Joy

I love The Simpsons. I love Rod and Todd singing a fantastic song, “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” I love the boys asking “WHERE?!” Hilarious every time.

C9890E9C-AF91-4056-849D-FC8E7CEBB273

Joy is not happiness. Happiness is a positive feeling based on good things that happen to you. Joy is the positive feeling that is always there, no matter what happens.

On the day I was last forced out of a job for complaining about the daily homophobic and sexualised harassment I faced from my colleagues, I was asked to lead prayers. My prayer was a prayer of thanksgiving to an awesome God.

When I was at university, I was part of the Christian Union. I remember one night when we talked about joy as an acronym.

Jesus first

Others next

Yourself after them.


These days, we are taught to focus on ourselves. Me Me Me. I  have seen this manifest in Christianity in different ways. Women are encouraged to wallow in (often imagined) traumas and victimhood, and they are told to keep telling people how God is helping them. We see in mostly male Christians about how God has made them wealthy, successful and popular. In mainstream Christianity, God has been usurped, replaced by Me. God is now the power by which people become gods. It is a total perversion of the Gospel.

The Bible has always been used to back up narratives. Trump supporters in the USA talk about forgiveness and how a person can change without asking why Trump has never repented of his behaviours and he continues to behave in disgusting ways towards women and minorities and anyone else he feels negativity toward on any given day. Christians in the UK are told to accept any behaviour because God is love, and these behaviours range from church leaders who rape to okaying anyone’s choice of lifestyle or malicious behaviour such as gossip. Anything goes is not in accordance with the Bible. Okaying gossip and abuse and turning a blind eye flies in the face of the Bible and everything Jesus taught us. The Bible gives us clear boundaries for living.

Most UK people are very kind and generous people. We are a very giving nation. Intersectionality, post modernism, whatever you want to call the message that is given today, tells us to focus on ourselves, our pain, our struggles, micro aggressions and slights. We are told we have the right to demand people treat us as we want to be treated, and we have the right to be abusive to anyone who we believe disrespects us. American psychologists have said that this narcissistic focus on the self has contributed significantly to the rise in depression and anxiety in the West. The left wing social psychologist Jonathan Haidt talks about this in many of his Youtube videos.

Jordan Peterson – a psychologist whose lectures can be found on Youtube – was asked about the pursuit of happiness as a goal. He said what makes people happy is having meaning in their life, therefore we should be pursuing a meaningful life and that will make us happy.

People wonder how I can be a Christian and be LGBT. After all, Christianity is full of homophobia. Yes it is. So is the rest of humanity but I do not stop being a person.

People ask how I can have traditional beliefs around marriage when I am LGBT. There is so much to say around this, about the Bible, Jesus and God’s relationship to humanity and the Church described in almost every Book in the Bible as being like a Groom to a Bride. In short, God makes me joyful. Being bi is an immutable characteristic, like having dark hair. It is not interesting, it is not something to build my life around and it does nothing to push my life forward and give my life meaning. I would have to be a pretty boring person to base my life around a sexual urge.

When LGBT people become aggressive towards me for being Christian and traditional and tell me I should drop my religion, I ask them where they were when I was seriously ill, I ask them where were they when I was attacked in the street, I ask them where they were when I was lied about and shunned yet again. They were nowhere to be seen. They can’t stand me. They certainly won’t be there for me in my hour of need. But God is there for me. All the time. God is there. So of course I am sticking with God.

In my recent posts, I have shown how divided LGBT people are and how malevolently some LGBT people behave towards others. The same is true in Christianity. However, away from Christian people, there is God. There is something more and beyond the people. This is what I hold to: God.

Sexual attraction does not enrich my life on a daily basis. God does. Most days I am not attracted to anyone. But I can pray, read my Bible, sing and praise God every day. I can listen to what God wants from me as well as ask God to help me in my life. My faith is an active, two way relationship. It is living and breathing. It is full of joy.

Being LGBT informs my life, but God is my life.

Jesus, Others, Yourself = JOY.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LGBT: We Are Not The Borg

Coming after the cancellation of Virtual Pride, where some LGBT people harassed and threatened the organisers because one liked some tweets by Nigel Farage and Toby Young, and seeing the general hostility from particularly young LGBT people towards other LGBT people who think differently, it is important to write this post.

LGBT people promote diversity. However, this diversity is a perversion of true diversity. True diversity is about accepting all people and cherishing the differences, including differences of thought and belief.

