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Monday, 29 December 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, yes, that is its appeal

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

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

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A Not-Always-Happy Holidays

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

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

It’s fraught for several reasons

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Civil Partnership Conversion

It's now legal, it can now happen.

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

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

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

Friday, 5 December 2014

Bigger labels are needed

*After some commotion*

Beloved: *hurrying in* what happened?

Sparky: Nothing... *irritated voice*

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

Sparky: I'm shaving.

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

Sparky: I noticed...

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

Sparky:... yes...


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

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

Clearly I am right.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

A very unwise post

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Holidays loom ahead

And this is accompanied by the insomnia of doom. Which is very very irritating.

Because of a weird quirk of Sparkiness, sleep deprivation is also accompanied by the hyperactive libido. This is not a good combination

The UK has had our first "Black Friday" thanks to shops copying online retailers who are, in turn, copying the Americans. We are all reminded that copying the Americans is never a good thing.

Despite these.... distractions there have been lots of preparations for the 3 stages of the Holidays:

Stage 1: The Family, where I realise that a terrible apocalypse wiping out all humanity does actually have it's good points.

Stage 2: Good Friends: where I realise that some people surviving this apocalypse is not necessarily a bad thing, though we're all very inept at killing zombies (but we will have immense fun doing it

Stage 3: Beloved and I: where I realise that reducing the entire world to our silent house would be a wonderful wonderful thing


All stages require immense amounts of baking and freezing. In years past I used to cook a ridiculous amount and then spend all January trying to find more and more creative ways to use up the leftovers and resolving not to cook/bake/construct so much for the next year. But the last few years I've found more and more people eating my food in vast amounts so even greater preparations are needed

F have kindly volunteered to test all food in case it's poisonous. She's a generous, self-sacrificing soul like that.

At the moment this has meant everything that can freeze and cakes and puddings that will nicely preserve and age and get even better (full of boooooze) as well as vast and vats of soup to freeze because Beloved has become enamoured of soup. I don't know why he is enamoured of soup. I'm not even sure I understand enamouring of soup. I'm pretty sure being enamoured of soup is illegal or should be. I also have a creeping fear that he will suddenly decide he doens't care for soup any more (as is his wont) and I will have oceans of soup and nothing to do with it.

Also the enormous ham (which Beloved got as part of his much-to-be-regretted meat haul) was too big for my biggest pot. Yet Beloved insisted I not cut it up because it was so impressive (I think this is Silly as a bigger ham rather than 2 small hams simply means less yummy yummy glaze, but I humour him constantly because I a) love him and b) enjoy telling him he's being humoured). Cooking a ham in a pot that is too small for it proved to be an... interesting experience.

Beloved wants to try layering a boozy fruit cake with boozy cream. I told him no. I fear he may try it on his own.

Beloved wants a BBQ next weekend. In December. Yes he does. F agrees. We may need the booze ocean we have acquired


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Beloved has shopped...

Beloved called... he has shopped...

He has a network of friends who work in various food service industries – butchers, abattoirs, someone who does something unspecified with fish. No doubt there are others. While I appreciate the yumminess, it does mean there is food shopping going on I am unable to supervise.

And with the holidays coming up, it is the season to eat until we explode in big messy chunks. There's a lot of feasting, a lot of hosting and enough left overs to last until February, it's always how we keep the holidays.

So high quality but heavily discounted meat is definitely high on my bonus list

Beloved buying it though?

His message (he is now out of contact as he always is when he suspects I may Ask Questions) tells me he spend "over £100".

"Over" is a vague word. Over can mean a lot. Over could mean we have a new mortgage. 

But it's not actually the money I'm too worried about - yes, despite Beloved's previous... issues. I am concerned that if he has spent a copious amount of money on high quality HEAVILY DISCOUNTED meat that that means he has bought a lot of meat

The man who bought the 22lb Turkey

The man who bought the 8 whole chickens

The man who bought the 5lb ball of mince



I fear there may be a whole cow in my kitchen with Beloved next to it saying "at least it's dead!"

I fear even more there may be a whole cow in my kitchen, with Beloved next to it saying "it's alive so it's fresh!"

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Apparently there are lots of LGBT people on TV?

...but I don't see it? What am I missing?

Article after article start off with "there's so many gay people on TV!" "there's so many LGBT characters on TV!" "ZOMG SO MANY CHARACTERS!" but usually very light on specifics.

And I'm not seeing them - not only am I not seeing them but I'm reviewing a vast amount of media for Fangs for the Fantasy and still not seeing them. We're reviewing 14 shows at the moment: Walking Dead, Z Nation, Resurrection, Once Upon a Time, Forever, Originals, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow, American Horror Story, The 100, Vampire Diaries, Grimm, Haven and Constantine and only 4 of them have LGBT characters: Walking Dead has a background, near-silent lesbian who makes T-Dog look positively involved in the group. Vampire Diaries and Originals have GBFs who do nothing but support the straight characters and disappear for several episodes at a time and American Horror Story has a sexualised intersex woman who tried to "convert" gay men and 2 gay male villains (and several murdered gay men).

4 of 14 and none of them a major character. Most of them really really tiny tokens.

And this isn't just a bad season. Summer had precious little extra - in fact all year the only notably LGBT characters we've had were on In The Flesh (a mini-series) and Orphan Black (which came with the bitter taste of a grossly stereotyped and walking joke, Felix).

In fact, in 2012 we looked at the LGBT characters on all the shows we'd covered at the time - when we'd watched 39 TV series and it was pretty dismal. Well, it's 2014 and we have now covered or looked at 81 different TV series - and of those 81, a full 41 have not one single LGBT character. A further 9 have a tiny LGBT character for 1 single episode and 11 have an LGBT character as someone minor lurking in the background (like Tara on The Walking Dead or Carolyn on Under the Dome).

That's 61. 61 out of 81 have no LGBT characters or teeny tiny walk on roles. Of the remaining 20 with meaningful LGBT presence, 11 (maybe 12) of those shows have been cancelled and 1 is on its last season. 3 of them had a bisexual female characters briefly mention their bisexuality before the whole show focused ferociously on opposite-sex relationships and lots of we-shall-never-speak-of-this-again so while they had a major LGBT character (which was great) if you missed one episode you'd probably not know it. There's also a lot of dubious tropes in the remainder


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ok, techie people, a little help

Since it's that time of year again, we're looking at presents and Beloved, very kindly, wants to upgrade my tablet.

The thing is, I'm not convinced that a newer tablet is especially necessary given my current - so I need people more technically minded than I to counter Beloved's shiny addiction.

My tablet  is

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

One of these: http://www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/mobile-devices/galaxy-note/tablets/GT-N8010EAABTU

Beloved is thinking of the new google Nexus 9

One of these: https://play.google.com/store/devices/details/Nexus_9_32_GB_Wi_Fi_Indigo_Black?id=nexus_9_black_32gb_wifi

To my untrained eye, the difference between the two appears to be pretty negligible - and certainly not worth £399.


