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I'm very - perhaps too - fond of asking why people so rarely look at their actions in the context of "what happens next?" As Peter Cook might have asked, did A Question Of Sport die in vain?
Back when the same-sex marriage bill was wending its way through parliament, we heard many arguments for and against. Some were coherent. Some were respectable. There's a fun venn diagram to be drawn of which were one, neither or both.
Now, I've just been reading some research from the USA looking at the impacts of same-sex marriage legislation there, where change happened in bursts from state to state over several years.
No, not at the number of weddings and the impact on the sale of top hats and fabulous frocks. One of the other impacts same-sex marriage has had.
It's based on huge sample sizes and shows one of the effects of allowing same-sex marriage nationwide was about 134,000 fewer adolescents attempting suicide each year. Looking at numbers before and after, there's a 7 percent reduction in the proportion of all high-school students reporting a suicide attempt over the previous year, and a 14 percent drop among LGB students, when same-sex marriage becomes lawful where you live.
Often we talk about these kind of statistics but we rarely pause to turn them round. To consider the "what if", the "what happens next" of the path not taken. The path we didn't take thanks to the passage of the two same-sex marriage bills in Wales & England and in Scotland.
US and UK culture are in very many ways similar. So with about a quarter of their population we might rule-of-thumb that the impact here is 134,000 divided by four - 33,500 fewer young people attempting to end their lives each year in the UK. Each year. Our 2013 vote is four years ago already: so the change is 33,500 upon 33,500 upon 33,500 upon...
What an amazing number. What a horrifying number. For the 400 MPs who voted to allow same-sex marriage, what a humbling number. Yes, you let some people get married, and that was beautiful. But "what happened next" was a huge positive impact on the mental health and even survival of young people. You let some people get married and, thanks to an unwritten clause in the Bill, you saw to it that thousands did not try to end their lives early. An unknowable number of parents never came home to the horrible ultimate consequence of social, legal and institutional homophobia.
And for the 175 MPs (and indeed 148 Peers) who planted their colours against the tide of history, with numbers like these the nature of their actions and motives is laid bare. We can see what they were actively, consciously, premeditatedly complicit in, what they were voting for, because let's be frank: while we didn't have these figures, we and they knew the answer to the "what happens next" question all along.
A handful of the 175 have said they'd vote differently today. We have to conclude that the rest are proud of the future they were voting for, and take comfort that they didn't get what they wanted.
We had a cracking day out running a bi history info stall at the People's History Museum last week. Their new LGBT history exhibition is huge and fab (and does include at least half-a-dozen bi things!) - well worth a visit. Be sure to stick a few bob in the donation box on your way out.
Looking ahead to the rest of this month, with bi social-support, boardgaming, coffee and pub meets it's going to be a busy March. We might even manage another outreach stall along the way to help connect with more bi people around the city.
Want to know more? Get your diary out (or kick your diary app into action) and read our latest news & events bulletin here.
This photo was taken by Barry Boubah to show how diverse New York is. It was a celebration, however, a far-right group used it to mock them instead. This in turn made people say that this is indeed the kind of future they want, where different people can exist in peace together. I started thinking of the future bisexual people in the U.K may want, with all the silly/serious things that involves. So I wrote a poem about it.
The future bisexuals want
By Jacq A.
Late night cake, biscuit and sex toy shops.
Gripping drama on tv where bi characters don’t get shot.
Cheesy discos around the clock:
The is the future bisexuals want.
For OKCupid to stop being so shit.
Bi’s of all genders on magazine covers looking fit.
LGBT organisations remembering bi people exist!
This is the future bisexuals want.
Bigoted lesbian & gays to stop being tiresome.
Straights to stop asking us for threesomes.
Constant Torchwood Seasons 1 & 2 re-runs!
This is the future bisexuals want.
We’re not asking for very much you know?
Just cake and sex and good sci-fi shows.
And basic respect - it should’nt be too hard to think of.
Cos that’s the future bisexuals deserve and want!
LGBT History Month 2017
Some good things happening this month:
Purple Prose reading at Swiss Cottage Library in London on 8th February: http://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure/libraries-and-online-learning-centres/swiss-cottage-library/
In Manchester, the LGBT Foundation will be hosting a Bisexual series: http://lgbt.foundation/get-support/bisexual/
And there are lots of local bisexual events across the UK: http://bicommunitynews.co.uk/category/events-listings/
Ther is also a lot of bisexual erasure this month, as happens during most LGBT History Months. There are very few bisexual - specific events run by “LGBT” organisations, for whom the B is very much silent.
