Friday, 27 April 2012

NEWS: Immigrant Steals British Mans Job at Knifepoint

The police have launched an extensive nationwide manhunt for the man they believe responsible for stealing a British man's job at knife point. A Scotland Yard spokesman said; "Kinfe crime is one thing but to steal a man's livelihood is beyond evil. We will not cease searching till we find the man responsible for this heinous crime."

The unfortunate victim Gary Wells was visibly shaken when he had this to say;

"One minute I was parked up at the petrol Station the next I had a knife to my throat. He just kept saying, give me your job bloody now, over & over again. I tried to explain it was minimum wage but he was undeterred."

A BNP spkesperson said "You see, we told you they'd do this."

Police have managed to identify the suspect captured by CCTV as; Bfduygn C Erjhcb7e. Mr Erjhcb7e is believed to come from a place that is not Britain.

The recent spate of job thefts has spiked paranoia among the employed. Many have admitted to lying about their employment status to avoid being robbed

Ministers are worried it will damage the economy & have afforded police their full support in catching the job-robber.

Let's hope another victim won't have to suffer Gary's fate

The above story is entirely fictitious, do not sue me.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Interview: Peter J Piercy-TRANS*GENDERQUEER LONDON

Peter J Piercy is co-founder of I first met Peter at the Fringe Film Fest where he was co-presenting a trans workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to highlight issues of the trans community and open up a dialouge with the intention to create a comfortable atmosphere in which to discuss issues freely and hopefully learn something. There, I was introduced to many both appropriate and offensive terms for the transgendered and it opened my eyes to the many different trans identities out there, no-one was scared to ask questions and many found it extremely informative. I found the workshop to be so worthwhile! I learned so much that I wanted to thank Peter at the time but he was overwhelmed with appreciative praise for the session! I really wanted to interview him as I think we need to learn as much about the other letters  in the "LGBT" acronym in order to promote unity and understanding. Thankfully he added me on facebook and I didn't hesitate to ask for this interview. To my delight he said yes!

Me and Peter met in the vibrant and diverse area of Brixton all smiles! Then had to work out where to go. I feel like I should have researched that beforehand but luckily Peter knew the area alot better than me. We sat outside this eaterie place and indulged in a little conversation about the little intricate differences on London accents "There are so many London accents but when you think of London you think of the old skool cocney accents-which you hardly ever hear at all." 

Me: Some parts of London people can sound Jamaican...

"Yeah, some people are like, why do these white kids talk Jamaican and all that stupid stuff but I think that's part of their culture aswell, it's how their friends speak. We pick things up from each other, you're not exactly born with an accent. No-one says a surrey school girl of asian descent should be speaking with Indian accent!"

Me: That's a really good point!

"Yeah Campbell Ex was saying when she showed the film Stud Life to an American audience they didn't understand how the white and black characters spoke simarlarly. But I think in London there's more of a homogenisation of culture whereas, I think in the states it's a little more seperate."

We then spoke about his move to london after he finished studying at university.

Me: What did you study?

"I did modern history from about medieval times, everything apart from the ancient civilisations. Where I could I specialised... Mostly 19th century. I prefer the modern stuff just because of the nature of it. The sources tend to be more reliable, plus most of the earlier stuff centres around Kings, Queens and battles which I find kinda boring.  I preferred to specialise in social history. I do think it's important to know about the structure and governments but I enjoyed learning more about people and attitudes in society. Although Oxford is a very good uni, it's also very traditional, anglocentric, eurocentric there was a top down approach to what they taught."

Me and peter then had a conversation about education in general and how you're better equipped at studying when you've had a period of informal learning and life experience. I then asked Peter how he knew he was trans...

"It wasn't like a lineal realisation  it was more like pieces of a jigsaw coming together. It was a long proces but it's only recently that it began to make sense. I think it's because ( as I was saying in the presentation) I'm not incredibly butch which is what I thought I had to be like. So I tried various different identities but I never felt comfortable. It helped a little when I came out as a lesbian, I felt there was more freedom to present in a more boyish way. But still that wasn't quite right. I was trying to be too conventionally masculine identifying as female. It took a while to realise that it was the other way round I was more of an effeminate man than a masculine women. That made it harder to work out because you hear the conventional narrative of "oh I always knew and used to play with the boys and wouldn't wear a dress" that kinda thing. Whereas I had tomboyish traits but could also be quite feminine, I didn't have that clear distinction. The prevalence of those stories neglects the fact we can all be different things. A cis gendered guy could be an arty, emo, sensitive type of guy. I think if there's more variety of stories out there there'd be less pressure to conform.

Me and Peter get into a conversation about the pressures of coming out and I confessed that I threw myself into a lesbian identity before I was sure...

"I think you just get a sense, don't you? I think I did it the more wimpy way (laughs) I mean I went to places identifying as gay and stuff but I was at uni and we all knew each other so I'd just go to London (laughs) to gay places and it's only when I got my first girlfriend I came out to my family. But coming out as trans, I did something similar to you coz I think how can you ever be 100% sure? I originally thought I would just start out by getting people to call me by a male name-just friends and the queer community but I didn't much change the way I presented and because I didn't change alot at first-the way people thought of me didn't either. Then I changed my name legally, at work and with my family. To me this represented taking on a full term male identity."

Me: Was that really liberating?

"Yeah! When I did it I was 90% sure I wanted to do it. I don't think you can know a 100% you've just got to trust that it'll be right-and I knew staright away it was right. You'd think changing your name after having one for years and years that it'd feel weird but because I already felt attached to my male name in my head it was fairly instant and pretty much straight away I felt bonded to my true identity."

Me: When you came out as trans did you encounter any difficulties?

"My friends were really great about it, but I think it will take my mother a while longer to get her head around it all, it's a hard thing for her to understand that's it's a permanant identity rather than something you can switch off in certain circumstances."

After a little chat about family and how our respective families responded to our identities I told Peter how much I enjoyed the trans workshop because of how informative it was and asked what inspired him to set up Trans*genderqueerlondon.

"I think people often think it's rather presumptous to set up your own project but I started it up because it was the group I wish existed. There are some groups like FTM London which I think are good for some people but I felt they directed more of their focus on the physical transition-which I think is important, to let people know about hormones etc. but I wanted to see an organisation for all kinds of trans people, feminine guys, transwomen, genderqueer. I wanted a space to talk about just living really whether you're pre-transition or post-transition and all the issues you might encounter. Most articles soley focus on transitioning but what about the rest of your life? So I started it up with a couple of friends and immediately there seemed to be a demand for it so we decided to set up a webspace. Because we're not such a formal organisation we can be creative with it which makes it so interesting to do. I didn't want the workshops to be like "trans 101" because it'd be in danger of either being too simplistic or misleading. For example, where you only hear these stories that are cliche like being born in the wrong body when that's not how everyone feels. Doing a basic introduction may leave people feeling more confused, I think it's much better to open a dialouge to help give a sense of the diversity rather than try and make these big statements..."

Me: What did you think about the trans season on channel 4?

"I think alot of people thought it was better than some of that other one's but still not wholly representative. They'd let them express their characters a little then it'd cut back to the genital surgery. It seemed to just feed in to the preconceptions people have about the trans community. It's focusing on the idea that it's only when you get that sex change that you're considered to be a man or a woman and "sex change surgery" in itself is a very broad term. There are many different surgeries people can have and some don't want any surgery at all-or can't have it for financial or medical reasons..."

Me: What else does the organisation do?

"Well at first it started out as informal meetings then we did the workshop at Fringe Fest which went so well we're looking to take take workshop to universities targeting the LGBT groups."

Me: That's a really good idea!

"I've found that many don't have a trans rep-although there's not that many trans people generally."

