askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 Too often, this blog is a litany of failure and despair rather than a balanced reflection on all the parts of my life.  With that in mind I've made a conscious effort to come here and record two really positive things that have happened to me in the past couple of weeks.

On the 4th of June I had my annual review.  This involved submitting 10,000 words to my department which was in turn passed on to two members of faculty who had similar research interests to me.  The 10,000 words I submitted represented two of the three draft chapters I have written this year.  The annual review was a time to discuss my work and hear any comments or recommendations the two person panel had to make.  

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  The panel said they enjoyed reading it, they used words like "important" and "cutting edge" in describing my research, they said my research data was "rich" (something my supervisors have been saying a lot, repeatedly, but it's amazing to hear it from someone a bit removed) and said my writing was accessible and ethical (re: the way I reported participant comments and discussed their responses)  I reflected a lot last year, and read a great deal, on ethical, feminist, and queer -practise in doing participant based research and it's really exciting that my commitment to privileging the voices and experiences of participants comes through strongly in my writing.  I skipped out of that office feeling 10 feet tall and massively inspired to get on drafting my fourth chapter.

Yesterday, I met with the course convenor of the module I taught on in the Spring term.  We were looking at the student evaluation feedback for the course.  Student comments were all positive and several of them made comments explicitly about the quality of my teaching.  In particular, students commented positively on my decision to begin the term and first seminar by asking students to share their preferred pronouns, and cautioning them to be respectful and thoughtful in discussion given the potentially sensitive nature of the topics we would be covering in the module.  My enthusiasm for teaching in gender studies came through as well as several of them commented on that and one said I was one of her favourite tutors ever which was wonderful to hear!  

The module convenor echoed their praise and said she was impressed at my ability given it was my first term teaching.  She wrote that she "strongly recommended" I was given teaching again in the Autumn term along with many other glowing comments on my performance.  In our meeting we also discussed what changes we want to make to the module readings and structure and she took all my comments on board and indicated if she was convening again she would make all the changes I suggested.

I feel so proud of myself that my teaching was so successful and that students responded so positively.  I reflected a great deal on what kind of classroom and atmosphere I wanted to create, and what my own experiences of being taught gender studies as an undergraduate was, and used all those things to inform my practise.  And it paid off!

In all? A two fold win in the two main areas of my life as a PhD student and tutor.  Really gratifying to get that explicit recognition and have the two things I have put most of myself into over the last year result in other people getting excited and enthusiastic.  That's pretty wonderful.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 Nobody ever tells you that when you get older you get less hung up on your body

Like I'm slightly saggy and squashy as I head to 30, and that's mostly fine. And if people have an issue with the fact I can rarely be arsed to shave my legs I'm more than happy to take them on. Actually, to destroy them. Just try and shame my body, you try it.

It's sort of freeing.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
Representation matters.  It matters to me and, I'm gradually proving in my doctoral research, it matters an enormous amount for a complex collection of reasons to a lot of other people too.

In itself 'representation matters' will seem fairly uncontroversial to my mostly leftie readers.  But some left leaning, centre left, centre types, will agree it matters, pay lip service to that idea, support it in principle, not put any road blocks in the way to things changing, but the moment you point out that diversity of representation is missing? They get pissed off.  The moment you ask why people are missing in the representations they make? They get angry, they ask why it makes any difference.

I complained aloud, to nobody in particular, the other day that every single chef shown in the Morrisons' Christmas claymation/animated advert was white and male.  "Does it matter?!" exclaimed my Mum as she passed through the living room, more than a little exasperated.

Does it matter who is shown on tv? Let's, for a minute, say it doesn't.  Let's start by stating it doesn't matter who is represented in television adverts.

If it doesn't matter, why did the animator create 11 little white male chefs? Wouldn't it have been as easy, given the characters differ slightly from one another, to have made some of them female? Surely the computer filled in their skin colour? It would have been just as easy, would it not, to colour some of them in a darker shade of peach? Perhaps even break out the brown colour palette?  If it doesn't matter whether they are white or black, male or female or genderqueer, then why are they all white and male?  Someone made that decision, someone designed that, someone animated that, someone signed off on that.  Lot's of someone's.  All of them.  

But perhaps the animator could only find the peach felt tip that day.  Perhaps the character designer can't draw long hair, or boobs.  Perhaps they don't know how to illustrate any gender markers for women, or for anyone other than men.