Due to illness, there won’t be a Bi’s of Colour Meetup, but we are still here! Check out our Twitter feed @Bisofcolour
This month is packed as we have our regular social and support meets, a gaming evening, an outreach stall and a workshop in collaboration with LGBT Foundation at People's History Museum as part of LGBT History Month.
Have a read!
here. By way of marking LGBT History Month a trainee priest put together a Christian service in Polari; thus "Glory be to the father, and to the son, and the Holy Spirit" became "Fabeness be to the Auntie, and to the Homie Chavvie, and to the Fantabulosa Fairy".
Camp as tits and given that all the attendees were also trainee vicar types, clearly a fun "spot the familiar thing" rendering of familiar rhythms. As well as a way of thinking about the language you communicate in and how queer people had to hide behind codes in plain sight (and much worse, obv) because of the actions of priests and politicians past.
The church involved is full of huff and puff and apology, in an amusing echo of the days long gone when they said that services had to be in Latin for fear of the riff-raff understanding what was going on.
Local boss Canon Rev Chris Chivers told the press that, "for some members of the house this caused considerable upset". Really? Well, I suppose it is cold and dark at this time of year in Narnia and that can provoke a mighty fear.
There’s a lot of bi & LGBTQ stuff coming up in Nottingham (and Leicester and Derby) in February!
Sunday 5th, Nottingham
Intersections: In Conversation with Nottingham’s LGBT Community, at Nottingham Contemporary, 2pm to 6pm. Free – please book.
Thursday 9th, Nottingham
Usual once-a-month informal BiTopia meetup at the Lord Roberts pub in Nottingham city centre. All bi-friendly people welcome – just turn up. Free, though you’ll probably want to buy a drink. Small step to enter pub, stairs to toilets.
Saturday 11th, Derby
11am till 2pm: Derbyshire LGBT+ host a book launch for bi book “Purple Prose”, with brunch. Free.
2pm till 3pm: Derbyshire bi people’s consultation about a possible new bi group. Free.
Saturday 11th, Nottingham
No More Valentines #2 at the Chameleon Arts Café. Bands, buffet food, queer bingo, dancing. 5pm till late. Fundraiser for QTIPOC Notts. £3 to £6, “no-one turned away for lack of funds”.
Sunday 12th, Nottingham
12 noon to 4pm: Queer Kaffe at the Sumac Centre. Live music, vegan brunch, haircuts. Another fundraiser for the wonderful QTIPOC Notts. The Sumac Centre has flat access via the back door on Beech Avenue, and a wheelchair toilet.
Also on Sunday 12th, a bit later on…
4.30pm: “Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain” at Five Leaves bookshop. Talks from some of the bi writers behind the book. £3. Flat access to the shop, wheelchair toilet.
(If coming on from the Sumac Centre to Five Leaves, you can get any yellow line bus from Beech Avenue bus stop on Sherwood Rise.)
Monday 13th, Nottingham
Lesbian & bi women’s cafe at Nottingham Women’s Centre. Free. “A drop-in evening for any women identifying as lesbian, bisexual or questioning – with a little bit of food and a lot of conversation”. 5.30pm – 7.30pm every second Monday of the month at Nottingham Women’s Centre, 30 Chaucer Street, Nottingham, NG1 5LP. Contact Mel at the women’s centre if you want someone to meet you beforehand.
Friday 17th, Leicester
An evening with bi songwriter Tom Robinson. Free – please book.
Sunday 19th, Nottingham
Screening of Pay It No Mind – The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson, at Broadway Cinema. Free – please book. Part of the University of Nottingham’s LGBT History Month events. “All of our screens are accessible to wheelchair users and people with limited mobility, however we have limited spaces available. If you would like to reserve a wheelchair space or one of our more accessible seats, do contact us ahead of time so we can make sure to reserve the best seats available for you.”
Monday 20th, Nottingham
Finding a voice: minority identities within and beyond LGBTQ+ – details t.b.c.
Wednesday 22nd, Nottingham
LGBT organising and the police: a discussion, at Five Leaves bookshop. Free – please book. Flat access to the shop, wheelchair toilet.
Monday 27th, Nottingham
Political upheaval and the LGBT community: building resilience in a changing world – details t.b.c.Free – please book.
More listings here:
Bisexual Christianity posts.)