Basing the idea of diversity on skin colour, sex and gender alone is reductive and insulting to people. People are much more than their skin colour, sex and gender. A person is who they are because of the memories they have, their experiences, their achievements and their hopes. No person has the same life or experiences. We have similarities, but no one life matches another. This is diversity.

If you stand two Black women side by side, they look different, they have different names, they have a different family structure, different jobs, different social activities and different ambitions. Of course they will think differently.

It is the same with LGBT. We have some similarities such as a higher rate of coming from dysfunctional families, having a parent with serious mental illness, childhood physical and/or sexual abuse and being bullied in school.

However, we are not The Borg. We are individuals. We have different life experiences, we have different friends, we are from different classes, we have different jobs, different hobbies, different ambitions. Of course LGBT people all think differently.

40A23AE3-D226-497F-9CD0-245D860CDAB5

Of course LGBT people think differently.

However, there is a very vocal minority – of mainly LGBT people under the age of 25 – who want all LGBT people to think the same. They are the ones who try to shut down any sort of difference of opinion by labelling other LGBT people “fascist”, “nazi”, “terf”, “truescum” and more.

Why?

I do believe – like many psychologists – that young people have, in general, been mollycoddled. They are too soft. When a young person is LGBT, they are told that the world revolves around their feelings and their emotional comfort. All the people screaming “You’re denying my existence!” to anyone quoting a biology text book simply would not have survived what LGBT people of my generation and the generation above me went through.

Young LGBT people have been infantalised – treated like babies – by the LGBT media who tell them how “vulnerable” they are. LGBT people are not vulnerable. We are strong. We are overcomers. We always have been. Julius Caesar, Hadrian and Elagabalus  were not vulnerable. They were bi and trans rulers of empires.

People will have different ideas to you. Other people at university, your housemates, workmates, people you socialise with. They will all have different ideas to you. When you shut off people with different thoughts, you make your world smaller and smaller. You become less able to think about your own beliefs and why you believe them, and you stagnate.

I am an Orthodox Celtic Christian. This means I disagree with mainstream Christians on many things. Yet I do not cut myself off from other Christians. In fact, my spiritual home is the Taizé Community in France where Christians of all different beliefs from all over the world gather. People with other beliefs go to Taizé, such as Muslims from Belgium whose imam tells them to go to Taizé to learn, and atheists. And most of us get on and have a great holiday together, talking about what we believe and why, and listening to what other people believe and why. I’ve made some good friends through Taizé.

Having your own ideas is necessary for you to grow as a person. I understand that for many people, expressing your own ideas will be scary because you might lose a lot of friends. If that happens, those people were not really your friends. As Dave Rubin said in a recent chat with Douglas Murray, coming out as gay was a positive thing. His friends supported him and their friendships deepened. However, when he came out politically as being a centrist or independent thinker, he lost a lot of friends. However, he gained many more true friends who really did value him for who he is.

I left a writing collective several years ago. It never fulfilled any of its promises to help us move forward as writers, and the morality was getting worse and worse with one member saying openly he was a rapist and was going to carry on raping.

I reported him to the police and I’ve been writing on my own since. I lost most of the “friends” I had from that group, but I have had far more success on my own than with that group. I have performed more and I have nearly finished a trilogy of fiction.

Be brave. Think for yourself. Don’t let people treat you like a baby and make you less than you actually are. Go and find out what other people think and why they think the way they do. You will gain friends and you will become stronger in your own thoughts and beliefs.

I admire people who stand firm on their own beliefs, often standing alone for a period of time. The Levellers are a folk punk band who were hated by the music press. They were vilified by the music press, yet the Levellers stayed true to who they are, they stood strong, and they now headline festivals throughout the summer every single year and they run their own festival, Beautiful Days, which wins the Best Family Festival Award almost every year.

Briggs, the indigenous Australian rapper, stood strong on his principles and his good humour, and now has great output alongside other indigenous rappers and singers in Australia. They all carry a bit of extra weight, sometimes record in small studios in people’s homes, they dress in hoodies, but they are now raking it in financially and with a huge fanbase.

Dave Rubin in the United States was on the far left and part of a group called The Young Turks who have their own podcasts and daily shows. Rubin started questioning a lot, wondering if all the people The Young Turks opposed were really all stupid. He began his political journey away from the Left to the centre. He now has his own show from the studio in his own home. He invites guests onto his show from all political and social backgrounds. Rubin’s studio is in his home where he lives with his husband, yet he is confident in his own beliefs to invite guests into his home and onto his show who are against same sex marriage. Rubin gets on well with all his guests, whether he agrees with them or not.