Tesco's Christmas advert this year compressed decades of Christmases observed by one family into a minute and a half.  Parents, children, grandchildren.  Tesco's don't feature their products in their advert like Morrisons do, instead they seem to say 'if you share the same emotions around Christmas as these people, maybe you should share a supermarket. Come to Tesco and buy a lifetime's Christmases!'  But the Christmas you have to share, the identification of 'just like us' to make?  All [apparently] white, all [rigorously shown to be] heterosexual.  But of course, we're arguing the representation doesn't matter right? So what we're buying from Tesco is not just Christmas cheer and food and drink and trees, but we're buying being white, and we're buying making our parents happy by having children ourselves (or our children are making us happy by having children). And we're buying being straight.  Come to Tesco this year! Get a better sexuality! Get a better turkey! Get a better ethnicity!

Someone hired those actors.  Every person was dressed and directed.  That advert was scripted and edited. There were choices made about what to represent.  

But perhaps it's a coincidence!  Perhaps only white actors turned up for an audition that day.  Perhaps the people who wrote the script have never met a gay or lesbian person, or a genderqueer or nonbinary or just plain androgynous person, so they couldn't even imagine that couples may not be made up of rigidly gendered men and women!  Perhaps they 'wrote what they knew' and not a single person involved in the casting, costuming, producing, filming, directing, editing, or release of that advert was anything other than straight and white and cis with only white straight cis friends.

Aldi managed to find one black person to put in their Christmas ad. And a parrot.  They don't say much about family, or sexuality.  John Lewis also went for animals (although in previous years they've been lovers of the white hetero, rigidly normatively gendered family at Christmas) Asda had snowmen. No, I'm not going to suggest they should have been snow people.  Debenhams' had what might have been a lesbian ball, but it was the girl and the guy gazing into each other's eyes and skating off together that we 'wished for'. M&S had a bad trip but they have at least been consistent for some years now in using Black and minority ethnic models in every advertising campaign, even if they do, inevitably, play the small roles in this ad.

If who is represented on television adverts doesn't matter, why is it, so often it's white, hetero, cis gendered people being represented? It's either an enormous coincidence that this keeps happening or perhaps...

Perhaps, then, representation does matter! [the unsurprising conclusion - aha! here it is].  And perhaps it matters to the people who get to pick which representations we see, who pick which ideals we are supposed to buy into.  Perhaps we should be surprised that in 2013, in the United Kingdom most of the major brands are still dreaming of white, straight, cis Christmases.

Unfortunately, my Mum didn't hang around long enough for me to give her this answer to her exasperated question.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 Yesterday, [personal profile] forthwritten and I attended the Alternative Parenting show, sponsored by the Guardian and Stonewall.  Stonewall; that oh-so-disappointing, oh-so-well funded LGB, no T, charity.

I didn't have a clear idea in my head what to expect - I knew there would be information on surrogacy, IVF, and adoption as that is made explicit on the website.  Additionally I suppose I expected resources and information on social issues relating to being a queer or 'alternative' parent, community groups, and perhaps personal stories from people doing it already and having a great time.  That is not what we found.

My overwhelming impression was that "Alternative Parenting" is all about money; we overheard one adoption agency representative talking to a mixed-race couple, he - apparently under the impression this was a 'selling point' - told them "once we have you registered you'll be a valuable resource we can sell on to other agencies, particularly because you have a mixed heritage".  I understand that [personal profile] forthwritten , my 'mixed heritage' partner for the day, shared a knowing look with the non-white partner in aforementioned couple.  They were, quite explicitly, treating would-be-parents as a commodity to be bought and sold, where the children looking for adoption fit into this transaction is unclear; it's all about acquiring the resource, and selling them on.

Later, I hovered longer than necessary as I collected a leaflet on International Surrogacy.  I listened in as the representative told a woman that anything she wanted from a surrogate could be accommodated, and that using an Indian surrogate would save her money.  My hackles rose the moment I saw that the key information contained on the leaflet were prices.  The going rate for a baby - no strings attached - is a mere £26,900.  Naturally the price rises somewhat if you want a white baby - £33,597.  Grown to order.  To fully understand my horror at this I suggest looking up a documentary I watched a couple of years ago entitled "Google Baby", about the growing 'outsourcing' of surrogacy to India.

