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Friday, 28 September 2012

Sex sex and more sex

Sex, sex, sex, sex, let’s talk about it, because we all know the straight folk want to. Oh I know we hear over and over again from straight folks, “I don’t care what they do behind closed doors” or “I wish they wouldn’t flaunt it,” but honestly, just a glance at the haters will tell you that straight folks are thinking far more about gay sex than we ever could.

I’m sometimes amazed by this obsession. The number of hate groups who go out of their way to search for gay porn, to try and find the fetish that they find the most horrifying. I can’t imagine spending hours of my life trawling the internet for porn I find most unappealing, I can’t comprehend what would make people do this. Some of them even attend gay sex clubs and fetish meetings, so they can find things to be horrified about.

Honestly? If you have to go to this much effort to find things about us you think will horrify people, then you’re just proving the point of how ridiculous it is to object to our presence so much.

But it goes beyond that – there are so many straight people who feel a desperate need to poke their nose into our sex lives. I’ve lost count of the number of truly inappropriate questions I’ve been asked over the years – some are blatant fetishism, some to convince themselves “I don’t do that” (whatever that is) and some who seem to be trying to freak themselves out. Seriously, if you’re that desperate to know what 2 men do in bed, go hit google but I honestly can’t imagine why you’d care.

And straight people need to seriously shut up about Grindr (yes that certainly includes Paris Hilton) or gaydar, or the many dozen other places, aps and websites out there. Yes it’s a nifty little tool that gay men use to meet each other. As such, it is so completely and utterly NOT YOUR BUSINESS straighties, it really isn’t. What would make you think your opinion is wanted or remotely valid?
Oh, and the reason why things like Grindr exist, is not just convenience (though it is awfully convenient), it’s the same reason the gay cruising areas exist (and, yes, police entrapment in these areas is homophobic persecution and damn common) it’s because it’s still hard and dangerous for GBLT people to try and meet each other. Because not everywhere has a friendly GBLT neighbourhood or gay bar, because not everyone is Out and feels comfortable in those places – and guess where the violent haters go when they want to attack us? That’s right – there’s been no small amount of our blood spilled on the steps and in the car parks of gay bars and clubs. Gods, my next “Bad News List” includes 2 gay bars which have been firebombed and they’re far from the first.

And we don’t need you to lecture us about AIDS. We know it’s a problem, ye gods we do. We knew it was a problem while you lot were calling it GRIDS and completely freaking ignoring it, while we died in droves. We know we have to strike a balance between not stigmatising people with AIDS and countering the growing impression that AIDS is an easily managed chronic disease. We know about safe sex and getting tested and all the rest and there’s probably a lot we still need to talk about within the community. We don’t need or want you to lecture us, or judge us, or screech at us. I don’t speak for all gay men but I, for one, am thoroughly freaking sick of being bombarded with AIDS lectures. The clubs, the bars, the community centres, the drop ins are plastered with AIDS messages, it’s like wallpaper. My doctor wants to test me for AIDS every time I go there. There was a gay men’s health clinic recently – did it talk about suicide rates? Mental health issues? Our high rate of Anorexia? High rates of drug, alcohol and tobacco consumption? Any other health issue we could possibly have? Nope – AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS. Aaaargh give it a rest, people are tuning out now, they’ve heard it so much.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Paranormal Steampunk and Dystopian Erasure - the Unpleasant Implications

What is wonderful about Dystopian and Paranormal Steampunk is that the author has the opportunity to either create a brave new world, or an alternate past. Obviously in all fiction this opportunity exists but dystopian and paranoramal steampunk lend themselves remarkably well to this idea. Unfortunately instead of taking the opportunity to do something different, the majority of the authors that we have read have simply recreated the world as we know it today with the addition of fantastic steam run objects, or a sparse earth with no difference to the power structures currently in effect.

In the case of Dystopian worlds, this erasure has a particularly unpleasant implication. After all, we know marginalsied people exist - we know there are people of colour and GBLT etc people out there - so where are they? Or, rather, what happened to them?

In a Dystopian world something has happened. Be it major societal collapse, nuclear, alien/vampire/monster invasion, environmental disaster, mandated playing of country and western music - some dark and terrible thing has afflicted the world and, usually, decimated the human population. And when we take the idea of a decimated human population and then show no marginalised survivors the natural assumption is that the marginalised people are dead.