Me: How often/where do you meet?

"It's the first Sunday of the month at retro bar though we're trying to organise a new venue."

Me: Who can come to the group?

"It's for anyone interested in talking about their gender identity and even those who don't identify as trans but wanna talk about it; allies, partners, friends. There's alot of cis gendered people who are really knowledgable about these issues and contribute well to the discussion. There are such a variety of views and experiences regarding trans life. Some trans people see themselves as straight and seek hetrosexual relations whereas many are alot more queer than that. I personally wouldn't see myself dating a straight hetrosexual woman who'd never been with a woman before. Though, I would need to be with someone who appreciates the man I am."

Me and Peter  continued onto a discussion about how language can be a barrier when it comes to discussions. Some, through fear of being offensive won't say anything at all., the more accessible the discussions the more understanding achieved. We also discussed the politics of "passing"  (people not being able to tell you've changed gender) and how transwomen are often more vulnerable to abuse than transmen...

"I think it's more accepted by society for a woman to dress like a man than a man to dress like a woman. They're alot more visible. Some people just hate anything that challenges what they believe about gender. They'd rather people just stayed in their boxes"

Me: How long has the organisation Trans*genderqueerlondon been going for?

"Well it was quite informal at first but became more of an organisation. We started in November last year."

Me: (with no shame) Wooooow

"Then it sort of  just went on from there (smiles)"

There you have it people the amazingly articulate and personable Peter. I think what he does with his organisation is great like Frosties and amazing members of the community like Peter need to be celebrated for the positive things they do! I really, really urge you to go along to one of their meetings. I'm certain you'll learn so much more about transpeople through that medium rather than a sensationalist shock doc that will-in all likelyhood, misinform. Thank you so much Peter for a great chat and helping me spread the word about your wonderful organisation. For information about the meetings and interesting blogs about trans life in general click the link below. Thank you for reading. 

And do thatke a look at Peters personal blog-it's interesting stuff (:

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Bizarre Marketing trends

"When I eat salad my life is hilarious!"
Women Laughing On Their Own With Salad
Looking to put a smile on the face of that special lady? Don't waste all your witty one liners, instead just make her a salad, leave her alone and wait for nature to take its course. This is what the marketeers would have us believe. I love this portrayl of women with salad. Ad men really think if we don't see a women laughing whilst eating her greens simultaneously we won't believe it is healthy. Check any womens magazine. If there is a healthy eating feature it's likely to be accompanied by photograph of a lady lol'ing with a bowl of  Meditarranean type salad. Still, we don't know what tricks the salad is playing when it gets these women alone. Maybe I could learn a thing or two from baby plum tomatoes. For more pictures of women laughing alone with salad check the link below. Ahhh, the joy of salad.

"Shopping whilst being black and female makes me so happy"

 Very Happy Black Women Shopping

Title says it all really. The marketing people feel that women love shopping but black women even more so. We jump in the air, squeal with excitement and pose for pictures. We do weights with our shopping bags, practise the high jump with our shopping bags-and of course all of this implies that when we get home we make love to our shopping. It's sex and Westfield Shopping City all the way!
 "I've just turned on my hard drive"

Happy Women With Laptops

This is nearly as bizarre as women laughing on their own with salad. Look how this lady is gently caressing the keys with her hand palm whilst smiling at us seductively. In alot of these type of pictures the women aren't even looking at the device. They are not using them, they just want to be seen with them. As a women I have a whole photo album with just me and my latop. "All I need in this life of sin...."

Other funny marketing trends:

Orgasmic women washing their hair
Men laughing alone with fruit salad
Couples piggybacking to demonstrate a happy relationship
Business women in adverts for thrush medication

Sapphic Seduction

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Staceyann Chin:Honest or Deluded?

 Staceyann Chin

I can be as biased as anyone. That's why when I read the Staceyann Chin article about her pursuit of straight women-I wanted to cheer her on with Spice Girlesque chants of girl power! I wanted to champion the fact that she came out and admitted to doing what men do so often, it doesn't even raise an eyebrow. I wanted to feel lesbian pride in the fact that she came out and didn't present the "we're so opressed" type of newstory, that she was in control of her destiny and if she wanted straight women -she would get them. Damn it, she even had instructions! That's how seductive she is. I wanted to feel like Staceyann is strong, sexy, powerful. If I thought that, there could be one more lesbian to add to the list of those I admire. I would support you Staceyann. I wanted to. But, your article wasn't honest. Instead of highlighting the measures gay women will resort to in an enviroment where the space to express your sexuality is limited-you chose to glamourise your desperation.

Maybe my opposition to Staceyann's article is the fact I don't personally find straight women attractive. It's a race without a finish line and equivocal to climbing a mountain without summit. A waste of energy doesn't even cover it. Many of us get into relationships that-in the end-have little substance. But, if many of us knew this from the outset how many of us would just jump in risking our emotional stability in the process? Fortunately Staceyann gave a little background as to why she got on this merry go round. Residing in Jamaica as a gay woman must be extremely difficult. There, homophobia is almost part of the culture, the line you don't cross, the phenomena you refuse to understand. The fact she annunciated that she was a lesbian in public must have taken some balls and for that, I have nothing but respect for her. Furthermore, as a result of this announcement gay women wouldn't go near her for fear of automatically outing themselves in the process. A very difficult predicament. As a result, she started to notice the behaviour of (supposedly) straight women in her presence and decided to express her sexuality the only way she could. If Stacey had stumbled upon a society of gay women to hang with I doubt she would have found straight women the fulfilling conquest her article suggests. Indeed she states that her conquest of straight women is nowt to do with having no choice, that it was her free will. Stacey may not realise that we only have as much free will as our previous experiences and the things we experience vicariously through others dictate. The meer fact she noticed gay women wouldn't go near her would suggest she looked at them first. Though, instead of placing emphasis on her lack of choice she chooses instead to focus on the thrill of the chase. She mentions feeling like the messiah-the chosen one which must be a great feeling. Though I dont understand how being "the first" matters if you truly care about someone. It just seems like a desperate need to bolster one's self esteem and there are times we all need a boost. But, the "How To" manual (in the article Staceyann presents a how to guide for stealing a straight woman from her boyfriend)? It seems exploitative and manipulative and though many (if not all) of us can be that way it's hardly aspirational. Her comment, that it may teach you something about loss is plain ridiculous. You wouldn't smash your head into a brick wall to teach yourself something about pain so why would you put so much effort, time and feeling into something you are sure to lose? Any woman looking to experience loss doesn't need straight women-she needs a psychaitrist. Trivialising the pusuit of dead end relationships is a symptom of a much broader and deeply ingrained personal issue and shouldn't be trivialised or glamourised. Her observation that most of us "dykes" enjoy straight womens limited attention spans is contradictory to what I hear on an almost daily basis from gay women in general.

I do however believe her article is important and has provided a platform for very interesting debate within the LGBT community. We cannot be seen to only like/want to see articles that further the LGBT agenda. There are negatives in our society that I'm sure you're all to aware of. Besides, this gay obsession with straight people is nothing new. A few years ago when Boy George had trouble with the law he was quoted as saying that he almost exclusively finds straight men attractive. As much as I disagree with her presentation I still think it worthwhile enough to be presented. I learned a little about the lengths women will go to in a homophobic climate to feel a sense of closeness and her public self-outing is strength of will that can be admired. Maybe it's her strong sense of identity that enables her to be completely honest about her feelings and subsequently not give a toss about what any of us think! Some may claim that she's encouraging biphobia or fuelling the homophobes who think our only goal as gay people is conversion. I really don't believe that was her intention.  She's just a lesbian sharing her personal experience.We can take from that what we will.

