Friday, 29 April 2011

Needs more booze

So someone has informed me that literally millions of people have watched some portion of the Royal Wedding coverage on television today.

Frankly I'm surprised it's so few. Anyone who has turned on a television anywhere in the UK today has seen some part of the damn coverage. It's on every freaking channel, wall to wall coverage.

The History Channel probably has s long expose of royal weddings

Animal Planet probably has David Attenborough trying to figure out what creatures are living in the various guests' hats

Crime and Investigation is probably examining whatever foul crime they did to Prince Phillip to make sure he didn't say anything grossly inappropriate

Gods the damn SPORTS channels probably have pictures of leeping wedding guests high jumping for the bouquet

Thursday, 28 April 2011

I'll not be watching the Royal Wedding

Probably my first and last words on this interminable subject. Honestly, it's enough to make one become republican (uh... that's republican in a British context not in a US context. If I ever support the US Republican party, you know I have been kidnapped and a freaky doppleganger has stolen my computer)

I am not a Royal watcher. I don't particularly give a damn about the royals one way or the other. And that counts both ways – I don't give a damn about their happy-dappy shiny moments and I don't give a damn about their disgraces or scandals. The only thing more boring than the random lives of the royals are the random lives of various Big Brother contestants and Katie bloody Price. Sadly, the media seems to believe I should care about all of these subjects to eye-achingly awful degree.

So, I was bored of all the hype about 5 seconds after it was announced and bemused by the people squeeing in abject glee. I'm not excited and I'm amazed at the number of people who seem to think I should be.

I'll not be watching the Royal Wedding or any of the incessant coverage of it and not just because I'd rather sit in front of Beloved's fish tank (which, as predicted, he has completely lost interest in. But I digress) and watch the pretty fishes swim around in circles for several hours instead. No, I won't be watching the festivities not just because I don't think I will ever be that bored, but also because the last thing I need is to see a country-wide het-fest to emphasise just how Other I am.

Because that's what marriages always say to me. Whenever I'm invited to one or see one or flick past one of those truly awful “Bridezilla crushes party guests” television programmes. See, I say I'm married, I refer to my marriage and I get tetchy when people deny my marriage. Except, of course, legally they're right (as they loooove to tell me). Legally, I'm not married. Marriage is too special for the likes of me. Marriage needs to be protected from me.

Whether or not I could have this is being debated and fought over – it's a battle we constantly have to fight to push and preserve. There are actually talks of official enquiries needed to see whether I am good enough to sully this precious straight state. There are organisations built entirely to prevent me and mine getting married. Huge world religions lose their shit at the idea of my getting married.

And we're told that “it doesn't matter” and “it's not important” which is wonderful to hear when you see the whole damn country and substantial portions of the rest of the world jumping for glee over the marriage of 2 complete strangers. Not important? You don't act like it's not important. The media's obsession doesn't act like its not important. Watchers from around the world don't act like it's not important. The forces trying to STOP us getting married don't act like it's not important. Millions of brides and grooms around the country don't act like it's not important.

And of course, this whole grand shiny event could not happen if William were gay and Kate Middleton were Pete Middleton, as Renee has pointed out.

In fact, several of the guests to this glorious het-fest are leaders of nations that kill GBLT people for daring to exist (something that we'd normally call genocide, but that never seems to apply to us) so I'm pretty sure these honoured guests there to witness the glory of heterosexual love would not be there if it were same-sex love on display.

And of course the ceremony is being presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury – a man whose church has fought tooth and nail against our rights and battle for equality in this country. Even now he is releasing trite little films about the “hopefulness” and “generosity” or marriage. But only if you're straight, right Rowan?

Do I sound bitter? Probably. I don't pretend not to be. I've had to fight tooth and nail to get my relationship tolerate and don't think acceptance will come in my lifetime. To see a grand ol' hetfest consume the country (and beyond) and be told I should be interested? To be told I should be gleeful and excited about it? That I should be happy and shiny about the wonderful thing that I can't have, I don't deserve and that I would sully if I had it? No, that burns that does

So enjoy the wedding, I'm going to concentrate on watching them fishies. Watching them swim in their iridescent circles and vaguely wondering whether they'd be nice pan-fried sounds like much more fun than worshipping at the altar of het-ness – and all the stuff I can't have and don't deserve.

Or I may make it into a drinking game. Which is also of the good.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Lil B's "I'm Gay" Album. Am I supposed to be happy about this?

Ok, we have a complicated one here.

Rapper Lil B has released an album entitled "I'm Gay" to show his support for the GBLT community


Look, ok I love positive messages. I love any and all attempts to combat homophobia. I love that he's happy to go out there stand up and fight this. I love that he's willing to be on our side and work to be an ally

But a straight guy deciding to release an album entitled "I'm Gay"? Really man?

He wants to push for less seperation - yeah, but appropriating our labels? No, really not a good method. Less seperation would be great push for equality, not giving the idea you're one of us when you're not.

And you know what? Saying those words "I'm Gay" for us is called "coming out." It is often the most terrifying, most powerful, most momentous moments of our lives - and the most risky. It's often a life-changing moment for us - both good and bad. It's something that takes incredible courage and something that can risk losing employment, friendship, home, family bodily integrity and even life and limb. And you're using it to market your album? You're using it as a cover title?

You do not - cannot - understand that experience or what that means. You do not get to play with it or use it so.

Call out homophobia, write songs and have performances praising and showcasing acceptance and diversity - but don't decide to announce "I'm Gay" as a way to show how much you love us, because I'm side-eyeing this something fierce. You don't announce your allydom by claiming the label of the marginalised people you're allying with.

I love the sentiment, but I am all kinds of not happy with the implementation. Straight men are not gay, do not know what it's like to be gay, do not get to claim the label of gay and do not get to market their product as gay without it being appropriative and causing my head to throb. Lil B, I appreciate your desire to be an ally and to stand with us - but you're not gay and your use of the phrase "I'm Gay" is problematic

And on the death threats - yes that's all kinds of shit. But at the same time - the horrors of straight people facing life where people think they're gay? Hmmmmm, you get to turn round, change the name of your album or name the next one "how much I only shag women" and you're clear.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Bad news round up - the violence

Sadly the consequences of all of the former is always the violence.

