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  • Blogging in Shadows 5:36 pm on June 22, 2017 Permalink  

    Tattoo reads, “When words become inadequate, I shall be content with silence”.

    There are words waiting: a poem

    My fingers, pink side up

    Hold stories made of gestures, 

    Signs and twirls.

    The whorls 

    Of each fingerprint start a chapter, a Sign Language tale.

    Violence made me mute when I was younger;

    It still returns as an adult - the silence

    I surrender

    To a fractured part inside my soul.

    Another name, another author

    Of my life takes hold.

    And when I stare at my palms, the lines,

    So fractured, divides

    Into several paths, many lives

    I have carried:

    A library of personalities tallied.

    My fingers move, my body remembers

    Trees towering above me

    And a book burning

    As another part of me rises from the embers.

  • Blogging in Shadows 2:58 pm on June 22, 2017 Permalink  

    A little blackout poetry on being a recovering alcoholic, knowing how damaging booze is to me, but still wanting to drink.

  • Blogging in Shadows 4:01 pm on June 21, 2017 Permalink  


    For those who need screen readers, the poster reads: 

    Still unheard Out There

    Making Rainbows through the prism of LGBTQI+ diversity

    Friday 30th June pm, LVSC, 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP

    An event about under-represented LGBT voices.  The stories and priorities of intersex, bisexual, pansexual and intersectional LGBTQI+ people in London.  WWE have a small budget for speakers.

    Email for information and to book your place.

    This will be a free event!

  • jen

    jen 11:28 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink  

    Questions Unasked 

    I'm fond of the principle of turning things around and considering the opposite claim. Take the number of times politicians regardless of stripe say "now is not the time for complacency". Perhaps I should pick one, wait for them to say it, and then message them every week thereafter asking, "is it the time for complacency yet?" It must be complacency's moment sooner or later, but if we are complacent about getting complacency its turn, it might never get its moment of not doing much in the spotlight because it didn't prepare.

    Whatever happens in politics or elections, the party or ideology of the politician is always crucial to the moment. Whether the Liberals on one side, UKIP on the other, or the rainbow of assorted rosettes in between, however well or badly a cause has done at an election the politico will always tell you "our cause has never been more relevant or more important." Liberalism has never been more vital; the need to ensure a red white and blue Brexit has never been more pressing; the environmental challenge has never been so great; empowering business has never been so important to our nation's interests; the need for democratic reform has never been more pressing; the time for proper socialism is definitely upon us; and the NHS has never been in more peril, and the barbarian horde are at the door. It's never, ever, "well, no-one gives a monkeys about our ideology at the moment, and who can blame them as it seemed plausible in the 1950s but now it's plainly bobbins."

    Similarly, I do love the questions that go unasked and what they tell you.

    For instance, as I've observed elsewhere, the questioning of Tim Farron about his take on whether "gay sex" is a sin reveals the conscious or internalised homophobia of the journalists involved when there are other closely related questions that go unasked. Farron was never asked "and what about straight sex? OK, but supposing it was a sin, does being married make the difference and is that why you voted for same-sex marriage and against the spousal veto so everyone had an equal chance of sinless sex if they happened to see the world that way? What about people who deliberately buy a bed big enough for five people, and is the person who sells them the bed a sinner too for enabling that kind of fun filth? Well, what if one of the five people in question had just eaten lobster?" No, we never get that, just a question that tells us more about the journo than the answer does about the subject.

    Which brings me to my motivation to write today, as we see the curse of the unasked question again in today's Sun (I know, but still) with a feature about a three-person relationship that seems to be blossoming and working well for all three and, well, not really to be news but they make for a good photo and that'll do.

    Under the headline "triple threat: Married couple who added a girlfriend to their family say being in a threesome makes them BETTER parents" - yep, this is the kind of threat that doesn't seem to have anything threatening about it at all, just a 50% better chance of the kids being picked up from school - we find that "Parents-of-two Matthew, 31, and Michelle, 30, from Huntington Beach, California, met Courtney, 26" and they've all been going steady for a while. Michelle and Courtney have excellent hair: one does the pink and blue bits, the other purple, so if you put them together you kinda get a bi flag.

    On the upside, it's a pretty positive poly story, though as you scroll through photos of the two women kissing it's also a reminder of how unlikely the same piece would be with more than one man in the thruple.

    But it's a classic of the question unasked that reinforces a certain narrative about bisexual people. Courtney tells the paper, “It’s the best of both worlds. I love having a male and female partner and they both show love and affection in different ways.”

    Now I'm sure she does and I'm sure they do. But maybe ask Matthew directly if he does too - I bet he finds some differences between Courtney and Michelle, and that they each show love and affection in different ways. But I guess asking that wouldn't fit a lazy "women are like this and men are like that" narrative, nor a tired "bisexuals need one of each to be happy". Sigh.
  • Blogging in Shadows 10:45 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink  


    The B’is of Colour History Report has been reprinted as a full-colour A5 booklet, just in time for Pride season!

    If you would like some free copies for your stall at Pride or any other event that needs bisexual visibility, email us at and we can send some out to you.  We have a limited budget, so we can only send a small amount outside the United Kingdom (overseas postage is wicked-expensive), but give us an email and we will try to sort something out.