Sirena Reynolds

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Trouble With Women: Poem

They come, they go
weaving in and out my life
anger, tears
trouble & strife
being in love with love
and angered by my ways
because i won't
fall in love in a day
their self worth
somehow my responsibility
and because of my mask
they fail to see my fragility

then they wonder
why i let things die
it's coz when i was laughing
they couldn't hear me cry...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Interview: Ronke Osinowo

I first met Ronke Osinowo after going to see Young Soul Rebels as part of the Film Fringe Fest. She (along with Dean Atta) introduced the movie. I really enjoyed the film except the ending where following a traumatic event it cuts to the next scene where the cast are dancing. I'm not a fan of this portrayl of black people in cinema at all. Moving on. After the film I spoke to Ronke and was immediately impressed by her warm and friendly manner. To my delight I found out she was a poet, though Ronke doesn't like to call herself a poet, she see's herself as an observer. We had an intense discussion about the fate of most people who leave the care system. I knew then I had to interview her. I asked very nicely and thankfully she agreed! I couldn't have got a better first interview. Read on, I'm sure you will all think she's as fantastic as I do.

There I was in the rain huddled under an awning of a newsagents in Old Street where I spotted Ronke, when she saw me a huge smile and warm greeting followed. I offered her an M&M-she has a nut allergy.  "I love nuts but at the age of 24 I developed anyphalactic shock after eating a carot cake". I chose a lovely setting to have our interview. It was closed for refurbishments. Luckily Ronke knew of a lovely place less then1 minute away. When we got there I thought the least I can do after dragging this women out in the pouring rain is buy her a drink. She refused and bought ME a drink instead. After we settled into our very plush surroundings we had a very interesting chat and this is what she had to say:

 "The concept of my book came about because my mum-my foster mum was always chronically ill, since I was little. She was overweight, needed a walking stick and sometimes a wheelchair. She also suffered heart attacks. She had one when I was 6, one when I was 15. When I was 30 her heart didn't work on it's own anymore. In January 2006 my dad started getting thinner. He was a strong gypsy man-he'd never been to a doctors in his life! We were like-you're not eating-you need to see a doctor. So he did. That's when we found out he had cancer. It was terminal. As a result everyone got stronger, my mother got more mobile looking after him making sure he was taken care of-it was amazing! Then he had to go into hospital. 5 months later on her way to visit him she had a heart attack and died. She actually died before him.
9 days later we buried her. 2 days later my dad died. I really believe he was holding on for her. After that I was in a pretty bad way. I thought the only way I could deal with this was to start writing. I'd written a whole load of stuff probably about 10 years before they died so I decided to revisit that. I had to document that time, how I experienced it. I'd kept some of my notebooks and started writing new stuff. Then I contacted my brother-who's dislexic but great with visuals. I spoke to him about the fact that no-one really reads poetry, but these are my thoughts. I started off by giving him a couple of lines and he would create an image based on the words I'd given him."

Me: That's really surprising considering how well the imagery compliments each piece. I thought someone would need the whole poem to create something so fitting.

"Well he's the only one who could've done it. No-one else would understand. We were the only black kids in that town. Our bond is so strong I knew that whatever he'd come back with would be his interpretation of our shared experience and that it would compliment the work. I also really like his illustrations I think they are really good. That part of it was so easy with him. Basically, I couldn't have done it without him. He's very focused where as I'm very all over the place (laughs) which actually worked out really well.

At first we just made these little postcard things just to get the word out there but my brother kept on at me, he was like "Ronke, you gotta do something with this book."  So I sent it off to a few publishers-no response! Or they'd ask me questions like "who's your market?" I don't know. These are just my words. I started to get sick of it so I looked into self publishing. Eventually I found this place in Indiana in the states because they were the cheapest. The process took 18 months.The hardest part was when they said they couldn't do images, only print. I thought-you could have told me that before! I would self publish again but at least now i'm more aware of the process. I had to edit it myself and I'm no editor. Eventually they said they could do the images in a smaller format but I had to pay even more money.When the book was finalised I invited some friends to come down and support it. Everyone wanted me to sign it. This was a new experience for me and it made me go inside myself a little."

Me: Why? You were getting the praise you deserved, after all that hard work!

"I know, I guess i'm just in introvert where my personal work is concerened. I just couldn't articulate what it was all about because it was so deep. Also I don't think you can function on that level, what I mean is you can't spend every moment completely aware of your darkest thoughts and feelings."

Me: Has anyone ever reacted negatively to that darkness?

"Well when people started to see it at first they were like "ooh, thats quite errm dark, why don't you write about the good things that have happened to you?" Or "I don't wanna get depressed" so I'd say I'm not writing it to depress anyone, it's the reality of the situation. Another reason I wrote the book was because me and my brother we're the type of people who I wouldn't call smart-but we were smart enough not to get into fights! Art was our way through and I wanted to show people that just because you come from dark circumstances-you're not fucked! (Laugh's.) You can still come out the other side and create something beautiful. That's my survival mechanism, i'm not gonna drown in it, i'm gonna throw it back in a nicer form.
I was fostered for over 18 years with 20 + kids..."

Me (interrupting) Did this give you a more rounded view of people in general?

Yeah, if you survive it. Out of 20 kids, for 15 it was just too much, understandably. It's alot to take. 5 of us refuse to be victims. We had to look around and decided very early on which way we're gonna go. I didn't want a negative life for myself. One of my first perceptions in life was hatred. When I was 3 a policeman spat on me. It happened quite alot, it was the 70's. I used to like hanging around with the adults and annoy the other kids! I learned early on that if you behave in a certain way in life you will get more of what you want. I hated fighting, I can't stand pain. Plus I was very small for my age so anyone would be able to beat me up. I just dealt with it by isolating myself, reding books, writing and thinking about how I'm gonna get through the next day because I knew there would be trouble.

I had a pretty bad relationship with my (biological) mum growing up, it's alot better now she's older. I had massive abandonment issues. I was the first born and a girl and in Nigerian culture that's not desirable and my dad left so she felt unable to cope. She would visit me every to weeks and I had to deal with her constant criticism because I was introverted and would have preferred me to be more confident, forthcoming. We are complete opposites. I didn't feel loved by her. With me and my foster mum it was different. We got on well because we had an understanding. My mum was a survivor. Bearing in mind it was the 70's-eveyone hated gypsies and then she had all these black kids running around so it felt like we got double the hate. But she was always like "fuck them, everyone's gonna give it to you-give it back" she was quite strong and clever even though she was illiterate. Because of her illness she couldn't have kids and children are a big part of the culture, that's why she fostered. I got on really well with my dad too, I remember having quite adult conversations with him. He was a long distance lorry driver and often went to working mens clubs. When people saw us it was like a head fuck! It would puzzle everyone what we were doing together?! I had a good relationship with them, they were very warm and very loving. They really wanted us. In this day and age they wouldn't be allowed to foster because of the way they behaved sometimes but they were really good parents and very moral people. They gave all of us good and valuable advice for dealing with life in general. At their funeral all the the kids they fostered who could be there were. The ages ranged from 17 to 43 which I think is a testament to them."

Me and Ronke then have a little talk about her school life-she went to a convent school and explained she never misbehaved in the traditional sense but often challenged the rules she had to obey and the world view she was being fed. I asked her if as a black women she found she attracted the agressive label.

"That's all it attracts. There have been times I've been in a job and taken things to the point I couldn't take it anymore and when I'd challenge this I'm immediately labelled as a trouble maker. It's just racist. plain and simple.

I've worked so many jobs, I've never been out of employment from age 16 till 38. I realised I can only help myself besides I can't be signing on. I can't deal with the people who work there! At the end of the day I don't want to be controlled by people who have no respect for my circumstances."