This turns the dystopian world into a post-eradication world. And, in the case where it has been an active attack or invasion, it turns it into a post (or pending) targeted genocidal world. The implication is that whatever disaster happened - or whatever force attacked - it wiped out marginalised people first. Your zombie apocalypse apparently had a horde of zombies that just looooved the taste of GBLT brains. Your marauding monstrous horde really hated people of colour. That supernatural plague for some reason picked off the minorities first.

And this is rarely touched in the series either. We have the implied eradication, but it’s never addressed or explained or referred to. We have implied targeted eradication and this not considered relevant by any of the cast of survivors.

I know we’re going to get people answering this with “you’re reading too much into this” “the author didn’t intend this” and even the dreaded “it’s only fiction.” But the author carelessly erasing us rather than intentionally portraying us as eradicated doesn’t remove the implication of targeted destruction. If a minority is absent where we would expect them, and if there has been a great loss of life, isn’t it reasonable to assume they died?

And is it that odd an assumption? It’s not like there aren’t real world examples of people of colour, GBLT people, the disabled and minority religion adherents all facing actual genocide. We have many powerful real world examples of societies actively attempting to eradicate these marginalised groups. Is it that ridiculous to look at a post-decimation world, see our absence and assume that there has been a targeted eradication? I would say to consider it ridiculous is to live in inexcusable ignorance of the genocides - both past and present - of our real world.


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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Beloved has set a new record for sheer awfulness in cooking



Now, there’s a very simple pasta bake recipe I tend not to use (I think it’s just a nasty lasagne without layers) but Beloved can usually manage. It involves mince (that’d be ground beef for the cruel abusers of the English language out there), chopped tomatoes, a few herbs, an onion, some garlic, some mushrooms. They’re all cooked together and spooned over pasta. Then a sauce made of flour, eggs, milk and cheese is poured on top. The whole thing is sprinkled with cheese and put in the oven to bake.
 

Yeah, I know – just make a lasagne, it’ll taste nicer and is less ridiculous. But it’s passable when done right and, when Beloved follows the instructions religiously, it’s not awful.

Yes….

I think the problem started with him not wanting to make a full one (which feeds 8 or something) so he cut the amount of onion, garlic and mince. Sounds sensible but now he is NOT FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS. We are now in the realm of BELOVED IMPROVISATION!

DUM DUM DUUUUUUUUUUUUUM!!!!

Ok, the first problem. Aware he can’t improvise he very very very carefully measures out the right amount of tomatoes for the reduced recipe and puts the remainder in the fridge. Then something distracts him and he puts the tomatoes he measured in the fridge as well. They’re there, right now, chopped tomatoes + tomato puree in the fridge.

Somehow MISSING that he’d completely failed to put tomatoes in he puts his cooked pasta (cooked without seasoning) in the baking dish… but there’s another problem. He only decided to make a smaller version AFTER cooking the pasta and, yes, he put the full measure of pasta in then spooned a micro-meter thin layer of the mince, mushrooms and onion on top. Also unseasoned. He’s in full confused mode now so no herbs have gone anywhere near, he assures me he got them out of the cupboard.

Now the white sauce. Milk, flour, eggs, cheese (seasoning – oh how naive to wish for some seasoning). But no! He has taken out too much, silly Beloved. Measuring he puts the excess back – but, alas, he has confused himself and put all the cheese back without realising. And, rather flustered due to some dropped flour, he screwed up the maths on the flour – he has far far too much flour. Unfortunately the extra flour means the sauce isn’t thin from lack of cheese so Beloved doesn’t notice (hah, like he would have – but he assures me this is the reason). This (unseasoned) wallpaper paste is poured onto the bake. Into the oven it goes.

When it came out, without a nice, crispy cheese topping, I knew I was in trouble.

It was claggy. It was heavy. It had a truly revolting texture, a mix between porridge and cement. It tasted bland. It tasted like pasta floating in soggy flour. It tasted of boredom. It tasted of sadness, of hopelessness, of the death of joy.  It may be the worst thing he has ever cooked.

Also, Beloved objects mightily to his food being called “the death of joy”. And he wasn’t very pleased with “it tastes of sadness.”  He declared there is nothing wrong with his creation and he is stubbornly eating it – yes, he is eating it AT me to prove how unreasonable I am.