When I was at school and growing up, us gays were strong enough in ourselves to embrace all LGBT people, to include everyone. We also were friends with everyone else. I am a gay person today who can get on with almost anyone. Straight people actually come to me to talk about LGBT issues and not their other LGBT friends because I am not the type to shout “You’re denying my existence!” Unless I am being ironic. Instead, when heterosexuals come to me to ask questions about LGBT issues, I answer their questions and we end up laughing for hours.

I am a gay person who can get on with almost everyone. This means I have a very active social life. In fact, the only time I am concerned about getting on with people is when I go to LGBT gatherings, and that is because I worry about group think and hostility for having my own thoughts and beliefs. Yet I have no concern about meeting total strangers at a language exchange or a rock climbing group or the farm I volunteer at. I can go to a community in France and talk with people from Burundi or Estonia. I can go on holiday to North Africa and chat with Bedouin guys around a fire in the Sahara. Life is so much better when we don’t demand that everyone thinks the same as us, and when we stand confident in ourselves.

Peace x

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cancelling Pride: A Superb Own Goal

Prides all across the UK and the world have been cancelled due to the corona virus outbreak. That is sensible. Safety is the number one priority. However, Virtual Pride was organised instead, which cheered up many people who look forward to Pride each year.

And then Virtual Pride has been cancelled. Why? Because some LGBT people bullied the organisers with threats and hate over social media – cyber bullied them – until finally Virtual Pride was cancelled.

DF10EC31-AB2C-40B9-A370-C2405EA4B765

EB91BE6D-D299-42F4-9854-BF816A6D5EB7
Some of the people who received threats have young children and feared for the safety of their children as well as themselves.

Why oh why did LGBT people take to social media to bully other LGBT people? The answer is the same as why have I been on the receiving end of threats, hostility and open harassment from other LGBT people for 20 years; wrong think. In my case it is because I am a Christian with traditional beliefs. In the case of Virtual Pride it was because the man heading the event liked a few tweets by Nigel Farage and Toby Young.

One man was judged to have the wrong ideas, so everyone who worked and volunteered alongside him was judged guilty by association and they all received threats and harassment.

LGBT people think it is OK to harass and threaten people. How did we get to this?

Twenty years ago, none of my LGBT friends would ever have behaved in such ways. Never. We accepted everyone. I was totally accepted and one of the group even though everyone knew my religious beliefs.

I am sad to say I think many LGBT people under the age of 30 are mentally and emotionally weak. They have been pandered to by big business who have turned Pride – an event that used to last a few hours on one day into a whole month – and told young LGBT people they are special and they have the right to never be offended. I think heterosexual people under the age of 30 have this problem, but since I am gay, I notice it more with LGBT people. Having given a lot of my free time to some LGBT people only to have it thrown back in my face for having the religious beliefs I do, I notice it more with LGBT people.

There is mental and emotional weakness, there is a very fragile ego or sense of self, and there is a lack of creative thinking.

The thinking of many LGBT people is narrow. Why? I can point a finger at the mainstream LGBT media. One of the reasons I changed the purpose of this blog to focus on LGBT content is because of the state of mainstream LGBT media. Outlets like Gay Times, Pink News and LGBT Awards keep their readers on a diet of RuPaul’s Drag Race, half naked men and heavily biased and inaccurate “news” stories. I find this highly insulting to LGBT people, and it shows what the outlets think of LGBT people.

I read Diva magazine – the only magazine aimed at gay women on shop shelves – for 12 years. The last year I read it, I didn’t like reading it, but I ploughed on with it. I wrote to Lady Phyll at length – I did go on too much, I recognise that – saying how I was despairing at Diva being all “psychobabble” as I put it at the time. I now know I was seeing identity politics. Diva used to have amazing contributors like Lady Phyll who won many cases as a union rep and set up Black Pride and Black Girls Picnic, and another woman from London who was working class and wrote about Londoners crowd funding their rent. These were contributors who were older, had achieved a lot for others and themselves and had something real to say. The current contributors of Diva are 20 somethings, middle class and simply write identity politics.

As a gay, working class woman in the north of England, Diva no longer had anything to say to me. I used to read Diva as opposed to magazines for heterosexual women because the magazines aimed at heterosexual women were all about physical appearance and sex. Diva used to feature regular adverts for joining the Armed Forces or the police or to become a paramedic. There were adverts for adopting dogs and cats from rescues. There were articles written by exciting people such as the gay woman who cycled through the hills of Pakistan and experienced a huge welcome from all the locals. There were interviews with the female couple who rescued children from Anders Brevik. There were interviews with homeless gay women. Diva used to be about real gay and bisexual women.

