides things (which he calls "putting things away")

Clearly I am right.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

A very unwise post

Let's put a trigger warning for rape on this one

I shouldn’t be making this post, the chances of me not regretting it in the morning is slim to non-existent – but I’m making it because I’m cresting a vast wave of rage that needs venting as a way to delay/help/avert/deal with the brain crash that is looming in my thoughts right now. I’ve also had a couple of drinks, yes it’s before 1:00pm, yes I know that’s not good. No, it’s not a great coping mechanism. I thought I was doing well, it has been so long since a major incident – not every day was perfect, but I had a handle on it and then one thing and all the flimsy walls come down.

There has been a few trainwrecks of articles about Shia LaBeouf and being raped during the performance art piece he did and my gods has the response been pretty terrible and has danced on my triggers and bad memories to put me in a special kind of hell.

There has been a lot of the really toxic shit - I think a special prize goes to the “he’s a grown-ass man, how can he be raped!?” comments because, yeah, thanks for that. Let me go back in time and see if yelling “I’m a grown-ass man” makes me magically unrapeable. But bonus points for the “a man can’t be hard during rape” from people who apparently do not have penises.

There’s also a huge number of people – people who just last week were saying that this line of reasoning was utter bullshit that should be called out and shamed – are questioning whether Shia resisted enough/appropriately/whatever for it to be “really rape”. Normally I know the places and people to avoid during shit like this but turns out a lot of arseholes can flip their script awfully quickly.