Other things to note:
The smaller screen doesn't bother me
I do not need 3G, 4G or any number of Gs.
My current tablet DOES have a damage screen (all the colours are wonky after being dropped) which means I want to get this one repaired anyway... which may end up cheaper.

By all means do run in and say "no, forget Samsung and google, you need this one!" but I do prefer Android over IOs and Windows

So techie people, help me out - is Beloved being wise and prudent as well as generous? Or is his shiny addiction overcoming reasonable common sense?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Well, that was vexing

Things that annoy:

Metal handled pans. Why why why would you make a pan handle conduct heat? Isn’t that one of the most ridiculous design ideas in the history of the world? Isn’t that up there with chocolate teapots and fireguards?

Metal handled pans that are also supposed to be oven safe – so you put said pan in, say, a 200oC for that handle to get stupendously hot.

But what really really really annoys is that, despite the aforementioned ridiculousness of metal handled, oven-safe pans, if you firmly grasp said handle, after it comes out of the oven, with your own bare hand you really have no-one to blame but yourself.

And that’s really really annoying because that kind of screeching pain of quite nasty burns over the entire palm of your hand and fingers really really REALLY demands you scream at SOMEONE. Screaming at one’s self is not sufficient.

On the plus side, I didn’t spill dinner.

On the minus side even an hour after the burn, removing my hand from a bowl of cold water or an ice pack was quite painful – to an extent of not being able to keep it out of water for more than 5 minutes before being quite willing to murder a rather large number of people if they were stood between me and that water. This was not a productive way to spend the evening.

Thankfully, it has reduced to being merely excruciatingly painful so I am not forced to keep it stuck in ice – but typing one handed is vexatious. Typing two handed is… unpleasant. The cold water is still nearby to top up.

What does surprise me is the relative lack of blisters – I mean, there’s a lot of redness and several blisters all over my hand –but the blistered areas are no more/less painful than the none-blistered. The blisters seem to be quite quite random.


Friday, 10 October 2014

I think a cake may be more expressive...

My cousin is getting engaged and, against my usual habits, I am getting her a congratulations card (I disapprove of cards for various reasons)

I just need to find the right one. I need one that says:

"Congratulations on the whole wedding thing" while at the same time also saying "good gods girl why would you do this? Were you drunk?!" and "STOP! STOP! IT'S NOT TOO LATE!" with a nice subtext of "when the time comes, I will help you bury the body."

And, of course, "just because I'm willing to help you bury the body doesn't mean that, in 18 months when you realise what an arsehole he is, I will be saying 'I told you so'"

See this is the problem with cards, they lack eloquence.


Maybe I could go with a cake - it could be full of butter and sugar symbolising something you will definitely regret later with a heavy lemon kick for the bitter bitter regrets that are sure to come and maybe some spiced caramel for the warming assurance of murderous support in the future.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The best laid plans of Sparky...

Thankee to everyone sending good wishes for this weekend, I managed to escape most of my usual angst by being ILL WITH THE NINJA DEATH FLU!

Honestly, this was the stealthiest disease ever. Here I was, healthy and fine, ready to actually go out and be social. Yes, I was not only strong enough to go outside without worry but I was *gasp* almost eager to do something vaguely social.

Yay!

And then the DISEASE HIT. And it was like being hit with a sledge hammer. My nose became the evil volcano of erupting snot of doom, gushing like the Niagara Falls of mucus. That was unpleasant.

My energy crashing like I’d just run 3 marathons while juggling elephants while singing opera and wearing cement shoes. It was not good. It was very not good.

But the worst element was the sledgehammer to the gut. No, really – it isn’t a sharp pain, it isn’t a twisty pain or a burny pain. It just felt my whole abdomen was one huge nasty bruise (it wasn't, but it felt that way) with the joyous side effect of EVERY position hurting and not having the energy to move but having to move anyway and then moving not actually making anything better.

This all came along in the period of 2 hours much to Beloved’s shock and F’s incredulity

In fact while I was convinced the end was nigh, cowering in bed making a positive art form out of self-pity, F arrived at the door and loudly declared (F does everything loudly. Low volumes are for people whose voice and ideas are not wonderful blessings to everyone within a 5 mile radius of them) that I was definitely faking to try and avoid the evils of socialism

One of the terrors of illness no doctor will tell you about is a bellowing F bursting into your bedroom while you’re naked, cowering in bed and feeling like death. It’s a terrible terrible thing to face.

Of course afterwards she had to be stopped from running down the street ringing a bell and yelling “UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!”. Also no painting red crosses on our doors. I heard Beloved and her have a spirited discussion on the subject

Of course, Beloved, seeing me suffering so badly, naturally hid as far away as he could. Loving and supportive through the worst of my mental illness moments, but the minute anything germ related rises its head he will hide in the basement (we don’t have a basement, but he would dig one so he could hide in it).



Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Cats!

So I am cat sitting sibling kitty and she and my old mog are doing their usual posturing and duelling. The worst thing is getting used to the old mog’s habits and finding they don’t work with the bundle of (aging but vibrant) energy from the sibling kitty.

For example, Old Mog likes to be petted – she shows this by laying next to you and staring at you. When you stroke her she melts into a puddle of contentment and you occasionally stop so she raises her head in outrage and you can confirm she’s not actually dead and you’re not actually petting a corpse. Because that would be creepy.

Now Sibling Kitty screams and begs for attention until you finally pet her at which point she has a near seizure of joy because ZOMG HUMAN TOUCHED HER AND IT’S AWESOME! All four limbs flailing as she twists around and probably does herself an injury. The worst part is she kneads with all four claws – the air, the sofa, cushions, fleshy bits of human – just flexing away little razor blades in every direction. She also demands attention because while the Old Mog will just puddle, Sibling Kitty will not only flail around with razors but every now and then will suddenly decide “KILL THE HUMAN!” and you need to pull your hand back quickly or be flensed to the bone. Doubtless this is to ensure human reflexes are kept at peak efficiency.

Old Mog is tolerating Sibling Kitty’s presence. She still hisses, but it’s more a “I would like to formally announce that your presence in this house is unwelcome and I disapprove most strongly” hiss, rather than a “I will kill you and wear your skin on weekends and high holidays” hiss.

However, she has developed a “you have betrayed all that is good and pure in the world, there is now a desolate wasteland where hope once resided and barren void where kindness once lay” glare every time she sees me or Beloved with Sibling Kitty. It’s a very eloquent glare.

Feeding time is… vexing. Both kitties will appear at exactly the same time and demand food. At which point both kitties are convinced that a) I have put the sublime ambrosia that the gods would kill for in the bowl of the other cat while simultaneously dumping goat excrement in their bowls; and b) that their bowl must be protected at all cost, under no account must the other cat come within a yard of their bowl or Death Must Follow.

