So I mentioned I am going to start volunteering with the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard.
I really hesitated and one of the reasons was the name.
When you go to their website, it talks about how they support all lgbt folks. And I spoke to a few people who confirmed that before I applied (including [livejournal.com profile] yoyoangel, thank you!)

The interview was great because it really confirmed that. There was a group presentation and then we were each interviewed individually by two existing volunteers. I asked a few questions in the group presentation that reassured me and then I had a great chat to one of the 2 people at the end of my interview about the name, the support offer and related things. Also the interview itself explicitly covered not just individual questions about bi and trans callers but also other intersections - how people's race; disability; class etc might change how they experience things. I was really impressed with that. It was probably the best example from that side of the table I've had of how interviews are as much for interviewees to get more info about the organisation as for them to find out about you. Very positive. I left really wanting to volunteer (and I am, hurrah!)

It's really making me think though.
Seems like there are a lot of what are, now, lgbt organisations that are still called 'lesbian and gay...' What does that mean for the rest of us?
Apparently the switchboard get a decent amount of calls from people asking about bi, trans and other issues. So it's not (totally) putting people off. They have written things so that you'll find them if you google for 'trans advice london', for example.

And they have been going for 40 years. So I know that there is a BIG legacy/ branding issue. People know who they are. Everything has that name. You can't just change it... Can you?

Similar thing, recently - I went to a lunchtime seminar at work run by Inclusive Employers and one of their chief advocates who works a lot with Stonewall [whose recent changes are a whole differnt post]. The title was just 'Inclusion: lgbt' (they had done previous ones on neurodiversity and making the case for an inclusive workplace).  And I was really impressed. It was pitched at a VERY introductory level (I was surprised that there were people in the room who didn't really understand what lgbt meant, I forgeet this isn't common knowledge. Glad they had come though). She spent a lot of time just talking about that. Maybe 5 minutes each on 'gay' and 'lebsbian' and then a good 15-20 minutes on 'bisexual' and about half an hour on 'trans', talking about a lot of differnt things. It's the first time I've been in a workplace type inclusion talk that has given more weight to those 2 parts.
And one of the main things she talked about was her work with the LGF [Lesbian and Gay Forum]. And she did say it's not JUST the LGF anymore. But again talked about legacy and branding.

And how long is that sustainable? What does it mean for the future?

I don't feel comfortable saying 'you should change your name'.
I work in comms. I know the value of a brand (even if that's a horrible term sometimes) - the value of people knowing who you are, what you do. But. What about the people who feel excluded from that? But also what about the people who built it? The lesbians and gay men who risked everything at a time when these issues were taboo or illegal to set them up? But what about the bi and trans activists who are following, who need a space as well. the frightened kids who feel like there isn't anyone looking out for them because they haven't realised 'lesbian and gay' increasingly means 'lgbtqi+'. And what about the biphobic and transphobic people who don't want that to be the case?

I don't have any answers but I would really like a conversation about this.
How do we build a future of lgbt support and activism that acknowledges the good and bad bits of the past and helps people who need it now?

Bicon is obviously rubbing off on me!
As I said before I have started building an lgbt group at work, and this... I am not a natural activist, but this stuff interests me and I want other people to have the support and resources and social life it took me a while to build.

What next?

I am going to open this post up. If you think someone could give me good advice please point them towards it

z update

Mar. 25th, 2008 12:22 pm
A couple of people asked for updates on z
He came home on Sunday morning with his mum and dad :-)

I can't give many more deails because I'm not sure of them and I'd hate to give out wrong info, but I can say he's out of hospital, and thank you all again for your kind thoughts and wishes.

Z update

Mar. 18th, 2008 12:29 pm
Thanks for all your kind wishes yesterday - I passed them on.

Had text from H to say no real change - Z is stable, ventilated and sedated - and no change is planned or expected for 48 hours.

I think M+H are staying in the flat in intensive care, but not sure.
[This is a post about my nephew and is OPEN because I don't have many of my brother's friends on my f-list. Please pass the info on to people. Thanks.]

Z has had a virus infection for a few days and became worse over the weekend.

He's had an operation this morning to clear/make an airway. He's currently on a respirator, and will be kept unconscious for a couple of days whilst his body recovers. He’ll be in Intensive Care.


M + H don't expect to be in communication very much as they’ll be staying in with Z.

I'll update again when we have more information.
Please send them all positive thoughts or similar.
Open post

Time for an lj-clean out, I think.

I used to only use lj to keep in touch with people I already knew, but facebook is good for that too, and I’m happier now to have random people or people I only know online on my LJ flist.

I still find it weird having people on my f-list who never write anything or comment, though, so if you never comment on my journal/ update yours, I’m going to take you off.
Comment if that includes you and you want to stay.