Me and Ronke then went on to have a chat about how repressing certain things lead to some serious health problems and how that made her desire to write even stronger.

"I wouldn't describe myself as an intellectual writer, or a funny writer. My writing comes from a deep place and if someone can identify with it, I'm happy. Actually when I published the book I thought it could be used by social services for other children who've been fostered." If I could've seen something like that out there when I was 14 it would've meant everything to me. I read alot. The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Mirror, The Sun, reviews, articles and it all seems to come from a position of priviledge. Like I went to see the Oswald Boateng documentary and when I read a review in The Guardian the reviewer dismissed his pride as bragging about getting a shop on Saville Row with no understanding of how hard it is for anyone to get a shop on Saville Row much less where he's come from.

I then turned the talk to gay rights and the stonewall workshop I did at as part of Fringe Fest. I found it pointless and boring (not the trans workshop though, the trans workshop was great) and nothing more than advertising for the marrige campaign. A call to arms dressed up in "what's good about social media and what's bad about it" clothes. I expressed this to Ronke.

"I feel I've only just come to terms with being gay. Not in the sense of that I hated who I am but the fact I don't like alot of the stuff the gay media and charities put out there. Like whether you're born gay or not. I don't think that matters. This marrige campaign seems again to come from a patriarchal middle class place. I feel like they should focus their energies on places where people are getting killed everyday like Brazil or Nigeria. I think there are more pressing issues in the gay community then changing the word Civil Partnership to the word Marrige. Historically, marrige was a way for men to own women and children like property. Why would we want to be a part of that?" I don't want to seem anti I just don't relate to alot of things going on. There is still so much inequality in gay society campaigning for marrige seems indulgent."

Ronke also described the labelling of gay cure therapy as "voodoo cure therapy" as "propagating negativity."

"At the end of the day Voodoo is just a traditional religion Africans took with them to the Carribean and other places. It's no different to the ritual and ceremony of most major religions. At the end of the day I just think there needs to be a more diverse range of views out there. The opinions we are being presented with are very narrow. Worst still, they are sold as facts. Every opinion out there is relevant and we need more views to counteract what we're being fed on a daily basis."

Me: You're very interesting!

"No, I'm really boring actually."

If you read this interview to the end I know, like me-you don't believe that she's boring at all. I thouroughly enjoyed her company, and her book-which i urge you to buy. It's very different to alot of poetry that's being published and her unique world view can only serve to colour yours in the most wonderful way. Check the bottom of this article for links. Thank you for reading and thank you Ronke for a wonderful interview.

Sirena Reynolds.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Star Signs by the Miscellaneous Mystic

I am the one who knows your future. Give me lots of money (premium rate phone line coming soon!) and I will reveal to you, your DESTINY! I am... Miscellaneous Mystic.


Your goat spirit is waning. You no longer headbutt things without warning. This is troubling, for you should feel free to roam the grasslands charging all that takes your fancy. This week you will get a phonecall. It will tell you something.


You had a blackberry-now you don't. You're wondering how you will live without BBM. I have something to tell you taurus. You can live life without BBM for it doesn't affect your ability to breathe. This week you will hear a knock at the door. No-one will be there but a message awaits you...

You have a twin inside you. You are not victim of an immaculate conception. It is your spirit, your fam. It is also parasitic. Seek medical attention immediately!


You do not have crabs you'd be delighted to hear and furthermore you never have. You have cause to spend money this week which could possibly mean you will end up with less money than before you spent money. You have shoes in your house. Take care of them.

Leo is not your name. You are likely to have a womens name. You glance out your window and observe things that make you neither happy nor sad. The hair on your head is there but you have none on the soles of your feet. Ring my star line to find out why.

Why were you running down the street and barking like a dog dear virgo? You are not a dog because dogs cannot read. I had a vision of you crying because you couldn't open a can of baked beans. I have something to tell you. You need a can opener.

You think everyone deserves a balloon and should provided with one on demand paid for by the taxpayer. You don't understand why they haven't passed the law and it's eating you up inside. Relax dear libra. One day...

You sting like a bee, float like a butterfly and you stick forks into a fish's eye. You will wear trainers this week, I know exactly how important this is for you. Good luck!


Sagittarius your so nefarious you dont carius about malaria. Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animal in the world. The sooner you realise this the more you can access the sagit within.

Capri blue is your favorite colour. It is the colour of your soul. You have always secretly believed you could fly. Ever since you watched an episode of heroes a few years ago. You cannot fly.


You're a barbie girl in a barbie world but others don't inhabit or see the world as you do. That's why you keep getting sectioned all the time. You will be sectioned again if you don't drop this barbie thing... It's in the stars...


Neptune is retrograde and Mars shares an eclipse with Pluto which only happens once evey 799 years. The moon of Pluto is facing your sign and Mecury is in balance. Wondering what this all means? Nothing.

Erotic poetry by our own little feisty angel (:

She says she wants to collaborate on a poem
How do I approach this without her knowing?
That actually
I’d like to create poetry physically
Let’s use the laws of alliteration
Let me lick lines on loins and lower limbs
Tempt me to taste tits, lick lips, and smother slits sloppily with a saliva kiss
Causing your nips to stand at attention
Cos you’ll need to pay attention
To write this piece
Let’s use similes like
Like, I want to lick you like an ice cream
With caramel swirls
Let my tongue twist and twirl on your creamy core
As though, you are the last ice-cream in the world
And my survival depends on tasting you
On the drawing out of your essence, in pleasure filled seconds
Like a bee would suck nectar from stamen
After extraction, my mission is to pollinate
By rubbing me on you in a strategic place
Let’s create honey, like the honey bee
Separate and part my wings
Draw my nectar from me
Of course I speak metaphorically
Let’s create an iambic pentameter rhythm
Using headboard against wall
As drumstick against drum, it will be fun
And at some point you’ll remind me, politely
To get back to the writing
And I’ll let you trace made up words on my curves
And we’ll argue over, whether I’d felt a noun or a verb
And I’d verbally depict your encryptions
In Morse coded moans
And you’ll accompany my vocals
In deep brassy groans
And together, we’ll fill the room with our dulcet tones
I mean, writing poetry is a beautiful thing
So why not, to the backdrop of our poetic melodies

Feisty Angel (Kemi Taiwo)

Monday, 16 April 2012

GET OVER IT? Sloganism, Who does it Benefit?

 Does a campaigns popularity ensure its effectiveness?

We've all seen the stonewall publicity slogan "some people are gay-get over it!" brandished on buses, T-shirts and other promotional paraphernalia. First intended as an anti bullying campain after release of dire statistics of homophobic bullying in schools. In response to this campain a christain group "Core Issues" wanted to parade London buses with the counter-reactive slogan "Not gay! ex gay, post gay and proud-get over it!" Boris acted swiftly in banning the advertisements. The christian group Anglican Mainstream are planning to sue the mayor in spite of the fact they have already recieved alot of publicity from the outrage alone. After all, we know the contents of their proposed advertisement so their message had reach even if it was not in the way they intended. I guess sueing would give their message even more publicity and therefore-gravitas. Potentially more then the intended bus campaign.

Personally I find this flippant "get over it" rhetoric quite childish. Imagine an anti racism slogan that read "some people are black-get over it!" Would such a slogan bring the BNP or EDL to it's knees. Doubtful. The politics of rubbing something in someones face often enough so they'll accept it is ludicrously ineffective. You're either preaching to the converted or reinforcing predjudice. How many people genuinely look to the side of a bus for their morals and values? This mass depersonalisation of what is essentially an intimate affair takes the heart out of the very real homophobia alot of us fear. A campaign highlighting the lives of gay people beyond what they do in the bedroom (lets face it-homophobic people are not offended that we love each other-they are offended by our intimate affairs) would bring a human element and some homophobes may feel that if they can relate to a gay person-how wrong can it be? I've seen this work in practise. As an openly gay person in most enviroments alot of people confide-after getting to know me, that I was the first gay person they met and had subsequently decided we cannot be all that bad. Wokshops in schools and places of employment is another more effective way to facilitate changing attitudes in society.