This is more complicated by Old Mog needing medication for her super-scabby skin which now has to be hand given to her (oh dear gods cats and pills) because there's no guarantee who will eat the food

The most annoying habit of Sibling Kitty is her yowling. Now Old Mog yowls. Old Mog yowls a lot – but she’s adept at communicating what she wants with those yowls. If she yowls near her food bowl, she wants you to fill it (that doesn’t mean she’s hungry and she will, inevitably, walk away from said food. She just wants to test her human’s obedience). If she stands near a door and yowls she wants you to open it (again, not necessarily to go through it, she just wants it open). If she yowls near a chair she wants you to sit down and pet/comb her.


Sibling Kitty will sit in the middle of the floor and just yowl. She can keep it up for hours while you play a guessing game as to what this silly creature actually wants. I suspect she likes to hear her own voice.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Berries!

The beginning of September's coming up which means I should be seeing the end of Beloved's first harvest from the garden. I could ask him if there's a lot more summer fruit to pick, but I live in fear of him saying "yes."

Don't get me wrong, i mean he has managed to stick to this obsession for years now - that's almost unprecedented with him! Normally his attention span wanes 12 minutes after he's found out how to load the credit card with useless things we'll never ever use (like his tropical fish which are still in our living room and he still has little to do with them). So a hobby that lasts this long? Excellent!

And he's shockingly good at it- at least, so I can guess from the actual harvests he produces which is a) bountiful b) tasty and c) not mutating into evil monstrous plants that try to eat us. Now, my gardening prowess involves going to a wonderfully "wild" (i.e. "completely ignored") part of the garden and sitting down with a book (sitting on a blanket or bench - not on the actual GROUND with the DIRT and the INSECTS!) and I would actually rather murder the neighbours and be covered in arterial spray than get covered in dirt and fertiliser - so I admit some level of being impressed by this.

So this is all of the good, yes? Well, yes. It's just... too much of a good thing hits at times. And in July and August we have the SUMMER FRUITS DELUGE! Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Brambles, Gooseberries, Black Currants, Red Currants (what do you actually DO with these anyway?).

Last year I made a lot of jam. Which we still have because we don't actually eat much jam; I gave some away but everyone starts to get that "looking for the exits" look because they fear I may press more fruit preserve on them. Also, jam is one of those things that you never ever wants to eat again once you've actually made it (and realised that it's actually 50% sugar. You thought you were eating healthy fruit? Ha! You might as well crunch your way through a bag of caster sugar).

And yes there's loads of cakes and pies you can make with fruit - and we have, all the lovely things. But there comes a time when you've eaten the 9th creamy, meringuy fruity desert that you just crave chocolate. Or treacle. Or cheese. Or anything without berries.

There is one solution to this inundation - ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. Exactly how long can ice scream freeze anyway? I worry about the ice cream. Ice cream always seems to be something that is oddly random compared to most of what we make - there's always chance of us producing odd, pykrete like blocks of indestructible yumminess

So... either I have a freezer full of tasty, fruity ice creamy goodness

Or I have the makings of a Summer Fruits Aircraft Carrier.

And gooseberries. Why do we grow this many gooseberries? Does anyone truly love gooseberries this much? I don't know what possesses him, I mean between us we eat just about everything. We're not fussy eaters, we'll try anything 3 times (the first two times it could have just been cooked badly. Third time and still awful? Yes, that's just awful). and usually like what we eat - yet he has this truly magical talent for producing large amounts of the few things we don't love: Gooseberries, Kale, broad beans and worse.

It's a special talent.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

I have games!

Some people probably know Steam had a summer sale

It was a very good summer sale.

So many shinies. So very many shinies. I had my usual conflict - I see a shiny. I sensibly tell myself that I don't need said shiny. I don't want said shiny. I don't have time to play the shiny. So I will ignore the shiny

Then I spend the next several hours doing nothing but obsess over the shiny, staring at the shiny, checking the shiny every 5 seconds, until I finally give in and buy the shiny

This time was a little different because I rarely had to perform the last step - because Beloved had got there before me. Naturally, since he is irresponsibly buying a megafuckton of games on Steam that he will never play and this is Irresponsible and something I would Never Do, I confronted him ready to Shame Most Cruelly

He does have a good excuse - having seen my constant agonising over not buying these he has decided that I waste far more time, energy and productivity than I would actually lose if I just bought them in the first place.

He is SAVING me from MYSELF. Oh what a saint he is. And there is absolutely NOTHING self-serving about this excuse, of course

Needless to say, these excuses do not work. Especially since we know, oh boy do we know, that Beloved has absolutely zero impulse control when it comes to shinies and credit cards (do I need to mention the BBQ again? Because the BBQ is totally relevant here).

So now we have a gazillion games I do not have time to play and he does not have time to play. I haven't actually had time to play any computer game. But we have them, taking up hard drive space. And they're caaaallllling to me.

See, for this you have to understand the Sparky brain. The Sparky brain likes - no - NEEDS things to be complete. This is why when I start reading a series of books I have to finish them EVEN IF EVERY WORD IS AWFUL. The incompleteness nags at me. As to how this affects me with computer games?

I have Civilisation V. I have played it several times. I have played as the Moroccan, Greek, Assyrian Songhai, Hunnic, German and Celtic Empires. What is the connection? Their leaders are in alphabetical order. No, really. The next one is Casimir of Poland.

This is how my brain brains. It cannot be healthy

And now I have games. Games that haven't been played. Games that need to be played. Games with Steam achievements that now need to be filled. They're calling to me...

Of course this is helped a lot by Beloved reading my Steam library aloud, reciting achievements I don't have and, occasionally, just saying "plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay meeeeeeeeeeeee! Plaaaaaaaaaaaaaay meeeeeeeeeee!" in a ghostly voice.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Things Straight, Cis People Shouldn't Say: I Wouldn't Hide

Time to add another line to the very very long list of things cis, straight people need to stop saying. These are generally not things said by the homophobes or even the completely clueless who refuse to analyse their prejudice – these are things said by people who probably mean well and probably try – but may not see the full implications of what they say.

“I’m not gay, but if I were I wouldn’t be ashamed/wouldn’t hide/I’d be out”.

Or words to that effect. Generally a straight person asserts they are straight and goes on to “prove” it by assuring us that if they weren’t straight they would tell us, because they’re totally cool with people being gay.

In some ways this is a better form of the panicked “zomg you called me gay, how very dare you!”. And in many ways it is better – people who treat the suggestion of being gay as an insult or an accusation are being homophobic and need to be hit repeatedly with a tuna. Denying the information while making it clear you don’t consider it an insult (even if it does sometimes feel like a belated “not that there’s anything wrong with that” seems better).

But…

Yes there’s a but…

“If I were gay I would be open”. No.