After a much needed, spirit raising cup of tea away from the Parenting Show venue - and something of a rant on my part as [personal profile] forthwritten listened, tweeted, and nodded sympathetically - we returned for a workshop on the options for childbirth.  As it turned out, nobody else had turned up apart from the lady running the workshop who represented one of two organisations I had identified as 'the right sort of thing'.  She ran a company who offer low cost parenting classes to expectant parents - be they adopting, having a surrogate, co parenting, or pregnant - and welcomes both queer and straight parents wanting to know what to do with a tiny new born.  

After a moment of hesitation, a nod and a wink, [personal profile] forthwritten and I decided to come clean on our true purpose on attending the show.  The woman immediately warmed to us and we started talking cynical corporations and the business of baby making.  She told us she attends a lot of parenting shows and cannot believe how much money was floating around and poured into the show - apparently normally they are sponsored by the local rag, this obviously had the weight of the Guardian, the London Women's Clinic, Stonewall and a number of legal firms.  The pink pound has gone baby crazy and the companies are closing in for a cut.

And then, after playing "spot the consciously mixed race happy family photo" with all the magazines, leaflets and stickers we'd been issued up until then, it was time for the seminars.

First up was the Bridge Clinic who, in the literature, said they would inform us of treatment options for "every budget" and how 'lifestyle' could affect our options.  Predictably, they did neither of these things.  They launched almost immediately into the hard sell of fertility treatment - IUI and IVF.  I am well aware of the importance of IVF and its potential effectiveness for infertile couples but no mention was made of infertility - it was simply the 'correct' way to get pregnant - beg, borrow or buy some sperm (preferably from the London Sperm Bank who have a catalogue) and hand it over to them, along with some eggs, and they'll pop a baby back in your oven.  

The key thing I took away was that if you choose to share your eggs, you can have free IVF.  I know that for most/many women undergoing IVF this is not an option because their fertility issues mean their eggs are not suitable to be shared with another woman.  But, if you sell IVF to lesbians who are undergoing IVF to get pregnant, not because they can't conceive any other way - then you've got a load of free eggs to pass onto paying couples.  Fertile lesbians having IVF for free turns into a lot of money down the line for the clinic.  It's just good business sense!

There was some breathtakingly manipulative language in all of this - they made a big noise about IUI being "the closest thing to natural conception" meaning, presumably, that IVF, home insemination and any number of other options are "unnatural" ways to conceive.  Next, a fertility counsellor assured us that being stressed was no barrier to successful 'treatment' because "women get pregnant in war-zones and famine and there is no way you're under that much stress".   I'll give you a minute to let that one sink in.

She went on to peddle a book and course entitled "fertility thinking" which helps you think yourself into a fertile state - although given it's possible to get pregnant when starving and being shelled I'm not sure why state of mind matters.  Perhaps I missed her point.

The Bridge clinic closed with a line graph showing the declining fertility of an 'average (cis) woman'.  The vertical line showed level of fertility, the horizontal line showed age/time.  The line was at it's highest point on the vertical axis against the age labelled '0 years' and declined steadily to around 18 which was marked 'optimum fertility' and continued to head down to meet the horizontal line as age increased.  In short, it showed the months immediately following birth to be the most fertile time in an individual's life.  And there was me, thinking starting menstruation at around 10 was a signal of the beginning of fertility.

And, so, we reached the highlight of the day, a seminar by Stonewall on the work they are doing to make sure 'alternative families' can send their kids to school without fear of the child being bullied for their family.   Wes Streeting treated us with details of how Stonewall are helping schools "celebrate different families" and the "transformation he's witnessed".  The content of his speech is another blog post in itself - wilfully ignorant of many issues - such as faith schools refusing to teach sex education, much less lessons on different family forms - and actively arrogant on others - such as describing Stonewall as being at the forefront of the equal marriage campaign, a campaign they actively opposed for many years.

His political [bullshit] credentials shone through as he repeatedly spoke about "winning hearts and minds" in schools to protect and celebrate "children like mine" in all of society.  Children like his and, it would seem, only those like his.

The Q and A, I decided, was my moment.  I stuck my hand up and asked, "we're still working out what our family will look like but it will certainly involve an extended family of trans friends and possibly a trans co-parent.  I've worked in schools and I know that transphobic bullying is an issue - how are you going to extend your campaign to help my children when they get to school?".