In a Baltimore McDonalds, a transwoman was attacked and beaten – and spectators VIDEOED it rather than actually helping. She speaks out on her experience here, as well as about transphobia in general There is so much horror in the violence that is so common against GBLT people – but it emphasises it beyond reason when we see how much of it is tolerated by society – and spectators.

In Texas, a man shot and killed his daughter's girlfriend and her mother

In Maine, a man has been arrested for an anti-gay attack on someone because they were from San Francisco

In South Carolina, a gay teen was attacked by a mob of homophobes who put him in hospital

In San Francisco, a transwoman was attacked by 2 men in a brutal hate crime

In Indiana, a man has been found guilty of murder in the killing of a gay professor

In Leicester, a gay man was brutally attacked by a gang wielding bats after being lured into a meeting

In London, a teen has been charged with stabbing a gay man in Camden

Also in London, a gay man was assaulted and beaten in central London in a brutal attack that fractured his skull

Yet again in London, a gay man was attacked by 3 men on Clapham common, leaving him with various head injuries

In Surrey, police are still appealing for witnesses for information about the brutal murder of a gay man in his home

A 15 year old schoolboy from Gloucester has apparently committed suicide amid rumours that he was gay. No words, just more sadness.

In Ohio, 8 horses are dead after the barn they were in was burned down by homophobic arsonists who left anti-gay slurs in their wake

Bad Bews Round Up

It's another bad news round up of bigotry and hate

I think it's important to put these together because often times when we see these incidents, we see them in isolation. It's important to gather then together so we can see not just the individual incidents, but the trends, the repetition, the same shit happening over and over again in place after place after place. The pattern, prevalence and repetition is important, especially in a world that dismisses prejudice constantly.

I begin with Hate speech because it is the foundation on which so much hatred is built. Hatred does not occur in a vacuum. Hatred does not happen in isolation – it happens because innumerable people encourage it and tolerate it by their hateful words and dehumanising speech

Poala Concia, openly lesbian Italian member of parliament was heckled by a homophobe yelling “Fucking Lesbians, they should have sent you to the ovens.” Any commentary I make is redundant.

Do you know what you need if your son is gay? Booze, apparently, according to Cachaca Magnifica. Yes, gay children will drive you to drink. Because we all need the idea that gay children are such a terrible terrible burden on a parent, don't we?

A painting by Gauguin in DC's national gallery was attacked by a woman who objected to it's “evil” homosexuality

A gay bar in Fresno has been vandalised with anti-gay slurs

And in bigotry that keeps on coming back, Italian Professor Roberto De Mattei has declared that homosexuality caused the downfall of Rome now, I'm not even a historian but even I know that in its latter years Rome converted to Christianity – should we blame the religion?

An openly gay council candidate in Florida has had his campaign posters vandalised with anti-gay slurs

In what is rapidly becoming a theme, gay kissing is again found to be obscene this time a gay couple in New York were kicked out of a taxi for kissing

Homophobia in Sport has been a topic for a while now, as one of the main bastions of unapologetic heterosexism is being increasingly pressed to own it's homophobia and deal with it. This is vital – sportsmen are powerful role models and sports themselves consume vast amounts of our culture, media and attention. To have so large a part of society so homophobic is a major problem that needs addressing.

WWE has made a pact with GLAAD. Along with many sports they have made a pretty speech about not tolerating homophobia any more. Within a week they're using “faggot” as an insult again. A week? You couldn't at least last a month?

2 sportsmen in Toronto hold hands and there is a shitstorm of horror and mockery, ZOMG TWO MEN TOUCHED ye gods grow up.

Kobe Bryant has a little temper tantrum and calls the ref a “fucking fag”. There follows a non-pology and a legion of fans saying how not homophobic homophobic slurs are Oh yes and more and more defence of homophobia. Joy

Sadly, no round up of bigotry would be complete without mentioning the devastating hatred brought from organised Religion. Religion is one of the world's ultimate forces and ultimate authorities. More than anything else, religion is a force that says “this is good, this is right, this is moral.” And, sadly, what it is often said is that we are lesser, that we are not worthy of rights and that it is moral to hate us.

The Catholic church is business as usual – they are the persecuted ones because *gasp* people are being so mean to them about being utter and total homophobic bigots! How could we! All they want to do is dehumanise us, strip us of our rights and make us objects to revile!

And New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan wants us to know that same-sex marriage is totally like marrying your mother. Another incest comparison. *yawn* update your script, homophobes, that's been done

A collection of Catholic bishops are outraged that HUD may oppose discrimination against GBLT people in housing. Because the moral course would be to make gay people homeless – that's what god would want, right? They're not even pretending to be decent people any more

Phil Donahue also raised his trollish head, still playing defender for paedophiles and has taken out another advert blaming the catholic child abuse scandal on, yes, the gays. Again he keeps trying and it never gets less offensive or pathetic.

Bishop Harry Jackson thinks gay marriage is a satanic plot. Satanic? Really? Don't hold back man, let that bigotry floooow.

Pastor Ken Hutchinson thinks gay marriage and DOMA is baaad baaad wrong. I'm not sure of the details beyond “I'm a screaming bigot” because he doesn't make a lot of sense. And, really, all these haters come down to “I'm a screaming bigot” in the end.

Wonderful religious hater, Wanda Rolon, protested Ricky Martin's tour in Puerto Rico because he is Hell's Ambassador! Hey, Ricky, can I see your credentials? And if they check out, can we discuss creative uses of that diplomatic immunity?

Speaking of religious haters with only the most tenuous grasp of reality – Cindy Jacobs knows who to blame for the Japanese Tsnuami. Yep, it's god's punishment for the gays again. I wonder how this woman gets through life. She wakes up and steps on a hairbrush? Damn those gays. Runs out of milk for her morning coffee? Those gays are at it again! Her car won't start – the gays done it!

Law enforcement is something that cannot be ignored. When we are attacked and abused we rely on these people to be a dubious shield – but all too often we simply cannot trust them

Illinois Sheriff Don Schieferdecker is in hot water after referring to his colleague as “little fag jewboy” Showing that not only is he a multiple bigot, but also that he's way way way too stupid to carry a gun.