I also noticed a few people have friended me who I don’t know – we don't have any friends in common or anything. Who are you? Now would be a good time to introduce yourselves.
Peter Kay is in absolutely no way better or funnier than Bill Hicks

...motherfuckers
I was always a bit of a geek.

I'm not sure where it came from. There where probably several factors in my childhood that led to me rejecting conventional notions of what was cool and what wasn't - I certainly felt like I was playing with a different set of rules very early on. And even when I discovered the 'alternative scene' and the 'counter culture', in some ways it was a blessing, but in some ways it was just another set of rules and expectations I was never going to set into.
I never got along with cliques, and 'geeks' have some of the most stringent rules for joining I've ever encountered (except maybe... some others)...

ah fuck it I can't keep this up any longer.
What I really want to say is most of you are nerdier and/or geekier than me.
So you have NO excuse for not having watched Heroes season one yet. Finish watching it NOW and then go download the first episode of season two.

NOW

DO IT

Goddamn you all I need to geek and plot and compare notes and I CAN'T because you haven't watched this show yet.


What is wrong with you?

Bah. I would just geek all over lj but my girlfriend would kill me dead deader than that character whose name I'm not saying.. yeah I'm not that stupid

WATCH IT!



....
oh yes, tonight was lots of fun.
wow! I have just seen the coolest thing!

Heard lots of noise - chanting, whistles, drums - outside, so being bored inquisitive I went out to have a look and see what was going on. I got to the end of the street just before a huge parade started. Mostly children - different groups, in absolutely amazing costumes and with great accessories.

One group in circus gear; another dressed as animals and carrying a giant papier-mache lion; there were groups dressed as pirates, flowers, musical instruments and even ipods, carrying giant papier-mache cars, skulls, guitars and shoes, waving brightly coloured flags and banners. It's easily one of the best parades I've ever seen.

I couldn't work out what the common theme was so I asked a local shopkeeper what the parade was for (everyone had come out of the shops and pubs to watch), and apparently every year on the last of term all the schools in the area dress up and march through Lewes - it's the 'Moving On' parade.

Isn't that a great idea? I bet it means they spend most of the last few weeks of school making stuff for the parade rather than doing any real work, too. I'd be jealous on behalf of my younger self if it hadn't been so much fun to watch.
I don't know why I would expect decent journalism from the Metro. I don't usually pick it up now, but I was running late this morning and didn't have time to buy a paper so I just grabbed one from the stack before I got on the train.

About a third of their front page was taken up by a full-length, black and white photograph of a good-looking woman on a beach, with the headline Her beauty was her undoing, and a short paragraph that only referred to 'her' in terms of whose daughter she was and that a trial had been told 'her beauty was her undoing'.

Yep, that was how the Metro chose to cover the story that William Jaggs yesterday admitted killing Lucy Braham in an incredibly violent attack and was jailed, potentially for the rest of his life.

I'm not surprised that this is headline news. I remember the news reports from when it happened, and it's the kind of story that always gets a lot of press. Private schools, drugs, a beautiful victim; it doesn't reflect particularly well on journalism as a whole that these ingredients guarantee acres of coverage, but I thought the Metro's take was particularly crass.

I did wonder if I was overreacting, but someone had left a copy of the local free paper (the Argus Lite), on the next train I got. The story was on the front page again, but this time it took the form of a colour head-and-shoulders picture with the headline Aspiring designer's killer jailed for life. You see what they did there? Not only is that headline much more informative than the Metro's (which doesn't tell you anything about what happened), it focuses on the victim as a person and still manages to mention the killer.

I'm aware that this has turned into an essay,but I do find it interesting and instructive to look at how the media handles different stories, and how different news outlets cover the same story. Usually it's something that I do occasionally with political stories. It's always interesting to see how the Times, Guardian and Mail (for example) write up the same press release from the Government.

But this story just caught my eye, and the crudity of that headline took me by surprise. Interestingly, their online version of the story uses completely different copy, along with a new headline and picture.

And because I am a geek, I looked up how other papers had reported the story. And you know what, Metro writers? When The Sun, the the Telegraph and even the Daily fucking Mail cover a story about a murder case with reports that are much better-written, humane and dignified than your flung together copy, you should feel ashamed to call yourselves journalists.

fuckers

Jun. 1st, 2007 10:08 am
if you've ever bought tickets for a gig you knew was going to sell out, with no intention of going, and then put them on ebay within 5 minutes of the gig selling out at twice the (already exorbitant) asking price, you deserve to have angry wasps shoved into your nostrils and eye sockets while being forced to listen to phil collins at full volume while people who actually wanted the fucking tickets pelt you with the rottenest eggs and fruit they can get their hands on. Fuck you, you greedy soulless grasping fuckers. I hope you never see a band you like again.

That is all.

ID Day

Mar. 26th, 2007 12:03 pm
Today has been designated ID DAY by the NO2ID campaign.

