hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Woke up early this morning to get ready to go to a Pride. Early start to the season here up north! I do like these little Prides though, and we didn't have a stall to run this time so it was a nice stroll with time to get back to Manchester for a late lunch afterward.

It was freezing at first so my bisexual t-shirt (a new one that says "if I wanted to pass for monosexual I'd wear a different shirt") was hidden under my zipped-up jacket for much of the parade (thus illustrating bisexual invisibility, I'm sure), but I had my bisexual-flag striped [personal profile] haggis-knitted gloves. The sun came out and we warmed up a little as we walked around.

I've had a sore throat since that hasn't been very bad, just enough to make me sorry for myself and really tired from fighting off whatever associated bug there is.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I got to Bi Coffee a bit late today -- a shame since I'm an organizer, but I got there as quickly as I could after work so I didn't feelttoo bad as there wasn't anything more I could've done -- and there were already half a dozen people there: most I knew, but a couple of new ones.

The empty seat was across from one of the new ones. Soon he was telling me he'd traveled from some place with Welsh place name I didn't catch, but he told me it was "on the other side of Wales" and a two-and-a-half hour drive away. Bloody hell, I thought. I made some jocular remark about how I hoped it'd be worth it for him, and he said it was good for him just to have done it for himself, because he'd assembled a bunch of other reasons to come to Manchester today -- something about his wife, and picking people up at the airport, etc -- and they'd all fallen through. He said he wouldn't have thought twice about making the drive for other people, but it was difficult to justify it as only being for himself so it was a big deal that he had. That makes a lot of sense to me, as someone who's so much better at looking after other people than myself, and so much kinder to everyone else than I am to myself.

He did seem to be having a good time, though. So that's nice.

Another person, who's been a few times before, said she'd been looking forward to this all month. That was nice to hear.

Sometimes it doesn't feel like a big deal, just to turn up at a coffee shop at a specific time. But it really does seem to be good for people. It's really nice to be reminded of this.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Today's DW meme is to look at what we were writing ten years ago. When a "post a picture of yourself from ten years ago and then one now" meme went around Facebook recently, I wasn't able to participate because I don't really have many or any pictures of myself, especially from that long ago (my FB account only goes back to 2014 I think).

But I've been blogging here (or, well, LJ but it's here now) for much longer than ten years so I was delighted to be able to go and look.

I didn't write anything exactly ten years ago; the closest was laughing at a politician who wanted "affection and sexual favors" to be a reason not to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Ah, back when I could laugh at irate politicians and their relative powerlessness...

The prospect of same-sex marriage got some good phrases out of those bigots. Merciless prism of equality, too.


Nov. 18th, 2018 07:46 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Me every Friday: what a knackering week! I need some fun to recuperate and reward myself with!

Me every Sunday evening: I'm so shattered now, how am I supposed to go back to long days of lectures tomorrow?!

And this weekend I didn't even go to Brighouse Friday night/Saturday, or work on Sunday morning, two things that have usually helped fill up my weekends this semester.

theatre and alcohol )

drum teching )

Bi Coffee and Trans Day of Remembrance )

And then I came home; no Doctor Who (live, anyway) for me this week. Stuart was too tired and as I said up at the top, I'm still wondering how I'm going to start in on another week at uni after all this!

I wouldn't want my weekends any other way but I could do with another weekend after them to recover.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Facebook suggested my aunt to me as a "person you may know," so I blocked her because if it's suggesting her to me I worry it's suggesting me to her. And the #BiVisibilityDay frame on my profile picture right now would be enough to give me away even if she doesn't click on my profile. And if she finds out, she will immediately tell my mom.

Happy Bi Visibility Day.

Living so far away and refusing to have anything to do with my family on Facebook mean I've been able to be pretty out. So when I run up against the limits of that visibility, it's jarring and it's disappointing. I still feel like a failed bisexual sometimes, hiding behind apparent heterosexuality.