In Mississippi, a prison guard has got his job back, thankfully, after being fired for being gay

In Glasgow a lesbian PC Has thankfully won her case for discrimination against her sergeant who was merrily happy with hate speech, slurs and demeaning her relationship

And last, but by no means least, we have the Law and Politics like religion, politics provides authority and legitimacy for hatred – they make hatred acceptable and good and decent. And worse, they substantially change the very protections and rights we need to survive in a deeply homophobic world.

Hungary's new draft constitution explicitly bans same-sex marriage and enshrines homophobia. It always saddens me that people hold hatred for us so highly that they have to elevate it to the very core of their laws and the very pinnacle of their legal system. That's some powerful hatred.

In Malaysia, authorities have sent 66 boys to a “gay cure camp” Ye gods I fear for those boys, I fear for what will be done to them and how damaged they will be.

Mississippi governor Haley Barbour is still worried about DADT repeal – after all gay soldiers are going to spend far too much time wanting to have sex with the other soldiers to fight effectively. Because, y'know, risking my life in the middle of a firefight totally makes me horny and you just know those games are going to call war time outs for make outs! If this fox-hole's a-rocking...

The Indiana Senate has voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions Nothing to say – bigotry given legal authority again.

Meanwhile Montana is is desperately clinging to a bill that makes gay sex illegal. Despite Lawrence V Texas making it unenforceable they're just that attached to their hatred – or they have plans to enforce it.

The University of Toledo in Ohio fired Crystal Dixon for being a homophobic bigot. She now has a new job – working for Jackson County and City's human rights department it's almost comic.

State Rep Dan Gordon in Rhode Island is having a hissy fit about a Gay Straight Alliance. Because knowing gay people exist and are due respect is on par with naughty sexiness in school

State Rep Ken Peterson in Montana wants to imprison gay “recruiters” for 10 years> What does this even mean? What counts as “recruiting?” This law sounds comical but it's horrific when you think of what homophobes could consider “recruitment.” But then, he always ants “open displays of homosexuality” to be illegal – including kissing. And damn I wish I were making that up

In Tennessee a senate pannel has approved a bill preventing homosexuality being mentioned in schools. We did this in the UK. It was called Section 28. I don't think I can adequately describe the evil of it

In Virginia, a state board has voted against allowing gay couples to adopt

President Mugabe in Zimbabwe is still a homophobic bigot claiming that homosexuality is “filth” and “unnatural” as well as, again, claiming it to be a European thing

Sunday, 24 April 2011

*looks leerily at new series of Doctor Who* POSSIBLE SPOILERS

Ok, last series I spent the whole time saying to myself “be fair.”

Why? Because I was pre-determined to dislike the series and knew it. I started watching with a strong sense of mourning for the lack of Tennant and that isn't.

And in it's defence... Matt Smith is a great Doctor. In fact, I think he's a brilliant Doctor. The problem is that Tennant was a stupendously marvellous Doctor. It's a tough act to follow.

Add in their was a problem of disconnection for me. Changing both the Doctor and the Companion at the same time felt less like a continuing story and more like an ending and whole new story – which I didn't like.

Which brings me to the Companions. Specifically, Amy Pond. Looking back at the past we had

Donna (my favourite companion) was fierce and powerful

Martha was epic, mighty and legendary

Rose was real, tough and grounded.

Amy is... well, what is she? Dull is what she is. Dull dull dull dull. She's more of a tourist than any of the others, less of an actor, less of a driving force and separate personality. Add in her even more dull Rory (come back Mickey, all is forgiven) and they're not compelling to me – worse, they spend an inordinately huge amount of time bickering with their own personal issues. If I wanted that I'd watch a soap, not something that's supposed to push the boundaries of the fantastic. It has an almost Arthur Dent-ish feel – what happens if you drop two middle class, middle aged, middle of the road English village folk in outlandish circumstances.

So I was trying to resist... disliking it but it made it quite hard. And then there was the story... where was the fantastic, where was the wow? Even the bloody Queen (who is AWESOME) the whole series felt considerably more lacklustre, more disjointed with reversals of past canon and just less epic, less compelling (and also more straight and white, methinks. Especially in a franchise that has been a lot more varied in the past) than the past series.

I didn't hate it – but it was a let down to me. So I came to Series 6 with a mixed sense of hope and trepidation – because I want my awesome back.


Started with Rory and Pond, which is ALWAYS such a good start, then a side trip to River. I don't like River either. She's arrogant, she's dramatic without being cool with it and I've intensely disliked the moments in the past when she's tried to out-Time Lord the Time Lord or all the other niggling little annoyances like “hah I know how to drive the Tardis better than you do”. She annoys me, annoys me a lot. So learning this was a River episode as well got my grumpy face on.

And then we had the *GASP* moment. The Doctor was killed! Ok, look, your mileage may vary but I really don't like this trope (even though I've used it before, yes guilty). Killing a main character off, especially THE main character, especially THIS main character, isn't going to happen. It isn't. We know it isn't. And TV show after TV show pulls this “ZOMG WILL HE SURVIVE!” when we all know “of course he's going to survive! Get on with it.” Which means as far as tense, edge of your seat moments go, it fails. Instead we get a mildly interesting “so how's he going to resurrect” moment. Now if it were Pond or Rory or even River, then yes we could have that moment (well, except for me thinking “great, now go get Martha or Donna back”) but not with the Doctor. To make the trope even more ridiculous – it was the first episode of a new series. Cliffhanger it ain't.

This is the problem with OOC story knowledge. We KNOW that this could not end here already so... yeah it was lots of drama and tears and Amy wallowing around “nothing matters” blah blah blah that felt more like “get on with it damn it.” With an increasing creeping feeling that not only am I faced with an episode with the 3 most annoying sidekicks in the franchise, but it's an episode with these 3 and no Doctor!

Thankfully he did show up (a younger, not-dead version) so I was spared that horror (I also think the Doctor totally would invite himself to his own funeral. BUT I also think he would make sure his funeral were a gazillion times more epic than this).