So, who does slogananism benefit? The word polititian overwhelms me. I have a suspicion that had this ad come up 2 weeks after election day Boris Johnson would be extolling the virtues of free speech and if we didn't live in such a secular enviroment he would have let the ads go ahead without so much as a comment. It's also olympic year. If the BNP can have free speech then why can't christians? They are still selling skin bleaching creams in black hair shops. I don't see Boris or anti fascist organisations picketing the black hair shops or the mass media aswell as commentators saying race is a human condition that cannot be fixed. They are offering a service that a few self loathing gay people have subscribed to. So what? What are we scared of exactly? It's already happening. Why turn a blind eye? I believe in debate over censorship. It gets every conceivable opinion out in the open so we know exactly what challenges we face and precisely how to tackle those challenges. In suppressing freedom of speech however odious we find that speech we could alienate a few of the many straight allies on our side. Freedom of speech directly correlates with the freedom to live our lives in an open fulfilling way. If we sacrifice freedom to predjudice, we will pay the price. It's not worth it.

Sirena Reynolds

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Audre Lorde-Why are so many youth unaware?

Audre Lorde

I went along to see the UK premiere of Audre Lorde-The Berlin Years. The film was shown as part of the Fringe Film Fest. It was a deeply personal affair depicting her years in Berlin and her efforts to unite the Afro-German community giving them an identity and a voice. There were very moving tributes from her loving friends as well as plenty of footage of the women herself, dancing, speaking about her activism, being a lesbian and her her 14 year battle with cancer
   The first I ever heard of Audre Lorde was when I attended a talk at the Gay Icons exhibtion (truly accidental-me and some friends snuck in the back door) where film maker Campbell Ex was speaking. I found it interesting though I never thought of the name again till I checked the programme schedule for the Gay Fringe Film Fest and decided to have a look. It was a revelatory experience for I got to see the profile of not only a strong black lesbian I could admire but one with whom I could closely identify. This got me thinking about how many other young black women on the scene could benefit from such a legacy. The thing is, if you say the name Audre Lorde to black women under the age of 35 most will have little to no awareness of this remarkable women! For many women over 35, her iconic status meant her books, poetry and teachings were explored as a right of passage if you were young, female and gay.
    In her own words Audre was a "African American, feminist, lesbian, warrior, poet, mother, black activist". She was also a promoter of black unity, something that is still lacking in our communities worldwide. In her feminist role she put the struggle of the black woman on the agenda much to the disapproval of white feminists and many others. Her poem "Martha" depicts her love for the woman whose name it bears along with the trials and tribulations dealing with that love and the inherant homophobia in society at that time. Audre was empowered, educated, insuppressable and angry though she used her anger in the most creative and positive ways. Many (especially women of colour) would greatly benefit from her lessons, actions and examples today so the question is why is her name not instantly recognisable just one generation later?
    Though I'm sure the young realise their rights did not come overnight many have grown up reaping the benefits of the blood, sweat and tears of others before us. Now, there is a big club scene where we can meet each other. For some, just the recognition that being both black and gay isn't the anomaly it is often thought to be is enough and few refuse to step out of their comfort zones to explore queer history and black feminist icons. But is it enough? Clubs where we cannot hear ourselves speak unless we freeze our arses off in the smoking area where I often overhear conversations about, fighting prowess, sexual dominance, garments, other club nights and other people. Something seems to be lacking such as; direction, identitiy and above all else, unity. It's everyone for themselves and mindless gossip has replaced the thought provoking discussions that unify rather than divide. Maybe there isn't enough promotion of alternative events in the places young black lesbians look. But then again, you cannot find what you're not looking for and I wish more were a little more open to trying. They may find the activist within which can only lead to more positive change for the next generation. By turning a blind eye to feminist trailblazers like Audre Lorde not only do we betray her memory. We betray ourselves.

Sirena Reynolds.

For future showings of the documentary Check below. Will update this page further if I hear of any more.

University of Kent: Audre Lorde Cultural Festival
WhenThu, 3 May, 10:00 – 19:00
WhereThe Women's Library, London (map)
DescriptionThis one-day film and cultural festival organised by the University of Kent celebrates the legacy of Audre Lorde. Lorde’s brilliant writings and speeches defined and inspired the American feminist, lesbian, African-American, and women of color movements of the 70s and 80s. On occasion of the 20-year anniversary of her passing, four powerful tribute films will be screened, including a new documentary by scholar, activist and feminist publisher Dagmar Schultz which has been accepted for the world premiere at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February. In addition to the films, Ika Hügel-Marshall, close friend of Lorde and recipient of the Audre Lorde Literary Award, will read from Invisible Woman: Growing up Black in Germany (2001), and there will be a Q&A with Schultz. For more details, please see programme below and attached flyer. 
Programme (Screenings and readings/Q&A take place in the Clore Seminar Room) 
10-10.30 Registration & coffee and biscuits (Mezzanine) 
10.30-11 Welcome and opening remarks 
11-12.30 Screening of A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde 
12.30-1.30 Lunch (Mezzanine) 
1.30-2.35 Screening of The Edge of Each Other's Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde 
2.35-3.15 Screening of Hope in My Heart: The May Ayim Story 
 3.15-3.45 Coffee/tea and biscuits break (Mezannine) 
3.45-4.45 Reading and Q&A with Ika Hügel-Marshall from Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany 
4.45-5 Short break 
5-6.10 Screening of Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 
6.10-7 Q&A with Dagmar Schultz and general discussion 
7-8 Wine reception (Mezzanine) All welcome! 
The festival is co-organised by the School of English and the Centre for American Studies at the University of Kent. 
Registration fee is £10 (to be paid in cash on the day) and includes coffee/tea, lunch and a wine reception. 
As the venue capacity is limited, to reserve a place please email 150 For directions, see 

The festival is supported by the Faculty of Humanities, the Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Writing, the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, the Centre for Modern Poetry, and the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Film and the Moving Image, at the University of Kent.

Thursday, 12 April 2012


 This photoshoot probably took more of her time than this movie

Battleship is an apocalyptic blockbuster movie starring Liam Neeson,  Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) Brooklyn Decker with a little bit of Rihanna thrown in for good measure. From the outset it was clear this movie lacked identity. The opening scene began like a Cohen Brothers movie and was actually quite funny. I even remarked to my partner in crime what a good advert it was-only it wasn't an advert-it was the beginning of the movie! I found myself thinking, how is stealing a chicken burrito for some chick on your birthday then getting tazered and arrested going to lead to some kick ass nautical action? The answer? The next morning his brother says words to the effect of-"you need to grow up dude, you're joining the navy" and because people in films have no choice, he does.

Cut to the next scene where we see a little bit of Rihanna and it's clear she's a tomboy navy chick. What is also clear is that she's not in this movie and if you are going to see this with the hopes of seeing Rihanna up close and personal you will be very disappointed. Though her dialogue is limited one thing is clear-she cannot act. Moving on. The guy who's in the navy coz his bro told him to  is now clean shaven and focused. There is alot of dramatism leading to his scoring a goal, I have the feeling this goal is meant to show us-the audience how much he's grown as a person in the last 3 minutes. Cue dramatic music and a leg swing in slow mo coupled with a dramatic SMACK noise as his foot makes contact with the stationary ball. He misses. I then realise It was meant to be funny. It wasn't. People in the audience laughed and I scowled at them for they are the reason Hollywood keep getting away with making such rubbish movies.