I try to remind myself that this is a reason bis have worse mental health overall than straight or gay people. I try to remind myself that visibility is a goal rather than a reality, and a community one at that. What we want is for biphobia to be challenged, for people not to be called straight or gay based on the apparent genders in their current relationship. Visibility doesn't want or need every single person to be out, just for society to reach some collective understanding of what life is like for this category of people.

The collective aim of visibility is not my individual responsibility...and if I still need to tell myself that after years and years of bi activism, maybe there are others who could benefit from hearing it too.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
"It's a shame your t-shirt only says 'Lesbians and Gays,' " Andrew said.

I'm wearing my "Not Gay As In Happy Queer As In Fuck Your Borders" t-shirt, as has become customary on Pride days (Levenshulme Pride today).

The t-shirt was a fundraiser for Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (which is what it actually says at the bottom of the shirt, where Andrew had read this in the first place).

I explained that it was harkening back to Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (and for the same reasons, recognizing their oppressors are the same and so it helps to stick together), which I don't think he'd known.

He seemed content with my explanation, but then added "They could've at least made the 'bi' in 'lesbians' big! LesBIans." I laughed.*

He thought a little more and said "Les Bi Ans," as if it were a French phrase (so it took me a while to clock that the noise he'd made would be spelled this way, because French phonetics makes no fucking sense to me). "That means 'The Bi Years,' " he told me.

"It'd be a great name for a biography," I said (and then yes, heard myself say "biography" and thought "Bi-ography" must already be taken).

* You could also write it "...support The migRANtS" to get the "trans" in there!
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Sessions attended: Just one! Queering Shakespeare, which I loved. I've been before and it's always my favorite.

We're given extracts from mostly Shakespeare plays (though some of it's not plays and some of it's other early modern writers) for small groups of people to act out for the rest of the workshop attendees. For instance, in my group I was Antony getting ready for battle, Stuart was Cleopatra insisting on helping me with my armor even though she didn't seem to know what she was doing, and our friend Zoe played soldiers who were actually trying to help me and tell me stuff. It's clear at the end of the scene that Antony's much happier going off to war, leaving Cleopatra for "a soldier's kiss, rebukable." Watching how some of the other groups interpreted their selections was hysterical, with special mention going to the fairies acting as a Greek chorus while Oberon and Titania were arguing, jumping around and shouting comments: when Titania says "Met we on hill, on dale..." and the others shout out "Who's Dale?!"

Stuart said afterwards "the extracts were well picked, we were well coached and encouraged and the atmosphere was one of support and participation and the spirit of the work. And knob gags. And ladygarden gags."

My answers got long, so I'll put most of this under a cut. )

Volunteering done (can be anything even small thing like picking up litter or buying organisers a drink): Thursday and Friday were all volunteering for me. Stuart had properly signed up for a couple of shifts on the desk and as a gopher on Thursday and I came along to do whatever needed doing: I put up lots of signs directing people where to go, I helped some people find their accommodation, stuff like that.

Friday was the busy day for this: we packed up all Stuart's drums, a couple of guitars, a keyboard, a mandolin, a banjo, and I can't even remember what else into the back of his Micra and (via buying mandolin strings and picking up a bass borrowed from his bandmate), came back to BiCon and started setting up. I made countless trips back and forth, up and down stairs, carrying stuff. I got to help by hitting the drums so Stuart could hear what they'd sound like from the room; that was the most fun. "Start with the kick drum," he said and I did, and the sound was so good made his face light up. Then as soon as it was done we had to take everything down for the silent disco. I carried lots of stuff around, I didn't have to make a lot of decisions because I don't understand exactly what needs doing (though I felt better at that by the end of Friday!), I just had to fetch and carry and it was delightfully straightforward after too much time in my own head.

Other notable things: 1. I wonder if this will end up being the BiCon of It Suddenly Going Pitch-Black When You Pee or Shower. Whose idea is it to put motion-activated lights in bathrooms? And why do they turn off after only seven seconds of no movement? And why are there no sensors in the shower so that you have to reach your hand out and waggle it around if you don't want to take a shower in the dark?