On the plus side – yeah after that awful beginning it seemed to pick up. I'm especially happy to see River exasperated by the Doctor rather than the other way round (this is how it should be! Doctor CAUSES exasperation and awe because non-Time Lords Who Are Not Brilliant can't keep up with his randomness). Though her messing with the Tardis hacks me off. - but again made cool by the Doctor totally knowing she's doing it. In fact, I love how many times he scores of her this episode :) Zing after zing :) The dynamic was a thousand times better

I also quietly loved the slightly menacing tone of the Doctor when River says he has to trust her. I like this little dark windows, the little, “hey the Doctor isn't human and when you think about it, is incredibly powerful and alien” moments

The antagonists? Up there on the creepy scale. Maybe in the top 10 (Angels, Devouring Darkness in the library also get points)

So, overall? Started poorly – really poorly.

Amy remains irritating. Maybe the aliens could eat her. Nom nom boring sidekick

Rory remains relatively unnecessary but managed not to be annoying now we're past that whole “Amy, come back to me and a normal boring life in St. Mary Mead” stage. He can stay, he has a practical basic “go along with the flow” kind of thing now. I could grow to like him

River still annoys me but she can stay because the Doctor has started zinging her so perfectly that she can say too. She feels less like she's trying to BE the Doctor now. Hopefully if they keep bouncing off each other well I could grow to like her too

The Doctor? Still cool. Still not Tennant, but Matt Smith is a very good Doctor

The plot picked up, interested me and made me eager for the next instalment – good, I was worried there.

I'm also intrigued that River's “worst day” has already happened – fascinating thought really, they do do Time Travel well.

Friday, 22 April 2011

BBQ day

And there is so much meat in the house it is almost scary..... HMMMMMMMM meat!

I have 5 different marinades for chicken, I have ribs and kebabs and burgers and kebabs and sausages and kebabs and more sausages and we have pork chops and lamb steaks and kebabs and I've just put the bread dough in the oven for making burger buns and we have peppers and corn on the cob.

Oh and salad. For some reason. Oh and pickles and salad dressing and more dressing. Ah salad makes sense now.

Oh and we have kegs and bottles and glasses and mixers so enough booze to kill a large rhinoceros

So, have food, salad, booze and disapproving relatives.

Wait, disapproving relatives?

Apparently it being Good Friday, I am supposed to eat fish. It's apparently a rule. And apparently adding prawns to the BBQ does not count..

I'm not Christian and I don't think all non-Catholics (or even all Catholics) follow this anyway so I am bewildered at their need to enforce some kind of religious prohibition on my menu. The counter-argument was that it's “tradition” yeah, it's Christian tradition, not mine – and perhaps tradition because we WERE a fishing port and the reason people ate fish every Friday was because it was the end of the damn week and it was CHEAP. It was the food you ate when you were down to your last pennies – and now fish costs waaay more than the lovely animal corpses. Hmmmmm dead coo-beastie *drool*

Anyway, apparently it's bad and wrong. Pfft, the same traditions say I'm bad and wrong so I may as well eat whatever the hell I want to eat. Now pass the lovely lovely chickens, Beloved has to burn the outside and lightly warm the inside to create a perfect salmonella filling.

And it's SUNNY! Normally the weather drops rain, sleet, hail, snow and canned fish on us every time we try to BBQ.

IT IS A SIGN! My BBQ is officially approved of. So there.

(Still haven't forgiven Beloved. Even if it was on sale and didn't cost £500 but cost £280. STILL NOT OK!)

oooh boooze. See you later, well, assuming I can reach the keyboard. Booze + food poisoning suggests no.

Also, I should probably get dressed.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

And we have yet another straights-only hotel

Joining so many previous incidents of people trying to push us out and extablish straight-only pubs, clubs, hotels and facebook *eye roll* we have yet another example

A lesbian couple in Brighton are suing the Brunswick Square hotel that denied them a room and called them "rejects"

Brighton? You want to make a hotel in BRIGHTON straights-only? That's even more ridiculous and hateful than usual.

This is happening far too damn often - as in it's happening at all. The straight world of Hetlandia keeps trying to push us away and bury us as much as possible. To make us hide, to keep out the straight world (which is 99% of the world).

Here's hoping they drive this bigoted establishment into the ground. I am past sick of this crap - apart from anything else, it's happening so often I'm beginning to feel I have to save this text so I can just paste it for next time.

I'm furiously glad we have equality laws that allow us to have some come back when this happens - and deeply afraid at how disrespected and attacked those laws are, especially by the current government

The Alternate Vote referendum is coming up

And I regard the whole thing with cynical and irritated eyes. Is AV more fair than FPTP? Yes – in the same way that being dropped on your head from a distance of 20 feet is better than being dropped on your head from a distance of 30 feet. It's still not a great system with little guarantee of real fairness and as far as reform goes it's hardly groundbreaking – especially since the Lib Dems sold every principle they ever (supposedly) had to get this pathetic non-deal.

I actually think AV will sabotage any future attempts at real reform. Any future reformers looking for real reform will be faced with “but we have AV now!” or presented with a failed referendum and be told “the people don't want it.”

Nor, for that matter, am I especially enamoured of the thought of more coalition governments after this one. Politicians frequently lie, break their promises and generally treat their voters like shit but rarely do they get an opportunity to do so with impunity as when they're in coalition. Now they can throw out every awkward principle and blame the other party or the coalition. As we've seen with the Lib Dems, it's frankly astonishing, even in such a cynically corrupt sphere as politics, how little what the people voted for was kept when the election was over. I didn't consider coalitions a bad thing, actually thought they may have positive elements - the Lib Dems have massively changed my mind

I do know my parents, 3 colleagues, my brother, 2 aunts, 3 uncles and 4 cousins are all voting “no” just because they're ex-Lib Dem voters and now want nothing to do with the party again. While it won't affect my vote on AV, I can understand the sentiment. It's also not an uncommon sentiment from what I can see and I think will add to the “the people don't want it” for any future attempts – the fact that the Lib Dems are the ones who want this and they are so justifiably hated right now is not going to help.