There's Always an Excuse for Prejudice, Erasure and Tropes

One of the things we’ve found in our many reviews of the genre from a social justice perspective is how many times people will make up various excuses for the problems we talk about. There is no limit to the different excuses people raise, but often it can feel like we’re responding to the same script since we see the same points raised again and again. Since, we assume, they are widely believed we’re going to poke a few of these:


The Protagonist doesn’t hate them because they’re a minority - it’s because they’re horrible people.

This normally becomes an issue when we point out, for example, that a character has no female friends and strikes sparks with every woman around them. Or the protagonist hates every single POC in the book/TV series. Or that the only GBLT characters in a book have been the protagonist’s enemies.

Now these protagonists rarely turn round and say “I hate women!” or “she’s my enemy because she’s a lesbian, evil lesbian!” because most authors aren’t that ridiculous. Usually, the protagonist does have a very legitimate reason to hate these people. Yes, every woman they met was mean to them. Yes, all the POC around them were cruel and rude. Yes, that evil GBLT villain is indeed evil. There were big story reasons for the character to hate all of these people. This is true.

But this a work of fiction, not a report of real people. The writer is an author, not a journalist. The cruel POC, the evil GBLT villain, the mean women - they don’t exist. They’re all creations of the author. And if the author has created a book where all the women/POC/GBLT/etc are set up to be awful and hateable then it is because the author chose them to be so.

If the marginalised people in a series are all hateful people that the protagonist loathes - for good in story reasons - then the author has created that scenario. And, yes, that’s problematic.


It’s just who they are! I see them as people not POC/GBLT/etc

So you’ve written your story and it turns out you have a sexually predatory GBLT person, or a loud, angry, sassy Black woman side-kick (bonus points if she has magic to help the protagonist) or some equally tired, stereotyped trope. Naturally we’re not impressed but the protest is “they’re not a sassy, magical side-kick because they’re Black, it’s just who they are!” In other words, you assert that their adherence to an extremely tired trope is just coincidence.

Now it’s vaguely possible, I guess, that you are somehow packed into the Mars Rover and are actually beaming you books or scripts from there and your intended audience is actually aliens from the planet Zog. In which case I applaud you for being able to write under such difficult conditions and being our ambassador for the Zoggi with books about vampires. 


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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Another silly question



Here’s another random behaviour I don’t understand, but it is predictable since the pattern is well established: for some reason there are people out there who want to know a) whether I’d ever slept with a woman (no) and b) if I could sleep with any woman in the world, who would I sleep with?

What part of the word “gay” are these people not understanding?

So there follows a go around of “ANY woman,” “NONE of them, I’m gay!” “But any woman, ever!” “Still GAY!” “No, but, any woman in the world!” “Gay, gay, gay! Do not want to sleep with any woman!”

Which gets nowhere and leads to an escalation: “What if you HAD to sleep with a woman, who would it be?”

Uh?

This isn’t an isolated case. For some reason there are straight folks out there who are desperate for me to pick out a hypothetical woman. I don’t know why, but I don’t think they realise how loaded these questions are – because there’s always an undercurrent of “if I make you say it, you won’t be reaaaaalllly gay!!!” or some similar bullshit.

And as to the question – if I HAD to sleep with a woman (or, let’s be frank, if I were raped by a woman because there’s no way my consent is going to be there – and you know that frank statement shuts them up), it wouldn’t matter which woman it was. Because I don’t find any woman sexually attractive.

Yes, I can see women who fit various beauty standard and see women who are beautiful. But recognising beauty doesn’t mean being attracted – I can recognise the beauty of children, animals, works of art and sunsets and not be sexually attracted to them either. I even see some men as beautiful and I’m not attracted to them – take Joe Manganiello. That is a beautiful man with the abs and chest I could merrily explore – but the man doesn’t do a thing for me. I’ve spent a long time carefully looking at him and, pfft, nothing, I thought maybe my libido was broken but Beloved helped me prove otherwise (and Dean O’Gorman… oh the things I would do to that man).

The whole “if you had to” question just seems to be an utter inability to listen to me;  because it wouldn’t MATTER which woman it was since no woman at all is sexually attractive to me, all women are equally sexually unappealing to me.

At which point this was followed up with “what if you were attracted to women – then which one?” And I give up. Yet again, entering these discussions assuming that I'm dealing with a colossal ignorance that can just be solved is proven to be a mistake

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Not "alienating" people from supporting our rights


It’s happened again. Well it’s never stopped happening. Tumblr, where common sense goes to die and fail goes to breed and thrive, had a rather reasonable post on what counts as allydom and what counts as the actions of a decent human being. And of course, we had a string of allies saying how “meaaaan” they were and they’re alienating people etc etc ad nauseum.