After the footballing incident it cuts to him and burrito girl-who are now in love. A tender intimate moment between them is ruined by a gratuitous shot of her batty-the girl is also the daughter of the commander whom he must ask permission for her hand in marriage.  After a bathroom mishap, burrito boy is brought before the commander and reprimanded. The commander-Liam Neeson states "you're intelligent but you have weak leadership characteristics, is there anything you'd like to say to me boy?" Burrito boy says nothing. This was the moment I knew everything that would happen in this movie which made the next 90 minutes excruciating. Rather than this movie being a genuine comedic drama it flits between being a drama and comedy. The 2 genre's are not blended with the expertise you would expect of a movie with this budget.

Burrito boy would obviously prove himself in a crisis (with a few staple mishaps) and be considered by the commander worthy of his little girl. When disaster does strike it's this terminator thing that comes out of the water. It strikes one of the ships and burrito boys brother dies. This doesn't have any emotional gravitas whatsoever-even burrito boy isn't suitably distressed by the incident. Then, 20 minutes of pow pow, then pow pow then pow pow then pow pow-slight pause-pow pow and pow pow again. There is so much bad science in this movie that is meant to explain the sudden alien invasion but I won't get into that. In a completely pointless side plot burrito girl-who happens to be a physical therapist, takes a navy man who's lost his legs up a mountain to show him his self worth.  Moving on. With all the pow powing the original ship is destroyed. They decide their only choice is to use this ancient ship THE MISSOURI no-one knows how to commandeer. Then who saves the day? OAP's. Yes your eyes do not decieve you. OAP's.  An old ship needs old men. The old men help The Navy save the day after another bout of pow pow, pow pow, pow pow, pow pow. If you're wondering why I've failed to name one of the characters it's because the rare occasion a characters name is mentioned it's barked so it's inaudible. They bark at each other like dogs. They defeat the bad guys, get medals and he gets the girl blah blah.

What was Liam Neeson thinking when he signed up for this movie? From Schindlers List-to this! Though, it wasn't all bad.  The visual effects are stunning and bar the batty shot incident the camera work is first class. The writers deserve to be mashed up by the very aliens they created for producing this rubbish and if it wasn't for Orange Wednesdays I would be vexed at having to pay the extortionate ticket price for this waste of 2 hours of my life. I also have no idea why Rihanna ran around town promoting this movie, she has maybe 10 minutes of total screen time at the most. Terrible movie. 1 star.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A Relationship in all But Name

 Can't let go?

We've all been there-or maybe we haven't. You've split up with your ex-who you love to bits, but, both of you know the relationship is doomed. She is still your best friend and occasionally you sleep together. You both convince yourselves it's different now because X, Y and Z but in truth, how different is it?

The relationship in all but name can be very comforting. You can rest assured that though you and your lover have parted ways you're not alone. It's the comfort blanket that in the long term can lead you to losing your best friend. The relationship status may have changed but the relationship doesn't. You still expect them to catch you when you fall and when they don't-it's like breaking up all over again

This is a common issue amongst lesbians. Our nurturing instincts don't die the moment the curtain is drawn but this often leads to complications. What about when one of you go on a date, can you truly be happy for someone you've loved and lost to move on, can either of you move on if you're still "squatting" in each others hearts? There are no clear answers. Maybe your relationship still has potential but you have to ask yourself why you had to break up in order to see it. If you know there's no hope yet want to build a (platonic) friendship, bear in mind that it's hard to build something solid on shaky ground. If you're still sleeping with an ex you are still in the relationship. The relationship that doesn't work. If you value your ex's friendship enough to want her in your life forever then let her go. Sex has a habit of ruining things and nothing great is achieved without sacrifice.

These safety net relationships make you feel loved in the here and now, but what about the future? Are you ever gonna move on when Miss nearly perfect but not quite right is still in the picture? Maybe remembering the reasons you broke up in the first place and time apart could be the liberator your not even aware you need. Hanging on to something that's broken is hoarding.

A Poem for Slutwalk-Please support this fantastic cause!

It's easy to blame the victim, the downtrodden
History rests on the shoulders of the forgotten
We walk for sluts hoping to reclaim that name
That make's so many shirink and live in shame
we have a 6 per cent of rapes convicted
It's the price many women pay for being afflicted
with the curse of being a statistic
for being taken just like a biscuit
so many women scorned
but so many others being warned
about the way they dress asking for the worst
like the way we dress makes us eqivocal to dirt
We should dress how we want and drink however much we like
without it leading to an unwinnable fight
but now if your drunk your you get no compensation
when alcohol doesn't negate the violent sensations
What kind of society would choose
that when it's he said/she said she's gonna lose
that she's at fault because she's drinking booze
unless if she's killed and ends up on the news
And then we gasp in shock and awe
as if this doesn't happen daily behind many a door
As if it doesn't play out daily in the courts
as if it doesn't replay daily in many thoughts
It has to be the oldest crime
way back in time it wern't even a crime
and we're still fighting that ignorance
coz as decades go by we fail to recognise the difference
Forcible sex is not on the agenda
even though it affects all classes, creed and genders
the fact this organisation exists is a fucking tragedy
coz it should resonate with everyone in every family
even if it never happened to you
Its effects are the corrosion to societys glue
I don't wanna be doom and gloom
but we have to shine a light in order to see the bloom
and to use our voices to share a tune
Lets walk together, and show solidarity rules!

The details of slutwalk are below. It's for a fantastic cause and yours truly will be performing. Will probably edit the piece above though. Just a rough draft. Come along, donate and get involved. Girl power!!!

You are invited to The Voice of Protest... a spoken word benefit for SlutWalk London 2012!

Sometimes we can forget how much a difference community, protest and our voices can make. Our aim for this night is to showcase spoken word artists who share our goal of challengin...g injustice, whether that be by confronting issues of gender, race, class or other oppression.

At its core SlutWalk is about people power. By telling our stories, raising our voices and connecting with other people we can make so much of a difference. We raise questions, we raise conversation and we can create change.

Join us at the Shacklewell Arms in London on the 29th April from 7pm!

*** ENTRY £5 ***

MC: Yasmin Lorentz


Cat Brogan
Caitlin Hayward-Tapp
Roz Kaveney
Evan Ifekoya
Sirena Reynolds
Sophia Blackwell
Camila Fiori
Habiba Hrida
Stephanie Dogfoot
Stephanie Goldberg
Dave Russell


Nearest Overground: Dalston Kingsland
Buses: 488 stopping at The Petchey Academy stop
Or see TFL Journey Planner at, see here for travel disruptions:

...or if you can't come, please donate at xxx

Skin/Hair Care. Ingredient of the Week


Every week we are going to profile the uses and effectiveness of natural ingredients for overall health for your skinn and hair. This week we'll look at the effectiveness of coconut oil. For european hair its great as a pre wash conditioner (leave on for 2 hours befor a wash or overnight), increasing strengh, shine and moisture without greainess. For afro textured hair it is excellent as a moisturiser because it penetrates the hair shaft. Although, you must seal the moisture in with a barrier oil such as caster or sweet almond oil. To get the best out of the product it's best to use the cold pressed unrefined version as natural oils lose alot of their nutritional properties through the refining process.

Hair benefits

Penetrates the hair shaft for genuine moisture

Increses, strength and shine

Anti Dandruff

Microbial Properties

Contains vitamin E-great for hair and skin

Protects hair when thermal styling.