Personally I'd rather vote “yes” for the AV and get a marginally better system – and then not include the Lib Dems in any of my choices. It's probably what I intend to do – but I'm not exactly going to be jumping for joy if we get AV – because it should have been so much more.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Beloved has bought a BBQ

So, as people may know reading my various babbles, I don't have much truck with bbqing.

As far as I'm concerned our ancestors used to build fires and burn food on open flame. And that was in the 16th century. We now have electricity, gas, microwaves, combination ovens, stoves, hot plates, steamers, slow cookers, pressure cookers, automatic bread makers, thermal blenders and even these ridiculous vacu-pack things. In other words, humanity has moved a long way from “I shall put fire on it!” and watching it go brown.

I am not enamoured by the idea of leaving my perfectly well equipped kitchen to char meat on open fire, but Beloved has other plans. And has bought a BBQ. Yes he went shopping without me and saw a “sale” and it looked shiny and then there was an upgrade and it was only *mumble mumble* more.

I swear, the salesmen see him coming and start rubbing their hands with glee.

By what Beloved says, it is quite a ridiculous BBQ with hot plates and warming plates and grill attachments and it runs on gas and while it's technically portable, I believe heavy machinery may be involved in the transportation process. It has a wok attachement. Our stove doesn't have a wok attachment. Why does it need a wok attachment? Who BBQs stir fry?! It has a PIZZA OVEN built into it! There will be more gadgets on my patio then there will be in my kitchen.

Of course, Beloved's shiny addiction knows no limit. At least it's not as bad as the BBQ certain Canadian's other half wants to buy (though why she'd want to BBQ among the 8 foot drifts of snow and angry moose I don't know) but still I'm inclined to question WHY one would need a damn professional kitchen in the garden.

Oh when will I learn, Beloved cannot be allowed out without a keeper. He's getting a full on “enthusiasm” about this now. We're going to BBQ every weekend and he's going to make pizza and special bbq flavoured meals and it's all going to be wonderful

This from the guy who can't reliably boil water with a kettle.

It's a damn good thing he's cute.

I have a feeling when I find the price tag on this thing I'm going to be... less than amused.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Kissing is not obscene

I am so sick of our love being considered obscene, I really am. I am sick of my existence being something that needs censoring and hiding away from the delicate eyes of the poor, precious straight gazes.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a gay couple is kicked out of a Deli because they kissed

In Soho 2 gay men have been kicked out of a pub for kissing

Seriously, in Soho of all places. And, again for kissing? I have lost count of how many pubs I've been in where there have been a straight couple probing each other's tonsils. Opposite-sex kissing is common place, it's on TV, it's on adverts, it's in adverts and it's every day in our streets and we don't blink an eye.

Kissing is not considered obscene. Kissing is not considered too risqué for public consumption. Kissing is not something we feel the need to keep behind closed doors for the sake of our delicate sensibilities

Yet let it be 2 men?

Wonderfully, there has been a protest of GBLT people going to the pub to hold a kiss-in of course, the pub was so scared of ZOMG TEH GAYS KISSING! That they closed. so it was held outside

I'm actually slightly saddened by kiss-in protests. Not that I don't agree with them – they're beautiful, they're loving, they raise visibility, they're wonderful things

No, I'm saddened that it is a protest. I'm saddened that the sight of two men or two women locking lips is soooooo out there that a group of us gathering to do it is a statement. I'm saddened that we have to battle for our right to perform this most simple display of affection. I'm saddened that us loving each other is considered so shocking, so horrible and so frightening that it becomes a statement.

And then we get to the facebook fiasco. See, someone posted a picture on their facebook of 2 fully dressed men kissing – it's actually a screen capture from the soap Eastenders that shows before the Watershed. I don't think you could show a same-sex kiss and it be more sanitised. But Facebook disagrees and deleted the photo because it is sexually suggestive Click the link and see the picture. Unless you're Mary Whitehouse I can't see how you'd call that sexually suggestive

I am tired of our love being seen as obscene. It's this bigotry that still has a book about gay penguins topping the “most complained about” books list.

I love Beloved,. He is my husband and yes, I kiss him. I love to kiss him. And I want, I dearly want, to be able to do so whimsically, when I want to do so. Not looking over my shoulder, no fearing being kicked out or some arsehole sticking their oar in or being attacked. I just want to kiss my husband.

Why is that so much to ask?

Dragon Age 2 - playing and musing

The spell effects are great and shiny, I love the new style talent trees, the new crafting system is intriguing even if I'm not driven to use it much and I love love love the cross class combos that make for some great tactics....

Now that we have the loves covered, let's look at the stuff which is, frankly, making me not want to complete this game (playing it now is feeling more and more like a chore)

First of all, the game is a slog. There are so many random, pointless, non-plot related fights that I've come to dread travelling because you can't move 3 feet without assassins, mercenaries, thugs, carta members, random qunari and giant freaking spiders just leaping out to attack you for NO DAMN GOOD REASON. Petty street thugs are STILL trying to mug you despite you having the fully armoured captain of the guard present AND you being renowned across the city as the “Champion of Kirkwall”, a man who nearly singlehandedly ended a qunari invasion by being that damned dangerous. Seriously, go find an old lady to cosh and leave me alone. I'm going to become a grey Warden because in Dragon Age Origins there was LESS combat in the freaking Deep Roads than there is taking a short stroll across the road in Kirkwall

And on the city of Kirkwall – how does it even FUNCTION? I've killed so many criminals, smugglers, mercenaries etc etc to make up a sizeable portion of its population! How does ANYONE do ANYTHING when just leaving your door is going to get entire ARMIES descending upon you. How does Doris do her shopping – does she take a battleaxe with her?

And not only are there a lot of pointless fights, they're also soooo boring. A lot of the combat abilities have been simplified, especially for none mages (you may correct me in this, I play mage so I may have missed the nuance of the other classes. But Varric seems to shoot stuff and Aveline just smacks things and occasionally taunts. All her abilities revolve around making her unnecessarily tougher) which means, other than cross-class combos, there's not actually a whole lot of things to do in a fight

Additionally, there seem to be 2 kinds of fights:

A crowd of pointless crap that needs to be AOEd down endlessly. Swarms and swarms of crap to brush away that takes ages.