  • Blogging in Shadows 9:16 am on June 16, 2017 Permalink  

    I’m not vegan but this post is.  I have a food sensitivity to lactose (milk-based food) and I’m also diabetic.  When my partner became vegetarian, it made sense to me for us both to be vegan, instead of cooking two seperate dishes at mealtimes.  I’m no longer vegan, but the things I learned during that time have stayed with me.  I have an appreciation of vegetables that I used to hate before; I grew to love tofu more than anything (except peanut butter).  I also learned how to make the most of what I have in the cupboard instead of buying (often expensive) vegan substitutes.  I still make homemade chocolate, nut milks, vegan chicken nuggets & ice cream, even though I stopped identifying as vegan years ago.

    One of the things that made me stop being vegan was the HUGE RACISM I experienced in white vegan spaces.  A good primer on this is here Trigger Warning: disturbing image near the start.

    Sadly, the few black vegans I encountered were for the most part deeply problematic too - often so Afrocentric that anything & anyone who didn't come straight from a Anhk-Right, Hotep conference was shunned.  That included my black, british, bisexual backside.

    It seems that (as per bloody usual) black vegans in the US have a more welcoming setup.

    So the main point of this post: I was on a hunt for some new recipes when I realised there are some WEIRD ASS people making vegan cooking vids online. 

    There’s the swearing Grandma

    The weird puppet guy

    The death metal chef

    So, yeah.  If vegans could stop being so git-faced for a while, that would be great for everyone. And the planet.


  • Blogging in Shadows 5:31 pm on June 10, 2017 Permalink  

    Touch-starved, but don’t touch me.

    Trigger Warning: Sexual abuse

    Consent means a lot to me; as a survivor of abuse and violence, there have been far too many times in my life when I was touched without my permission.  Touching used to be the start - invasive fingers and sexual organs being forced on me often followed next.  Abusive people look like ordinary folks, because they are.  There are few abusers who look like monsters from horror stories - they are people who live next door, who stand beside you at the bus stop, and who live with you under the same roof.

    I have had no voice in the past.  Selective Mutism and fear of additional punishment usually meant I knew I could never say “No,” and even if I did try to stop them, my actions and my pleas were ignored.

    I have a voice now.  When an adult comes toward me with arms wide open, hands raised, my mind, fractured and scarred from twenty years of abuse, doesn’t think ‘hug’.  My mind thinks ‘DANGER’.  I am touch starved, but it doesn't mean I want people touching me without permission.  I want to be asked, “Would you like a hug?” Or “May I hug you?”  And I want my answer to be respected.  For there is a small part of me - a frightened child who takes over when I am distressed.  I freeze, my voice changes, and I get prepared to strike back.  All of that changes if my consent is asked for first.  Yet it seems impossible for many people to understand that.  

    Here in the U.K, people are usually quite reserved.  But I’ve noticed that when it comes to those perceived as women, especially if black, we don’t get to have a say in how we are touched.  We are presumed to be open and here for everyone’s use, but never for our own.  This needs to change right now.  So the next time you want to express affection or joy toward another person, ASK THEM FIRST.  Consent isn’t just about sex.  Consent before embracing, bear hugging or picking someone up and swinging them around with joy, may seem needlessly polite to you.  But that’s the thing - it isn’t just about you.  Consider the other person who may have emotional/mental/physical issues that make it a bad idea.  Show you can be a good friend to them.  Ask them first.

  • Blogging in Shadows 8:43 am on June 10, 2017 Permalink  

    Black Panther Teaser Trailer:


    Black people front & centre in a science fiction movie?  I’ll have some of that!

    This reaction vid is pretty much my reaction too.  His best comment, “It’s like Africa in space!” 

    But seriously, representation matters!  Whether in small everyday things or in big flashy stuff that everyone except you gets to fully enjoy.  Sci-fi and fantasy has the tendency to be very, very white - whether the media or the fandom.  It’s easy to feel alienated when I go to conventions and am the only black person in the room.  The usual state of black people in scifi is like this:

    This trailer makes me happy.  And it makes me especially happy that it features black people and it’s NOT IN AMERICA.  I get thoroughly sick that if I ever see Black people in anything visual, it’s always in the U.S.  

    *screams some more*

  • Blogging in Shadows 7:58 am on June 8, 2017 Permalink  

    I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou

    The caged bird sings with a fearful trill;

    Of things unknown but are longed for still,

    And her voice is heard on a far-off hill

    For the caged bird sings of freedom.

    I have loved this poem for a long time.  As a fellow survivor of child abuse, I can connect with what Maya said in these words.  I have many scars on my body as a result of the first 22 violent years of my life, and whenever I saw them I would remember the incident that caused it.  I see tattoos as positive scars, and with the bird tattoo I’m especially happy as it’s the first colour tattoo I have.  Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting my time as an activist - that I’m shouting into the void.  But I shout for freedom - for disabled, survivors of abuse, the ageing, people of colour, and LGBT+ people to be treated better than they currently are.  Freedom shouldn’t feel like an impossible dream to me.  I hope this tattoo will remind me to keep going; keep on singing.

    The tattoo was done by Tracy at Pride Tattoos,

    P.S - the snowflake above the bird was my first ever tattoo done in 2005.

  • Blogging in Shadows 7:26 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink  

    100’s sign an open letter to reject ‘blackface’ performance at UK Prides June 2017:


    There is no place for black (or yellow) face at Pride.  Bi’s of Colour have always denounced this, and we we ALWAYS WILL!

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