And then there’s Chris Kluwe’s rather awesome response to homophobic arseholery that should be embossed in gold. And what happened? While most have cheered, I’ve seen people gasping because of the swearing and disrespect. Really. I think his own words nicely sums that up. Now I could even see the point on “cockmonster” kinda, but swearing and disrespect? Seriously? Because the bigots bigotry wasn’t already rude and disrespectful?

And, of course, in response to be my criticism of the raging bigots who keep occupying the equality’s minister’s seat, I’ve been chided that I need to “calm down” and wait and “engage” with the nasty homophobic bigots otherwise how will we convince them to support us! Oh I am sabotaging us!

And I say fuck it. Yes I have been mean and nasty which means, apparently, a load of people are now going to spit their dummies out and no longer support GBLT equality.

Really I would question how much of an “ally” anyone is if they will decide that the entire movement of GBLT equality – or, indeed, any equality movement – is no longer worth their time or attention if one person who belongs to that group is unpleasant to them.

Even beyond unpleasant – even if I were a rapist, a murderer, a paedophile, a bad karaoke singer or someone who persistently knocks on your door of a Sunday morning to try and sell you something – it is still patently ridiculous, enormously arrogant and exceedingly selfish to dismiss an entire equality movement and an entire marginalised group because one of them isn’t a very nice person. Really, this is the bar you put on your support? This is the standard we have to meet to be worth of equality? Absolutely impeccable behaviour from all of us at all times?

This doesn’t sound like someone who cares over much about equality or justice to me.

But, beyond that, I think being all kinds of unpleasant is quite necessary to achieve true equality and to see who is actually allies.

See, I want a equality, I want justice and in that struggle I very much want straight people to support me. I want straight people to have my back. I want straight people at my side. I even want straight people willing to stand between me and the fire.

Full stop.

I don’t want a “but” there. I don’t want a “so long as” tacked on the end.

I don’t want people to support my rights – so long as I behave
I don’t want people to fight for my equality – so long as I’m nice and polite.
I don’t want my equality, my rights, my respect as a human being, contingent on my playing nice and following certain rules.
I don’t want to “engage” with people. I don’t want to have a dialogue.
I don’t want to have to convince people I am deserving of humanity.
I don’t want to BUY respect with praise and cookies and headpats.
I’m not asking for justice, I’m demanding it.
Equality is not a gift to be given, it is a debt that is owed.

I won’t “reach out” to people. I won’t police myself to please people. I won’t justify myself. I won’t excuse myself. I won’t conform to a measured level of acceptability. I won’t censor myself. I won’t play games and jump hoops

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Sparky is a reasonable cook

I am fairly used to dinner guests. Partly this is due to Beloved’s constant inviting of people (which he SOMETIMES deigns to tell me about in advance) and partly due to several friends who are now accustomed to filling their bellies at my table (especially F. who brings doggy bags and will send her menu order in advance) and, of course, my habit of making enough food to feed not so much regiments as legions (as evidenced this weekend with the paella for 12. Now, to be fair, my paella pan is from Spain and advised by a truly expert paella maker, a Spanish grandmother, who didn’t understand why anyone would want a small paella pan so I’m not actually capable of making less).

And since I like to cook, I’m generally fine with that. But there are rules.

{Lafayette Mode} You come in my house you’re going to eat my food the way I fucking make it!{/Lafayette Mode}


So, if I am serving steak, filet or a beef joint, it will not be served well done, it will be cooked properly. If you want excellent beef “well done” you may feel free to chew on some shoe leather. And I shall mock you for it. Or you could eat the actual beef and have your palate educated.

(Yes this applies to Beloved too and his distressing need to reduce perfectly good beef to charcoal – which means he regularly takes his steak back to the grill and mangles our roast by trying to take the slices of meat around the edge of the joint)

There is no salt or pepper on the table. Ever. This is for a reason. I have seasoned the food. I always season my food. Are you saying my food is underseasoned? Are you suggesting my food is bland? Are you? Because I’m sat here with these nice sharp implements and would very much like to know. Oh and may I compliment you on your incredible sense of smell – because you can somehow tell my food is unseasoned WITHOUT EVEN TASTING IT!