A big boss with a buttock-numbingly huge amount of health that has to be eroded down with all the scintillating excitement of chipping away at ice when defrosting a freezer.

I played with cross class combos because they were fun and made fights faster and it felt good to line up some enemies, cone of cold them and then have Varric put an arrow lance through the whole brittle line – yeah, explode ogres! But after the 15th pointless swarm of crap I just aoe mindlessly to try and get through it

Also, somewhere in Bioware headquarters, someone thought “hey, you know what'd be a good idea? Let's have a second and even a third wave of pointless trash leap into battle after they've killed the first one!” And I want to find him and hit him with a blunt object until he stops twitching. It's not only that this is used in the odd fight to keep you on your toes – it is used in most fights to make a long, boring pointless battle even longer, more boring and more pointless.

And character interactions. There's hardly any. You don't get to chat with your companions any more, there's no small talk, no history, no interaction, no friendship, 1 or 2 gifts at most and no personality. They're just a group of strangers who happen to follow you around who have nifty powers. When Leliana and Zevran made guest appearances (gods, even Nathanial) my reaction wasn't “cool insert” it was “PLEASE! Come back! I want to play with you guyyyys!” because they had more personality than my entire group combined. Even Sten and Oghren had deeper interactions than any of these – by the time Isabella had her relic quest I actually forgot who she was.

Contrast Alistair telling me our relationship had to end in Origins, a relationship built on conversations, much nookie, lots of kissing and awkwardness and Wynn teasing him and giving advice and Leliana sticking her nose in and lots of flirting... the breakup had impact because the story had established an actual relationship

Then look at Anders saying we have to end it – end WHAT? I flirted 3 times, we kissed once, had a fade to black and then you apparently moved in with me. There's a relationship to end here? You're a squatter with benefits! (Not even a friend with benefits!).

And, frankly, most of them annoy me

Anders is a one topic wonder. Yes the templars are bad. I agree. Now do you have any other aspect to your personality? No? Get a new damn kitten, you were much more fun in Awakening. Damn I'm sure this guys calls Hawke “Meredith” in bed just so he can say “SCREW YOU MEREDITH!” at the right moment. I expected to get a snarky fun, wisecracking Alistair, I got a guy who is putting up campaign posters in bed.

Fenris angst angst angst. I'm a mage, support the mages, he won't talk to me :P Which is a shame because he's a sexy elf

Isabella yeah, this character isn't problematic at ALL, oh no. Supposed to be Zevran I guess, but managed to be even more offensive and treated even more offensively

Aveline needs surgery to remove that stick that's rammed up her arse.

Merril was kind of cute like a little lost puppy. But then became steadily more irritating like a lost puppy that keeps pissing on the rugs. Oh and she summons daemons because that's fun

Carver hates Hawke but because there have been pretty much zero character interactions there's never any real reason WHY he hates Hawke

Sebastien ugh, go away and take your “should I be a prince or a priest” moaning elsewhere, I#'d care if, y'know, I'd actually ever had 5 minutes of conversation with you.

Varric is the only character I find vaguely amusing and even then the complete lack of casual conversation gets on my nerves.

To finish off the storyline just doesn't feel that epic to me. It could have been a great storyline – but we're following after Dragonage Origins and Awakening – which were epic battles against evil trying to destroy the whole kingdom. Political snarking just seems somewhat... anti-climactic. Of course it could be the Endless Freaking Slog to get to that story.

Mechanics-wise I also have a couple of whines

To select different members of your party you click on their portrait then click again. You have now changed character. If you DOUBLE click, you go to the character screen. Nope, you need a nice delayed 2 click. And whoever thought of this should be SHOT. Somewhere where they will bleed slowly.

Secondly, the game uses the same set of maps over and over (especially caves and wilderness areas). And then just blocks sections of them off for different zones. I'm an easter-egg hunter. I do every side quest, I check every cranny for hidden chests and stuff (something ALL Dragonage games SUPPORT with resources and loot hidden away). Finding my mini-map is lying to me and I'm trying to get access to a portion of the map that isn't actually there... vexes.

It's a crying shame, I wanted to love this game, After Bioware's awesomeness, I wanted to worship this game. But instead it's such a disappointment.

There are same-sex relationships which I love, but as mentioned above they're way more limited than Origins because even though you have more options, they're so lacking in interaction as to make them less powerful. I've heard people complain that Anders comes onto you too heavily which feeds into the “gay man as sex-predator” meme but I didn't see that – maybe it's because I flirted with him every damn chance I got so his actions seemed reasonable – but Isabella seemed far more pushy with much less come-on from me. Besides, I don't think “gay/bi man making the first move” IS a destructive meme. I think the idea that any romantic come on or indication from a gay/bi man as some kind of epic threat is the problem – Anders making the first move wouldn't be a problem, excessively freaking out about it would be.

The rest – well Isabella is a parcel of fails and how she's treated. And at one point Gamlen, completely unnecessarily says “I know which of you is the woman!” which pissed me off ebcause, apart from anything else, it had no counter-dialogue options.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

This Friday is the the Day of Silence in the US

That is a day when people do not speak to draw attention to the silence that surrounds so much homophobic abused and homophobic bullying. This is what the day is about

Focus on the Family want to commemorate this with – harassing gay people! Yes, let's have a “Day of Dialogue” on this day to try and CONVERT gay people

Because, y'know, when a persecuted, abused and bullied group protests that, the best way to respond is to harass, persecute, abuse and bully them!

In many ways this disgusts me more than the usual shit the haters, right wingers, homophobic religious types et al tend to do. This isn't a day saying “hey we want to get married” this isn't a day saying “hey, firing me because I'm gay? Totally not right” This is the most basic of days – it's a day saying “driving our kids to suicide is wrong.”

And you'd think (well, you'd think if you didn't actually know how hateful these people are) that if any message were allowed to pass without the hate, that one would be.

I'm not surprised, because they do it every year. But I am sickened. On a day to fight against anti-GBLT bullying, they are encouraging their followers to attack.