Skin Benefits

Anti Aging

Soothes dry skin conditions like excema

Perfect after sun lotion

The proteins it contains help keep skin healthy and rejuvanated

 Has good anti oxidant properties.

Next week: Shea Butter...

Monday, 9 April 2012

8 Signs Your Relationship Isn't Working

 The icing on the cake?

Arguments/bad feeling last for days

Disagreements/arguments are a normal part of any close relationship. Although the ability to resolve problems must go hand in hand with that. If you find it easy to get into an argument yet difficult to get out of it, no mattter how minor, this is a sure sign the relationship is in trouble. All is not lost though. If you and your partner could agree on more effective ways to resolve things then the damage will be limited and you can go on to live happy fulfilling lives together. If not then it may be time to assess what kind of life you really want.

You no longer feel understood

There is no lonlier feeling then being misunderstood by the one who is meant to understand you the most. No matter how you sell it, they just aint buying and you're left thinking whether they ever knew you at all? This is a bad one as people in this situation often rely on manipulative tactics to get their point across. When truth loses it's effectiveness some rely on guilt tripping or the silent treatment to get that special one close but this pseudo closeness is doing the opposite by pushing you further apart. Eventually someone's gonna get sick of feeling guilty/being the bad guy. If someone doesn't understand you try and find a way to communicate that. If they still aint getting it? Maybe it's time to find someone who will. Or better still, find you again...


Were you a more confident/secure/contented person before you met your partner? If so, then why have you settled for a life riddled with doubt and insecurity? Love is the obvious motivator here. Understandably so. Love, true love is such a rare and precious thing that we will grab it with both hands in spite of the fact it's making us a person we never wanted to be. But, if we are not the person we want be when we're in love love then what kind of love is that? It's possible that it's all in your head and no matter how much your partner reassures you and displays actions again and again that you have nothing to worry about you continue to feel you're not good enough. If this is the case, seek help because being jealous/insecure is a noose around your partners neck. If you are seeing definate signs that your partner is stepping out or she makes comments that make you feel unattractive or small then talk to her about how this makes you feel. If she doesn't take heed, drop it like it's hot. Even heartbreak is better than that, why prolong the agony?

But, you haven't done anything wrong?

You cannot move an inch without her tearing a mile long  strip off your character and it isn't just PMT. It's all month long. It could be the case of what they loved about you initially they've grown to resent. They used to love that you got on well with their friends,was witty/inteligent and had banging style with a body to match. Now, all they feel is irritation and you must watch every step, word and action so not to offend. It could be the case that they're dealing with something particularly traumatic. It happens. But, if this happens systematically this could leave you feeling anxious, depressed and insecure. The worst thing about this issue is people seldom admit to feeling resentment so this problem remains hidden. A hidden problem cannot be dealt with. Try bringing the issue out of the dark if this doesn't work then maybe you should do the hiding. From them!

Intimacy is lacking/You spend more time apart

You've become more like friends, you no longer take the time to just enjoy being in love. Why not just become friends and escape the territorial restrictions that go hand in hand with a committed partnership? There is always some hope where this is concerned. Just recognizing the state of affairs can be the kick up the backside you both need to bring back the romance. However, if your efforts to reignite that spark are equivocal to flogging a dead horse then maybe it's time to really test your love by letting each other go. Not wanting to see your partner with someone else is not a good enough reason to keep it going. After all, you both deserve happiness.

Make up break up/Break up make up

Sometimes a break in a relationship can be a good thing. It gives you time to evaluate what's really important, what matters and better still how you would feel without that person. A break can often give a tired relationship a new lease of life and make you stronger than ever. However, if you do this too often you may just be chasing your respective tails. You may find that rather than having a break what you're really doing is trialing a break up. Break ups will never feel nice and in that spirit you get back together because your pain is proof that the relationship has more mileage, right? Wrong. I've seldom seen this lead anywhere but hate and bitter resentment. These relationships tend to run for roughly 2 years beyond their sell by date and the bitterness often comes from resenting the wasted time and the painful things you continued to do to one another after you knew in your heart of hearts it should have been past tense. It''s a sad day when love becomes a destructive and dark force. If who you are with is not the one, think about how your experiences will eventually rub off on the one you're meant to be with which brings me to my next point...

Shadow of the ex

She done your girlfriend wrong and now, she's doing it to you. You can't even blink in the same way without being accused of being Just... Like... Her.  You can't go out with your friends because when SHE did that SHE cheated. You can't disapprove of something because SHE disapproved of the same thing. You feel forced to explain yourself at length to reassure your partner that YOU are different. For all the folks out there who have the patience to deal with this crap, I salute you because it sure is cold walking in somebody elses shadow. As a human being you will of course display similarities to another human being particularly if you're of the same gender. Having to constantly assert that your love is pure and your motives are good is tiresome and will kill your relationship faster than Usain Bolt in a 100 metre dash...

Your not sure you're in love anymore

If you are not sure whether you're it love or not it usually means you are not. It has no meaning without the feeling and although it's hard to hurt someone you care about you are doing them no favours in the long run. You could give it time to see if you can once again provoke those feelings but if that doesn't work then you have to be cruel to be kind. Letting someone give you all their love when you don't feel the same is at best very very unfair. 

If you know anymore reasons to add to the list Sapphic Seduction would love to hear them (:

Funny lesbian jokes

What do you have when you've got 50 lesbians and 50 council workers?
100 people that don't do dick.

Did you hear that Ellen DeGeneres drowned? ...
She was found face down in Ricki Lake .

How many lesbians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Five. One to change it, two to organise the potluck, one to write a folk song about the empowering experience and one to set up the support group.

What did one lesbian vampire say to the other?
See you next month!

What do you call a lesbian with fingernails?
A: Single

A guy walks into a bar and orders two shots of Vodka.
The bar tender says "had a tough day?"
The man replied "yeah I found out my little brother is gay".
The next day the same guy walks in to the bar again and this time orders 3 shots of Vodka.
The bartender says "another bad day?"
The man replied "yeah i just found out my older brother is gay".
The next day the same man walks in the bar and this time orders 5 shots of Vodka.
The bartender looked at him and said "Man doesn't anybody in your family like women.
The man then replied "yeah, My wife"

I thought making lesbian friends would introduce me to a more cultured healthy way of life... Actually, they fucked me.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Gay Parenting: Why do we only see one side of the story?

Having my children was probably the single most important thing that ever happened to me. It was also around the same time I came out. My children were and still are the most important things in my life and as much as I was willing to lie to myself for a long time I was not willing to lie to them. In order to bring them up well balanced and open minded I had to discover who I was and raise them in that spirit. It worked. Though they know I was with their father for a while they don't remember it.  They've grown up their whole lives as the children of a lesbian mother with lesbian friends who discuss lesbian and other issues related to equality. They know no different. I expect there are alot like me out there. Who felt pressured to "fit in" and live the hetrosexual life fearing abndonment, condemnation and even abuse. In fact, there are alot like me but reading the gay press-you would never know it.