I just elected to take the shower in the dark, and I snarkily posted on my Facebook that I'm sure the uni have done this in order to induce greater empathy with visually impaired people.

2. Stuart said at one point, "I've been to a lot of cons, and BiCon is the best one, because" -- and I tried to guess what he was going to say next but even if I'd had more time I'd have totally failed -- "it's like all the other cons rolled into one." I like that; I've been thinking about it ever since.

Bi snark

Feb. 27th, 2018 02:31 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
tfw you see someone say "gay or bisexual men and lesbians"...

Bi activists are not kidding when we say what bi representation there is, is often in this find-and-replace style. Usually what I'm used to seeing in these cases is what I think of as the Stonewall style because I first/most often saw it from them: "gay and bisexual men, and lesbian and bisexual women." This was in the days when they (as it's Stonewall England I mean here) weren't doing the T yet at all, and they seemed to think that this was sufficient inclusion.

Never mind that I seem to have a lot more in common with bisexuals of any gender than I do with cis lesbians. Never mind how many bisexuals that excludes because they're not men or women...

But this is even more special: this has thought to include the bi men but apparently I don't exist. Of course this goes against stereotype, which says "all women are bi and no men are bisexual," but maybe the fact that it was written by a gay man explains the increased detail allotted to men? They are, after all, the important gender.

And of course this "gay or bisexual men and lesbians" is part of the description of a link whose title starts "My best LGBT+ [things]..." Gotta have that plus these days, so important you know.

Sometimes it seems like we can keep changing the label but the contents inside are still always G.


Feb. 22nd, 2018 06:12 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Lately I have listened to a ton of podcasts and a lot of them are really great!

Astronaut Dreams )

Vocal Fries on trans linguistics )
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Slogging through a semantics lecture (still loads of new words, I still don't feel like I'm understanding anything...though it's better on recordings than actually attending the class because I can pause it, catch up with my notes and sort of give my brain a chance to digest one bit before the next comes along, which is worth it even if it does take me an hour and a half to get through an hour lecture).

Today I'm learning about Paradigmatic Relationships. Which includes among other things different kinds of antonyms (antonyms you might have learned about in school; they're opposite words), and one of those kinds is complementary antonyms. The first kind we learned about are gradable antonyms, which are kind of on a spectrum and contain the possibility of something being neither. Like war and peace, or big and small. These complementary ones are like that except there's no middle, neither-one-thing-nor-the-other state.

Except I'm not sure it exists, at least in English, because all of the examples suck. They're things like "indoors/outdoors" or "pass/fail" (which my school (maybe my whole university) has a scheme for "compensatable fail" so you can still pass even if you've technically failed in certain circumstances).

And the last example actually made my jaw drop, it was "male/female." I just...forget people still think this way. But my lecturer had included it in the "problematic examples" list and said "Another pair that usually gets cited quite unthinkingly by semanticists is male and female. That means they haven't followed any real-world debates in the last twenty years or so." That made me smile.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a solemn occasion, a recognition that every year hundreds of people's lives (and those are just the ones we know about) end for no other reason than that they were trans.

This year's Trans Day of Remembrance has arrived in the middle of a 80s-style moral panic, the media (and not just the tabloids, the broadsheets and the BBC are absolutely fueling this in their fake-intellectual way) frothing up a good Section-28-style lather of hatred and hostility to trans people, who here are demonized as getting your kids to want to dress wrong for school, who are somehow "shutting down" anyone happy with the gender they were born in.

Cut for those who already know about this and don't want to read about it again. )

They are wrong and they are cruel. They have always been around, but lately they are feeling emboldened. And that does a lot of harm.

A couple of months ago, my corner of Twitter acknowledged that there'd be a transphobic article in a UK paper every weekend. Then it increased to nearly every day and one day recently there were three. Transphobia has been on Radio 4, it's been on TV, of course it's all over Twitter. It's everywhere.

And the trans people I know? Are exhausted. This onslaught is more than anyone can process or cope with. For all the transphobes' wails that the "trans lobby" runs everything and is silencing them, of course it's quite the reverse: there are few trans people in the population and they are systematically disprivileged and disempowered.