I call shenanigans. The vast majority (if not all) of everyone who is GBLT out there has spent some time in the closet. We are pressured into it since birth in an extreme manner cis, straight people can’t even begin to imagine. It takes extraordinary courage to come out. It is risky to come out. It is usually pretty hard to come out, to say the least.

If you were LGBT, dear cis, straight folks, I can nearly guarantee you would have been closeted at some point in your life and you’d probably still be closeted now. And that applies double if you’re in a big public situation where cameras follow you.

You’re not special. The chances are you wouldn’t dodge the bullet that hits 90% of us. You are not better than those of us who have been closeted, are still closeted or will continue to be closeted. If you were GBLT, you would hide. If you were LGBT and out at some point you would have hidden – at some points you probably still would. That’s not a judgement on you – that’s reality, the reality of a deeply hostile, bigoted society, the reality of what the vast majority of us have had to do or continues to do to survive. If you were like us, you would have to walk that same road


By saying you wouldn’t, you just show how little you actually understand the closet, what drives us to closet and the risks involved in being out of the closet. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Food, Foresight, Marriage and the Doctor

Beloved: What's for dinner?

Me: beef wellington, wine sauce, sauteed spinach, sauteed potatoes and cauliflower puree. Also pate, crisp bread and cake.

Beloved:.... Marry me.

Me: I already did

Beloved: That's because I'm awesome and have super power of foresight.

Me: And saw this meal?

Beloved: Exactly.

Me: But you haven't eaten yet, it could be awful?

Beloved: if it is then I would have foreseen it and wouldn't have married you so you wouldn't have cooked it.

Me: So... if this meal is bad we have a paradox?

Beloved: Yes, the whole timeline will collapse and the world ends.

Me:... I better check the seasoning then.

Beloved: uh-huh. OR the Doctor will come and put things right and we can them ambush him and become Companions

Me: Do you think he'd take us?

Beloved: he took Pond.

Me: Gods no - I'm not getting all excited hear the Tardis arriving, running out and seeing the 11th doctor. That'd be cosmically unfair.

Beloved: then you better check the seasoning - end of the world or being stuck on the Tardis with Pond and Not!Tenant.



Thankfully for the world (and our not becoming the first companions to murder the other companions, imprison the doctor and repeatedly kill him until he regenerated into Tenant again) the seasoning was perfect.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

I am not looking for allies

There appears to have been a misconception about why I blog about what I blog about and why I co-run Fangs for the Fantasy. I suppose I can see why, I mean, I can’t even tell you ALL the reasons why I do both because there’s a lot there.

There’s some venting. There’s the need to expose tropes and problematic representations and erasure in the hope that awareness will bring change. There’s an equal need to expose these simply because we consume them without questioning all the time and unless we do start questioning they will shape us. There’s the need to demand representation and inclusion everywhere – not decide that certain genres don’t matter or we can be confined to a niche. Oh there’s a bazillion reasons, I’ve written whole posts on the reasons.

But I do NOT do this to “find allies.” Never have. Finding allies is not on my to-do list. I don’t even particularly like the word “ally” because it’s so loaded with so many unpleasant connotations and experiences that I avoid it – the actions of too many self-appointed “allies” have rendered the word fairly irredeemably negative.

When it comes to people’s position in reference to a battle for equality I see two broad categories:

1)      Arseholes
2)      People Who Are Not Arseholes

An Arsehole is one who doesn’t believe a marginalised group deserves the same level of respect/rights/whatever as non-marginalised people. There are obviously different degrees of Arseholes. Some like to go out killing marginalised people, some want to campaign against our rights, some just think there’s far too many of Those People on TV and wish we’d keep it indoors. Some Arseholes will tell you how much they absolutely love us – until we don’t follow their own internal script on who/how we should be.

Regardless of the varying degrees of stink clinging to them – they’re all Arseholes.

People who are not Arseholes are just that – they think LGBT people (and all marginalised people) are people worthy of as much respect as privileged people. Despite them being relatively rare people, this is not an achievement worthy of much praise. This is the bare minimum standard for decent humanity – and should be your default setting. If it isn’t, you’re an Arsehole and should be treated as such

Is it possible that, with much work and explanation, I could convince an Arshole to not be an Arsehole? Yes – but not only is that work and painful and difficult, it’s also deeply dehumanising. I find it soul-deep offensive to have to convince someone I am an actual person worthy of respect. Having to defend, explain or justify my humanity is demeaning, it’s belittling and I loathe doing it. Almost as much I hate people telling me how much they’re struggling not to be an Arsehole.

So no, I’m not trying to “win allies.” And even if I were, it’d be impossible to do so by being nice. Someone who respects my rights and humanity and my personhood only so long as I play nicely is not my ally. LGBT people (and all marginalised people) should not have to buy respect and equality by jumping through your hoops and fawning at your feet. I am a person, no matter what – whether I’m mean, cruel, surly, caffeine deprived, sarcastic, plain nasty or whether I’m nice, patient, kind, gentle and saintly. My personhood is not dependent on my conduct – and all marginalised people do not need to show impeccable behaviour to be found worthy of equality


Don’t ever tell me that I’m failing to win allies or I’m driving allies away and think it will convince me to, well, change anything.. The first is not actually something I’m trying to do or want to do. The second is impossible with a genuine ally – because a genuine ally would support our rights as a full human being no matter how much of an ornery, surly git I am.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Yes, I'm ranting again - can we stop cheering non-inclusion?

I have people wondering at me why I am so annoyed about reviews of How To Train Your Dragon 2, specifically Gobber.

Who is apparently gay. Or so say the writers of the film. The actual film? Apparently we have the line:

“That’s why I never married. Well, that and one other reason.”

Well that’s a totally unambiguous statement right? It’s not like “one other reason” could possibly mean anything else other than being gay, right? Uh-huh

But we have bloody swarms of people crawling out of the woodwork to say how wonderfully inclusive it is! ZOMG A GAY CHARACTER! YAY!

And people wonder why I drink.

This annoys the hell out of me. There are still huge genres – like SF/F and children’s shows/films/books of any kind – where LGBT people in major roles is damn rare (you can find us in comedies – because gay as comic relief is still a thing – dramas, usually about the big gay issue – and soapy-shows where we have big ensemble casts so you don’t have to deal with an LGBT main character without lots of diluting cishet people to wash it down with) and it’s not going to get any better because we have a swarm of people ready to throw a damn parade for NOTHING like this.

Like Frozen – hey did you see the millisecond hint that some random shop keeper may be gay because his family seemed to contain another adult man? Yeah, I watched that film and missed it as well – but the fanpoodles were on the net squeeing about Disney with gay characters – because blink-and-you-miss-it hints are totally awesome guys! (And update on that – they may have been cousins. Ooooh joyous inclusion)

Or the media that doesn’t even bother with hints, just has show creators or authors claim there are LGBT characters there we don’t know about – Battlestar Galatica, J K Rowling, Julie Kagawa, to name but a few – and we’re supposed to celebrate this? We’re supposed to be glad of inclusion that you have to freaking GOOGLE after you finish the book/show/film!?