So there is a brou-ha-ha around the net right not because some woman has *gasp* painted her son's toe-nails pink. SHOCK! HORROR! END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT! yes ever loving shit has been lost by the usual suspects.

So let us review how ridiculous all this is.

First of all, these ludicrous, shallow gender indicators are so fictional. The whole girls in pink and boys in blue thing? It's about 60 years old. In fact, before then pink was quite often a boy's colour. And before that most parents were either on the “whatever I can get clean, damn it!” school of thought. Let's face it, delicate pastel blue, before modern dyes, wasn't going to last when you slammed those clothes in a big pot of boiling water and bleach to remove the toxic baby shit. *shudder*

Men in make up and heels with long hair? Yep, we have so much of that in history – huge chunks of history. In fact you can go back and look at all those old oil paintings and see heels and bright colours and make up and long curly hair and even big hairpieces, and they dressed their baby boys ion dresses! DRESSES! *gasp* how did heterosexuality survive?!

It's actually quite interesting to see how many of the gender presentations we decide have been set in stone since the beginning of the world are so often recent inventions and recent obsessions.

And in light of that it would almost be funny to see people lose their ever loving shit about little babies not being brought up in proper little gender cages

Like this advert from J Crew a woman painting her son's toe-nails. And painting them PINK! ZOMG THE WORLD IS OFFICIALLY ENDING!

Yes, ever loving shit is being lost. Fox News there predicting the boy will be in therapy because of his pink toe-nails – and of course this is causing girls to become harlots rather than the virginal guardians of sex they should be and it's stopping boys becoming killing soldiers... yeah, trainwreck of epic proportions over there and over here we have the View discussing this VITAL issue and Sherri Shepherd also worried of the terrible scourge of pink toe-nails.

Seriously. They're toe-nails. And they're pink. No, they won't make you gay or trans or anything else. Nothing as simple as toe-nail colour is going to make you GBLT.

Hey, but if you ARE worried about your kids needing therapy – then keep on freaking about those nails. Because it's so helpful to have your kids constantly feel like they have they have to conform to a gender norm that doesn't fit them. Or how about guys who feel they have to be hyper-masculine and violent otherwise they're not “manly.” How about the women who feel they have to be demure and silent (and non-sexual) in order to be properly “feminine.”

How about the GBLT people who constantly have their gender questioned? How about the trans and the genderqueer and the non-binary who will be made to feel like freaks for their presentation with parents flipping out at anything that deviates from such narrow narrow stereotypes.

If you're really worried about kids – you wouldn't give a damn whether little Johnny wants to paint his nails or wear a dress and you won't care if little Janey wants to wear trousers and fight with action-man. You would be happy that they love and respect who they are.

Now if you're more concerned with forcing your kids into little boxes, making sure they fit societal normals no matter how much of themselves they have to suppress or slice off on the way – then keep freaking about the damn pink toe-nails.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Cutting "red tape" apparently includes Equalities legislation

So the government is seeking consultation on their rather ridiculous “Red tape challenge” site to ask the public what they think of regulations and which can be removed.

And one of these they want to ask whether it needs keeping changing – OR REMOVING - is the Equalities Act

The Act that has brought all of our Equalities laws together. This act, which they're consulting on removing - is now the cornerstone of all our anti-discrimination law and protections. They're consulting people about gutting our Equality protection laws. They're including the Equality act on a site that is all about removing regulation.

And seeking consultation for this? That is so beyond wrong

What is the point of seeking consultation with the populace at whole to make a decision about a law that protects minorities? The dominant majority doesn't realise how important and powerful these laws are. It doesn't protect them, it doesn't help them, they don't need it – but they are sought to rule on whether or not these laws are important or needed?

No, this is seriously not ok.

Please go to the site and rage away – because rage is the only reasoned response to this.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lost weight? If you were gay that would mean you're dying from AIDS

And while we're talking about the department of health, health minister and the NHS pushing the idea that all gay men have AIDS and only gay men have AIDS, let's look at the press who are doing the same thing

The Daily Star, home of such important news like “look at these breasts” and other vital information has decided to comment on Ricky Gervais losing so much weight

”Not being bad, but if Ricky Gervais was homosexual, you’d be wondering if he was, you know, ill. His dramatic weight loss has left him looking like a dying man.”

Have we got that people?

If a gay man loses weight, it's because he's dying (because he has AIDS. Naturally, all gay men have AIDS)

If a straight man loses weight suddenly he can't be dying (of AIDS) because he's straight! Silly people, Straight people can't get AIDS! That's a nasty homo disease.

Here is a picture of the actual column

Do I even need to comment on this? No, it's so obviously vile and offensive that no words are needed

But I will say that, yes, I do blame the blood service. They are part of this idea – they are part of the reason why straight people still think they're immune to AIDS because they're not having sex with gay men. They are part of the reason why everyone assumes AIDS is a gay only disease. And through that, yes, they feed both anti-AIDS prejudice, homophobic prejudice and straight cluelessness that costs lives.

This idea that AIDS is a gay only disease (and our blood is tainted) creates this ignorance and cannot be ignored

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The ban on gay/bi male blood donors is NOT ending

Several news sources have rather erroneously reported that the ban in the UK of gay men donating blood is ending

It is not.

Currently as the rule is that any man who has had a sexual encounter with another man (whether protected, penetrative or otherwise) is banned from giving blood, for life. I know this bitterly because it nearly outed me, coming from a family of blood donors.

This rule is going to have to change – it is being forced by the Equality Act – so it has been tweaked.

The change will mean men who have had sex with men can give blood. So long as they haven't had sex with another man in 10 years.

10 years.

That's even longer than the last insulting time they decided to look at this bigoted rule

So, a straight man who goes out and has unprotected sex with every woman in a 50 mile radius? Totally ok. A gay man in a monogamous relationship and using protection? Inherently diseased.

But if we're celibate long enough, if we try to avoid our nasty gayness long enough, if we can have sex with women instead – if we can desperately avoid same-sex relationships for 10 years then our diseased status gets downgraded. Yay, we will be redeemed in the eyes of straightness and deemed worthy to mix out tainted blood with theirs.