Then Diva became about money. Yes, every magazine is about making money at the end of the day, but Diva went after celebrity instead of values, hiring people such as the openly racist (“all white people are violent racists”) Munroe Bergdorf who also has a history of lesbophobic comments. Since Bergdorf’s comments about how she wants to “queer bash” etc came out, Bergdorf – who was never attracted to women – gained a girlfriend. Diva thought Bergdorf was a suitable contributor. Many of Diva’s readers did not and Bergdorf soon left Diva.

Denise Welch, who Diva had decided without asking readers’ opinions, became our official ally. I had to explain to several LGBT and heterosexual friends who Denise Welch was, and the response was either laughter or revulsion. On Twitter, I did not say things in the way I would hope to when I read that Denise Welch was now fighting my corner. I apologise for that. I was shocked and not thinking. I did end up in a conversation with Ms Welch which went well until I invited her to my local LGBT group, and she did not respond after that invitation was made.

My problem – and my friends’ problem – with Ms Welch is her public persona and her behaviour in public. She says extremely unkind things in rants about other women. Comments on the front page of a magazine about Welch’s ex husband were comments that I do not believe should be aired in public. Ms Welch and her ex husband – the well known actor Tim Healy – have children, so again, I thought the public insulting comments about Mr Healy should have remained private. While I wish Ms Welch well, I personally do not want someone who behaves in these ways being my “ally”. I do not want anyone to associate me with this sort of behaviour.

I also found the double page spread in Diva in which Ms Welch was skipping around in lingerie inappropriate, and her comments such as “I love the gays” and “My children wouldn’t be surprised if I had a relationship with a woman” both patronising and regressive.

Diva started telling its readers what they were and were not allowed to think. Literally. The majority of these statements were that we had to believe transwomen were the same as natal women, and we had to accept a potential partner may be a lesbian or bisexual woman with a penis. When the majority of lesbians and bisexual women are people who have been raped by someone with a penis, issuing statements such as that is totally unsupportive of gay women. It also undermines the right for a person to set their own boundaries and say no. I have quoted examples from Diva and no other outlet because Diva is the outlet I was committed to and read almost every month for 12 years.

Now we see where the heavily biased LGBT media has gotten us: Pride has been cancelled because one man does not think the right way. I am not a fan of Farage or Young, but I do not think that the guy organising Pride liking them is the reason to pull Pride and to harass and threaten the other people behind Pride.

LGBT people around the world are harmed and murdered for holding Pride events. What a smack in the face to them that LGBT people bullied Pride into cancellation here in our “free” country.

I said before about the narrow view and lack of creative thinking of LGBT people. I  went to the Belgian Pride several years ago. All political parties are at the Belgian Pride, including the far right parties. Yes, the far right parties have floats at Belgian Pride. Those floats have the least number of people on them, and the floats on either side of them have as many BAME people as possible on them. Before the Pride parade starts, all political parties must promise to uphold the LGBT charter of Belgium. There is a way to be fully inclusive and uphold one’s own values.

I really wish the LGBT people who suffer with fragile egos and sense of self would become more resilient. The book Anti-Fragile by Nicholas Taleb is a great place for people to start.

I know some people believe that by not engaging with a person or event, they are doing the right thing. In some circumstances that is true. However, people only change their opinions when facts and love are presented to them. I have changed my views on several things in the last few years because kind people presented facts to me. The same facts had been presented to me by people screaming and shouting, so I did not listen to them. It is by lovingly engaging with people that we change people’s mind. Threatening people, harassing people and cancelling events only divides people.

Getting Pride cancelled is an own goal. Threatening and harassing people is an own goal. It hurts LGBT people and shows people who are against us that we are the immoral people they claim we are. LGBT is the smallest minority group in the world. We should learn to love each other again and unite, for our own sake.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Drag Queen Story Time

Drag Queen Story Hour. These four words should never go together.

As per my previous posts What Is Drag? and Drag Me To Love, I am anti drag in its mainstream form. Mainstream drag is hypersexual, unkind and scrapes the bottom of the barrell with F bombs and the most disgusting language and imagery. It really is not my thing.

