books dumb people

Change the World in 5 Minutes! (with more gay birds)

If you're eligable to vote in the UK, please sign this petition by the 7th of April to allow trans people in Oxfordshire access to surgery - current guidelines prevent trans people from accessing the surgery on the NHS unless they are in so much distress they would be deemed unfit to have it anyway.

Also, please email OfCom and itv and tell them that the 'humour' in March 20th's episode of Moving Wallpaper was incredibly transphobic. I tried to watch the episode here. The transwoman in the episode is used entirely for laughs, mocked openly, has her pronouns and name messed with and the other characters go on strike rather than work with her... in only the first 5 minutes of the episode, I couldn't watch the rest.

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Finally, please use the template email here to write to the General Medical Council today or tomorrow and tell them to add training on to the student doctors' courses for LGBT patients, and add asexual to it as well, because if you're not straight you get some pretty odd assumptions and questions at the GP! 

And... another fuzzy animal story...

Blue Ducks likely to die out in UK after male birds get together

Mating attempts to prevent the blue duck from becoming extinct have been abandoned, since the last two males seem a lot more interested in each other than anyone else. Apparently they're "a lovely couple". :)
reject your reality

Improving my relationship with Pride...

Oh dear God. I've discovered why I've felt so cut up over pride this year. It's because I see it as a primary relationship. :O I'd never quite understood David Jay's description of a group/community of people being a relationsihp as fulfilling emotional intimacy, but in the way he discusses it here, I've realised I'm a classic case:

I will end with an asexual story. One of the perks of being AVEN's founder is that I get to fly around the country giving talks at various universities. I'm usually invited to campus by the LGBT group, and I've noticed an interesting trend. Not surprisingly, the LGBT groups that invite me tend to be ones that have active asexual members. Of the 14 schools where I have spoken over the past two years, 7 have had out n' proud asexuals waiting in the audience.

Here's what is surprising: 6 of those 7 asexuals were club presidents. Think for a second about what that means. An asexual becoming president of an LGBT club is a little like a youtube video getting an oscar. When these people were freshman, their clubs probably weren't aware that asexuality existed, and probably had to struggle just to accept an asexual into their ranks. Yet whenever one of those asexuals is waiting to greet my plane I can be almost certain that she is running the show.

I can't help but wonder if this is, in part, because love and leadership are so fundamentally connected. Most of the people in an LGBT club split their energy between pursuing a primary partnership and building up their network of friends, but few asexuals on college campuses have that luxury. The best way for an asexual to fulfill her emotional needs is to build close-knit friendships, and the best way to do that is to work with her friends on something that all of them find personally empowering.

My point is not that asexual people are innately better leaders, merely that circumstances may have forced asexual people to tap into the link between love and leadership more deeply than most. See our need for love and fullfillment as deeply connected with our ability to positively impact the world around us can have an incredible effect on both. When we are desperate for love we make it by reshaping our world for ourselves and those around us. When we are desperate to reshape the world our skill in loving others guides us to a place of power, abundance and justice.

Sorry pride - I was in love with you and you didn't realise how much you meant to me. Oops... ah well. It explains how I want closure on the issue by knowing why and who made me feel out in the cold. Also explains why I want it to grow and develop and get more members - enlarge my family! 

Ah well, hopefully (what with elections on Tuesday) we can mark a reaffirming of my relationship with the LGBTetc movement, and we'll go from strength to strength.

I can't wait - our relationship may not be all that romantic, but hell it'll be strong and life-long, hopefully.
books dumb people

Rhetorical Questions about Virginity...

What is virginity?

Virginity is a construct defining penis-in-vagina sex to determine the worth of a young woman to her father before she is sold to her husband. If she has had sex before, her body is second hand to her husband - worth a lot less. The paternity of her children and thus the security of the male bloodline and inheritance is called into question.

This is what virginity meant. You can argue that any other definition is wrong - in this day and age virginity is as irrelevent except as a residual social construct, especially with birth control. You can argue that only female-bodied person who is going to be sold can lose their virginity, and only when a penis enters a vagina without birth control.