After two years of 'Shared Conversations, the House of Bishops has published Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations: A Report from the House of Bishops (click the link to read, 19 pages isn't as long as it sounds!)
I have read it and here are a few summary thoughts.
Positive thoughts first. Even though they ultimately decided against it, the fact that it looks like they truly looked into the possibility of establishing an authorised service for same sex relationships is a good thing. The thorough look at the options opens the door for those of us desperate for such a liturgy to maybe eventually get one. Worship is the quintessential act that we do as 'church'; the body of Christ gathers, and they first and foremost worship God, together, before any of the other many and diverse acts that being 'church' means. That is an astonishingly profound basis for our lives in Christ, the bedrock on which everything we do is held, and the lack of liturgy for same sex relationships is a despairingly exclusionary state of being. But there's hope.
I'm also pleased to see the inclusion of acknowledging the church's own call to "trust its members" and leave them to their own "prayerful responsibility" and crucially "[enable] grace for legitimate diversity".
But I'm not impressed with this report, at all. I am disappointed that though the Pilling Report was flawed in its well-intended attempt at inclusive language, even the inroads it made have been backtracked in this newest report. The people affected by these discussions were referred to as "gay and lesbian people and those who experience same sex attraction". First, there were instances when it just read "gay and lesbian people", committing bierasure, and secondly, what is the point in the distinction between the three? Referring to everyone as 'those who experience same sex attraction' would have been a adequate catch-all (in this context, as we are dealing with exclusively matters of attraction, as opposed to gender expression or identity) without making me as a bisexual feel less important and like an afterthought.
Overall, I don't care that the Church wants to establish "across the Church of England a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support", because the doctrines on same-sex relations and marriage are remaining unchanged. There's a lot wrong with the document Issues on Human Sexuality, and I'm sure it's a positive move to suggest replacing it, but ultimately, it's a pointless exercise whilst doctrine remains the same. The replacement guidance document will still be upholding what I believe to be doctrines that go against my faith as a follower of Christ and beloved child of God, and it is those doctrines that exclude, condemn and cause suffering to non-hetero people. The 'tone' and 'culture' within the Church will not move by more than inches whilst the doctrines remain, because they give credence, support and encouragement to the people who treat queer people differently just because they are queer, generally in a negative, fearful, hateful, and un-Christ-like way. It is merely rearranging the deckchairs.
So really, I hope to proved wrong in my prediction that this report will have little true impart on the state of suffering of those who are attracted to the same sex within the CofE community, but sadly, that is what I predict.
Fatness, Race, Class and Gender.
Content note: Swearing. And when I start swearing, you know shit’s bad.
So which one comes first? Are you black or fat first? Are you LGBT+ or fat first? These are questions that need to piss off and die immediately. I cannot seperate myself into palatable components for your digestion. I could draw a Venn diagram of how they all overlap, but sadly the people who ask these sort of things don’t want to learn - they want you prove yourself. Spoiler alert: you will never be worthy to them.
If you discuss fatphobia, but never mention how race affects how you are treated, then what the everlasting fuck are you doing? Fat liberation is blindingly white, cisgender and heterosexual. These are the voices who get heard, whose articles appear in popular media. These are the people who can afford to attend Fat/Body positivity conferences and know they will receive a warm welcome. They will never be the only one of their ethnicity in a group of fat folks.
If you discuss fatphobia, but never mention how fat LGBT+ people (with a few Bear-shaped exceptions) are subject to punishing drives of fat hate; how poverty affects fat LGBT+ people of colour differently than their white counterparts, then take the first exit out of here, you useless cumstain.
I am thoroughly sick of the white, able-bodied cisfemale gaze being the only thing I see in fat liberation. I am tired of their voices as the only ones amplified. And I could happily live the rest of my life without reading another piece on fatphobia that only concentrates of American white women who are at the smaller end of the fatness scale.
I want to read about experiences of disabled fats, LGBT+ fats who are black or brown, fat folks who are elderly and/or poor. Because we are the ones who face multiple oppressions, who can’t afford to shop the latest fat celebrity lines (I’m looking at you, Beth Ditto) to look incredible. We are the ones who get written out of conversations time and again, even though we have been speaking out for decades.
So all you gusset-tickling, wankers can just shut your mouths for one shit-stained minute. The rest of us would like a chance to be heard.
There's a little survey about the group and the e-bulletins too; if you have either been to BiPhoria or intend to come along some time in the future, please do take a couple of minutes to fill it in!
Read it here...