And sauces? I will put out sauces if they go with the meal. Some of these sauces will be home made and awesome. I’m sorry, you want ketchup? Is that for the burger? That home made burger which has been perfectly put together with lean mince, breadcrumbs, egg and a blend of herbs and spices to create a truly sophisticated taste? Is this the burger you wish to overwhelm with generic, salt and sugar filled chemical red goop? No? Jolly good. No, I’m just taking this large butcher knife to clean, don’t worry about it.

It is also unwise to ask where I bought the food. I will tell you where I got the ingredients, however, since it is well known by people putting their feet under my table that I even bake my own bread I may experience an involuntary reflex wherein I beat you repeatedly about the head and shoulders with a serving ladle if you compare my food with the plastic, chemical laden, wood pulp filled, salt saturated, insect laced stuff you buy ready made. You will have to excuse the bruise, I assure you it’s quite quite accidental and in no way linked a burning desire to kill you. No, not at all.

No-one would call me an unreasonable human being (not twice anyway). And by following these simple rules everyone can enjoy their dinner with a minimum of lawsuits, screaming and blood on the table settings.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Lib Dems are quick to defend the homophobe!



We get a gross homophobe for equalities minister and what do the Lib Dems do?

Why, the Lib Dems are instantly moving in to defend her! And Theresa May at the same time. Yes, Mark Pack of the Lib Dems is there to dismiss concerns that a homophobe is in charge of equality, again, and complete sweep aside a virulently homophobic voting record. After all, what does voting against gay rights matter so long as the Lib Dems maintain their empty coalition seats, right?

“Hey, don’t worry about the voting record, the last equalities minister that we supported was a raging bigot as well!”

Yes, that is our worry. What did Theresa May actually do for GBLT people? What did she do to try and end inequality? Pretty speeches! Usually supported by the chief bigot supporter, Lyn Featherstone (and ye gods am I glad that that fig leaf is out of government where she can stop throwing her pretty speeches at inactivity on homophobia). But this is what we should be happy for, right? There may be a raging bigot in power controlling all the funding and policy, but she’ll make nice speeches! Oh and a consultation on whether you’re due equality or not that seeks to set up yet another second tier system. Be GRATEFUL why don’t we?!

Of course, people who actually gave a fuck about gay rights might be concerned that the Equalities Minister for the coalition is always a homophobe. But what do gay rights matter for the Lib Dems if they can stay in power. Time to rattle out the excuses, time to defend the bigots, time to downplay the hateful record and do their best to keep homophobes in power

I'm sure Mark Pack and the other little Lib Dem fanpoodles will be yapping along soon to tell us how happy we should be that Grayling is Justice Minister as well


Damnation I loathe that I voted Lib Dems and hate that I used to be a member. Never again.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Cabinet reshuffle - More Bigots in Power: Equality Minister and Justice Minister

So, we just had a cabinet reshuffle!

And among many parts of that, we have a new Minister for Women and Equality. This was very necessary because the previous encumbent Theresa May (and, of course, the useless fig leaf Lynne Featherstone who is always out there willing to justofy any bigotry her Tory masters have, what a good little Igor she is) was a raging bigot.

So now we have Maria Miller.

Who is another raging bigot

For gods' sake Cameron - I know you're picking among the Tory party here so finding someone who isn't a bigot must be very very taxing for you - but really?

Can we actually have an Equality Minister who HASN'T voted against equal rights? Who hasn't voted against gay families? Can we have an Equality minister who hasn't voted to defend hate speech? Who was absent for the vote for the Equalities Act when it came to Sexual Orientation? A woman who Stonewall gave a mere 14% when it came to voting for gay rights? (The same as Theresa May)

Can we have a minister for women who isn't anti-choice?


In fact, can we have a Minister for Equality who actually gives a fuck about Equality?!

And when we've got that, can we actually have a MINISTER for Equality who isn't also stuck with some other "more important" brief - like the Home Secretary or Culture.


But let's leave the Minister for Equality and look to the Minister of Justice - why it's Chris Grayling!

Remember Chris Grayling, folks? Well he was the Shadow Home Secretary, but lost the job because he publicly spoke up in favour of Straights-only hotels and how it should be legal to discriminate against gay people.

This is the man who scraped up 29% on the Stonewall survey - and even then his words show he didn't even deserve that much.

This is our Minister for Justice. Justice for some - but not for me and mine.

Typical bloody Tories and their sycophantic mini-mes.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Problem With Paid Reviews and Self Pubs

We’ve spoken before about reviewers charging for book reviews - as well as guaranteeing positive reviews - and the many reasons why we consider this to be both unacceptable and damaging to online reviewing.