When I first heard several years ago that drag queens were reading stories to kids in a library, I thought this would be a niche, minority fad in New York that would blow over in a matter of months. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Drag Queen Story Hour has spread across the USA in the more liberal states and cities, and to here in the UK. For some reason, DBS (police checks) were not done in some cases, resulting in people who have committed serious crimes – including crimes against children – being given access to children. The key aim of Drag Queen Story Hour is to influence children.

The people organising Drag Queen Story Hour – libraries and schools – do so with the intention of breaking down homophobia. That is an admirable aim. However, drag queens are not representative of LGBT people. Some LGBT people find drag queens entertaining. Others, like me, find them an utter embarrassment that cause and buoy up homophobia rather than break it down. I personally find the appearance of drag queens unsettling, and many photos of drag queens going into schools and libraries look downright scary. In what way are these people supposed to represent me and stop people being prejudiced against me?

8073B1BF-FA7C-4989-AFD9-A91B24085DF5

And now there is a book about drag queens aimed at children. It is a story book about a child becoming a drag queen. This does not break down homophobia but it does break down the boundaries in a child’s mind between what is acceptable and healthy behaviour and what is not.

The onstage behaviour of drag queens is not something I support at all. Put that to one side and consider the level of hypersexualised behaviour and drug misuse in the private lives of the men who perform drag. This is not something to OK in the minds of children. In my post Gay Is Not Always Gay, I wrote about how some odd behaviours and attitudes are seen as normal among gay boys and young men that lead to depression and suicide.

Holding drag queens up as role models for children is dangerous. Children look up to their heroes’ personal lives as well as their professional lives. So do many adults. Children have access to social media, so when a drag queen called Flow Job went to read stories in a Scottish school at the start of this year, children accessed Flow Job’s social media accounts that showed their new role model posing with sex toys, in sexual positions and his hands around the throat of a waxwork of the Queen.

Who is pushing Drag Queen Story Time? No gay person I know. The only people I have seen pushing Drag Queen Story Time are middle class heterosexual women who want to be seen as having “the right ideas” by their middle class heterosexual friendship group. The Scottish MP Mhairi Black also defended Flow Job and his friend. Mhairi Black – like many – started out with the best intentions when she became the youngest MP in the UK Parliament. She stood up for the working class and marginalised and was someone to cheer.

The vast majority of LGBT people see Drag Time Story Hour as a really bad idea and totally unsuitable for children. There are many other LGBT role models for children. For example, their own school teachers who they know, love and respect. Instead of Drag Queen Story Hour, to show children – and everyone else – that LGBT people are normal people, we could introduce them to our LGBT politicians and charity workers.

Flow Job was invited to a school as part of LGBT History Month. Instead, the school could have taught history. Many Roman emperors were gay or bisexual, and two were trans. Famous poets and authors such as Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde and Virginia Wolf were gay or bisexual. Children could have learnt real history and great works of literature in LGBT History Month, and learned that LGBT people can lead nations and empires and produce great works that are admired globally.

The children could have learned about the female couple who rescued children from Anders Brevik. They could have learned about the lesbian and bisexual women rescuing migrants from drowning on the coasts of Greek islands. They could have learned about Angelina Jolie’s films and her work with survivors of abuse in war zones. They could have learned about Michael Stipe (front man of REM) and his success as one of the top people in music as well as his charity work.

Employing drag queens for LGBT History Month is a cheap cop out, a virtue signal and frankly an insult to the many great and successful LGBT heroes of our time and our past.

Drag Queen Story Hour belittles children who will grow up to be LGBT. Drag Queen Story Hour as LGBT “representation” gives a fixed and narrow view of what being LGBT is. It could harm the development of LGBT young people so that they will either force themselves into a small box or they will not accept themselves as LGBT because they do not fit into a small box.

Drag queens are a small niche within LGBT. It is time to stop giving drag queens so much airtime on TV and social media. There are many more LGBT people producing much better work and doing much more worthwhile things – things that benefit the whole of humanity. Let’s raise our standards again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Happened to Transvestites?

Something I have noticed recently is that I have not seen nor heard anything about transvestites for a long time. I had to think hard. Perhaps five years ago was when I last saw adverts in dating columns for gay men where a man in his 60s said he was “TV”, and it was several years ago that Audrey in Coronation Street dated a transvestite.

A transvestite is someone who dresses as the opposite sex but have no desire to be the opposite sex. They are not transsexuals. Most transvestites are men. They do not want to be seen as women, but simply as men with another side to them.

Most men who cross dress live and work as very “masculine” men; construction workers, police officers, carpenters. They have an emotional need, often rooted in childhood, that requires an outlet or expression and they found that wearing women’s clothes gives them this emotional outlet.