Now it defines some mythical loss of innocence/moment of revelation/coming of age through sexual contact. What does it mean to be a virgin or not if the whole bride price/patriachal society thing is ignored? How do we define virginity between same-sex couples? If a woman has had rampant, enjoyable sex with 100 other women, I'm sure she isn't a virgin, even if she's never had a penis in her vagina. How do you define lesbian sex? Can male-male sex partners lose their virginity to each other? Do they only have 'proper' sex if it is penetrative? Why does that 'count more' than say, oral? If a lesbian has sex with a man to try and turn herself straight and finds it an awkward and miserable experience, has she lost her virginity? If a young girl has had a penis in her vagina, but was raped, is she still a virgin? She hasn't had sex, she has experienced violence. What about a person who is a 'sworn again virgin' - xe hasn't had sex for 20 years and never has it again. Are they a virgin?

Virginity really does mean what you want it to mean, especially in these times of relative sexual freedom. Why do people make it such a big deal, and such an issue of shame?
books dumb people

Anger again

I feel so angry about this. I had to comment... possibly one of the angrier ones there.

I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE how I'm not a 'proper gay' because I don't define LGBT.

I STILL EXPERIENCE HOMOPHOBIA!! When I kissed that girl in that club, I was approached by a randomer who asked if all lesbians do that. She's bi, I'm queer-ase. JUST BECAUSE IT HAS A DIFFERENT NAME DOES NOT MEAN IT IS ENTIRELY ALIEN AND THUS NOT YOUR BATTLE TOO! Because we can 'pass' as straight does not mean we are, and it does not mean that we are happy!

I am FUCKING FED UP of this bullshit, fed up fed up fed up. I have been faced with outright hostility, lied to and belittled by my pride group this year because I'm not LGBT. Sure, I like the ladies, but that's not good enough.



How dare he tell me I'm disabled. How dare he say I'm repressed. How dare he say I'm secretly gay and ashamed. How dare he accuse a 26 year old pillar of the ase community of being too young to know his sexuality. How dare he tell me I'm sick. How dare he tell me I'm ugly. How dare he tell me I don't face discrimination. How dare he tell me I'm overreacting. How dare he tell me not to take this attack on my identity and being so personally.

How dare he tell me that I don't belong in his movement, that I don't feel the same things he feels that compel him to campaign for LGBT rights, that I'm 'not allowed' to be there, to feel that, to love that way. I doubt he considered love. I do this because I care about people, because I love people, because love should not be underground, because love should be shared, because love.

Even more, I hate that this man is not alone. That people think it is ok to say to my face that I can't love. That my pride group has left me by the wayside. That NUS doesn't believe I exist, or much care.

This is not right.

EDIT: At least some people disagree with him...
books dumb people

NUS LGBT reform

I found this little form on - the place the National Union of Students' officers go to find information and support!

It is a survey to see what reforms are needed in the NUS LGBT campaign.

It's blimmin complicated, and even I couldn't answer all of the questions - it is designed with those of in-depth NUS LGBT policy knowledge to fill in - however, it includes sections asking who NUS LGBT should represent and who should be allowed to attend events.

Currently, as my blog testifies, individuals who identify as LGBT only are represented and able to attend. If you refuse to define, are queer, asexual, pansexual, anthrosexual or other sexual identities - you are not allowed to go to conference because you 'do not experience the same issues and experiences of discrimination as self-defining LGBT people'.

I beg to differ.

These are my responses to that section: 

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If you are a student in NUS-affiliated higher or further education, please fill in this form by the 20th and tell them what you want to change.
books dumb people

Taking stock.

It's what almost everyone on teh 'net appears to be doing, so I thought I'd do it too. Looking over my more recent entries (ha, recent, but you know what I mean) I've realised that I've at least got over worrying about my identity.

Queer is a hell of an easier label. I don't get the gender thing I'm supposed to put on people, and I barely recognise gender in myself very often, I just look/act how I feel, and sometimes I wish I could look more androgynous. I enjoyed binding for Chris' wedding, even though I also enjoy having boobs. Meh on gender. I can't be arsed with it, and labelling myself anything other than ase, pan or queer pulls gender into the ring.

I can simultaneously feel 'attraction' for everyone and for no one. I can't be bothered to pick apart a phrase like 'sexual attraction' and what I mean by it and what others mean by it, especially as everyone appears to experience it differently. I obviously have definite differences in experience, but I still feel drawn to people, I even have 'types' to some degree, which blur all over the place. The only kind of person I've never fallen head over heels for is a very binary-gendered one - girlygirly girl on manlymanly man. It seems to be the people in between who I care most for, and those who are a little queer themselves, I'm yet to fall for someone who's not a bit queer at some level, or who I at least think so at the time.