"Stonewall," Wes hissed, "is a lesbian, gay and bisexual charity.  We have neither the experience or expertise to advise on trans issues.   Although it could be argued there is some cross over in the issues, we will not deal with that as we would be stepping on the toes of many other charities who do that work.  We are often asked, when we go into schools, how they should tackle transphobic bullying, so we advise them to contact a trans charity."

I was, perhaps naively, gobsmacked.  Kids bully other kids for being 'gay' for the same reason they bully for being trans* - they see gender transgression.  Moreover, as [personal profile] forthwritten pointed out, Stonewall take up a lot of funding, funding that could go to charities who include a T and even a Q in their LGB.  Trans charities have neither the funds nor the reach to team up with 60 Local Authorities (a stat Wes proudly trotted out) and their schools and make the impact that Stonewall can and do.

Also, Stonewall charge £100 per school to 'advise' them on homophobic bullying and including alternative families in their teaching - and they can't even make a partnership with a trans charity to do what they can't, or more accurately, won't when, as Wes himself admits, schools are explicitly asking for that information!

Wes thanked us all for being there and " being a part of our campaign" - [personal profile] forthwritten and I shared a look over that, you can be sure.  Wes' seminar partner Charlie Condou (who is apparently in a soap? And a Guardian columnist?) was glad that "you - I assume I'm right in saying you are all gay or bisexual? Yeah - you are all here"

A couple of minutes catching my breath after such a whirlwind of nonsense and misinformation, and we were off, in search of a nice gay bar - one which had hung knitted bunting that said "queer" on it, as it happened - to drink heavily, decompress and perhaps regain some faith in the notion of alternative parenting as being about parenting, making a family, and living a good life - not paying a corporation to make or steal a baby for me in order to purchase the title of 'parent' but not make a 'family'.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 As some of you may know, I've decided to give temping a whirl to make money during my PhD study.  Today was my third day in two weeks at the same office, it'd been going well and was a super easy job.

Today the Managing Director (super small company/plumbing firm so only 8 people in the office which includes the MD and directors) came and leaned *on* my shoulder as I queried the content of a letter I was transcribing for him from a tape.  I had that initial shudder of "urgh, stranger invading my personal space" and then a thought sprung into my head, as he stayed there, pushing into me, for much too long; "am I being sexually the workplace?"

The other me who lives in my head considered the situation and said "yes, I think you are! I think we're being sexually harassed!"

After he left I sat there, somewhat bemused and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.  About 5 minutes later I was standing talking to another person who works there and he came and put his hand just above my bum and then slid it up to the small of my back...!!

The little voice was absolutely hopping with shock; "we're being sexually harassed! I can't believe it! It's just like you hear about! It's 2012 for gods sakes! I can't believe he's sexually harassing me!!"

The rest of the afternoon saw me trying to move out of his way, putting all of an extra half centimetre between us every time he came to my work station.

I think, of all the reactions I could have had, examining the situation quite objectively and being rather bemused was one of the better ones.  Giving him a slap might have been even better; but it's like what Caitlin Moran says in How to be a Woman, it's a bit like 'sneaky sexism' you're hoping up and down in your head saying "I think he's doing sexism to you...he is! I'm sure he's doing sexism....nobody else seems to be noticing, is it definitely sexism?"

Oh well, not working there again. Another one to chalk up to 'life experience' and a rather unwarranted reminder that we are still living in a society where sexism happens, in really well-hashed ways.

Guest Blog

May. 17th, 2012 08:58 pm
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
A friend sent me this, and although I have a few comments and responses I have yet to share with her and don't agree with her on all points, I think it makes for an interesting read, so I'm sharing with you.  

I'll pass on the link to this post to her if people make comments as I'm sure she'd be interested to engage in debate with people;


Modern women are sexually liberated. There’s a sentence. I can speak from experience- I have, in my 26 years on the planet, had sex whenever I fancied, with whomever I fancied, assuming they fancied me back. Simples. Thank you, women’s lib ladies, flinging yourself in front of horses and inventing the pill and writing controversial polemics. I vote, I shag, I wear what I like, I work and procreate as I please (economic crisis notwithstanding), and if I ever took up exercise (lots of exercise) I could compete with the chaps on an equal footing, and all thanks to your marvellous efforts. Job well done.