So gay men are inherently tainted. Men who have sex with another man are polluted, corrupted and just so awful that we can't possibly allow our vile tainted blood into the vaunted veins of holy straightness

But if we try, if we abstain, if we refrain from gayness, then maybe, maybe, after enough time, we will be pure enough for our diseased blood to be tolerable to the straighties.

Needless to say, I call bullshit on this.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The issue of being shocked, appalled and horrified.

I've seen a few posts about this in a few places that have really helped me nail down my thoughts on this.

As I've said in a previous post I had another unpleasant incident with someone deciding my being gay should come with a set of bruises. I posted then about how frustrated I was with privileged people doubting that it had happened or assuming I had provoked it – since they live in a world where such unprovoked violence just doesn't happen.

But there was another couple of reactions that also left a bad taste in my life. The shock – the utter complete shock “I don't believe people do that!? OH WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!” They're not doubting me, but they're utterly shocked that this happens.

The second is outrage. Real frothing rage and fury “OH HOW DAAAAARE THEY” which feels a lot like the shock. They're furious, incensed, outraged and appalled at such badness.

And I'm.... not.

I'm not shocked because it has happened before. It's not the first time. It's not the third time. It's not the 6th time... in fact I can't even remember what time it is because I've lost count. It certainly doesn't come close to the worst times.

I'm angry, certainly I'm angry. I spend much of my time angry. But beyond the odd venting flare up of rage, I'm rarely outraged and incensed because you can't do that all the time. Not without burning out and breaking what is left of my mind.

So when someone is shocked and appalled over an incident like this it feels like a disconnect to me. I can feel the gap in our experiences, I can feel another echo of how Other I am.

I think what brought it home to me was the nice-doctor-who-is-paid-to-listen-to-me-whine expressing his, yes, shock and appalledness (is that a word? It is now!) repeatedly. at my likely excessive measures to stay and feel safe as I navigate the Straight Land of Hetopia that is our world. His flailing around trying to imply my precautions were paranoid flowed quickly into shock and outrage at the events that have prompted such reactions from me. He chided me for not seeking help sooner – and was then, yes, Shocked and Appalled when I pointed out there was no freaking help for gay men in those situations at the time – and there's precious little now and that I had had a reasonable fear of the psychiatric profession – again because of that profession's severely dodgy actions. Yet more Shock and Outrage.

This? Is not helpful.

I mean, what do you say? Yes it's wonderful that you find these things horrendous. It's wonderful that you agree that they should never have happened and shouldn't continue to happen – but your massive shock and fury doesn't actually help.

And it's a luxury – a privilege – to be SHOCKED by this. It's a privilege that comes from not having to live it and not having to expect it.

And it's a luxury – a privilege – to be so grandly OUTRAGED and APPALLED by this, becaue we couldn't unless we maintained a permanent Appalledness

And it's certainly a privilege to not know about this, to be surprised by this to not only have such a gap in your experience but such holes in your knowledge.

And it's ignorant privilege to not only have these gaps and be so shocked – but in your privilege to perpetuate all the ills that make you so shocked.

And it's beyond ignorant privilege to decide to give advice or correct GBLT people or try to “fix” us when you have so little idea of what out reality is.

And, it has to be said, allies queuing up expressing how upset and hurt they are really make me side-eye. Support is one thing, but cradling your delicate fee-fees about how awwwwful it is for the pooor GBLTs is another. Walking away, declaring you “just can't stand it” because it's all just so awful does tend to shape a tragedy that hits a marginalised group – often extremely commonly – into being about how hurt and shocked and appalled the allies are.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Double Glazing, Sanctuary and Freak outs

So, after much prevarication we've had every window in the house replaced

It's needed doing for a while, the fact that the curtains move in the breeze even when the windows are closed tells you how shot the double glazing is (and, likely, how shoddy it was in the first place). It's also ruining any attempt to heat the house – since some rooms are nitheringly cold (the one with the thermostat, alas) and others baking hot (our bedroom and my study) leading to many days of central heating on full blast and windows wide open. This? Is not efficient, environmentally sound, economically wise or even vaguely sensible.

So a few weeks back we had sales men and surveyors wandering round and that... bothered me. Bothered me a hell of a lot actually, way more than I expected. I mean, I know I'm a natural hermit. One of the reasons why Beloved and I have lasted so long is he recognises the many many fractures in my mind and, among them, knows that at times he needs to leave me alone in an empty, silent room so I can regroup. So people coming into my house, my space? Badness, I expect badness. But going into EVERY ROOM with measures? No, really no. This I do not like not even slightly. I was probably the most unsociable, rude person in the world to those poor guys because every instinct wanted to kick them out and get my space back.

And then the workmen came to put the windows in. All day. The mess of the old windows coming out, the smell of the sealant – people in every room making noise. and everything being moved and re-arranged. There's no space, no privacy, no silence. Every last damn inch of space has been violated and there was nowhere to go. And strangers abound, having access to my whole house all day - even my most personal and secure sanctuaries

Well, it's interesting what your learn about yourself. Discomfort was expected. The severity of it, rather surprised me. I've no idea what the workmen thought about the strange, shaking, silent person, constantly taking deep, slightly hyperventilating breaths, trying to hide from them but I doubt it was a good impression. I'm something of a wreck, trying to re-find my silence.

At least it makes me thankful that doctor-person convinced me that keeping those pills around just in case was a good idea. Damn this is frustrating. Isn't it beyond annoying when you can look out, know you're being ridiculous, but still not be able to stop or get a handle on things?

And Beloved's normally great handling of my messed-up-ness has short circuited because he's worried about how bad this was. So he's leaving me alone and letting me try and rebuild but then worrying and checking on me which is chaining a whole “NO, silence! Peace! Emptiness!” response from me which chains into more worry... we're working out way to a mutual basketcaseness. On the plus side, these windows are much much more sound proof than the last ones.

Realllly tempted just to open a bottle of rum and yell “screw it.” But booze and pills are badness, it is known. Instead I've taken some time to rebuild my sense of privacy and security and silence. Rebuilding mental walls is always time consuming and beyond frustrating. Silly brain, work properly