The cause of this scary spike in public, establishment-mandated transphobia in the UK seems to be the ongoing plan to update the Gender Recognition Act. The GRA was passed in 2004, which feels like a generation ago in queer rights terms, and it was criticized from the start for being laborious, intrusive, gatekeeping, inaccessible to many people who'd benefit from it, and in general just incredibly cisnormative.

Simplifying an obscure piece of legislation that will make life better for a small group of people and make no difference to anyone else's lives may seem a no-brainer, and it should be. But there are people out there who resist the fair treatment, the human rights, of trans women in particular but of anyone who threatens their cissexism.

Trans people are vulnerable, an easy target, in exactly the way gay people were in the 80s. And, as with bigots' doom-laden proclamations about what would happen if same-sex marriage were allowed, it is already possible to point to other countries who have had for years the kinds of laws the UK is considering upgrading to now, and the sky hasn't yet fallen.

In the same way that same-sex marriage hasn't hurt anyone who doesn't want one, better gender recognition laws would hardly even be noticed by anyone who is happy with the gender they were assigned when they were born.

But we're still a long way from this being sorted, and when this flood of media hate couldn't even stop for today, for the one day in the calendar set aside to remember those killed by transphobia, I have no hope or expectation it'll end any time soon.

Before now, I think some of we well-meaning cis people have kept to the sidelines a bit, not wanting to put our feet in our mouths about something we understand imperfectly, or not wanting to center ourselves when we want people to be listening to trans voices. But I think we have to strike a balance there and say what our trans siblings are too drained to say right now.

We have to challenge the idea that letting schoolchildren wear whatever uniform they want is some kind of apocalypse. We have to point out that trans people are so, so much more likely to be the victim than the perpetrator of violent crime. We have to point out that trans women are women, that trans men are men, that non-binary people exist (I just heard in a lecture today that singular they has been used as long as English has been a language, so if anybody tries to give you shit about that, you can tell them it's verified by linguists).

Trans people are people: the ones I know care about their families and their hobbies and their work...exactly the same stuff as the cis people I know. I am furious and I'm determined to channel that fury into helping bring about a world in which trans people don't have to dread seeing headlines in a newsagents, turning on Radio 4, or looking at their own twitter mentions. It's the very least they deserve.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
#StillBisexual is a cool project to prove exactly what it says: that people don't stop being bi because they're in long-term relationships or because they seem straight or gay to other people.

The conceit of the videos is that you don't speak during them, you hold up cards/paper with a sentence or so at a time on them.

Here's my stupid face, not looking at the camera. Someone else was standing behind the camera reading what was on the cards so I had some sense of how to arrange my face/how long to leave each to give it a reasonable time to be read before going on to the next, and the person's face was higher up than the camera, so I think I was looking at her not it...But also, I'm never ever looking at the camera in pictures how matter how I try, that's nystagmus for you!
And here's what I said, if you can't/don't want to do video but are still curious:
I got married thinking I was straight.
I moved to the UK with my husband.
I didn't know anybody else there.
I found out about Biphoria, a group for bisexuals.
I wanted to go along but thought I wasn't "bi enough."
I went along anyway. I'm glad I did.
It turns out lots of bis worry that they aren't "bi enough."
We all are.
People say "How can you be bisexual if you're married?"
I reply: "How can you be gay when you're single?"
If their relationships don't define their sexuality, mine shouldn't either.
People see I'm a woman married to a man.
...and assume we must be straight.
They're half right.
He's still straight.
I'm #StillBisexual.
If you're bisexual (or pansexual, queer, anything like that) you can make a video too: directions are here. (I didn't even know all that stuff about including all your dating history or whatever; you clearly don't have to do that because they allowed my video! Given the limit of 20-30 lines I think it's fine to focus on one or two stories or themes.)


Aug. 14th, 2017 01:45 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I"m settling into a pattern of weeks with very little to do and very low mood, and then being very busy and mostly happier on the weekends. This is really bad for me and no fun but I don't feel able to get myself unstuck yet.

