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December 14th, 2011

11:49 pm - Ongoing Indecisive Moving Thing
More developments, one way and the other. Felt as if I was changing my mind on decision every minute and what I decided would then depend on what minute I had to decide in.

So I wrote out list of reasons to move and not to move. I have more reasons *not to move* but of course not all reasons are equal.

Cut, because you're probably sick of this by nowCollapse )

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October 18th, 2011

12:19 pm - It's become gothic horror
Once upon an evening rainy, though my thoughts were weak and grainy
Over an evening spent with friends and a visit to St Paul
There I nodded, in dreams slipping, suddenly there came a dripping
Water over plaster slipping, slipping down my bedroom wall
“’Tis paranoia” I figured “dripping down my bedroom wall
Only this, and that is all”

I know though yawning it was four in early morning
And each separate crashing warning wrought its hell from the wall
Eagerly I wished for sleeping; vainly I considered weeping
As water kept its seeping – seeping downwards in its fall
Into the damp and dirty basin placed on beneath its likely fall
Trapping water’s slow sprawl

And the sureness of snug, soft warmth of my bedsheet
Then left me – bereft me from slumber’s afore beckoning call
So that, to stave off panic's greeting, I then lay repeating
“’Tis paranoia conjuring the drips from my bedroom wall
Paranoia lies conjuring the drips from my bedroom wall
That it is, and that is all”

Presently my mind grew clearer; fears then grew nearer
“No”, said I, “or damn, for had I not yet left this era?;
But the fact is now I’m slipping, as so slowly it came dripping
And so loudly it came dripping, dripping down my bedroom wall
That I scarce was sure I heard it” – here I listened for the call
Silence there, and that is all

Deep into that silence hearing, long I lay there wondering, fearing
Doubting, dreaming disaster may be then about to befall
But the darkness was complete, and the silence still gave no beat
And so then bittersweet was a shimmer of sudden fall
This I froze at and an echo confirmed that sudden fall
Merely that and that is all

Into my bedsheets turning, all my stress within my burning
Soon again I heard the dripping somewhat louder did it befall
“Surely”, thought I, “surely that is rain at my window again
Let me hear now, what this sound is, and yet I did recall
Let me then of rotten cavity and rainwater’s taint recall
‘Tis the rain, and that is all!”

So then here I faced the clutter, when, with many a fleeting flutter
Out the hole plunged a raindrop that had me again in thrall
Though it landed in the pot; it was like a bullet shot
Source of cavity’s rot, it screamed down my bedoom wall
Splashing off some broken plaster, trapped within my bedoom wall
Splashing once and that is all

Then this leakage throwing my sad fearing to crying,
By the gradual trespass of the droplets yet so small
‘Though the rain be come to a stop, thou’, I thought, ‘art yet on top
Ghastly grim and gradual raindrop invading, tainting with your fall
Tell my when this nightmare ends and peace shall fall!
Another raindrop. That is all.

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September 17th, 2011

11:25 am - Hope from the Daily Mail
Right, I'm going to do two things that I never envisioned myself doing.

1) Linking to a story on the Daily Mail website
2) Advising you to *read the comments*

...because it's the exact opposite to what you normally find.

Here, the Mail covers the story of the young trans girl from Worcestershire who is transitioning at her primary school that appeared in the UK press lately. The Metro notably covered it in brief on their front page, surprisingly managing to report the story fairly (aside from the headline, especially on the online version), although the fact it seemed to deserve the front page of a national newspaper did reinforce the 'trans people are sensationalist' option.

This time they have an interview with the mother and the girl, both under false names. And they both come across wonderfully - the mother explaining the choices she made (notably describing forcing 'correctly' gendered behaviour on her child as 'child abuse') and the girl matter-of-factly says who she is, with the Mail journalist almost seeming surprised to find her 'like any other Year 6 girl' adding that they'd 'never have guessed'.

The article has its flaws, although it's not as dripping with vitirol as you may expect. The fact that the interviewees are so fantastic helps with this, both directly and through the response of the interviewer.

Yet what really stood out of me, and actually made me start crying, was reading the comments. Yes, the comments. The 'never read the' comments. I see supportive and understanding comments. Perhaps, I reasoned to myself, this is supportive people flocking over to the Mail to defend the girl. So, bracing myself, I click on 'Most recommended'. And...more of the same. People praising the behaviour and understanding of the mother, the bravery and honesty of the girl, condemning the transphobic abuse both have received. That last one is worth screaming from the rooftops, really - the most recommended comments on a Daily Mail article about a trans girl are the ones condemning transphobia - usually you'd expect to see that very same transphobia at the top of the recommended comments!

And so I am left stunned, and in tears.