All the articles in the gay press related to parenthood focus soley on post coming out forms of conception. Sperm donor, egg donor, surrogate, fostering, adoption. Now, If I came out without child I would need this information and who knows? If I met someone who wanted kids I may need to go down one of those paths one day. My argument isn't that they shouldn't focus on those methods. My point is they shouldn't SOLEY focus on those methods since the MAJORITY of gay parents conceived their kids the traditional way prior to "coming out."  The implication of this reportive silence is since we had our kids prior to self actualisation the challenges we face are not of significance to gay society. This is wrong on so many levels. My kids have to deal with "your mothers a lezza" type taunts, I had to deal with the funny looks at the school gates, the weird vibe from teachers and the accusatory malevelant looks and comments because people felt that a lesbian bringing up children must be damaging to them in some way. Then, there's the coming out. Threats, attacks, the questioning of your sanity. I've known women who've had to move home or just chose to try and "pray the gay away" because threats of death were too much to bear. There are fathers who are banned from seeing their children. Have I heard the gay press report these issues? Never. It's probably seen as a side issue the switchboard can deal with. The worst thing is, it's not a sporadic occurence, it happens more often then you'd want to believe. This non reportage is incredibly divisive too. As a gay mother I only know of other gay mums with similar experiences to mine and I'm sure those who used post coming out forms of conception may know mostly if not only other gay parents with children conceived similarly to theirs. Crazy, since our kids will go through nearly exactly the same thing. This conception elitism is obvious. We are made to feel wrong or less of an identity because we didn't have our kids the gay way. Most lesbians read the gay press so will only realise there are gay mothers like me through meeting them and there the confusion begins. I've been asked whether i'm bisexual... No. Or given this irritating look of disbelief as they ask "well how does that work then?" It takes every bit of composure for me not to scream "YES, I HAD SEX WITH A FUCKING MAN". This discrimination is ridiculous considering we are the majority.

Often, mothers and fathers have nowhere to turn when they come out. All the gay parenting groups are targeted for those who are thinking of having a baby or have gone through the process of trying for a kid through non traditional means. Where are the ones who have children meant to go? We lack visibility. Many tell me they have kids like it's a guilty secret when having children that you do right by is in itself something to be proud of. Though, alot of women and men have been told that it's a less than desirable quality and naturally this can end up being self fulfilling. Some of us were forced into marrige, some of us manipulated alot of us have been threatened and prematurely exposed to our neighbours, family and friends. If homophobia isn't relevant to gay society I don't know what is. Whether they report our struggles or not here we are. The silence is deafening. It's time us gay parents stand up and be counted. Clearly no-one is going to do it for us. Whether we conceived our children with a conception pack or on our back. We have nothing to be ashamed of.

Sirena Reynolds

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Am I Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places?

It's hard when you're looking for love. You don't often find it in the club and it's hard in real life due to our sexuality. Then it dawned on me one day as I checked my spam box. I realised that i'd been looking for love all this time (on a real note you do not "look" for love. It just happens to you) and there were all these offers of "no greater love" just ready to explore. Will my spam lead me to the love i've been searching for all my life? Is it a con? Should I be troubled by the fact these women seem to think I'm a man. I don't know but what I do know is I'm going to have a lot of fun finding out... Here is my response to one of such emails. My response is at the top whilst her original email is the text at the bottom. Do read the original email first. It will make a lot more sense. I will post her reply if I am lucky enough to get one...

Hey my loveliest sweetest dearest most loveliest friend...

I've been looking for my dearest friend and tender person and I was shocked that it would literally land on my doorstep. Let's share our love Oll A. The weird thing is that your message landed in my spam box. This only serves to cheapen our potential love. I also want to share my love with someone special and often take care about people. I know exactly what I want Oll A. I want you! And, I know exactly where I'm going. I'm going places everyday. Please message me back. Let me know this isn't fake. I don't want to see you in my spam. I want to see you in my inbox because that's exactly where you belong...

All my love

Mr Sir

From: Oll A <>
To: Michael <>
Sent: Saturday, 10 March 2012, 4:54
Subject: confession

My dear friend
I am a kind tender person who enjoy her life and want to share this love for life with someone special. I like to take care about people I love and it
brings me lots of pleasure
The most important thing in my life is to find my only man and to be the happiest woman in the world with him! I am looking for a man who knows
exactly what he wants and where he goes in life.
do not be shy, send me a message

Bisexualism: Why don't we take it seriously?

The acronym "LGBT" can be very misleading for many reasons but none more than the fact it implies that we are all united. Being the "B" in that acronym can be devastatingly isolating. Not only do bisexuals have to deal with homophobia from ignorant hetrosexuals they must also deal with  the biphobia that is prevalent in the LGBT community. Talk to anybody about bisexuality and you'll hear a repetitive stream of thinly veiled insults. What is bisexualism?  When will someone with bisexual identity be able to declare as such in a way that's unapologetic and why don't we take it seriously?

There are said to be 3 categories under the bisexual umbrella; Bi feelings, bi behaviour and bi identity. Bi feelings can be classed as bi curiosity the stage most of us find ourselves before we have the confidence to explore. Many lesbians (and gay men) often come out as bisexual. We are about to enter into a world of which we know nothing about, many haven't even had sexual experiences with the same sex, so to declare themselves gay would be rather presumptuous. It's somewhat of a saftey net label for many in case their lust for the opposite sex is just a phase and their not left running from the gay scene tail between their legs. This transistional bisexualism is a common experience and many quickly relinquish that identity as confidence in their sexuality grows. Many are in fact so happy to do so they are unwilling to speak about those feelings for fear they won't be seen as a fully fledged member of the community.  We live in a world where confidence/sureness is sexy and confusion is off putting. It's no wonder many of us discard that label like yesterdays knickers. Since for alot of us bisexualism was a transistional identity bourne out of confusion it's easy to see why many of us project those feelings onto others who come out with as bisexual.

Then there's "bisexual behaviours" an experimental phase. Raised with hetronormative ideals an attraction and need to experiment with both genders is a neccesary path to finding one's self for some. When one is in this phase they may find biphobia reigns supreme and feelings can get hurt. Every single lesbian I have known to be with a bisexual who simultaneously experimeted with men has vowed never ever to go near a bisexual ever again. Some even vow not to befriend them. There doesn't seem to be a safe space for someone experimenting with both genders to turn, indeed fear of backlash causes certain individuals to lie about their sexual orientation which just serves to perpetuate the myth that bisexualism is as wrong as the people who practise it. This is dangerous territory. As lesbians and gays we know how confusing it is and for those whose interests in both genders persist after initial experimentation the confusion must be like a fire alarm in their heads 24/7. They are told by lesbians/gays to make up their mind and seen as seedy by hetrosexuals. An almost impossible predicament.

A lover of souls?

Lastly there are those with a bisexual identity. Although those in this category are sure as hell about who they are this doesn't stop the "confused" tag from being foisted upon them. Often they feel the need to explain themselves to whoever they meet about how and why they came to be the way they are, asked if they are just greedy or in the best case scenarios, just given a look of disbelief from those who do not share or refuse to understand their identity. They have to tolerate seeing the glad eye of someone they were getting along with and attracted to dissapate the moment they admit they are bisexual. The celeb trend of bisexualism doesn't help either. When is the last time you saw a self declared bisexual celebrity with a member of their own sex? Does seeing someone who's bisexual with someone of the same sex even matter? Bisexuals are attracted to both and are in the position to be with the "person" who attracts them the most rather than biology playing a part. A true lover of souls. I wish I was like that. In spite of the predjudice it sounds rather lovely. A report on bisexuality from The Open University has found that bisexuals are at a higher risk of mental health problems such as; depression, anxiety, self harm, and suicidal thoughts than lesbians and gays. This makes for uncomfortable reading especially seen as alot of the isolation comes from within our community.

Some are simply not attracted to bisexuals. I fully understand that position. Personally I'm more likely to be with a lesbian because we would both share a single minded attraction to women and women alone. That said, if I met a wonderful bisexual women it would be foolish of me to dismiss her simply because she'd been attracted to men in her life. Surely as a community we'd rather folks be sure and provide a safe and welcoming enviroment for people to find themselves, rather than see them isolated and depressed. It is said that sexuality is fluid and nothing is set in stone. I fear we will see ever more desperate cries for help from the bisexual community if we refuse to acknowledge that truth.

Sirena Reynolds, Editor