There are meetings and protests taking place around the country.
In Brighton, the demo is from 5pm in Churchill Square.

To find out what's happening near you, find your local group.

I'll be in town after I finish work with [livejournal.com profile] geeky_monkey, [livejournal.com profile] choicelamb, michelle and nic. Comment/text if you'd like to come along or meet up.


For more information on the No2ID campaign, check out:
The problems with 'ID cards'
frequently asked questions
Happy International Women's Day, here are some fitting links, brought to my attention by [livejournal.com profile] choicelamb:

*On Saturday 10th March ActSA (the successor organisation to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) are holding a Rally for Dignity in Trafalgar Square from 1 - 4pm.

From the website: "the day will be a celebration of the role of women in the global struggle for justice - with particular focus on the struggle for freedom in Zimbabwe and the role of women in this struggle."

"The economic crisis in Zimbabwe now means that ordinary woman are unable to afford basic sanitary protection. With inflation topping 1200%, just one pack of sanitary pads costs more than 50% of the average monthly wage for women in Zimbabwe. Faced with such economic adversity, manufacturers of sanitary products have fled Zimbabwe, compounding the shortages.

As a consequence, millions of Zimbabwean women are forced to replace tampons with newspapers and dirty rags, a practice which has led to vaginal infections for which there is no available medication."



*On a related note, Tamponification is a US site where you can donate free sanitary products to a shelter in a location of your choice.


I am at work, and I am busy so I will get back to that, but when I have the time there are literally dozens of issues to do with health, sanitation, menstruation and perception I could write about here...
We will very shortly have a spare double room in our house in Hove, and we need someone to move in asap!

It's a large non-smoking house with front and back (paved) gardens,large kitchen, large lounge, a bath and shower. You'd be sharing with me, [livejournal.com profile] geeky_monkey and [livejournal.com profile] interior_lulu and two friendly cats.

Rent is £350pcm, including bills, including 8mb broadband :-)

I'll leave this post open, so if you know anyone who you think would get on with us and is looking for somewhere, please point them in this direction...

wow

Nov. 30th, 2006 10:31 am


50126 words

As of just now.
NaNo wordcount at 5.30pm today: 28092
NaNo wordcount as of right now: 39617

fuck.
yes.

(I only have as much as I wrote tonight left to write!)
Nanowrimo is going better than I expected. I have never written a single piece of fiction longer than about 3000 words before, so I'm sort of surprised to be up to 15000 and not only have not run out of plot, but feel like there's lots more to say. The story I thought I was sitting down to write on the first is decidedly not the story I am writing now. Many of the fantastical elements have disappeared, and the plot keeps veering towards territory I really don't want to write about, but we'll see what happens.

I'm keeping up with the word count ok, tending so far to have some days I don't write much if anything, and some days I write loads. This evening, for instance, I have written close to 4000 words, and I think I have another half a scene to do before bed. Writing non-stop for several hours has been great; one of the reasons I decided to do nano was because I'd almost completely got out of the habit of writing anything except jottings and short-short stories on scraps of paper, and - so far - it's been good to see I am capable of more than that. I'll assess quality some other time, like december, but I'm optimistic. One of the big revelations has been that I can write dialogue. I've always shyed away from writing dialogue because I didn't like doing it, but some of my favourite scenes so far are dialogue. Again, I'll take another look in december and see how good it is.

The social side is good too; I've been to both brighton meetings so far, and just felt instantly welcomed and at home in the group. They are all as mad as I am, and friendly too. Meeting other people doing it also has the nice affect of meaning I can't just stop mid-month and walk away pretending I never started.

Right, back to it.

(oh, am leaving this post public in case anyone from the brighton nano group finds my lj. Feel free to add me but please introduce yourself and be warned I don't update much)

edit: ooh! graphs!
I've just been through my f-list and
-added people I've met who had added me (where I hadn't noticed because I'm crap)
-left messages for the people I don't know who've added me

removed
-people who never ever update or comment
-people who I don't feel comfortable having read my journal for whatever reason

If I've added/removed you and you want to know why, or you want to be added/removed, please comment below and I'll reply or email you. Comments are screened.
Before I go...

Please fill in the Count me in too survey if you are lgbt and you live/work/socialise in Brighton and Hove.

They're looking to get 1000 respondents, and the info is anonymous and is going to be used to tell various big local institutions the things that you want them to hear. It didn't take me too long.

More info at [livejournal.com profile] plumsbitch's post here
quick update while working. Real one later...

Apparently The World Naked Bike Ride in Brighton & Hove is being planned to take place in the morning of Saturday 10 June 2006.

"...It is proposed that the route should go past some or all of the following Brighton & Hove landmarks and tourist attractions, giving the ride a "naked sight-seeing" feel..."

I'm not really sure what this is all about, but it seemed worth drawing your attention to!

(edit: the main site for naked world bike riding
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