I understand some reasons why things may be so different this time. The girl is a child, which makes it harder to go along the 'sexual pervert' or 'insane' routes of derision, and she also 'passes' as cis nigh-on-perfectly, avoiding the whole 'man in a dress' sneering that you often see on reports on especially late-transitioning trans women. In fact, it seems to largely avoid many of the 'trans tropes' that you find dotting such articles like ants on a dropped sandwich. I do wonder that, if in a few weeks the Mail runs a story about an older trans women being barred from the ladies' at her workplace, these same commenters would not leap back to their old attacks, fuelled by the 'trans tropes'. This shows just how hollow and false many of these tropes are.

Yet some of the tropes are represented in force. And where is the 'moral outrage' at these parents 'corrupting' their child, as seen so very strongly in the (admittedly somewhat different) story about the Canadian couple raising their child without revealing their gender. And the girl loves girly things. The Mail often loves its gender stereotypes, yet it conversely has used this as an attack before on trans people, especially in regards to things like makeup, dresses and manicures. In this case, the 'girl likes girly things' comes across positively - which shows that they are viewing the girl as, well, a girl. Everywhere bar some references to the past, the pronouns are also always correct. No misgendering in the article or the comments, the 'he's that are fired off like bullets aimed at the subject in question.

So perhaps naively and hopelessly optimistically, I am taking hope from this. Hope that things can indeed change, that people can actually 'get it', and that the future may be a happier and easier place for trans women (I admit that things may be harder for trans guys, and genderqueer and transgender people have it harder yet still). It's a long shot. But it can do so much good for so many people, and maybe people might look back and find it somewhat quaint and archaic that the Metro would put one such girl on their front page.

Note 1: Yes, I did see a lot more transphobia elsewhere on articles on the same story. The Facebook page for the original Metro story had a lot of transphobic comments and the kind of sneering you'd expect from tabloid coverage of a story about a trans person. This may well simply reflect the disparity in who comments where. Yet the fact this story is currently on the Mail website front page, and that the Mail has often been one of the worst offenders on the transphobia front, does suggest something in the story itself has led to the change in tone. I mentioned various possible causes above - how well the interviewees came across which then came across in the tone of the writer, the lack of the usual invoked 'trans tropes', the special circumstances of the girl in question, and one thing I didn't mention was the brief reference to how being trans may be biological and not psychiatric - telling the readers that these people may not actually be 'deluded/insane/perverted' but were genuinely 'born this way'. It does seem a reminder of the power of the journalist to control a story - and reinforces the necessary work that Trans Media Watch do in getting the media to report these stories in a fairer and less prejudiced way.

Note 2: And yes, I am personally affected by this story given my past. Of course I wish I had had the opportunities this young girl has, as well as her courage and bravery in not hiding away like so many do. But any degree of envy I may have is offset by the knowledge that many may well now have it easier than I did. I can't change my past, but we can help change the futures of many others. This is why I cried so much - because things may well be changing.

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July 5th, 2011

10:12 am - This morning...
Costa Coffee was closed again today
But I needed a coffee anyway
I didn’t want to delay and I saw
there was a Starbucks right next door
so I decided to try them for a change
but walking in it was most strange
the coffees, the staff, the layout
so chaotic I considered the wayout
but I thought as I am here
I may as well evaluate my fear
but no gingerbread lattes in store
and the prices were all a bit more
and for a latte and its ilk
they charged extra for soy milk
what a way to quickly annoy
not only hipsters drink soy
it’s not some artists’ cool new ruse
some of us don’t get to choose
so I paid more for a latte to go
that wasn’t even as nice and so
having today tried going to Starbucks
I feel I can be sure that it sucks

(NB: Not genuine poem)

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February 9th, 2011

11:50 pm - A Shimmering Jewel in a Sea of Grey - RIP Rowan Neale
I was at work for 8:30am this morning, and stayed off Twitter for most of the day, even on my phone.

But that really isn't important.

When I turned on my phone with half an hour of work remaining, I found an e-mail that caused the world to spin and plummet away from me.

My dear friend from university, and on here, Rowan Neale, also known as Phoebe, Naus, or thrennion (until recently thrennion) was killed in a train accident at Sunningdale railway station yesterday evening at about 6:30pm.

I'm not sure if it's sunk in yet. Rowan was such an amazing person, such a good friend, and someone who shimmered like a jewel of many colours in a sea of grey with their* wit, their writing, and most of all their personality, and that they can be gone just doesn't make sense in any way. I can't believe it whilst I know rationally it is the truth, and I'm left searching for words where there's big empty nothingness, but I know that being lost for words is something Rowan never was.