Adventures in Babysitting )

I was staying over so quickly installed myself in the spare room, with the comfy bed, the robot alarm clock and the lamp with colorful airplanes on its shade. It was pretty great.

I was there because next morning Simon and I were driving to Leeds for BiCon and it made no sense to get me home late at night just to go pick me up again the next day.

BiCon )

The Home Office at BiCon )

So I was quite glad that my plans had changed such that I could go to Brighouse that night. I was tired and a little emotionally wrung-out with one thing and another. It didn't help a lot though as after a blessed day off Twitter I was catching up on Charlottesville. I spent way too much time reading what it felt like I couldn't look away from but also couldn't fix. But I was heartened to see a lot of white people talking about how unhelpful attitudes like #ThisIsNotUs were, ignoring that this is what America has always been so we can feel better about ourselves.

Andrew came over to Brighouse too yesterday, for Sunday dinner and terrible films. It was really nice having all the best people around.

Now I'm home where all the cleaning and laundry have been neglected for quite a while even before I was away because my mental health has been so bad. I've done a load of laundry I'm about to go hang up and put another one in. It'd be nice if I could clean some things. And I have to write down volunteering admin and stuff I need to do before it all falls out of my head. Better go and do all of that, then!

Here's hoping this week is better than the last two.


Aug. 8th, 2017 06:32 pm
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Might be at BiCon on the Saturday after all! Not certain yet, but would love to see people I know who will be there.

ETA: Hurrah, looks like BiCon plan is going ahead!

Bi updates

May. 31st, 2017 06:30 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
As a bit of follow up to my last post...

Having changed their "Is bisexuality real" article substantially, without acknowledging the change or any reasons why they made it, Pink News have at least written something relatively decent about bisexuality today. And I'm glad that London Pride 'sexclusion of bisexual groups is getting a bit more attention too.

(I'm also glad that London Pride is being a bit less exclusionary now, and it sounds like they do want to get this right according to friends of mine more closely involved. But I still feel like you'd never have only one gay or lesbian group marching and they wouldn't have to fight as hard as bisexuals have had to and I don't think it's good enough for the organizers to have good intentions -- they're saying "none of us are biphobic" and I'm sure they mean that but the impact of structural bigotry still falls heaviest on bisexuals so it's not enough for them to not have personal feelings of biphobia as individuals, they need to do more in future to make sure bisexual groups really are included.)

To get entities as big as Pink News and London Pride to pay attention to what bisexuals want, imperfectly though it's implemented so far, feels like kind of a big deal and kind of an unusual thing. And that a friend has said the response so far hasn't been as biphobic as they'd feared...well, it says a lot about what we've come to expect in dealing with the "LGBT" "community," but it also would be really awesome if this trend continued.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
So Pink News, which seem to cause me some kind of headache every few weeks, put up an article today called "Is bisexuality real?"

As soon as I saw the headline, I angrily thought (and tweeted with a link to this terrible question):
Is EVERY damn "LGBT" thing biphobic? Are we sick of it to literal death because biphobia kills people? The answer to all of these is yes.
It turned out the headline was just clickbait; for once this was an article whose title was a Question To Which The Answer Is Yes (Betteridge's Law dictates that the answer is No, of course).

The reaction that I saw to that tweet was, at least a few hours ago...not what you'd call good. It ranged all the way from sarcastic to angry. My awesome friend [twitter.com profile] natalyadell said, "I nearly didn't read the damned article, saw the headline was biphobic, ran away. When trying to fix prejudice, committing it is No.1 fail."

And...unfortunately it gets worse than the headline. If you actually do read the thing (which I wouldn't recommend, but here's a tweet screenshotting the relevant bit), it says "Unlike pansexuality, bisexuals do often recognize the binary genders but are attracted to both males and females."

Which, at the very least, indicates to me that the writer is not bisexual. As Sali Owen who does all the bi stuff for the LGBT Foundation has pointed out, there are no bi activists or organizations that use this definition and it tends to drive bisexuals up the wall. We have to argue about this all the damn time.