For most men, cross dressing starts in childhood around the age of six. At first, cross dressing triggers sexual arousal and so the boys cross dress more. The feelings of sexual arousal diminish but the habit of cross dressing has been imprinted onto the boy’s mind. Many boys and men push cross dressing into the back of their mind as they seek girlfriends and wives and to move on with their lives.

Some men cross dress in adulthood to relieve stress or to simply be someone else for a short period of time. Some men can continue to keep themselves from cross dressing if their emotional needs from childhood are met through friendships or healthy relationships with women, but some men find themselves consumed with guilt and shame about their urges to cross dress that more problems build up for them.

These men tend to cross dress in secret, and only tell their wife when they are in utter despair. Women react in many different ways when they find their husband has any secret. For this reason and many others, transvestites have their own support groups.

F7C04E92-8FE3-44A4-8942-D819A11ADF34

I was quite surprised to find that the emotional need of cross dressing has been medicalised as Transvestic Disorder. However, research shows most cross dressers do not have this condition. Transvestic Disorder is diagnosed when people who cross dress find their urges to cross dress interfere with their work life, ability to concentrate, has OCD traits and more. It is treated with fluoxetine (Prozac).

I think medicalising what is essentially an emotional issue is dangerous and makes people life long patients. This benefits the pharmaceutical companies, not the person who is suffering.

I believe the same is true with people who have depression, anxiety, gender dysphoria and other conditions based on emotional instability. These conditions can be severe in people, as they were in me, but they can be overcome.

Having had the above issues, I know that cognitive behavioural therapy works. CBT is based on the theory of three legs holding up a stool; thoughts, feelings and behaviour. If you change just one element, the other two change. If you change your behaviour, your thoughts and feelings change. If you change your thoughts, your behaviour and feelings change.

CBT is extremely affective for people who are serious about changing their lives and recovering from trauma or other issues. You can access CBT online and through books available at the library or through any online book store.

Transvestitism is not transsexualism, but there is a fear that people who may simply want to cross dress – especially children – would be pushed towards care for transsexualism and gender reassignment treatment and surgery.

I do believe we need to be very careful with how we view ourselves and others, and not seek a life long medical solution when there are other successful and short term solutions to what are in essence emotional issues.

Having known many female cross dressers, it is a shame that I cannot write more on female cross dressers, but reliable research simply is not there. Most females I knew who cross dressed did have gender dysphoria and now do not and so do not cross dress any longer. In some ways, it is much easier for females to cross dress because in western societies, women wear trousers and jeans just as men do, but with different styles and cuts. I used to wear unisex clothes, and like some of my female friends, I wore my boyfriend’s jacket, which was a gift to me. I might wear unisex clothes again in the future. I find I go through blocks of years of wearing different styles of clothes. I also have to face facts that as an older woman with a rounder body, unisex clothes no longer look great on me!

Whatever happens with how you present and your emotional stability, make sure you deal with any issues so that you are happy and able to thrive.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Proud

What makes you proud of yourself? What is it about you that makes you proud?

In a discussion panel with Maajid Nawaz and Damien Le Bas (that can be found on youtube), Douglas Murray said the following:

“I’m proud to be a woman. Good for you.

I’m proud to be a man. Bigot.

I’m proud to be Black. Good for you.

I’m proud to be white. Bigot.”

In this, Murray was showing the inequalities in how we value different groups of people in the UK, and how this is not sustainable.

As I have previously said, I tick a number of boxes, and I am proud of none of them. I am not ashamed, but I am not proud, just like I am not proud of having dark hair. The way I am born or the way I am due to incidence are not achievements. They are simply immutable characteristics. I have done nothing to gain them.

Reggie Yates followed some white supremacists in England. They were all working class or underclass people. They said how proud they were to be English. He asked them why they are proud of a country that has not provided them with a good education nor good jobs. They live in crime riddled areas and have a lower life expectancy than middle class UK citizens. Why are they proud of a country that has done just the bare minimum for them?

The right wing nationalists had been born in England. Being English was an immutable characteristic for them. They had not chosen to be English, nor had they done anything to achieve being English.

England does have a wonderful history, as do the other nations of the Union; Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We have rich stories and histories, amazing languages, quirky characters and stunning landscapes. There is so much to love about England. However, how can one be proud of being English unless one has contributed to England?

Nurses, refuse collectors, fire fighters, teachers, youth workers, countryside rangers and more contribute to England and the other nations of the Union. They build the nation in ways we can be proud of.