And I don’t think we can discount just how very important reviewing has become, especially as ebooks become more and more dominant in the market. Increasingly, we’re no longer going into a book shop and buying books, speaking to book clerks about what would be the best choice (assuming we ever did) or being able to physically pick up the book and skim through it to see if it suits us.

There are many things that have tried to replace this - but a synopsis, blurb and even an excerpt are often carefully chosen to show the book in the best possible light - quite possibly a rather inflated light. With the huge and wonderful proliferation of authors out there - with mainstream presses, indie presses, small presses and self-pubs, I don’t think we’ve ever seen this many choices when picking a book to read. So how do we make that choice?

Well, other than the word of mouth of people we trust, a lot of that choice is based on reviewers (which is, in effect, more of the word of mouth from people we trust). I cannot count how many books I’ve started reading now - especially new authors or ebooks - based on an online review from a person I trust. But trust is the key here - and reviewers selling positive reviews undermine that trust not just for themselves, but for all reviewers.

From our point of view, being a Social Justice blog as much as a review blogs, we also believe it is vital to review the genre we love to ensure the problematic portrayals and erasures are called out - and the gems we see where they author gets it right are duly praised. Again, we feel this requires trust and it requires honesty - we already have a culture that habitually excuses even the most extreme forms of prejudice and the most awful portrayals - to be dishonest about the problematic or prejudiced portrayals in a book is to contribute to that dismissal.

So when we read in the New York Times of a reviewer who was selling reviews and making a considerably amount of money doing so, we were less than pleased and condemn him unreservedly. Reviewers will be tainted by his deception and both readers and reviewers are harmed by it


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We need a new normal

Regularly now one of my oh-so-dearest neighbours has been leaving snide little homophobic notes on my door, ranging from Bible verses to random mutterings about AIDS, to condemnation for the many many orgies we’re not actually having (don’t you just hate it when people have more fun with your life than you do?) At the same time, we’ve had to shoe-horn our cars into The Home of All Junk (who knew garages were for cars?) since they’re picking up an awful lot of potentially-related and very annoying scratches and horrible things have happened to our plants in the front garden. Also, the Bible left in the rain and shredded by cats was vexing – we’re still finding little scraps of soggy, sanctimonious confetti.

It was unnerving to begin with, I took precautions – and several months later with it still happening, we’re playing snap with the nasty little things (they’ve started to repeat themselves. Which I think is just rude – if you’re going to leave nasty little hate notes on someone’s door, you could at least strive to be original! Reusing your old hate is just plain lazy).

There are places in my home city I know not to go at certain times. Or some not to go alone. I know where fool straight folk gather when they’ve had too much to drink, looking for a victim. I know a local park where the police will assume I’m cruising.  I know to avoid these places.

At work, I know that at least once a week, one of three people will say something offensive. I know that, at least 4 times a week, annoying secretary will flirtingly joke about “changing me” or “what a shame it is you’re gay” or some such. I know that I need to check my email religiously or have the extra, over-scheduled work dumped on me because it’s assumed I have no family and no plans. I know I have to book holidays well in advance and fight for them in case they’re moved in favour of those who “have family and partners to be accommodated”. I know that my most senior partner still doesn’t understand why I’m pissed at him for throwing cases of gay-bashers at me and why I don’t want to be in a small room alone with such people to interview them. I know that, in some family and criminal cases, he will act like I’m a woman or use my being gay as some kind of selling point.  I’ve worked out ways around these problems, things I can’t say, things I have to grit my teeth and ignore, ways I have to react and steps I have to take to avoid shouldering the firm’s grunt work.

These are just a few items on my list of things that have become normal for me. I’m not even talking microagressions like gross heteronormativity, erasure, or far too many damn people using homophobic hate speech, or even big massive things like the current marriage equality debate and everyone showing their scabby, homophobic arses over it. I’m not even talking about my annoyingly homophobic family trying to drag me back to them over the bridges they burned. I mean all the things, all the shit, every day in our lives that are specifically unacceptable yet have become normal to us. And I think every marginalised person has one of these lists – a lists of regular shit they have to endure from certain people, certain times, in certain places, they know shit will happen above and beyond the normal micro and macro aggressions. Just routine, unacceptable shit that is part of your daily life – neither the background noise of micro aggressions nor the big, unusual spikes of macro events – but routine, normal shit.