I genuinely do not know anyone who thinks this. I can credit almost everything I do know about trans people and issues and history to the UK bi community I feel part of. It includes plenty of non-binary gendered people and I promise that they're as likely to be fancied by bisexuals as binary-gendered men and women are. (That this charming quote refers to "males and females" instead of men and women is just the icing on the shit cake.)

It's such a weird fight to have to keep fighting, but in this case I think it's enough that, as I said, it's an indication we're unlikely to be dealing with a bisexual writer. In a way, this is the same problem as I complained about earlier with regard to immigrants: we're being talked about, not talked with. Much less listened to.

"Nothing about us without us" is a valuable concept from disability activism that I really wish applied to bisexuality within LGBT activism. It applies in bisexual activism, because there's absolutely no reason to even do that if you don't have a horse in the race -- there's no money in it and no one else, straight or gay, seems to care about it. About us.

And this, if nothing else, means we know a lot about bisexuality that other people don't because they have few if any ways of finding it out. We're the only ones talking about our rates of mental illness, domestic abuse, homelessness, and other grim stuff, which are higher than the rates in straight or gay/lesbian people.

We talk about stuff nobody else will think of to say about us and that is why our voices are needed. It's not my ego saying this, it's all the suffering my friends and I are going through. We've seen these kinds of suffering decrease in gay and lesbian people because of resources that have been poured into their health, housing, education, employment protection, and other stuff. Bisexuals are like the control group: we show the world how bad it'd be without all those specialized resources. And...it's pretty bad.

The "LGBT" organizations are still stuck on "does bisexuality exist" when you cannot imagine a LGBT publication writing "is homosexuality real?" We're still fighting to clear that first hurdle when there's so much else to talk about. Biphobia kills. And no one but bisexuals is saying this, so most people don't know it because our voices aren't reaching them.

We're the bit of LGBT that's likeliest to go unrepresented in LGBT events and venues: this year bisexuals are going to be excluded from Pride In London for spurious reasons: 320 entries in the parade and none for us. You'd never have such a big Pride with no gay-specific groups. Or lesbian ones. Or even, now, trans ones. And if anybody tried it, there'd be outrage. But this? If you're not bi and following a few people on Twitter or reading The Queerness, you probably don't know about it (I'm grateful to The Queerness for covering the issue (and really well!), because I haven't seen any others of the so-called LGBT media do so).

It frustrates me so much, because there's no reason it has to be like this. There are tons of good writers just among people I know who write well about bisexuality. I've tried to do my bit, on everything from how "love is love" sounds good and supportive but isn't enough to encompass the experience of being bisexual, the perils of being a bi asylum seeker, and even what it's like when biphobia happens on the main stage at Pride. There are so many of us out there. And plenty of us are unemployed or underemployed or just poor, partly because of all this shit that's more likely to go wrong for you if you're bi!

So c'mon, Pink News, hire me and I'll make your bisexual stuff awesome, instead of this worse-than-useless stuff you're putting out now. Hire one of my friends, or all of them. You've probably got more than one gay writer; you should have more than one bisexual, too!
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Thursday was an oasis in a week that otherwise led me to share this picture when I saw it on Facebook:

I had my usual but abbreviated visit to Yorkshire because I had to get back to take my friend's place at an event she couldn't go to with her partner and...I can't remember if he didn't want to go alone, or if they just knew I'd appreciate free wine and nibbles, or what, but anyway I got asked to go.

All I knew from a conversation I'd only half paid attention to (I was trying to cut a cake at the time...) was that it was an LGBT thing and it was at Steve's work. He's on the LGBT steering group there and indeed someone else from the group recognized me as having been to other events of theirs -- I did a presentation with someone else about biphobia and I went to a Bi Visibility Day event a couple years ago. I had no idea who he was but he said "you had multicolored hair then" so it probably was me! (Though Em J pointed out when we told her this story that she's also been to things and also has had multicolored hair, so I might've been confused for Steve's partner again.