Of course, it’s alright for me. I’m white, British, irreligious, liberal, and (officially- I have all the paperwork) educated, with two middle class parents who love me. There are others, Read more... )
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 When you clear your cache, cookies etc in google chrome the option you click reads "obliterate items from [drop down box] the beginning of time".  Wouldn't it be nice if life was that easy?

I have been toying with the idea of making this post for some time, but the day I've had today? 

Frequently, I dream about Ali.  The theme and end result is always the same although the circumstances change. We met or she tracks me down.  Apologises unreservedly, begs me to take her back, demonstrates she has changed and we reunite.  Indeed, these dreams have become so common I now reference them in my dreams, most recently I said to Ali, upon the moment of reconciliation "I thought there was something wrong with me because I kept having dreams we got back together and I thought it was because you were the only one for me that I couldn't get past them and everyone told me I was wrong but now we are back together it just proves everyone wrong and that the reason I had the dreams is because I knew it would end this way".  Imagine my feelings upon waking and finding that too was a dream.

A woman I work with, who I wrote about when she got her job at my work place back in December has cancer.  She is, as I lamented at the time, exactly a year older than me.  She found a lump.  A week later she was examined at the hospital.  A week after that they said it was cancer.  A week after that they started chemotherapy to try and shrink it so they could operate.  Now the cancer has spread to her liver.  Last I heard they were trying to work out if it was in a part of her liver they could remove.  Last I heard they were doing scans to see if the cancer was in her brain and her bones.  She is exactly a year older than me.  People our age aren't supposed to get this shit.  They are not supposed to be facing their own mortality like this.  I keep crying about it.  I barely know her, but she was nice, and friendly and seemed like someone I wanted to get to know and I made efforts to that ends.  I'm so angry about it, this is not fair.  She is 27 for gods sakes.

My friend S, the one who suffered a traumatic brain injury at the end of last year, text me tonight to ask if I was still looking for a place to live.  I said maybe, it was really down to price.  Turns out his girlfriend has been living at her parents for the last month "getting her head together" and tonight they decided to split up.  They bought a house together about 3 years ago? I feel a deep sadness for this ending.  I don't know the details about how things came apart.  I barely know her.

I had a massive argument with my Dad tonight.  There was an article on 'The One Show' by a woman from the Apprentice who said she went back to work 6 weeks after having a baby because it was the thing she wanted to do and then she spoke to other women who had kids who said her children would suffer.  My Dad said she was selfish and shouldn't have had children if she didn't want to stay home and 'bond' with it.  I said she was bonded with it and probably saw it every day.  My Mum chipped in that my cousin's wife went back to work soon after giving birth and her baby slept during the afternoon so it was awake during the evening when she got home, then my 'discussion' with my Dad intensified and my Mum went into another room and shut the door.  I asked him if it mattered, therefore, that the father went back to work after 6 weeks, he said it didn't matter, nor did it matter if the mother went back to work whilst the father stayed home because the bond with the mother was 'different'.  I asked him in what way it was different, he said "it just is". 

He said her priorities were all wrong if she wanted to work instead of stay home with a child. He said with priorities like those she should never have had kids because she clearly didn't want them.  I said thousands of people enjoy work and why shouldn't she continue to do the things she enjoys and have children, in effect, to have her cake and eat it.  He said he'd already said why; because babies need to bond with their mothers.  I said that was no argument or reason at all.  He said "I know more about this than you do" and then smiled smugly.

For the record, when I was little my Dad was a policeman.  He was angry all the time because he was either stressed or tired from a night shift or both.  My Mum was a housewife.  When I was older my Dad took early retirement from the police because he was suffering from severe stress and my Mum went to work and he set up a business doing people's gardens.  I remember the change that happened in our house - it was happier.  Tell me now that a woman not working is the most important aspect of parenting.

I know that motherhood isn't a magical valley where all roads are open and fulfilment lies at every turn.  I know that in essence, 'maternal instinct' is bullshit.  If it wasn't there wouldn't be thousands of books available on how to look after infants.  I know all this and so much more because I don't live next to women - mothers, I talk to women who are mothers.  I know that, for me, taking a year or more off work on maternity leave would leave me miserable.  I also know that for many women there could be nothing more wonderful than having that time to dedicate to their offspring.   know that parenthood changes your outlook on life.  I also know that changing your outlook on life is not automatically the same thing as no longer believing your work to be a central piece of who you are.  Most importantly, I know that neither of these positions is right or better than the other.  Rather, they are different ways of living which are adopted and practiced by different people.