And that’s aside from the number of shows indulging in fucktons of slashbaiting which has had Supernatural, Hawaii 5-0, Sherlock, Merlin and Teen Wolf hailed as inclusive or even outright gay shows by far too many. Tyler Posey even said in an interview that they focused on a gay storyline in Teen Wolf. WHEN?! What gay storyline?! I’ve watched 3 seasons and counting of Teen Wolf and there has never been anything that can be called a “gay storyline” and none of the teeny-tiny gay tokens on that show have ever been “focused on”.

This is why people like the writers on Once Upon a Time think that Mulan's kinda, sorta, almost coming out before FALLING OFF THE PLANET is progressive and inclusive.

Even when they manage to scrape up LGBT characters, there’s repeatedly an urge to back off from them – to make sure they don’t identify as LGBT, to downplay being LGBTness. Whether it’s the grossly homophobic Da Vinci’s Demons deciding Leonardo Da Vinci was just “curious” or Reeve Carney talking about Dorian Grey on Penny Dreadful and denying his bisexuality – comparing his sex with men as akin to self-harming.

But we still have the fanpoodles flocking to tell us how pro-gay these shows are! We still hold this shows up as wonderful examples of inclusion!

THIS IS NOT INCLUSION. This is bloody insulting and it’s actively harming our press for actual portrayals of LGBT characters because this is the standard we set. This is what is praised. This is considered acceptable. This is the low bar we expect media creators to tip-toe over. This is what the fans are demanding and this is what we’re getting – and then we wonder at the paucity of portrayals?

This shit is so prevalent that it’s created a whole double standard of inclusion even on sites which specialise in social justice and social justice analysis of media. They will praise erased or tokenised shows for their non-existent or grossly inadequate portrayal of LGBT people while rightly criticising that same show for its flawed representation of other marginalised people even though that representation is actually more extensive than that of the LGBT inclusion they just praised! But we’ve set such a double standard for LGBT inclusion that an ad-libbed retconned ambiguous statement is somehow a milestone of inclusion!

So yes, I’m pissed, yes, I’m ranting about this, yes, I’m annoyed. There’s this whole damn vast movement of fans out there, fans who claim to be supporters of LGBT inclusion – who are actively sabotaging us.


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

So, if you're a straight person who feels the need to say "I hate all public displays of affection..."

Don't.

Really don't, because I'm beyond sick of it

I know, I know, you want to make it clear you're totally not a homophobe and it's not about the same-sex couple you just don't like PDAs - of any kind!

But the ONLY time this gets trotted out, certainly in any large numbers, is when LGBT folk have shown the same public love for each other that cishet folks get to do repeatedly every single day.

I do not believe you decide to express your distaste for PDAs every time straight people kiss. I do not. Considering the saturation of straight affecting in the media you couldn't even read your toddler a fairy tale without having to tut "oh look at this PDA, how inappropriate" under your breath. If you turned on a television you would lose your voice having to repeat your disapproval so many times.

There is absolutely no way you express your disapproval of PDAs every time you're confronted by straight people kissing. You would be on permanent repeat, like a record that's skipping.

You don't comment on straight PDAs but you hone in on the MUCH MUCH rarer same-sex PDAs to speak about? Yeah, that's some not-very-subtle shenanigans right there

And if you are genuinely unhappy with any PDA and this totally isn't isolated - then consider whether you need to express this NOW (because you DO let straight PDAs pass, don't even try to claim you don't). Even if you are super duper sure that you are totally not a homophobe in any way, shape or form, be aware that you do sound like one. Be aware that you are speaking in a context where a gazillion of your fellow straight folks constantly use such weasel ways to be homophobic in the hope they can wave the hate flag without backlash. Be aware that there's a whole bunch of straight people with unchallenged privilege and unquestioned prejudice who register, without even realising, same-sex PDA as obscene and needing reaction but don't even notice straight PDAs because they're background noise - and that you sound a whole lot like them. Be aware of that "without even realising" and ask yourself how sure you are you AREN'T one of them.

Be aware that, to me and many other LGBT folks, you're part of a vast sea of straight people who've decided to express their disapproval over our relationships. Again.

If you quack and waddle, how sure are you that you aren't a duck? Even if you aren't, you can't be surprised when we reach for the orange sauce

And does it suck that you're totally-well-meaning-and-not-homophobic-honest criticism is being lumped in with that sea of bigotry? Well, not nearly as much as it suck to drown in it.




This also applies to the "I think all marriage/adoption/surrogacy/IVF is wrong" but only say so when we're talking about same-sex couples engaging in them crowd as well.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

On Conchita Wurst

First of all, banish the idea that whoever wins Eurovision has anything to do with the quality of the songs. Ok, no, that's harsh - let's say the quality of the music makes up, say, 20% of the decision on who wins.

The rest is politics. Which is why it was laughable that Eurovision Host Pilou Asbaek was banned from wearing rainbows as he wanted because it was deemed “political.” Which country votes for which is always based on relations and opinions between those countries (which is why you have a lot of bloc voting and part of the reason Britain both doesn’t take it very seriously and always does poorly – because we’ve annoyed and continue to annoy a lot of people).

Homophobia has been an issue in European politics lately – obviously with the looming bigotry of Russia. But not just Russia – it was rather bitter, for example, to see political leaders decide boycotts, sanctions and even not attending the Olympics et al against Russia for persecuting LGBT people was a no-no, but when straight people in Ukraine were the target, suddenly everything was on the table (including our “equality minister” telling us how much she couldn’t possibly boycott the Olympics – then running like hell from the Paralympics – showing homophobia and ableism). It’s also galling that one of the many steps towards integration with the EU required Ukraine to improve it’s anti-homophobia protection and this was dropped after the Russian invasion (and Ukraine dropped anti-gay discrimination from their workplace discrimination law) feeling a lot like the EU just shoved LGBT people under the bus.

Then there was Conchita’s boycott – Russia, Ukraine and Belarus all wanted Conchita disqualified and/or broadcasts of Eurovision to edit Conchita out. They were hardly alone, though the usual suspects were most vocal. There was a lot of pressure to remove Conchita entirely

And then Conchita won. That’s a message. Ok, the message could be “You want to de-gay Eurovision? Are you SERIOUS? Please, we’ve been claiming this since the 70s.” But it’s also a strong sense of rejection of the very overt bigotry that has dogged Eurovision and Europe this year.

Is the song good? Yes/no/maybe/I don’t really care – but I’m loving that the bigots stomped their feet and here, far more of us turned round and told them to back off.