Relationships. I don't view them in a binary of 'you are going out/in love or not' - I see the rambley differences in my relaitonships between my closest friends and the people I want to be with and the people I care about. They blur a lot, and I find it hard to tell the difference between platonic and romantic a lot of the time - I know for certain occasionally, but most of the time I just enjoy being close to people and don't give a damn about what I'm supposed to feel as long as everyone is happy. I certainly don't think I've fallen in love yet - at least I hope not, or it's only hurt me so far. I don't understand jealousy, I don't understand why I'm supposed to feel bad if I fall for people confusingly - and I'm fine with polyness, although at the moment I'm yet to fall for more than one person simultaneously - usually falling for a new person is a relief that I've mostly got over the last, with my track record.

If all that can't be happily reconciled under 'queer' I don't know what can. I view and experience gender, relationships, even attraction queerly. Seems to be a simple definition really.
books dumb people


Anger will help me write.

I am angry that society doesn't accept me. It is unfair that people like me - people who aren't perceived as heteronormative - gay, bi, trans, queer, pan, ase and everyone else - have not enough representation as 'normal' people. We're up to 10% of the population, yet on television we're still taboo or unheard of, and rarely not sensationalised or stereotyped. It makes me angry that almost every representation of a healthy, desirable or sexy relationship in the media: film, literature, theatre, tv, advertising, magazines... and if it is mentioned, it's in terms of gayness first. The legitimacy of people to love each other gets ignored.

I am angry that so many people find themselves alienated against their own will from society because of this, and I'm angry that society turns it back on so many people. Feeling that society doesn't appreciate or care about you, that you are superfluous, that you are ineffective and have no purpose in society, because you cannot see how you can change it - it faces many people when confronted with a societal structure that doesn't include you. I am angry about the ridiculously heightened levels of suicide amongst LGB people, and the rate for trans people - up to one in two - is so shocking it makes me want to cry. I am angry that low self-esteem is so common amongst LGBTQA people - and I'm angry that from the scarce scientific sources I have, that ase people come out worst. Almost a quarter of the posters on AVEN have depression, and only 30% can happily say they've never had it.

I am angry that difference makes people fear. I am angry that my lack of attraction to people makes people inform me that I am a peadophile. That I am incapable of love. That I 'probably could and should be fixed'. That they are entitled to know intimate details about my sex life. That they pity me. That I'm making it up. That I'm mentally ill. I am angry that other LGBT people have been accused similarly.

I am angry that people who appear non-straight in the eyes of others can suffer at any moment from bizarre homophobia. I am angry that whenever I see a gay couple be affectionate in public, or someone comes out, I can't help thinking that they are brave, or to check the crowd for danger.

But most of all, I'm angry that LGBT people don't stick together. Bisexual people suffer biphobia from the gay community a lot - too straight, not gay enough. 'Greedy' 'cheating' 'promiscuous' 'fickle' 'phase' 'manipulative' - not just straight stereotypes. It's gay people I've seen be most demeaning to bi people. Trans people get almost as much crap from the gay community as from the rest of society, with the added insult of having stood by gay people since the beginning. Groups like Stonewall UK and Cymru refuse to acknowledge transgender people for no good reason it seems, whilst appropriating the name of a riot in which trans people were instrumental, and nominating a journalist for their awards next month who has made blatant transphobic comments in the past.

I am angry that the National Union of Students LGBT does not recognise anyone who is not strictly LGBT as worthy of their support, endorsement or time. I am angry that I am summarily dismissed from their presence because I am not LGBT, although I have so, so many of their issues in common. I am angry that certain members of my pride committee want to change the name to 'LGBT' - not because of their reasoning, but because they don't seem to have realised how important pride is to me - as pride. As a place where all the stupid politics is irrelevant and it's just a safe place for people to hang out in, where sexual orientation is a non-issue. Pride at it's best symbolised what I want society to be like - caring deeply about everything except your gender, or your partner's,

I am so. so angry that I've been made to feel outside that safe place. I want to dedicate my life to this stuff, and it makes me so cross that the people I'm prepared to protect, promote and endeavour to improve the lives of seem prepared to leave me to one side until NUS Wales gets off its arse and lets me in. If we all did that, nothing would ever have happened.
books dumb people

Sex Education Show #2

I managed to get back this afternoon and was part of the audience for the last episode: libido and sexuality.

