Saturday, June 26, 2010

Closed for business

I've moved to Posterous until my new website is up & running.

Friday, August 28, 2009

when you march, stand up straight/when you fill the world with hate

First up: Apologies about the major hiatus this blog has taken (again). Family bereavement, relocating from London to Liverpool and a sudden upsurge in my freelance work have all combined to distract me from my duty to you, dear readers. Like Boxer in Animal Farm, I will work harder. Mini-rants can now be found on Twitter, and I have a guest-blog post up at The F Word, about the film (500) Days of Summer.

And now onto our feature presentation: The National Front are boycotting this autumn's Reading Pride. In preparation for the parade, taking place on the 5th September, police have banned offensive placards and no more than 20 people are allowed to congregate . The NF, who have already marched against the annual parade, are protesting at the 'flamboyance' of the gay community. A recent blog post by Swindon National Front argues that "the very nature and ideology behind White Nationalism condemns homosexuality and its promotion"

In a country that grows ever more tolerant of sexual identity, where even our Prime Minister makes grand statements like "you can't legislate love", is there really a need for annual celebrations of sexual identity?

Surely the fact that we can have these celebrations proves that we no longer need them - as Stonewall's advertising campaign reminds us, some people are gay, it's time to get over it. No big deal. In fact, it's so OK to be gay that the word has now been reclaimed to mean 'rubbish' - but that's not homophobic, it's just a sign that people are more tolerant these days. Right?

Not exactly.

Yes, we're lucky that it's safer to be queer in the UK than it is to be in, say, Russia or Croatia, whose gay pride parades were beset with homophobic violence. But the fact that homophobic hate crimes in Manchester, whose own Gay Pride festivities come to a glittering climax with this weekend's parade, rose by 63% in 2008 paints a less rosy picture. Remember, this is a city known for embracing the gay community, the city that spawned the original Queer as Folk.

The protestors at Reading won't be complaining about civil partnerships or the increasing number of gay bars, their problem isn't that the government encourages discussion of homosexuality in schools. Their problem - and the problem with all homophobes, no matter how much they may dissemble - is with gay people, period. They say 'flamboyance', when they mean 'existence.'

Gay Pride parades don't promote homosexuality. But if, as the National Front claim, homosexuality really is such a threat to their master race utopia, maybe we should start.

And if you're going to get riled up, it's always a good idea to do it with a soundtrack:

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Save Lambeth Women's Project!

I just received this from Naz Jamal from Lambeth Women's Aid:

We need your help.

Lambeth Council have effectively said they are giving our women's project building on Stockwell Road over to the neighbouring school. The suggestion is that we may rent part of the building back off them but this would of course mean the end of LWP as it stands - in spite of 30 years of functioning as a women's service for local women.

As we have been focussing on recovering from the floods of the winter we are not in a strong position to prove what has been happening in the building as it has not be useable for many months. My plan at the moment is to make it clear what our plans are for each of the spaces in the building and this is where you come in.

The following groups currently can be said to run out of LWP - Girls Rock! UK, the Remembering Olive Morris Project, High Tea and part of the Feminist Library, plus women's self defense classes. Regular meetings used to happen with local groups but the damp has stopped these - we will contact them to see what support they can lend and if they will return. Other organisations were going to be invited once the building was up and running again but I would like to do that now. So, if you have a class you would like to run at LWP, an archive that needs storing and public access (Cinenova?? Zines?) or a group that needs somewhere to meet (FAF? Kiss?) please CALL me today and we can start putting together a plan and a point of contact. If the school get hold of the building this women's space will be gone forever. We need to give the council as may points of contact as possible to show that a diverse group of women actually do want and need to use the building.

Please use me as your main point of contact. Ego is swamped in paperwork because of this news and I am around to co-ordinate plans. My number is 07973718431.

Please pass this on to anyone you think might be able to help. We will call a meeting at LWP as soon as we have figured out the legality of the situation - and if anyone can help with that or surveying the building please please ring me.


PLEASE re-post, tweet, forward on and generally do anything you can to stop this terrific resource from closing down!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm a one girl revolution

I do have an actual post brewing, but a friend linked to to this today, and it makes me SO effing happy, that I just had to share:

One Girl Revolution (multi-fandom) -


Friday, March 06, 2009

Happy almost IWD, everyone! A proper blog post (with pictures from tomorrow's Million Women Rise march in London if I can find my camera cable to charge it) will appear on Sunday. For now, words of wisdom from the ever-lovely Lilit at Save the Assistants:

While a survey of managers indicated that they think women slack off more, the study found that men and women slack the same. In related news, your manager is probably sexist.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I have a piece up at the always fabulous Lesbilicious about being LGBT in the banking world. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Monday, February 23, 2009

All this, and brains too

I am in the deeply uncomfortable position of agreeing with the Daily Mail. Yes, I've tried having a lie down, a cup of tea and a brisk whack over the head with a heavy object (my cat, Franklin, who could do with losing a few pounds so we don't have to build a new catflap). It didn't help. No matter what angle I read it from - and I've tried a few, as the blood rushing to my head will evidence - I can't help finding this article...well...rather pleasant. No mention of binge-drinking, of gold-digging, of sex or single-motherhood - they should have just headlined it Daily Mail In 'Not All Women Are Brainless Sluts' Shocker!

I don't know if there's an American equivalent of University Challenge, but for the tragically uninitiated, the programme does what it says on the tin. Two teams from different universities compete in a general knowledge quiz show for....the glory, I think. And to meet Jeremy Paxman, who is really quite ace when he's not writing to Marks & Spencers to complain about their Y-fronts. The current series finale is set to air soon, pitting Manchester University against Corpus Christ College, Oxford - a team helmed by Gail Trimble, described by one fellow contestant as an "intellectual blitzkrieg".

So a general knowledge quiz show finalist from Oxford is prodigiously intelligent. What's the big deal? Here's the thing - she may have A* and A's littering her school career, she may have gone to Oxford and then on to a doctorate in Latin literature but she's still...well...a girl. So obviously the majority of comments online have focussed on her looks: "I must admit, I found her sexy" one commenter confesses. "Very sexy, gorgeous smile," another sniggers. And, more bizarrely, "well brushable hair."

Unfortunately, girls with glasses and Jane Seymour-length hair don't appeal to everyone, so the rest of the internet has jumped on the 'let's beat up the smart kid' bandwagon. One commenter on the Guardian article derides her as having "a patronising, spoilt, only-child demeanour; one for whom affirmation can only be realized by the constantly raised arm in the classroom. What I wonder did her parents do to to make her like that." I'm not sure, but at least they taught her how to punctuate.

As usual, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. If we dare exhibit our intelligence in public, we're smug and self-satisfied. If we don't we're bimbos. It's acceptable for a man to be brilliant, it's permissable to have a steel trap mind when you also have a penis to go along with it. And yet when a woman shows signs of intelligence, it's shocking - and even more shocking when she's considered attractive.

It's not often I find myself rooting for - or even watching - TV quiz shows, but in this case, I am firmly on Team Trimble. TV Scoop blogger 'Mofgimmers' might not want to go to the pub with you, Gail - but if you're ever in North London, the first round's on me.


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