Thursday, 24 April 2014

So very much agreed



Yes yes and yes. My home has completely lost gay bars because the number of straight tourists has driven gay people out or made the space unsafe by both numbers or by grossly obnoxious behaviour

There are almost no spaces in the world where LGBT people are not an inherent minority. That's not even a comment on homophobia, that's simple demographics. Even the most generous metrics put LGBT people at about 10% of the population. We are inherently a minority, we will always be, inherently, a minority. Which means 99.9% of everywhere we go all the time we are surrounded by people not like us. All the time (this was an amusing revelation to one of my colleagues lately). So yes, I - and many others - are very protective of the teeny tiny spaces we managed to carve out in this HUGE STRAIGHT WORLD where, for a few blissful moments, we can be us, surrounded by us, knowing everyone around us is... us.

And before anyone cries about it "not being fair". Cis, straight folks - you have the world. The entire freaking world. Every day is straight pride day. Every bar is a straight bar (where we're still evicted on a regular basis). You never have to be careful, being a cis straight person in an LGBT world. You never have to be afraid, being a cis straight person in an LGBT world. You are not the only one of your sexuality or gender identity in a room. You do not have that daily pressure not to be you because you are cis and straight. We need these guarded corners because you have filled the rest of the space with your overwhelming presence but also your overwhelming culture of superiority and hostility - and that's a culture that follows you EVEN IF you are fighting against that. No matter how much of an ally you are, your presence adds to the majority, a majority which, frankly, frightens me.

And, really, you've got the whole world. You object to our tiny corners?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Nigel Evans, Rape Charges and Complexities

Nigel Evans has been cleared of all charges – and I’m seeing some… simplistic responses.

One of which is the idea that he got off. I can understand the principle of always believing abuse victims because we have too much a culture of doubt, victim blaming and general arseholery.

That includes rape victims who are gay men who are (as I’ve found to bitter experience) generally considered unrapeable (even among people in the LGBT community) because we’re all sex-obsessed lust monsters. “No” is not supposed to exist in our vocabulary; at very least, if we did say “no” we didn’t mean it or it doesn’t matter because we’re so sex obsessed that more sex can never be a bad thing.

There is also an incredibly powerful stereotype and societal slur of gay men as sexual predators. The gay panic defence, that is continually raised over and over to justify attacking us and killing us, is based entirely on this idea that we’re all rabid sex predators. The idea we’re a threat to children is based on the idea we’re rabid sex predators. I know gay men who are not only not trusted to look after children even by their families (myself included) but some who wouldn’t even do so if asked because it’s too dangerous for them. The spectre of gay rape was raised when it came to equalising the age of consent, section 28 and marriage equality. It’s a subject of constant “humour” from straight men about the terrible fear of gay men raping them, avoiding being alone with a room with us and the ever-not-funny “don’t bend over/drop the soap/turn your back” jokes. Because we’re all just. Again, I know gay men who won’t use a public bathroom out of fear of the violent terror they inspire in straight men. Again, I’ve even seen people who are LGBT (but not gay men) talk about gay men’s “culture” of sexual predation and how much GBQ men love to be evil preying sugar daddies on vulnerable youth because it’s all part of our community culture. Which all adds to why I really really really feel unbelievably uncomfortable referring to my past experiences in anything but the closest of spaces because there are, optimistically, 6 people who are not gay men I feel even remotely safe talking about it with.

Gay men falsely accused of rape and sexual assault is an ingrained societal habit

I say this as someone who pretty much loathes Nigel Evans who gives his hateful party inclusion cookies when he only came out when pretty much forced and after a long record of throwing the rest of us under the bus (not saying he should have come out earlier or at all – but no-one gets cookies for including someone who later is revealed to be gay).

Does this mean I think all the accusations against him are baseless lies? No. Does this mean I think he’s a sex predator whose wealth and position got him off scot-free? Also no. Does this mean that, if you have followed the case, assessed the facts (something I haven’t done because that would neither be sensible nor healthy) and decided they are liars/he has got off scot-free you should not have that opinion? Not at all.


None of these things – but nor do I think we can apply even a very well intentioned and generally very good principle (believing the victims of sexual assault and rape who are so often ignored, doubted and villified) without recognising other factors apply.

Friday, 4 April 2014

On Mozillagate, Brandon Eich and Freedom of Speech

Looks like we need another refresher on Freedom of Speech and what that means

Brendan Eich, the now-former CEO of Mozilla has donated a considerable sum of money to a campaign to deny LGBT people equality. He is a homophobic bigot. Mozilla decided being a homophobic bigot is the perfect person to head their company when they appointed him CEO – it was a bigoted decision that proved Mozilla did not value LGBT people.

LGBT people and people who aren’t raging bigots and apologists for bigots responded with fierce criticism, blog posts, social media campaigns and, yes, OKCupid joined the campaign (they did not block firefox – they DID have a page that said, basically, “hey we’d prefer you use a browser that doesn’t support raging bigotry” which did have a clickthrough if you really did want to continue with firefox.

Brendan Eich stepped down.

Would people have been happy with less? Honestly, I wouldn’t have been – and I still look leerily at some of the man’s apologists in Mozilla as well. But Eich didn’t even try. Mozilla threw around policy statements – which addressed nothing. They were so poor that they released several to try and patch the gaping holes – but never addressed the fact they’d chosen a bigot to lead them

Eich himself made vague statements – but adamantly refused to address his donation to a hate campaign. More, he wouldn’t rule out doing the same again, even when expressly asked. Eich is a homophobic bigot who has campaigned against the equality of LGBT people – and plans to continue to do so. Yet he expected LGBT people to have faith in him for the future.

This wasn’t even LGBT people refusing to accept an apology (which we wouldn’tbeen obliged to do) or trusting him to learn and do better – because he didn’t make an apology, made no indication that he had learned and adamantly ruled out not doing the same thing all over again.

And let us be clear here – LGBT people did not sack Brandon Eich. We do not have that power. We did not ban him under law – we do not have that power. We did not destroy his code or his company or have his website banned – none of these we can do. No-one physically attacked him. No-one put a gun to his head.

We spoke.

We spoke against a man who would spend money to deny our humanity. We spoke against a man who wished to deny us equality and treat us as lesser citizens. We spoke against a man who refused to even rule out doing the same thing again. We spoke against a company – a company that even prides itself on its principles - that decided such a man was ideal to be their leader and figurehead. We chose not to use the products of that company. We chose not to associate with a man or a company

Why is his “freedom of speech” which, by the American interpretation, also includes copious amounts of money to fund denial of our rights – so damn precious that OUR freedom of speech must be silence – or be considered “out of line” or “going too far.”

Why is his speech perfectly reasonable but ours is a “lynch mob”?

What do you expect us to do? Do you think we have some kind of duty to shop at Chick-fil-a, use Firefox or read Orson Scott Card? Lest our refusal to associate with a bigot somehow “oppress” you? At what point are we ALLOWED to speak up against bigotry? When do we get to defend outselves, oh straight people, do tell?