The pressure to 'be' a mother upon giving birth is, as I understand from both my own mother and the accounts of many, many mothers I have read and spoken to, HUGE.  Pile onto that the insistence that leaving your baby in the care of relatives, childcare professionals or even it's father is a form of emotional neglect? You've got a big fat pile of sexism working away to stop women from making the choice they want - whether that be to take 1 years maternity or 1 month.  So yeah, I think I do know a bit about it too, Dad.

On an unrelated note, my brother's girlfriend had a c-section last week after 3 days of labour starting, being stopped, being started, stopping...and I have a new nephew.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
In response to some persistent themes being expressed on various platforms of late, or, the 'feminist' return of body fascism;
I shave my legs because I want to.  I like the way skin feels against skin. I like the way clothes feel against skin. I do not like the way hair feels against skin or clothes.  I shave my arm pits because as clean as you are, you'll never find an anti perspirant that works as well when it is applied to hair covered skin.  All the hair removal and trimming I do is because I like it.  Society has not compelled me to do it.  My bare legs are not representative of my subjugation to pervasive beauty narratives.  My clean shaven armpits are indicative only of what I find to be aesthetically pleasing and what gives me confidence regarding my personal hygene.  Do not assume differently without asking me, or any of the other women you are battering with your rhetoric.  Thank you.

On queer liberation;
It is no doubt the proliferation of mediocre to poor dramas on tv of late centring on both fictional and real life gay men and their lives and loves, but increasingly I recognise and understand why lesbians wished to campaign for gay lib separately than gay men.  I also feel the strong tug of obscurity as the voices of queer women throughout history go largely unrecorded and so the obsessive bio-pic making so recently in vogue has no material from which to draw.  I sense also that - in the programming directors minds - the 'edginess' of making a film about men having sex and putting it on at 9pm on BBC2 would be lost were it instead about two women.  Female sexuality is, after all, neither urgent nor insistent nor selfish.  Women do not fuck but make love.  Or so social norms would have us believe, and to counter those ideas is to shoot too often over the head of the viewers,  How to explain that urgent sexuality and sexual satisfaction is not an exception to femininity or characteristic only of lesbianism?  On the occasions strong representations of female centred sexuality occur it is, more often than not, presented cheaply and sordidly - the atrocious scripts and production values on both the Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet serve as excellent examples.

I cannot think of a single film which concerns a lesbian relationship as it's primary focus which is either beautiful or moving.  I can think of plenty which are trite and poorly executed and a hundred more which have only sold because queer women are so desperate for filmic representation they will buy and watch any old crap - I count myself among that desperate majority.

I have lost interest in stories about gay men struggling in historically-hostile times; they speak to me no more than a mediocre romantic storyline in a heterosexual drama does.  I always felt that LGBT history was a shared discovery, that hearing from one group can tell us about another/our own, but I see now that was naive.  I want to know about the lives of the women who have brought the world to the point it is at now for me - as a queer woman.  My social ancestors are silent - or at the very least silenced - in the current trend for period dramas about minority groups.  

On the ignorance of youth
I was in STA Travel today with a friend from work; we are probably going on holiday for a fortnight in July/August.  The travel agent was suggesting modifications/changes to the route I had in mind, after she mentioned Prague and I rejected it as I have already been there and she went back to furiously tapping away on her computer I turned to my friend, pointed to a photo from the old square in Prague and showed him the hotel I had stayed at for 2 nights.  I commented, in telling the story of how we ended up there and not in the hostel we had booked, that 'and they were also lovely there; they didn't bat an eyelid at the fact we were gay and sharing a double room".  He replied, shocked "is that something that happens then - is that a problem?".  "Yes," I said "indeed, in Paris we were initially refused the key to the double room we had booked (at a major hotel chain no less) until another member of staff intervened".  I watched the information processing on his face; I'm not sure he really believes the world is like that, even now.  Maybe another day I'll tell him about my friends who got beaten up by some thugs in a gay bar, for being gay, whilst the bar staff looked passively on.

On what my life is like of late;
I wake up every morning before my alarm goes off.  I trudge to the bathroom to shower.  I cry as I wash, dress and eat before leaving the house.  I pass through my days like a zombie and I am ready to go back to bed and to sleep at 3pm. I force myself to stay up until 10pm.  I cannot sleep.


askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
a sky gone on fire

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