F16BAD6B-4AF5-4868-B35F-291DCF6455FC

GK Chesterton said that if people don’t believe in God, they will believe in anything. A lot of British people are bored, with little direction in life and few ambitions. People have not filled what in the 90s was called The God-Shaped Hole in their lives, and so are looking for some way to fill their lives and give their lives meaning. Some have stumbled across identity politics such as white nationalism or third wave feminism or some other cause that claims to provide all the answers while actually doing little but harming the psyche of anyone involved in it.

As said in the conversation between Nawaz, Le Bas and Murray, group dynamics always go to the lowest common denominator. I read zero books on feminism. Twenty years ago at university, I had to read and write essays on “Women”. I did what I needed to pass the course and excused myself for the lectures and focussed on my dissertation (on the treatment of heroin addiction) instead because the lectures were all about how terrible men were, what victims women are and the books were no better. It was divisive, victim mentality nonsense that I certainly did not recognise from the real world. I tried to read the books on women’s rights, but the vast majority of the material was on men being rapists and details of rapes, rather than on successful women and how other women can be successful. I tried to read more books on feminism in the following years, and found the literature to be exactly the same: all men were violent rapists and all women were victims. What an awful way to view men, and what an awful way to view women.

In identity politics, women’s rights always focus on men being abusers and BAME rights always focus on colonialism.

In no way am I say abuse and colonialism are not important and have impacted millions of lives in the UK and around the world. What I am saying is there is a lot more to women than being victims of abuse, and there’s a lot more to BAME people than colonialism. When we make blanket statements about groups, we squash the individual. We squash all hopes and aspirations. We limit people. We limit ourselves.

Are you bored? Are you directionless? There are many good causes to get involved with that are positive and unite people. Look around your local area and abroad for projects and activism to get involved with, whether it is ending homelessness or sponsoring a child.

Then think about what you want for your own life. What do you enjoy? What do you love? Put labels to the side and think about you and what you want to achieve. Are you a Black person who wants to play classical violin? Are you a woman who wants to be an electrician? Are you a disabled person who wants to scale Everest? Are you a gay man who wants to be a builder? Whatever your ambition, go for it.

I am a middle aged woman who has gone back to my love for nature and started volunteering on a farm. I work alongside the other volunteers, have tea breaks with them and come away feeling like I have done something for my local community that will be there after I have gone.

Build a life for yourself and contribute to something bigger than yourself with likeminded people. You will find fun and community when you find your people. Find what it is that you can do and achieve, that you can look back at jn years to come and feel proud.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Years And Years: What Makes You Special?

One issue that stood out to me in Years And Years was that of Bethany and her transhuman identity.

When we first meet Bethany in the first episode, it was clear she was depressed. She was in bed and mostly uncommunicative. She also had a strange relationship with her parents. She fact checked her mother using the Señor system, and texted her parents to say she wanted to have a meeting with them on Saturday when her parents were sat right in front of her.

Bethany used a filter over her face to hide her face, which was permanently sad, and the filter altered her voice to that of a babyish coo. It was unsettling to watch.

In the last episode, we see Bethany say that if her technological implants are removed, she would just be Bethany. Her aunt said there was nothing wrong with Bethany. Bethany asked how her aunt would know anything about her because her aunt had hardly spent any time with her.

We see another character pouring love onto one child and almost ignoring her other child. The ignored child went into petty crime and joyriding, which had devastating effects on their council estate.

20 years ago, I had a client in a homeless person’s hostel who had a hair fetish. He had a hair fetish because he had an unnaturally close relationship with his mother, and she used to get him to brush her hair for extended periods of time every night. My colleague said, “We never know the effects we will have on our children.”

I do agree to an extent. However, we have social norms for a reason. Humanity has tried and tested positive outcomes for people. There are outliers, but in the main, we know what is best for children and adults and each person’s development. We know the boundaries parents should have with their children. We know that neglected children will find other things to fill the love deficit in their life; friends, sexual relationships, addiction, TV, computer games, religion, hobbies, school. Some of these things are positive and build the child up. Some are negative and destructive.

Bethany was neglected to an extent by her parents who were busy with their careers.  She sought for something to give her life meaning, and to bring her attention that she lacked from her parents. Being transhuman was what she turned to. Bethany put all her self worth into becoming part machine. She thought she was nothing without her upgrades.