Why are LGBT people – all marginalised people – presented as being vicious, angry and oppressive because we won’t lay down silently and let privileged people oppress us?

Brendan Eich is not a victim. Brendan Eich was the man trying to victimise LGBT people – and clearly planning to do so again in the future. LGBT people chose not to lay down and take it, LGBT people fought against being victimised, LGBT people refused to smile in the face of yet another straight, cis person hitting us.


All you people squealing about how so-very-mean we’ve been to this bigot? You are like the men who hold some poor guys arms so someone else can punch him. Eich is the one who attacked us – we’re defending ourselves. It’s your choice whether you stand aside, help protect us – or try to hold our arms so we’re defenceless. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The First Same-sex Couples in the UK married today

Today, the first same sex couples in the UK got married.

We can't yet because of pointless delays for no good reason - but the first of us got married today.

I never realised quite how much I was holding my breath waiting for this to be sabotaged - there was so much endless delay and so much utter viciousness from the usual suspects I didn't dare hope we'd actually make it to the end.

It's not perfect, there are still some more aspects of it to change...

...but it's here. It's finally actually here.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Homophobic bigots can make some decisions easy

I've been waffling back and forth about what browser to choose for a while. I don't make decisions quickly, it has to be said and Beloved has confused the issue more than clarified as is his wont.

But the new CEO of Mozilla is a homophobic bigot who spends his money to deny the human rights of people like me

Well that solved that dilemma. I'll never be touching firefox again.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Fred Phelps is dying

So apparently Fred Phelps is dying. I know there’s definition a temptation to talk about protesting his funeral or dancing on his grave – after all, the man was a pretty loathesome bigot.

Personally, I find myself largely not caring. Phelps, in his venom, was a negligible source of homophobia simply because his tactics were so cartoonishly awful that he would have added ammunition to our side of the argument more than anything – he provided one service to homophobes though: he served as the face of homophobia.

So all the so-nice straight people who are completely not homophobic (BUT…) can say they’re not homophobes because, look, they’re not Phelps. So long as they weren’t picketing funerals, they were the good ones. So long as their church wasn’t his, then people could deride Phelps as a “fake” Christian, rather than accept that his bigotry is pretty much standard across the majority of Christian denominations.

Phelps was a useful scapegoat, a distraction and a perfect excuse not to look at the more mainstream churches.

He was also useful to hate, wasn’t he? So many people hated him for the evil shit he did to straight people…

what, you thought he was hated because of hishomophobia? Please, his doctrine is hardly different from that of the Catholic church or the Southern Baptists. His homophobia was pretty standard and we can easily drum up rather a lot of pastors who want gay people deported/in concentration camps/just dead and think that Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia et al have truly fandabbydosy laws.

Don’t kid yourselves that this man was reviled for his homophobia. He was reviled because he was a TROLL. And pretty damn good at it at that. The hatred for GBLT people was pretty much standard – we hear as bad and worse every day from purveyors of Christian love – but his trollish antics enraged. His picketing funerals, especially soldier’s funerals in particularly was designed to enrage cis, straight people and earned him even the ire of the KKK. The wave of righteous hatred against Phelps has very little to do with his homophobia (he could have been denouncing cucumbers or the act of stepping on legos and he’d be as hated) – it’s all about him being a nasty little man who revels in offending and outraging people.

In short, trolling.


Will I be said the troll is dead? Not even slightly. Will I smile if people dance on his grave? You better I will. But is this a big victory of GBLT people? Has one of our great enemies fallen? Nope, I don’t see it.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Gay men are never shamed for sex?

So, in three separate places now I’ve seen straight women talk about how much they love m/m because it lets them have their hot fetishistic sexy time without any kind of sex shaming and isn’t that wonderful?!

Because gay men are never shamed for sex…

…riiiiight. Have you heard about this thing called AIDS? It’s a global pandemic that vast portions of the straight world believe is ALL OUR FAULT. Our sex lives are held responsible for one of the biggest global plagues in the world today and you cannot even imagine the constant judging we get both in the community and from without because of our sex lives, our dangerous sex lives, our promiscuity, our terribad plague carrying evilness. AIDS awareness literature, speeches, lectures, documentaries (seriously, how many films out there with gay main characters involve tragically dying of AIDS?) are all encompassing because of our terribad evil sexing!

And what’s one of the main weapons the homophobes use against us? Our supposed sex lives! Martin Ssempa is one of the chief driving forces of the Uganda genocide Bill and he is roundly mocked for showing explicit gay porn at his seminars and declaring that gay men eat each other’s faeces.

Peter LaBarbera, one of the loudest voices of hate in the US has been giving the mocking name “Porno Pete” by some in GBLT community because of his overwhelming obsession with gay men having sex and gay male porn.

Direct quote from professional homophobe Matt Barber on what being gay is “…one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” Ever heard of “gay bowel syndrome”? It’s completely fictional but still being trotted out by the haters on the right with depressing regularity.

A huge plank of the attacks against our every single right and protection is “Ewwww gay buttsex!” But our sex lives aren’t shamed? Are you serious? There are people campaigning to have us murdered on mass using sexual shaming as a major plank in that campaign.

In fact, one of the common polemics about why our love is not real, why we don’t deserve marriage equality, why our families are fake is because we’re supposed to be so utterly sex obsessed. Overwhelmed by lust, incapable of commitment, driven by endless dark urges – churches, court rooms and halls of government alike have rung with cries of what dirty sex monsters we are and that that justifies us not having equality

And even outside of the blatant hate groups – how many memes and bad jokes have you heard about gay men and sex? The hamster meme? The ridiculous and homophobic lie about sagging trousers being a signal you’re receptive to anal sex in prison to try and shame youth into abandoning the style?

And how often when something does happen – like the recent tragic death in the UK of a man in a gay sauna – did the forces of shaming and policing (both in and out the community) rush forward to remind us all how dirty and naughty and wrong we are?  Do you remember Jan Moir deciding that Stephen Gately simply had to have died of unnatural causes and was having kinky threesomes throwing in an extra dig that we don’t need civil partnerships?

Every time there is even a suggestion or possibility of a gay man somewhere in the world involved in even the most mild of “sex scandals” we get another repeat of why we’re dirty and wrong and don’t deserve have rights – or even to exist.

Our sex lives are constantly shamed.

Which is one of the reoccurring and glaring issues with these conversations about M/M. We have these female authors and readers extolling the joys of reading about the hawt sexing without issues they have to deal with as a marginalised people – while completely ignoring, disrespecting and being outright contemptuous of the marginalised people they’ve decided to use and exploit. They are not only not gay men, but they neither know nor care to know about the issues gay men face that they so merrily pass over when using us as tools for their useage. Even the slightest attempt to be aware of gay men as actual people would have realised that “gay men don’t face shame for having sex” was a truly ridiculous and insulting thing to say – but that attempt isn’t there. Gay men as people are not considered – only as objects: objects to help avoid their own issues or objects to fetishise for titillation or both.