I met Rowan back in my first year of uni, and their first year. I saw this shy girl feeling out of place at a LGBT soc meeting, and so started chatting to them, and we got on well. I took them to Writers' Circle, where they flourished, and that's where many of my fondest memories come from. I remember late night talks after the circle where we'd discuss life, and I told them honestly how much potential I saw in them, potential that was realised in their recent authorship and direction of a play at Royal Holloway, their literature, and yet still had so much to offer. We shared a room on the WrCr trip to Wales, and I remember Rowan's glee at getting to hug Marcus Brigstock. Glee was something I often saw in Rowan - they were one of the most passionate people I knew, more alive than many of my friends, even in the darker times. We frequently met up to discuss odd things, or do poetry, and the last time I saw them in person was at a poetry event in London last Summer. Rowan is down on Facebook as confirmed as coming to my Birthday Party this weekend. We were going to have a big catch-up.I keep remembering the times we had together - so many - and it seems unreal that such times are now over. How can they really be dead?

I can hear them now in my mind, telling me bad puns, getting excited over U2 or Brian Eno, writing that special poetry that only Rowan could write and pull off, and so much more. It doesn't make sense that death was even possible for such a person.

Someone linked me to an article about their death, and it caused my blood to boil because it briefly mentioned the death of a '20-year old unidentified woman' and then went on and on about delayed commuters instead of the loss of someone so unique, so talented, my friend. Perspective be damned in this instance. An irreplaceable spark of energy, life, passion and laughter was wiped out, and I want the world to know.

I may not have been Rowan's closest friend, but they were extremely dear to me. I know I am not alone in having treasured Rowan as the special person they were, and my heart goes out to the many others touched by their loss, especially their parents and their long-term friends like reipan.

* = I'm using gender-neutral pronouns to respect Rowan, who was in the process of working out their own identity on (or off) the gender spectrum. Though Rowan was also used to being given female pronouns as Phoebe.

And as for me...

.Collapse )

(Goes without saying, but please save any 'happy birthday' comments for a different post, thank you.)

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November 18th, 2010

12:04 pm - Where in the World is it OK to be Killed if you're LGBT?
UN general vote decides it's okay to execute people based on their sexual orientation

This is really messed-up. Homophobia has won out in a global context and the passing of this amendment basically means the UN as a whole will not condone executions based on people's sexual orientation. Obviously, this is going to impact trans people as well as cis LGB people, and it shows that hatred still is the law in many parts of the world. It's Benin that proposed the amendment, but the support from many countries, including heavyweights Russia and (People's Republic of) China, means that this is a step backwards globally, especially as countries such as Uganda intensify their laws against homosexuality.

To quote the IGLHRC press release:

This decision in the General Assembly flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that people are routinely killed around the world because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, and renders these killings invisible or unimportant. The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has highlighted documented cases of extrajudicial killings on the grounds of sexual orientation including individuals facing the death penalty for consensual same-sex conduct; individuals tortured to death by State actors because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; paramilitary groups killing individuals because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation as part of “social cleansing” campaigns; individuals murdered by police officers with impunity because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; and States failing to investigate hate crimes and killings of persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

"It is a matter of great shame that the responsible Committee of the United Nations General Assembly failed in its responsibility to explicitly condemn well-documented killings based on sexual orientation," said John Fisher, Co-Director of ARC international. "The credibility of the United Nations requires protection of all persons from violations of their fundamental human rights, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We thank those States which supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the text, and will redouble our collective efforts to ensure that Member States of the United Nations maintain the standards they have sworn to uphold."

I made a map to show the voting patterns of governments, and I feel a clear picture emergesCollapse )

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June 28th, 2010

04:48 pm - Feline Feelings
Apparently, the cat wants to make an update, using her feet on my laptop.

She says:


Thankyou, JenKat.

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May 8th, 2010

01:13 pm - One Man, One Vote
It's not often I agree with the Financial Times, but they seemed pretty correct in saying "the British public have decided not to decide". With respect to Sir Terry, we right now have a 'one man one vote' system, and Clegg is the man. Yet he can't win, can he?

Three poisoned chalicesCollapse )

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May 6th, 2010

11:03 am - Voteytimes
A poorly-written, pun-laden, mostly untrue, very silly summary of the parties in the General Election. Apologies in advance.

Okay, so *some* of that may have been slightly funny at least, or at least raised a groan.


Now please go vote. Don't if you a) have already voted, or b) are not eligible (on account of being Californian, for example). Otherwise, please do go and vote. I'd like it if you didn't vote for the Tories or UKIP, and I can give reasons too, but then I would say that, and honestly, vote for the party you most believe in, the one whose policies make the most sense to you, the one who most closely agrees with you on the matters you really care about, the least bad of a bad bunch, the party that can help your favourite party get more votes in the future...just please go vote.

Said my part :)

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December 26th, 2009

09:04 pm - Bernard Cribbins deserves a Knighthood
And incoming, a rather twisty assessment of yesterday's Doctor Who episode...

The End of Time Part OneCollapse )
Current Location: United Kingdom, Nottingham

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