Apart from the posh sandwiches and bottles of beer (mine was called Cwrw so now I know the Welsh word for beer!), it turns out we were there for a screening of some short films from the Iris Prize, an LGBT short film festival.

The first one, "Mirrors" was described as "about two straight men connecting in a gay club." It was probably my least favorite of the night, partly because I've seen enough young skinny white northern lads on nights out already, partly because both Steve and I thought that to describe it as "two straight men" was rather bi-erasing.

Then there was "In the Hollow", about a woman who was shot and her girlfriend killed on a hiking vacation in the late 80s. Dramatization of their young selves is interspersed with the woman who survived going back to that place in the woods for the first time since. Seeing their normal coupley selves -- arguing, making plans, holding hands -- interrupted in such a ghastly way was really powerful, and to see the woman who survived become an activist for hate crime legislation kept the movie from being unbearably painful.

Then "Vessels", a graphic and grim account of what happens when trans people can't access health care they need and resort to the black market. The film's very well done, which means it's scary and sad and I had to close my eyes for some of it.

Then "Aban + Khorsid", which in a more linear form tells a similar story to "In the Hollow," except the terrible ending is mutual and apparently state-sponsored. Filmed from their own points of view, as if on their phones, the young couple are so endearingly normal and coupley that the longer this goes on the more you can feel the inevitable ending. I could hear lots of sniffles in the audience by the end.

It was time for well-deserved break for a quick pee or nabbing more wine or whatever -- and someone even rolled in a trolley with ice creams on it, leading me to joke it was like a proper theatre interval...though I ate a Flake out of a cone instead of the posh ice creams with little wooden spatulas to eat it with. And the last two films were much more fun and light, a good way to end the evening.

My absolute favorite of the whole evening was "Private Life". Sadly I can only find a terrible-quality YouTube copy of this one, but it's great -- the cutest, funniest cross-dressing night out in Manchester in the 1950s with a (very welcome by this point in the evening) sweet ending.

And last of all, "Skallamann" ("Baldguy"), the best Norwegian musical celebrating the virtues of snogging the follicly-challenged that you will ever see. The song is catchy as all hell too, unfortunately: be prepared for "skallamann" to be the only word you'll remember in Norwegian for the rest of your life.

Apart from its joy and silliness, one of the things I loved about "Skallamann" is that it's the only movie I saw all night that wasn't about being gay or trans. The kid who comes home and confesses to his parents he's made out with a bald guy is a boy, but (apart from maybe redirecting the stereotypical shock and disapproval of finding out your son fancies men to the ridiculosity of finding out your son fancies a bald man) it's not the gay story of Coming Out, or The Consequences of Homophobia or the voyeuristic transition story. It's just a story with someone not-straight in it.

I really wish there would be more stories like this: just, non-straight and/or non-cis people getting a puppy or inheriting the kingdom or fighting the baddies or whatthefuckever kind of stories people who get to think of themselves as the default get to tell.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Due entirely to her saying "Minnesotan immigrants are extra awesome" and me clicking Like on the comment, I have made a new Facebook friend! From Minnesota, as the comment might suggest, but apparently she lives in Manchester too?!

So we're chatting as you do -- where we're from in Minnesota, she's got kids, I'm married, comparing accents -- and then she said "How did you meet your wife?"

It was the first time I've been asked that. First time I've had to correct the assumed gender of my spouse -- it's not the kind of misconception I have to correct when I'm married to someone so beardy! First time I felt a bit sheepish having to say "My husband, actually" before I went on to answer her question. Sort of good practice for me, in being mindful of what this feels like.

I'm really curious what made her assume I had a wife, though!


Sep. 21st, 2016 06:32 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I've been asked if I want to write something for Lib Dem Voice for Bi Visibility Day.

Which is cool, because for one I always count it a win when someone not bi knows about Bi Visibility Day. But also, because I love it when people want me to write things!

Now I just need to think of what Liberals should know about bisexuality...
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] barakta's suggestion, I did indeed write a version of the "bi people in biphobic relationships" blog entry for Biscuit.

You can read it here if you like!


hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)

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