It had a lot of GLB people there, which was really interesting, and although they still had a couple of audience members that made me twitch (a liking of a woman for other women does not constitute an 'Ooooooooooooooooooo!!!!' guys, really) there were very few who weren't contributary and constructive to discussion.

Someone brought up being called a lesbian at the age of 12, looking it up in a dictionary and going 'oh cool, that's me!' and I shared my similar story with asexuality, which plunged me suddenly into a big talk about it! This was awesome for visibility and suchlike, and I automatically told about 100 people about it, which is really impressive, and hopefully it'll make the cut onto national television. I wish I'd realised I was going to do that and planned better, and not been annoyed that for the billionth time I had to talk about whether I, personally, masturbate, with the majority of the room seeming *very* insistant that I describe any fantasies I have and suchlike. Whoop-de-doo. Annoyingly, a sexual therapist man linked it to low libido and a fundamentalist to celibacy, and I hope that I managed to point out that this WAS NOT the case! Fingers crossed on that!

The show concentrated mainly on libido, discussing relationships with differing levels, how cool it was to have a very high one, and how taboo to have a low one (which you were usually made to feel ashamed of, which was sad) and things you can do with that. They also talked about viagra, vaginismus, g-spots and female ejaculation, as well as age-gap lovers.

The sexuality discussion was a lot smaller, but the large numbers of gay guys and lesbians (and a couple of bi women) meant that it was discussed a fair bit, as well as the problem of homophobia as well, and two of my friends who had come with me discussed some of the crap they'd got at school, which I hope makes it and will be interesting. There was a guy saying how terrible sex ed got him HIV+ and how it inspired him to be a sexual health worker, which I really hope makes it.

It was still a bit pressure-people-into-talking, and there were two christian fundamentalists who really liked the abstinance-only sex-ed, and heterosexual-marriage-only children, or celibacy, but they got booed by everyone else a lot and freaked out by the fetishists behind them.

Oh, and one woman described the fact that she couldn't tell any of her friends about her bisexuality and went to soho on her own to see what was out there and went home with four girls on her first night out - it was interesting how the presenter forgot she was bi and described her as a lesbian from then on, getting thoroughly confused because she said she currently had a boyfriend. Just like my sex drive was overlooked because of something someone else said, it seemed she had negated her bisexuality with the women, which was interesting to watch the presenter skate around.

I talked to some really interesting people (They had the editors of Attitude and Diva there!) and I may be in an article about asexuality in Scarlet! (The lady was lovely if a bit dutch-couraged, and was just really nice! I'd love to do an article with her, she'd do it well.)

I was also cornered by one of the far-right christians afterwards and commended for talking about asexuality, which was cool (she had said earlier that sex ed should be abolished while saying it was sad asexuality wasn't taught. Can't have one without the other love!) but then seemed to equate it with celibacy, which was not. I was polite but decided to show my true colours by discussing my affiliation with QYN and my reasons for thinking that asexuality is part of the non-hetero-normative community (not straight, some want relationships with same sex, understand being marginalised, understand being misunderstood, good at the talking and thinking about sexuality, good at the support thing, done the political acceptance and de-pathologising thing) and said she worried that the gay scene was all about sex. I said that gay people aren't necessarily obsessed and she seemed confused. Ah well. I also suggested that she have a look at AVEN (the Asexual Visibility and Education Network) and it turns out she used to be a member, but she didn't like all the open discussion of sexuality, and it was full of lesbians. Apparently it's very hard to be a Christian virgin.

I also got given a card by the pycho-sexual therapist man, saying that he held a support group for asexuals. I *think* he didn't mean to sound that asexuals were broken, but he came across that way in the debate and riled me up a bit, but the group seems intriguing. I've never heard of a group for ase people before, and apart from the possibility of turning up and being positive and outreachy, I'd love to meet and talk about ase issues with other ase people, because I've never done that.

Also, there were some pickups for the rest of the series, and there *does* appear to be some serious, sensible information in there. The presenter was introducing male and female anatomy bits, as well as descriptions of what exactly happens in a sexual health clinic and during pregnancy and childbirth. good ol' facts.

I hope it goes out and is sex and variant positive! *fingers crossed* It was a good day. :)

Points I forgot to mention: there were no films to respond to today, just talking from questions because they hadn't edited yet.

Also, the set started collapsing because of that drunk clambering over it as he was chucked out on Tuesday. This was, tbh, quite funny.