Sunday, 2 March 2014

Jonathon Ross steps down from the Hugo Awards

Jonathon Ross was going to be part of the Hugo awards. He volunteered, there was backlash, particularly from women and minorities, he stepped down.

And there has been kafuffle all around this

This is a new spin on an old problem.

The old problem is that SF/F – its conventions, its fandom, it’s various bodies of varying degrees of authority, its awards and a huge amount of the work produced in the genre has a problem of, at worst, outright prejudice towards minorities or, at best, not particularly valuing minority participation or presence.

In terms of inclusion, the genre, it’s subgenres and its related genres are probably worse than the mainstream. And you only have to have been on twitter to have followed the huge number of dramas about race, gender and (usually completely absent) sexuality that have raged around – but on the plus side show a level of at least confrontation (even if it is dismissal) that gives me some hope we’re at least kinda, sorta, maybe addressing that there is a Problem.

Well, maybe, it’s somewhat wishful thinking of me, but I can cling to that

I like to hope that, with glacial slowness, enough happy geeks are starting to see that attacking and driving out marginalised people out of some bemusing need for some abstract “fan purity” is a bad idea. I like to hope, with the same glacial slowness, enough happy geeks are beginning to realise that geek spaces have become incredibly hostile to marginalised people and that this needs to change. I like to

In short, I like to hope that, with glacial slowness, geekdom has realised it’s protective, insular culture (often built on the idea of, even if rather exaggerated, mainstream derision) is hostile and damaging to geeks who do not fit their very narrow straight, white, cis, able bodied, male definition of what makes a geek.

Maybe, again, but it’s a battle that is being fought though not necessarily won.

Now we have something of a context shift; geek is IN. Just look at the major films that have geek stamped all over them – of the mainstream channels grabbing at content in prime slots you’d normally find on Syfy or of celebrities who are quite happy to wear their geek badge with pride. Geeks are IN.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Uganda's Law passes - The Hole in our Recognition of Genocide

The president of Uganda has signed the brutal and truly evil homophobic bill which strengthens the anti-gay genocide in his country. It is deeply wounding to see that there are so many people and so many places that want nothing more than for GBLT people to be completely eradicated from the planet; we have a long way to go until our very right to exist is universally accepted.

We need to keep fighting and campaigning, of course, though I doubt any of the rhetoric will be backed with any kind of action – if Sochi tells us anything, it’s how little the cishet world really cares about GBLT bodies – but we keep fighting because it’s all we can do.

Of course, I’ve said “genocide” which usually has someone bustling in to tell me how very wrong I am to use that word. Do not – this is genocide beyond any doubt.

In fact, let’s look at the convention’s definition of genocide:





So yes, countries that executed people for being gay are committing genocide.

Countries that flog, torture, starve, electrocute, force emetics on us, or otherwise brutalise us (and that definitely includes “conversion” therapy) most certainly fit under B

So are countries that imprison people for being gay – not even long sentences since you can’t STOP being gay so you are an inherent “repeat offender”. They are definitely filling C on that list and, frankly, are fulfilling A in all but loopholes. In fact, life imprisonment for existing is hitting on B as well

Countries that break up our families and take our children (including but certainly not limited to that vile new law Russia is proposing) are definitely going for E. And we’ve got to mention the forced sterilisation that more than nods at D.

These are just the blatant ones – and my gods there’s a lot of blatant examples for these alone. But the reality on the ground has a whole lot more genocide - creating a climate where mere mention of us is a sinful or obscene – or even a crime? That’s B – that’s driving us to suicide by any means necessary. If that were applied to political or religious groups there wouldn’t be the slightest doubt of genocide. Making our existence an obscenity is trying to erase us from society.

Raising GBLT kids to believe they are sinful, obscene and sick? That’s driving them to suicide, that’s trying to deny their personhood – it’s another part of the GBLT genocide that is pursued in every country around the world.


The legal definition of genocide isn’t ambiguous. It’s not really controversial either – and it cannot be sensibly argued that the crusade against GBLT people is not “almost genocide” – it is genocide, outright genocide. But we never ever use that word – not about Uganda’s  evil law, not about the evil laws that already exist in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and so many other nations, not about the genocide practices and rhetoric happening on our doorsteps every day.

Why, half the time it’s damn hard to get people to admit that gay people were the victims of genocide during the Holocaust.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

It is not my job to pave your road to redemption

Someone does or says something that is grossly homophobic. Sometimes there’s outrage, sometimes there isn’t – either way there’s a number of people who remember that and the label “homophobe” is now attached to that person. A number of people, especially GBLT people, are not too pleased with them and will avoid them if possible.

Through a need to salve their conscience, improve their reputation or even (most incredibly rarely) a genuine need to be a better person, the homophobe asks how they can make it right. What do they have to do to no longer be considered a homophobe?

Well, your first problem is that people have different metrics – so don’t assume that just because you’ve pleased one GBLT person or organisation that everyone else is going to sign off on that.

But if you’re going to ask me what it would take for me to not consider you a bigot any more? Well, that’s going to vary from event to event but it would, at minimum, include:

An actual apology (not a non-pology or excuse and one that admits you are actually wrong. And an apology alone won’t even come close to me not considering you a bigot) that also doesn’t call your actions a “mistake”.

Not repeating your behaviour

Using any power you have to prove you have changed (politicians making pretty speeches but not actually changing policy or votes? Homophobes playing the PR game)

No appeals for “a second chance” or “trust” you are owed neither

Not profiting from your apology or your gestures of redemption

These are the beginning, the bare minimum, before I will even consider no longer thinking of you as a homophobe

But, y’know what? Sometimes I don’t have an answer. Sometimes I really can’t think of anything you can do. Or nothing you can do until an opportunity arises that may, indeed, never arise.

Yes, that means your homophobic words and deeds may have me and people like me deciding you’re a nasty bigot we want nothing to do with and there’s nothing you can do to change that.

And?

This is not my problem. These are the consequences of your actions; if you are a bigot, people will treat you as and regard you as a bigot. And even if you want to change, no-one’s obliged to treat you differently until they’re satisfied that you deserve it – which may never happen. That’s not their fault. You are the one who showed your bigoted arse. People are treating you accordingly – no-one owes your forgiveness, no-one owes you an easy way out. No-one owes you ANY way out. You can ask how you can make it right – but sometimes you can’t, and if you can, it’s not my job to give you a plan on how to do that.

Here’s the thing, it’s not actually my job to pave the road to your redemption.

You’re the arsehole here. You, carelessly at best and wilfully at worst, displayed your bigoted arse for all to see.