We see this in so many people today. I have mentioned this in my blog post about anti-fragility. Many people today think that putting a label on themselves such as asperger’s or anxiety makes them more interesting. Many of these people do not have the conditions they claim to have. They may have traits, but not the condition itself and no formal diagnosis. Douglas Murray has commented how on a first date, someone may say, “I have bipolar” but no one would ever say “I have schizophrenia”. People are aware of what severe mental health conditions garner sympathy and which mental health conditions cause people to run a mile.

It has been said by many commentators that in all of human history, we have valued heroism but in recent years we have begun to value victimhood. Jordan Peterson said that Lord Of The Rings would not have been a success if Frodo had said he was too weak to take the Ring to Mordor and told Gandolf to go and fulfil the quest instead. We love Lord Of The Rings because we see a small, normal person go and do something amazing.

I tick several boxes. Disabled, working class, LGBT, female, a minority within the Christian faith as a Celtic Christian. I could live my life bowing down to these labels, and let the labels define me.

However, I built a life full of meaning and excitement for myself. I worked in crazy jobs with the most marginalised in society; homeless people and survivors of abuse. I worked with serious offenders. I volunteered to do first aid on the streets. I travelled across Morocco by jeep and camel, I was followed by a bear on a mountain in Canada. I am into modern folk music and work at music festivals. I cycle and walk distances. I write fiction, knit and embroider.

Until I got my current job, I worked in various care homes. One eighteen year old care worker asked me if I had children. No. She had three. She asked what I had done with my life. I told her. She kept saying “wow”. I told her she could have great times, too. I told her I do not come from money. I worked hard and was able to go and do what I wanted. Having children is an amazing thing. The problem is in poorer areas of England, women and girls do not think about choices. They do not think about having great experiences before having children. They do not conceive of a life beyond their housing estate. As children they go to the failing school on their housing estate and as adults they go to work at the care home on their housing estate. There is a poverty of expectations.

I can imagine that for many people who feel trapped and unloved that putting a label on themselves to garner sympathy and status is appealing.

I did go to the best schools in Blackpool. It offered fantastic academic teaching, but also great social and welfare teaching. I remember in my final year being taught about a couple who worked in hotels during the winter months and then went travelling during the summer months. That was taught. The school taught us to think wider than most students were.

I was lucky that my church youth club leaders got together and talked about what they wanted for me and my friends. They came up with putting us through The Duke Of Edinburgh Award scheme. This meant we learned skills such as first aid and we were left alone to read a map, camp overnight and find our way to the end of the trail where our leaders were waiting for us. Each week we did circuit training and passed a standard test, we volunteered in our local community and learned a skill. For us we learned table tennis. We went on regular hikes and camping weekends.

7D75C865-DD4F-43A7-8E39-8FD953DF90B4

I had also been in Brownies and Guides, where I learned to do all sorts of things for myself such as making a fire from wood and stones, cooking food over the fire and woodcrafts. It was a natural progression for me to work at festivals, especially folk festivals where hands on skills are shared and promoted.

While I don’t cling to labels, my faith underpins everything in my life. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s artwork with things we are supposed to do for God planned for us to do before we were born. The Bible tells us God knew us before we were born and has a unique and interesting life planned for each of us. We can choose to say yes to the interesting life, and we can choose to say no. I prefer to say Yes to having an interesting life.

I am not rich. I still work six days per week. I do not have many relatives. I have no financial back up from family because my parents and sister are violent thugs who I have decided to have no more contact with. I find cheap ways to do what I want to do. After working in frontline services for 20 years, I now work online. This means I am able to work at festivals as well as working in my usual job. I can travel to see friends and work while I am there. I am very lucky. When I was working in frontline jobs for little pay, I found that volunteering at events, camping and travelling by the Megabus kept my costs down.

Some of my friends have had amazing adventures without spending much money such as the guy who cycled through France every year. He stayed at the same villages every summer and the locals came to love him and looked forward to seeing him every year.

I read a gay woman’s diary of cycling through the mountains of Pakistan. She said she had no problems, everyone she met welcomed her and thought it was great that a British woman had chosen their little known region for her holiday.

I remember watching an interview with the British man who had swapped up. He had started with 1p, and went on ebay to see what he could get for 1p. He bought three goldfish. He then went online every day to swap up. He swapped the goldfish for something more valuable economically, and he kept swapping up until he ended up with a lot of land in Eastern Europe that he sold for £10000.

Life is as interesting as we make it. With the internet, the world really is at our fingertips. Whatever your start in life, you can take charge of your life and make your life interesting. You can be special as you are.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment