Battlestar Gallactica: Torture, A Fair Trial and Our Emotions

What do we do when someone is beyond the pale? What do we do with someone who has committed monstrous crimes? What do we do when someone has information that will save lives and refuses to detail the information?

This is something I struggle with, having worked with serious offenders, serial offenders who have no remorse, having worked with survivors of sexual abuse and having worked with people who could have saved lives but chose not to, I do struggle with this, and most of the time, I am against the death penalty, but if I’m in a bad mood and thinking of the lasting damage that has been inflicted on the lives of clients or people I know well such as friends who have survived genocides, I do move to thinking the electric chair – a horrific death – is the best way forward and the only answer.

I am human. I am not perfect. Although my emotions are very much limited by a condition of the brain, I still do have feelings, but as Ben Shapiro says, facts don’t care about your feelings.

There are some things that are wrong. They are simply wrong. They go against human nature, they go against civil thought and they go against any notion of personal liberty and freedom from tyranny.

People around the world envy the West for our laws and our less corrupt governments that interfere less with people’s lives. People around the world envy our criminal justice system, the fact we outlawed torture and state murder. This is one of the reasons so many people want to come to the West – we have created a better society. Through centuries of wars, hardship, studying, learning, listening, we have created a better society. The wokenistas say “Do better”. We have to do better than Egypt or Iran or North Korea, and we have to be better.

Battlestar Gallactica’s second and third series pose serious questions. When the Cylon was tortured and raped multiple times and another Cylon was about to be raped, it was said, “You can’t rape a machine.” As in it was open season on any Cylon female. Again, I look at the people we think are different from us, who we think don’t feel and experience life the way we do. People from some African nations go through the most appalling tragedies and seem to cope fine. Do they experience life in the way a Westerner does? From what I know from friends, they do, but in some cultures such as Rwandan, people are not allowed to show any sort of sadness at all in public, therefore their ability to experience life as Westerners does seems in question, unless you know that your friend has left the room so that they can cry.

The English version of the sci fi drama Humans showed a female robot being used by a group of teenage boys at a party and a lead female character walks out, disgusted. Whether we view other people the same as us or not – and I hope we hold all lives dear – it is about us. It is about our intentions, it is about our heart, it is about our morality and it is the kind of person we want to be. If we harm another person, it damages us. It lessens us. If we act in self-defence, that is another thing, but to deliberately harm another person without care because they are different to us, that says how inhuman we are.

Night time in prisons are not easy places to be because the male and the female inmates cry about what they have done. I was working with a group of men, and one was an alcoholic who went to the pub every morning and came home every night. Then the road rage murder committed by Kenneth Noye, a former gangster, hit the news, and the older alcoholic man came into my office, crying. His mind was flooded with all the things he was trying to block out with alcohol, all the terrible things he had done to others when he had been involved in the East End gangland world. Every day, he came to my office and sat at the side of my desk. He spent most of the day, every day, crying. I kept him in tea and biscuits and offered support when he needed it, and I got him into a care home that would treat him decently.

What people have done does hit them, and I do think “good”. We do all have to deal with our decisions, and the more severe the harm we have caused, the worse the personal outcome is for the offender.

I wondered for a long time why the guards at Guantanamo Bay put gas masks on the detainees. I realised why. It was so that when the detainees were in emotional or physical pain because they had been tortured or beaten or held for over a year, four years, without a trial, the gas mask hides the detainee’s face and muffles their voice. It is easier to inflict pain on someone if you can’t see their face or hear their voice.

Battlestar also raises the question of whether or not a person accused of treason, collaborating with an occupying enemy and ordering mass murder of civilians should receive a fair trial. I lived in Belgium at the start of the commemorations of the two world wars. I went to museums to see how Belgian people lived under occupation. Coming from the UK, which was never occupied in the Second World War, I have to say that even being in a museum and reading about the ways in which people in Belgium had to live under occupation was different. There was a really nasty feeling, an atmosphere of uncertainty even in the museum.

No one knows how they are going to react in a situation until they are in that situation. In Battlestar, Gaius Baltar was elected President and settled the remainder of the human population on a planet, away from the spaceships they had been in, and then the Cylons found them and occupied the planet. Baltar gave in and collaborated with the Cylons, although he was more of a hostage than collaborator, with a gun held to his head so that he would sign death warrants.

As Beast/Hank Mccoy in the second X-Men film asked, “Is it cowardice to want to protect oneself from persecution?”

At first, the new President, Laura Roslin, doesn’t want Baltar to have a trial, but decided it must go ahead for morality’s sake. At the trial, it was shown that everyone hated Baltar for personal reasons as well as for his alleged collaboration during the occupation. It is said at his trial that everyone else has been forgiven. People have been forgiven for being part of the civilian police, people have been forgiven for harsh military decisions to abandon the people on the planet, people have been forgiven for murder, for sending suicide bombers to murder Cylons and collaborators, for shooting down a vessel with over 1000 civilian passengers, so why was Baltar the only person who was not forgiven, and the only person on trial?

All the shame of what everyone had done in the continuing war, in the occupation, all the anger, all the pain was being placed on one man. The scapegoat. The term “scapegoat” comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of a goat having all the pain and guilt of a year’s sin placed on it, and the goat is sent out of the town to the wilderness to die. The painting by Holman Hunt illustrates this, and Christians believe that Jesus became the scapegoat for the sin of the whole world for all time when He died on the cross. The scapegoat – all guilt, sin and wrong doing placed on one person so that everyone else can be seen as blameless.

Today in society and on social media, we see trial by the mob and mob justice. We see protests causing teachers to lose their job and even have to go into hiding with their whole family. We see sexual harassment and even a bad date tried and judged on social media by people who don’t know all the facts, who weren’t there when the incident took place and have no evidence. Lives are ruined.

I do believe in the law. I do believe our laws in the UK need to be upheld more than they are by the police, by the courts and by the prisons. The UK could be a truly great place if we aspire to uphold the values that set us apart from so many other nations, and that does mean setting our feelings to one side and letting the facts speak, no matter how difficult that may be to us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Battlestar Gallactica – Good Leaders and Bad Leaders

When I think of good bosses I’ve had, I think of Barry; a 25 year veteran of the job who had worked directly for the UK government in the field as well as for the private company that we worked for together. Barry was kind. Barry was hardworking. Barry gave me gentle guidance or gentle admonishments when I screwed up. Barry never shouted. Barry was never cruel or demeaned anyone. Barry sat and listened to workers or clients. Barry gave professional reassurance to a worker who was constantly worried about their legal status in the UK. Barry told jokes, even jokes at his own expense. Barry was the best.

Series 2 of Battlestar Gallactica shows us two styles of leadership aboard two battleships whose captains both believe they are alone in the universe in the war between humans and the Cylon machines. In Series 1, we meet Adama, the commander of the Battlestar Gallactica. He is a fair man, but his personal life is difficult especially in his strained relationship with his remaining son. His other son had died in an enemy attack, and Adama finds that Starbuck had passed his deceased son as a fighter pilot when in reality he was not fit for the role. Starbuck had done this because she had been engaged to the younger son and hadn’t wanted to disappoint him by turning him down for the role. When Adama finds that his son died when he shouldn’t have been in a cockpit, he is clearly outraged, but he doesn’t lose it with Starbuck. She knows how he feels about her because of her poor decision, but she is never harmed verbally or in any other way by Adama. He tells her to do a better job as instructor to trainee pilots. He lost his son but he didn’t lose it. This says so much about Adama and his love for his crew members as individuals.

Enter Admiral Cain, the commander of the Battlestar Pegasus that finds the Gallactica when following enemy co-ordinates. Admiral Cain rules her ship with fear and punishment. She shot her second in command in the head in front of the rest of the command team because he refused to carry out an order that he believed would risk the life of everyone on board the ship. Cain found out her girlfriend was a Cylon and gave her crew permission to beat, rape and torture the Cylon over a period of weeks. Cain believed that any kindness shown to her crew would cause their downfall and deaths.

The Cylon escapes from the prison and shoots Cain in the head. The Cylon is helped to escape and joins the Peace Movement.

Adama becomes Admiral after Cain’s death. He appoints the second in command of The Pegasus – the one who succeeded the shot second in command – and this guy has a lot more morals, but is murdered due to his black market connections. The next captain appointed to The Pegasus was the engine room boss Carter. He’s great with machines but not with people nor command, so he added to a terrible situation that killed many of The Pegasus’ crew, but he did pull it out of the bag when he gave his life in the exploding engine room to save the rest of the crew.

Cain had been a dictatorial leader. Cain thought she was invincible. She ruled with an iron fist and made sure there was no competition for her role as captain and admiral. As such, Cain had not trained anyone to succeed her if she died or became seriously ill. Cain did not trust her crew. She showed no compassion, she showed no loyalty. She did have favourites, who were both female. Starbuck became her favourite officer when Cain forced Adama to mix the crews of The Pegasus and The Gallactica together. Cain’s influence on Starbuck made hard hearted and divisive for a period of time.

Adama’s son Lee takes over the captaincy of The Pegasus. Lee is keen to change the way that The Pegasus’ staff think and work – the whole culture that Cain instilled was corrupt, violent and destructive. Lee is keen to change all of that.

At one point in my social care career, I worked both for a private company with homeless people, and also in the NHS. The NHS ward manager (matron) divided the staff team into the people she liked and the people she did not like. Half of the team spent a weekend at her house and the other half of the team did not – the half I was on. When I raised concerns about staff shouting things like “fucking p*** bastard” in reference to an Asian man, I was the one who was told off.

When I raised concerns about the less popular patients being neglected – to the point where one patient who was not supposed to be under my care had hair matted with dead skin, obviously she had not been showered properly for weeks, and I took a bowl of warm water and a comb and spent two hours combing all the dead skin out of her hair, as well as daily bullying of all ward staff by one senior nurse, which included not helping us with patients when we needed help – I was the one who was threatened with false allegations of abuse being made against me, that I would do jail time and I would never work again.

A student nurse said that she did not know how to work with mental health patients and was scared of them. Instead of giving her assistance to develop skills, the ward manager said, “Oh I can’t stand nutters.” The majority of the staff team were simply unpleasant people. They were bitchy and jealous, they made fun of Black agency workers and their names, they made fun of the ward’s social worker for having larger breasts and wearing high heels, they were aggressive and spoke of violence they had committed or wanted to commit, they slated their husbands and one was even open about being accused by a doctor of harming her child.

Compare that with the private company I worked for at the same time, where I worked alone on night shift, or alongside a well functioning and highly skilled and tight-knit team during day shifts. All the staff got on, they all had their roles, they all had their specialisms, and my specialism in complex mental health and rehab was respected. Everyone was focussed on their work. There was no gossip, no backbiting. When one worker quit suddenly for personal reasons, the team spokesperson said to the manager, “We don’t want to know what’s going on. We just want to know he’s alright.” The manager even asked my opinion about candidates who were being interviewed for the vacant job roles. The staff were keen to foster an atmosphere of trust between workers and clients, and to treat everyone with respect.

Many of our clients had no family, and we became their family. We had a worker in her 60s who had opened some of the best services in the UK and fulfilled a grandmother role, we had an ex police officer in his 50s who fulfilled a father figure role, and the rest of us were in our 20s and 30s and were like cousins to our clients. Every client counted. No one was a favourite. Everyone had equal time spent with workers, even the clients who were more self-sufficient.

Which workplace sounds like the most fun for you? Which one sounds more ethical? Which one sounds like a place you would want to work? Which sounds like it leaves the best impact on a patient’s or client’s life?

When I think about great bosses, inspirational people, people I want to emulate, I do not think about the NHS staff I worked with. I think about the staff and managers of private company I worked for, and I think of Barry. Those are the people I want to be like. I hope I can be like them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Battlestar Gallactica – The Last Non-Woke Sci Fi Series

I never saw Battlestar Gallactica when it was on TV 20 years ago, so I have used lockdown as a chance to catch up on this fantastic sci-fi show. I saw The Critical Drinker’s Youtube on The Expanse, another sci-fi show, and I noted that the Drinker said that one of the great things about The Expanse was it wasn’t woke. Race, sexual orientation and sex don’t matter. The Expanse just tells great stories. I wanted to see a similar show, and Battlestar did not disappoint.

Battlestar Gallactica is set thousands of years into the future, and sees the re-emergence of a war between humans and machines. The main character, Admiral Adama, is Hispanic. The communications officer Dewalle is Black – possibly a nod to Uhura from Star Trek, an expert pilot Sharon is Korean, the tactical officer Gaeta is Hispanic, and none of them ever refer to their racial backgrounds. They are simply fine officers doing an amazing job.

Several main characters are LGB but again, there is no reference to this because none of the characters would even think to refer to sexual orientation. The same is with the sex of the characters. Female officers must be able to physically do the same as male officers, including having the physical strength to pilot aircraft under 6G force.

Starbuck aka Kara Thrace is butch, she works out but is also curvy, she boxes, she plays cards, smokes cigars and loves men. She is an abuse survivor who has built up a career as the best pilot in the fleet. She is respected and she is loved. I can’t help but think that if many girls struggling with what it is to be a girl or woman see Starbuck, they would not struggle so much. Starbuck’s life as a woman is never questioned.

With identity politics not playing any part in Battlestar Gallactica, the series is free to explore true science fiction. True science fiction asks us what it means to be human. When the Cylons – the enemy robots – experiment with cloning and create Cylons that look like humans, we are then asked what is humanity. Does a Cylon think they can love, or can they really love? What is a Cylon’s life worth if they believe they are so similar in all ways to humans, if they believe they can love, they can have morality, they are very much alive? Do they feel and think and love as we do, or are they simply not the same as us? This question has been asked throughout human history and is still asked today.

When Helo falls in love with a Cylon – who has been a sleeper agent in the military for several years, and he loved her long before he realised she was a Cylon – Battlestar explores what it is to be in a mixed relationship, with someone who is from a different background to yourself. We see Helo’s girlfriend become the mother of his child. She is terrified for her life and for the life of her baby. She knows that she is not seen as equal, and she fears she never will be. She is an outsider in her husband’s world. No matter what she does to save humans and destroy other Cylons, she might never be seen as trustworthy.

When it is discovered that this Cylon is pregnant, the president decides the baby cannot live. We see the military take a woman to the hospital for the termination of the baby she wants and loves. We know that this has been done throughout history to women who weren’t deemed good enough to have children, or women from a hated minority.

It is not the love that normally abounds and directs all action aboard Battlestar Gallactica that saves the baby, but the baby’s use for medical science instead. Without an overt reference, we are pushed towards issues such as stem cell treatment, keeping life living because of its use to those who are already fully formed humans. The doctor, who is often the voice of reason in a straight-talking way, is the one who says that stem cell treatment from a human-Cylon baby is unnatural and he doesn’t like it.

Battlestar is not in your face. It explores many issues without directly referring to them. It uses the characters’ storylines to show, not tell, and provides a rich environment for storytelling. In Battlestar, the story is not about skin colour or sexual attraction. The story is the story, and it’s a very good story indeed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stripping Back The Strip Clubs

Bristol has done it and now Blackpool is doing it; getting rid of the strip and lap dance clubs.

Good.

I grew up in Blackpool and I returned for health reasons to live with my family when I was in my early 20s. I saw as an adult what I had simply accepted as a child.

When I arrived at university at the age of 18, a committed Christian, I freaked people out by the things I said. Luckily, a member of the Christian Union who was a year older than me who was also from Blackpool and a friend of a friend took me under his wing and helped me become more normal-people-friendly.

My first few weeks at university were especially confusing for me. I had moved to a major city, and there were no big lights, no flashing signs anywhere, and only three nightclubs. The city was also very safe, very safe, for anyone to walk around, and there was no sexual behaviour in the streets, no roaming groups of men or women shouting sexual things at 10am and there was much less violence.

When I returned to Blackpool in 2003, there were 13 lap dance clubs in the town. I went to work at The Pleasure Beach – that is not a lap dance club, it is the name of the fairground park. I did have to spell that out to friends when I emailed because they were thinking, “Welcome to the Pleasure Dome!” I loved working at The Pleasure Beach. The management treated me very well and I was given responsibilities as well as having my health needs catered for. The staff and management really were good to me.

The problem was some of the clients, and this proportion grew in the summer months. Groups of men turning up drunk when we opened our doors at 11am, and saying sexually perverse things to our female staff. The men, and groups of women, would go into the fairground – where families were – and continue to drink and behave increasingly sexually and violent throughout the day until there were serious fights some nights in the bar or actually on the park, with people being glassed, knocked unconscious etc.

The Pleasure Beach had a large security team who all wore stab vests and carried hand held metal detectors. In our training week, we were trained in de-escalation, pressing the panic buttons, phoning for security and self-defence. For working at a fairground at minimum wage.

Having so many lap dance/strip clubs attracted stag and hen parties who behaved in the worst of ways, from street violence to sexual violence. The bus companies stopped all buses from going through the town centre during the summer months. A&E was full of people who had been assaulted or stabbed. I had friends who were doctors. One, when I showed her a particular nightclub said, “Oh, we have twenty assaults a night from there.” The police closed this nightclub on 63 counts of illegal activity, including sex on the dancefloor. When Sophie Ellis-Bexter released, “Murder On The Dancefloor” it caused much mirth in Blackpool.

Lap dance clubs are not harmless fun. A police report around ten years ago, put together by data collected by police forces from across the UK, showed that when a lap dancing club opened, the number of rapes in the surrounding streets shot up. Yes, sex workers such as lap dancers are sexually assaulted and raped more regularly than most will admit while they are employed in the sex industry, but also women who have nothing to do with the sex industry are targeted in the streets near lap dance clubs by men who have been in lap dancing clubs, who are turned on and want to put their penis inside a woman.

The sex industry – whether it is lap dancing, stripping, porn, prostitution – stops a person seeing others as humans, and instead sees them as things to use. Lap dance clubs are known as “Gentlemen clubs”. There is nothing gentlemanly about them.

The reason given by two male councillors in Blackpool for banning the lap dance clubs is the behaviour of the stag and hens who use the clubs and strippers’ services, the fact that families are being driven away from visiting the town, but also they are joining the White Ribbon movement, standing against violence against women.

It’s about time. Around the year 2006, Blackpool’s newspaper, The Evening Gazette, polled business owners, locals, visitors and others. The results were damning. Visiting families said they were appalled at the behaviour in the streets and were never coming back, over 60% visitors said they would never come back to Blackpool, locals hated the street violence, the smashed up bus stops and shop windows and the town centre being a no-go zone at certain times of the year.

The report also showed other grim realities. The number of murders was four times the national average, and Blackpool was either top or second in the whole of the UK for alcohol related deaths, suicides, sex offences, drug misuse and teen pregnancies. In fact, there was a documentary about the 30 year old grandmothers in Blackpool. Blackpool was either top or second for everything bad, for ruined lives.

For visitors who go to Blackpool for a knees up, a drunken weekend and a fumble around the lap dancing clubs, it’s a big laugh. They come, use the sex workers, and then go back to their normal lives after the weekend. For the people who actually live in Blackpool, life is not one big party. When the sex industry plays a heavy role in any place, prostitution follows, and with prostitution comes drug misuse, especially heroin and crack. Most prostitutes and 80% heroin users were abused in childhood, therefore have long term emotional or mental health needs. People with these backgrounds often can’t work, and so with very little support available are not able to live happy, healthy and harmonious lives.

Blackpool is the only place I have lived as an adult that I have never returned to. I left in 2007 and have never been tempted to visit friends or see how the town was getting on. I’ve seen news reports about the poverty and unemployment in Blackpool and the precarious nature of many people’s lives there.

Growing up in Blackpool affected me negatively. As I said before, I said things without knowing that scared other people who knew me. I was lucky that people understood and stuck by me and taught me how to relate to people in normal ways and leave the scary talk for therapy sessions.

As well as this, growing up around the sex industry fed into the gender dysphoria that I had had from the age of 9. As a teenager, I saw women used as objects, women used as sexual servants, I saw women being used by men and women in the most disgusting of ways. Of course I did not want to be a victim like all these women, and they were victims. No sex worker is in control. They say they are while they are in the industry. Sex workers have to say how great their job is otherwise they will lose their job, and most do not have a good education or CV. They would be unemployable so remain trapped in the sex industry.

I saw the mess these women made of their lives, I saw how men called all the shots in reality, I saw how women degraded themselves for money and put up with being called all sorts of names by the “Gentlemen”. Of course I did not want to be a woman. I wanted to be a man.

I also saw nothing wrong with viewing those women as objects. Women were working in the sex industry, they wanted to be seen as objects while they were working, so I thought there was nothing wrong in seeing them as objects. As a teenager, I had the most appalling views about women because of what I saw in the street from the lap dancers and their promotion events and posters. It is only because of my faith that my views on women changed. I realised I could not reconcile how I viewed women with what the Bible says about women. I could not reconcile my belief that we are all created in the image of God with what the sex industry taught me about women. I had help at my LGBT Christian Bible study group for my warped views, and I am so thankful. I now have female friends and I see them as valid people, not subhuman.

My sister was three years younger than me. By the age of 15, she was sleeping around and was on first name terms with the GUM clinic staff. She had been a cocaine addict at 12 and bulimic at 15. She was getting involved with prostitution, so at the age of 15, my parents sent her to live with her 31 year old boyfriend in London. My sister became friends with some women in their local pub. These women took my sister under their wing and took her to buy some clothes. They asked my sister why she was wearing “summer clothes” in October. My sister thought it was normal to wear hot pants and a bra top for normal every day life, even in the English Autumn.

My classmates, as I said in a previous post, were all dating men in their 20s when my classmates were 14. Several were pregnant by the age of 16. At sixth form college, several of us counted over 20 of our friends who had had three kids by three different men by the age of 18. The effect on girls growing up where there is a booming sex industry is that they see themselves as only valid for what they can do in bed. We went to a wonderful school with some of the best teachers offering one of the best educations in the area. We had opportunities that most girls would never have, and a sizeable portion chose instead pregnancy and a revolving door of boyfriends.

One girl in my class was a prostitute at the age of 14. She was brought into school four days in a row by the head of year, and after that we never saw her again. That is another thing people forget; where there is a booming sex industry, there is a booming industry that uses children. When I worked with abuse survivors in 2008, I was handed a report about sexual abuse of children in all UK seaside resorts. Apparently, seaside resorts attract people who go to the resorts with the sole purpose of abusing children.

The male councillors in Blackpool who are behind the lap dance clubs being closed refer to them and any other such like establishment as “sexual entertainment venues”. Sexual entertainment. Strangers’ bodies are entertainment.

Blackpool council have also decided to limit the number of porn shops to one. Good. When I left Blackpool in 2007, there were many porn shops. With the view of harm reduction, I hope that the one porn shop left in Blackpool will be fully licensed as a porn shop. This means what they sell is tightly regulated, so yes, there is some gross material allowed, but nowhere near as gross and scary as the porn that anyone can access with a quick internet search.

Some say that if lap dance clubs are closed, they will simply go underground. They already are. Women are pushed to do things they don’t want to do, sexual assaults are common place, drug use is normal as are the mental health issues that arise from taking part in the sex industry.

There is a petition on Change.org to try to stop the lap dance clubs from closing. The people behind this petition have no idea about the misery the lap dance clubs cause to the women who work in them, to the women who are raped in the near by streets, to the women and girls who live in a sex industry-soaked environment, nor the effect on boys and girls attracted to women in a sex industry-soaked environment. The cost to society and to individuals’ lives is far too high.

I grew up in Blackpool and returned to live there as an adult. I wish that Blackpool had never allowed the short term gains to be the sex industry. I saw so many lives destroyed. My life was deeply affected, my sister’s life was deeply affected. I had a chat with a famous person who grew up in a suburb near Blackpool, and I asked him, “So, you’re from the Blackpool area. Any mental health conditions? Any addictions?” He laughed because he knew exactly what I was talking about. We had a natter about his work and he gave me a big hug.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Danger of Saying “Love Is Love”

Like many things that turn sour, they start out with good intentions, sometimes the very best of intentions.

When I was in Morocco, my tour guide who camped with us for the week, told me and the group that we might see older women with tattoos on their foreheads. He said that decades ago, it was decided that to protect women from kidnap (for forced marriage) or sexual assault, women should be tattoo’d on their foreheads with the name of their husband. This was a sign the woman was married and therefore not up for grabs of any kind. Then, in recent times, it was decided to stop this practice because it was against modern ways of thinking about women and men and women’s rights.

In fact, I never saw any woman in Morocco with a tattoo like this, but I did when I lived in Belgium. I lived in a multi ethnic area, and saw an elderly lady with a tattoo on her forehead.

The phrase “Love Is Love” and many phrases like it were formed and celebrated to throw off shackles of oppression and bigotry, especially towards LGBT people. It was meant with the best of intentions, and it was used by many LGBT people and LGBT groups.

However, some LGBT groups have stopped using this slogan and others like it, as have many LGBT people individually. The reason is that paedophiles have started using “Love is love” to justify their attraction to children, and their want or the actual practice of having relationships with children.

Several prominent LGBT vloggers and commentators such as Rose of Dawn have talked about how a new letter, P, is sneaking its way into the alphabet soup. P meaning “paedophile”.

LGBT people have worked tirelessly for decades to convince society that we are not paedophiles. We came to be accepted in society through our work as social workers, teachers and probation officers and through our lives as friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, sons, daughters. LGBT people pose no danger simply for being LGBT.

Two years ago, Amnesty International used “Love Is Love” and I said why it is wrong to use this phrase; notably that it is being hijacked, and the response to this was hundreds of people saying how homophobic I am, with a small number of LGBT people saying they agreed with me.

“Love Is Love” is being hijacked by people who want to have relationships with children. However, I also raise the question of what does “Love Is Love” actually mean? When my definition of love is different to your definition of love, and your definition of love is different to your best friend’s definitions of love, when everyone has a different definition of love, what does “Love Is Love” actually mean?

I then think back to my classmates when I was 14. Many were in relationships with men in their 20s. My sister at the age of 15 had a 31 year old boyfriend. All these girls said they loved their older boyfriends. Their boyfriends said they loved my sister and friends. Yes, this was all paedophilia and totally illegal in the UK, but the couple said they loved each other. So where does this leave the phrase “Love Is Love”?

The next example, I think back to are the homeless women clients I had who said they loved their boyfriends. Their boyfriends beat them, their boyfriends sexually assaulted them, but the women said they loved their boyfriends. Their boyfriends said they loved the women. Domestic violence is totally illegal under UK law, but these couples all said they loved each other, so again, where does this leave the phrase “Love Is Love”?

When we all have different definitions of what love is, it makes phrases like “Love Is Love” meaningless. When something is so nebulous and can mean anything, it is easy to hijack.

I had a friend who had low self confidence and was desperate for love. Her twin had died and she was lost without her twin. She had a girlfriend who mistreated her, I played my friend the song “I Follow You” by Amadou et Mariam, a wonderful song about devotion to partner or spouse. At the end of the song, I asked, “Is your relationship like that?” She said no, but she carried on being in the relationship because she was desperate for a partner, any partner. She was desperate to be loved. Her partner made wonderful speeches about how much she loved my friend, but her actions were anything but loving, and did include physical assault and depriving her of warm clothes in snowy weather.

Thankfully, after a year, my friend kicked her girlfriend to the kerb and got herself sorted in terms of self love and self esteem. She opened up to me about all the bad and horrendous situations she had gotten herself into with women and men because she had been so desperate for love. Her father had been a violent tyrant and her mother had had a severe nervous disorder and didn’t protect the children and had stopped hugging my friend and her twin when they were six years old. Looking for love, my friend had prostituted herself, she had gotten into cars with men who had driven her to remote places where she couldn’t run away and she had let partners do whatever they wanted to her. It really wasn’t good for her.

She built up her self esteem. She stopped craving other people’s attention. She stopped saying yes to anyone and everyone. She focussed on her business, on her hobbies, and on her relationship with God. She built up her self-respect and her love for herself.

When we think about love, we need to think about what we want. When we love ourselves, we have boundaries. When we love ourselves, we seek out people who respect us and who genuinely do want the best for us. This is part of what love is in my definition of love. We raise the bar.

I never expected to get married, so I had no expectations when a friend and I got together when I left another country. I divorced him because he decided to not get treatment for his mental health condition, so living with him was incredibly stressful, and his behaviour spilled over into behaviour against me I do not accept from anyone, such as shouting. I divorced him because I love myself, and while it is a shame, I feel no guilt nor any regret. I love myself and my standards are that only people who love me and respect me are welcome in my life.

Now that I have been married, I do have a tick list of what I want from a future husband if I were to marry again. My culture is important to me, so I would like a husband from a background similar to mine or at least a husband who takes an interest in my culture. A husband who pulls his weight with work hours and finance is on the list. A husband who has a heart for humanity and our fellow human beings is on the list.

As are Christian and bisexual, but they are on the “preferred characteristics” list. Basically, I value what the people I love value, and in turn, I want friends and a spouse who value what I value. To me, this is another part of the definition of love.

I work at several major folk events. Seven years ago, I turned to a work team mate and asked him which bands he was hoping to see. He said he wasn’t a folkie. His wife was, so he had come with her. I told him this was true devotion. Non-stop folk and traditional music, clog dancing and ceilidhs for five days, and he was putting himself through all that for his wife. Wow, that really is love!

God bless everyone xxx

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Racialising Stuff That Doesn’t Need To Be Racialised

I love Sesame Street, especially when I am watching it in another language. Watching Sesame Street, Teletubbies and Ultraman in other languages makes keeping up language practice as easy as ABC.

However, those who earn much more money than I do have decided that Sesame Street is too white and needs puppets of colour. Enter stage left Elijah and his son Wes to explain “hair texture” and “melanin”. This would be totally fine and understandable if Sesame Street was a hub of hatred for anyone beyond maika on the Dulex colour chart, but Sesame Street has always had a diverse cast of children and adults on the show. Sesame Street has also celebrated Black History Month since the 90s, even welcoming big names such as Lupita and Erykah Badu.

Also, as I said in my post Blasphemy And Satire, children just want to pick their nose, draw a picture and eat their crayons. Kids really don’t care about skin colour or hair texture. They certainly don’t care about melanin. Kids play with kids. Some kids do have questions, or even hesitations. The episode of Roseanne where Roseanne and Dan were called into the school by the teacher because TJ wouldn’t kiss the new girl in the school play, and the teacher assumed Dan and Roseanne were teaching racism at home. It turned out TJ just wasn’t used to Black people, and wasn’t sure about the girl’s lips because they were bigger, so Dan and Roseanne talked to him about his friend who had ginger hair and said differences were fine.

When I was in high school, we were all drawing a scene from Far East history, and I asked our Chinese classmate which way Chinese eyes go and which way Japanese eyes go because I had forgotten. She knew what I meant. There was a rhyme children said in primary school, and most English people over 40 can remember it. S said that their eyes don’t go up or down, and she showed me her eyes up close so I could see the shape. I thanked her and got on with my work. and she got on with hers. It was no big deal. It did not affect our friendship at all.

When The Muppets made a come back in the 90s, Kermit was interviewed in various magazines and on TV shows. He said, “We now have a Muppet of colour. His name is Clifford, he is a Rastafarian and he is purple.”

That was the thing with The Muppets and Sesame Street; the puppets were multicoloured. There was no assumption about the racial background of the puppets because they were red and green and blue and yellow and purple.

Over here in the UK, morning TV presenter Rochelle Humes presented a documentary on a health issue. Rochelle Humes has no medical qualifications. Rochelle is a lovely TV presenter and has always done a good job on morning TV. Presenting a heavily biased and carefully edited documentary on why Black women in the UK die at four times the rate as white women in the UK in the twelve weeks after childbirth is really beyond her, and the findings of her documentary show that.

The problem is also the timing. This documentary has been shown on UK TV (on Channel 4) several weeks after the official report with all its findings were released and reported on by BAME groups such as Tell Mama. I read the report findings when the report came out.

Rochelle Humes’ documentary blames racism for Black and Asian women dying in greater numbers than white women in the twelve weeks after giving birth or in childbirth itself. The fact that 80% midwives in the UK are Black Asian Minority Ethnic puts a spanner in the works of the idea that racism is the cause of these women’s deaths.

The report that came out at the beginning of this year showed that BAME women who gave birth were more likely than white women to be overweight or obese. BAME women were more likely to have diabetes and heart conditions. Anyone with any medical knowledge knows that it is more dangerous for a woman with diabetes to give birth, whatever her racial background. We all remember the 1980s films Steel Magnolias in which Julia Roberts’ character Shelby was told to not get pregnant because her diabetes would not be able to cope with a pregnancy. Shelby got pregnant and survived the birth, but her kidneys gave out and she was then on dialysis.

So diabetes is dangerous for pregnant women. It takes no cardiologist to say that giving birth while having a heart condition raises the risk of death. When BAME women have these two conditions at much higher rates than white women – mainly due to diet and lifestyle choices – then racism cannot be blamed for their personal choices,

What are the diet and lifestyle choices that cause BAME women to have higher levels of diabetes and heart conditions? The way food is cooked is a big factor. In many families of Pakistani background, for example, they are used to cooking food with a lot of fat. This of course leads to obesity, and thus diabetes and heart conditions.

A study out last year showed that 56% Black UK people got the recommended 150 minutes per week of exercise, and 55% Asian people (excluding Chinese) got the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, compared with 62% adults overall.

I have put on a lot of weight with lockdowns and lazy eating habits, so I have decided which foods I am cutting out of my diet and I am looking forward to the gyms reopening, plus with the days getting longer and warmer, I will be walking in the mountains very soon. I am concerned for my own health, so I am going to do something about it.

My gym – when it is open – is racially diverse, with many hijabi women working out, running on treadmills, lifting weights and generally being awesome. I cover up, and there is a lot of great sports wear out there now for women who want to cover up. I have even worked out next to older women in full abayas. Most of my Black friends are very fit and active, some are vegetarian and very health conscious. They also go walking in the English countryside regularly and don’t find it racist, as has been claimed by another TV presenter.

The other main factor in BAME women dying in the first twelve weeks after giving birth is domestic violence. If a woman chooses to live with a violent man, there is nothing anyone can do. When I worked with homeless people and I rehoused as many as I could, I could not help the women who I saw every couple of months who always went back to the men who beat them. I would try to rehouse them in a lovely supported home for women who have been harmed, where staff were on duty 24/7 to help the residents, with the view to enabling them to live independent lives free of violence. Yet every single time I tried to rehouse these women with support, they would go back to their violent men before I could get the moving in process underway. I have found that two weeks is the time frame in which women go back to violent men. I have seen that over and over. Most women who leave their violent partners go back within two weeks.

When a woman is in hospital, about to give birth, or after giving birth, she is offered help. If hospital staff even suspect there is any issue in the woman’s life, they will offer help. The time a woman spends in hospital around the birth of her child is seen as a window of opportunity to help women in need by the hospital staff and by the government. The birth of a child often makes a woman think about safety and the type of home she is bringing her child into. Some women do leave violent partners when they become pregnant or when they give birth because they want their child to be safe. The woman can choose to accept help or not.

So it’s not racism that is killing BAME women at higher rates than white women in the UK; it is issues that are often within the control of the women themselves.

There all all-female gyms, or gyms with separate floors for men and for women, for people who believe that the sexes should not mix, there are gyms aimed at BAME people, there are healthier ways to cook traditional food and much more we can all do to preserve our own health. I have taken up the challenge of taking more responsibility for what I eat and what exercise I do. I hope others can do the same for their own sake.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blasphemy and Satire

Last week in England, a teacher was suspended from work for showing a cartoon of the Muslim prophet, Prophet Mohammed. The context of the lesson was Religious Studies, and the lesson was on free speech. The teacher showed a cartoon from the Charlie Hebdo magazine – the cartoon which preceded terrorist attacks in France where the magazine is written and published.

That night, parents found out from their children that the cartoon had been shown in the RS lesson, and a protest was set up outside the school gates. The head teacher issued an apology via a police officer and the RS teacher was suspended. The teacher is now in hiding, along with his family, in fear of his life.

The protesters claim the RS teacher insulted Islam, and all Muslims in the UK must rise up and fight. The protesters seem to be almost all male, and in their early 20s. Hence it is highly unlikely they are the parents of the children in the RS class. However, some the children who were in the RS class have started a petition to get the teacher reinstated.

In 2019, another protest at school gates by young men of Muslim heritage was in response to a school teaching about same sex relationships. This situation is more complicated than the media portray it. The deputy head teacher had moved to the school, with what he said was a deliberate attempt to teach LGBT material. He had been forced to leave his previous job that was at a Christian school. He deliberately took a job at a Muslim-majority school with the purpose of teaching about LGBT relationships. Some of the parents at this protest said they had LGBT family members and friends, and would be fine with their children learning about LGBT relationships at the age of 15, but not at the age of 6. Some of the other protesters had other ideas.

I saw film footage of these LGBT lessons on the BBC news. Three children with one teacher, with the teacher asking them what they thought of the two male penguins in the story book who live together and love each other. It looked very much like brain washing to me, and the children looked uncomfortable as they answered with the “right answers”. It was clear that the children knew that they were under pressure to give certain answers.

My view on teaching about relationships to six year olds is “leave them kids alone”. Six year olds want to pick their nose, draw a picture and eat their crayons. They don’t care about other people’s relationships and they don’t have the mental capacity to understand anything beyond their classmate having two mummies. When I was at school, several of my classmates lived with their grandparents. We didn’t even think about it. The teacher used to give out information letters and say, “Give this to your parents or whoever you have at home.” That was 30 years ago. We didn’t have lessons on why some classmates lived with their grandparents or someone else. We didn’t think about it.

The protest last week resulted in the school closing for two days, meaning all students missed out on yet more schooling after they had just come back from having almost no schooling for a year due to covid restrictions.

As a Christian, I don’t like blasphemy. I hear it every time I switch on an internet programme, the radio, the TV. I hear it every time I go to the shops, go to meet friends, go for a meal. UK TV used to have an anti blasphemy clause, meaning no one could say, “Oh my God!” or “Jesus Christ!” as replacements for swear words. I don’t like to hear blasphemy against my God, but I accept that other people are not Christians, and so for them it is not a sin to say these things.

I don’t like Charlie Hebdo. I speak French, and Charlie Hebdo is not something I would waste my time or money on. It has nothing of value to say. I believe good satire is of great value. The Vicar of Dibley – as I said in a previous post – was a great satire on traditional UK village life, but Father Ted ticks every box for me. One whole episode was dedicated to the dare of kicking Bishop Brennan’s bottom. There is the infamous Eurovision episode featuring the hit song My Lovely Horse, and the military style operation when Ted, Dougal and other priests got lost in the women’s underwear department. Just brilliant, silly and absolutely hilarious. It didn’t poke fun at God, it was never offensive. It poked fun at Catholic and small town stereotypes. The Babylon Bee is an excellent Christian satire website that is run by Christians for Christians. It pokes fun at American Christians who drink pumpkin spice lattes, and it is unflinching in its criticism of health and wealth preachers, especially Joel Osteen, for example its post on Joel Osteen’s clothing range called Sheep’s Clothing.

Thinking back to the drama Sleeper Cell, which was about Islam v Islamist Terrorism, and a fantastic drama, in the second series, a character was asked about whether or not his faith was diluted by hearing a view from another Muslim that he did not agree with. Whatever religion you are from, if your faith is shaken or damaged by something someone else says, your faith is weak.

When I was at secondary school 25 years ago, we had text books in Religious Education classes about all sorts of issues. We were to not only think of religious points of view but also ethics. The aims of the lessons were to build our own moral character as we explored different issues. One of those lessons was when I first talked openly about being bisexual and how my faith determines my life, not my emotions. The result was a better friendship between me and my classmates – some of whom had held me off at arm’s length and had been suspicious about me before that lesson.

I am now a teacher, and no subject is off the table in my lessons, unless the subject contravenes safeguarding. I teach children and adults from around the world. Some do want to talk about same sex relationships, some want to talk about Christianity and religion, some want to talk about The West, some want to talk about wokeism, and some want to talk about knitting. No subject is off the table in my lessons because I believe in open discussion and helping other people. No one knows what a person might be struggling with, or may just want to have a conversation that is banned in their country. We don’t know what positive affect we could have on the world if we simply listen and talk. It we want freedoms for ourselves, we have to afford them to others in equal measure.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WAP!

So, The Grammy’s happened and, really, who knows what happened for almost all the awards ceremony? All anyone talked about was WAP!

So, let’s talk about WAP. Why not? There’s nothing else happening in the world.

OK, I clicked onto the Grammy’s WAP and also re-watched the official WAP video. I burst out laughing at both. The Grammy’s WAP, I burst out laughing, then thought, “Hmmm, nice beehind” and then burst out laughing again, saying out loud, “The heel of the shoe is a pole!” And carried on laughing.

The beginning was promising; a spotlight with the lady herself, Cardi B, more than an echo of James Bond. It was downhill from there. The costumes had all been done before, notably by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard. The controversial simulated lesbian sex moves were appalling in that they were obviously done for 12 year old boys’ attention, the women obviously weren’t into each other – they were so far apart they might as well have been at separate awards ceremonies, their feet stumbled and their hearts clearly weren’t into it. They had all the enthusiasm as a languages fanatic reciting the periodic table.

My overall view of the Grammy’s WAP was it was the standard of a sixth form college end of year performance and simply boring. The act was supposed to wow, be sexy and be controversial, and the reality is it was shoddy, amateurish, badly choreographed, predictable and reminiscent of cheap early 90s porn… from what I have been told.

As I have said to a few notable people recently, the WAP video is not sexy. It is crude. When I first watched the WAP video two months ago when it first hit the news, I wondered how a boy is supposed to process that video. Then I wondered how a girl is supposed to process that video. The lyrics are about vaginal fluid. Not sex, not love, but vaginal fluid. I’ve never been a fan of Gilbert And George (who painted with their poop and all other bodily fluids), and I’m no fan of Cardi B and the other “whores” in that house.

That is the thing with WAP. The one male voice on the track continually says “There are whores in this house”. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion – the women who apparently wrote this track, rap it and star in the video, are advertising themselves as “whores”. That is why I am wondering how children are supposed to process this. Women are calling themselves “whores”. Men don’t do this. When men release rap videos that they write, rap and star in, they do not advertise themselves as prostitutes. They advertise themselves as winners, as sexually powerful and sexually in control. Prostitutes are not in any position of power, control nor are winners in any sense. Prostitutes, strippers, lap dancers and female porn workers are the group most at risk of rape and murder.

The prostitute/porn/sex worker theme continues throughout the video in what Cardi and Megan wear. The leopard print costume that Cardi wears towards the end of the video is just not sexy. It is pure porn wear. Her boobs fully out with the nips covered with tassel-less tassels. It’s not sexy. It’s cheap and ridiculous. Although the other woman who appears for several seconds in a slightly more tasteful leopard print outfit caught my attention. She got the line right with sexy v slutty. Cardi herself looks like she’s acting out an ironic joke. Pink used to send herself up in her videos. Unfortunately, Cardi is absolutely serious.

And the prostitute/porn/sex worker theme more than continues with the dance moves; the back bridges, the breasts-down-butt-up pose (doggy style pose), the faux lesbian stroking of arms and legs, the faux lesbian thigh riding, the drop and pop, the prolonged drop with legs wide apart, the availability of the vagina and anus when Cardi does the splits over the gap between two chairs (which made me laugh out loud again) and Megan’s butt out in a ridiculous pose. I suppose some 12 year olds might be happy with this vid.

What was 12 year old me happy with? SWV, En Vogue and Adina Howard. They were Black women, they were hot and they could all sing. At the time, Black female performers were kitted out in leather hot pants and bra tops, and then they started lifting weights. 12 year old me was very happy. Beyond the visuals, these women could all sing and sounded fantastic. The early and mid-90s had a real glut of quality singers and vocal groups reacting against the new ability for voices to be digitally enhanced and altered to be in tune when the singer couldn’t hold a note in a bucket.

I like quality rap. I’m a very diverse person. I love UK and Irish folk music and I love quality rap from around the world. I couldn’t make out most of what Cardi and Megan were rapping about. I could look up the lyrics for WAP, but that would take away from my time looking up Orelsan lyrics. Basic. The little I could make out from Megan was just nonsense. I know it was all sexual innuendo, but it’s nonsense. The traditional song The Hand Weaver And The Factory Maid made total sense and was total sexual innuendo. Same with Cuckoo’s Nest. Same with Whip Jamboree. They are sexual innuendos, they are suitable for family listening because they are not obvious, so the kids have no idea that these songs are about sexual fantasies, fingering and two men having anal sex, plus they are banging choons that have stood the test of 200 years.

The little I could make out of WAP’s lyrics… if your goolies are in a “macaroni and cheese” state, you need to get yourself down to the pharmacy quick sticks and make an appointment at the clap clinic.

It’s grim, isn’t it? Everything about WAP is grim. It’s crude, it’s lewd, it’s promoting sex work as something to purchase and be totally fine with, it’s encouraging people to call women “whores” and think of women as “whores” and it’s just backwards. It’s only empowering if you are encouraging girls to be sex workers.

Yes, I’m going to do the Shakespeare thing. When some American schools are banning the teaching of Shakespeare because they say Black children won’t be able to relate to it and will find it oppressive, and WAP is promoted and celebrated at The Grammy’s – which used to be an awards ceremony for top class music across all genres including Gospel, we can see that something doesn’t add up. Shakespeare is out and sex work is in. It’s not how I would do things.

All my clients are brown. Several of my adult clients are some of the top people in their country for what they do. They are highly intelligent, wear amazing clothes, they are highly cultured, and many want to come to the UK or USA. They love Shakespeare, they love Pride and Prejudice, they love the English language, fine art, classical music. These professors, government advisors et al don’t find Shakespeare oppressive and they don’t refuse to read P&P because it is full of rich white people from long ago. None of them have spoken about having a wet assed pussy. Why are our standards so low?

Under the guise of diversity, in so many ways, in so many instances, our standards have been lowered. Some UK English curriculums no longer teach Dickens because his writing is “too difficult”. Yes it is! Reading Hard Times gave me so many hard times – and that is not a sexual innuendo. There has been talk of stopping teaching Shakespeare. What has replaced Dickens and co? Stormzy lyrics in a number of schools. Stormzy. I got his album, listened to it once and threw it in the bin. If you find Shakespeare oppressive, what Stormzy has to say about women will leave you in the foetal position, rocking.

I find Classical literature difficult, but two years ago, students asked me to read Treasure Island to them, and I did. I love pirates and UK social history, so I loved the book. Another teacher dropped in most days just to hear my pirate voices. I also found reading out loud helps me concentrate and digest what I am reading. I am currently reading Madame Bovary, which has been on my book shelf for several years untouched. I am reading it aloud and enjoying it. Just because something is difficult, it does not mean it is not good, and it does not mean you should avoid it. The very opposite.

If you want to hear class Black women rapping, check out Barkaa. She is a young woman from Australia, indigenous and totally proud. You can make out everything she says, she had good beats, she doesn’t degrade herself in any way and she’s fully in touch with her traditional culture. Also on my playlist of rap and MOBO are Briggs, Orelsan, Stromae, Black Jack and of course MC Solaar. I realise that if you don’t speak French, then most of those names might not be what you want. Solaar is the biggest Black voice on the planet – all my Black British friends have heard of him and know he is to be revered, and all the top American rappers now go to Solaar for advice. He started the rap scene in France in the 90s and only releases quality work. He waits until he has an album of quality to release, even if there is a ten year gap between albums, and his tracks cover everything from the battle between Jesus and the devil to saving the planet to a celebration of Gandhi and India.

There are plenty of empowered women and Black people out there for girls and Black students to learn from and emulate. They are big and they are clever.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Woman Has Been Murdered

News has swept across social media and the national news in the UK that a UK woman was abducted from a London Street before 10pm one night last week and has possibly been murdered. Women are taking to social media and holding vigils to say how unsafe they feel and how this woman’s abduction and murder are another example of male violence against women.

The truth is at the moment, no one knows what has happened. We do know a male police officer has been arrested, and so has a woman. So this is not an example of male violence because a woman has been arrested in connection with the abduction and murder.

Women are leaping to all sorts of conclusions when the reality is none of know yet what exactly happened. Leaping to conclusions has happened a lot recently, with parents screeching on social media that it is not safe to send their children to school following the death of an 8 year. Mothers took to social media to say schools were not safe and they would not put their children at risk of Covid. Days later, the facts came out that the child had died of a longterm illness.

At this moment in time, a family are grieving, a group of friends are grieving. That is why I am going to hold back from listing a lot of possible scenarios. I want to show respect to that family and those friends. Instead, I want to put some facts out for the women who are panicking, and for those around the women who are panicking.

It is very rare for women to be abducted from a street, especially a busy area of London. Very rare. When a woman is abducted by a man – and another woman – there is a lot more going on than a spur of the moment murder. It is highly likely the young woman knew the man and woman who abducted her and murdered her. She may have been in a relationship with the man or the woman or both, she may have been involved in criminal activity with the man and the woman. Those are the two most common scenarios when a woman has been murdered.

UK women are claiming “it is not safe to walk the streets”. I do. “It is not safe to get into a taxi”. I do. “All women are terrified of being attacked”. I am not. “All women have been attacked”. I have not.

I have been attacked in the street and chased in the street because of the attackers’ homophobia. These people were mostly men. No women and no men ever helped me when I was being chased through a town centre in broad daylight by a group of men with baseball bats. So let’s stop pretending that women care about women. The last time I had to hide from what could have been a homophobic attack three years ago, all the thugs were women. Let’s stop pretending that women are so good and men are so evil.

The truth is 75% women in the UK have never been physically or sexually assaulted. 88% men in the UK have never been sexually assaulted. However, the group most likely to be physically attacked in the street in the UK are males aged 16-25.

The truth is people are murdered every day in the UK. This woman’s murder has gotten so much attention because she is young, blonde and pretty. The torture and murder of a woman with learning disabilities, tortured and murdered by two teenage girls hardly made the news. Why? Because the victim had learning disabilities, was an alcoholic and wasn’t pretty, plus she was murdered by girls.

There are narratives. So many selfish women today are keen to feed into the narrative on social media that the UK is a dangerous place for all women, when the truth is it is not.

Last year in London, 126 murders took place. Which ones did we hear about? Hardly any. Last year in London, there were 15000 knife crime offences. Why have we hardly heard anything about any of them? Because these murders do not fit into a narrative. It is not woke to talk about these murders and stabbings. Most of these murders and stabbings were carried out by young Black males against young Black males. Two weekends ago in London, two Black males were murdered and 14 more were stabbed. It hardly made the news. Why? Because the murderers and attackers were all young Black males. If it had been white males stabbing Black males, it would have been all over the news.

In the UK, we are all familiar with the CCTV footage of normal streets in London, full of people, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and over 20 school students in their school uniform take part in stabbing another school student in the street. We never hear any more of these crimes. Why? Because they don’t fit the narrative.

One young, blonde, pretty woman is murdered and social media and the news channels go into over drive, saying how dangerous the UK is for women and how all women are victims of sexual assault and all women are at risk of murder.

Two years ago, I went to a meeting held by a scientist who has become a social scientist to help fight all the oddness taking place in society today. He said how he listens to overly dramatic people saying that women are being raped and murdered non-stop in the UK. His response is, “OK, women are being raped and murdered non-stop in the UK. OK, I’m going to put my head out the window now and see if rape and murder is taking place.”

Ten years ago, emails went around female friendship groups telling women drivers to check the back seat of their car when they go to petrol stations because gangs members hide in women’s cars to kidnap them to take them to the gang’s HQ for the women to be raped. My boss took one of these emails to the police. The inspector said it’s a sick hoax. Sick hoaxes like this are spread around so that women are fearful and paranoid. It is a deliberate ploy by people who really do hate women to turn women into jibbering wrecks. There’s no need to punch a woman if she is already scared of leaving her house or of having a normal life.

The dramatic women on social media and on the news are simply adding to the paranoia and fear many woman already have. Yes, there are some reasons for some women to worry. However, if women take sensible steps to guard their own safety, they have no need to worry.

Why should women have to guard their own safety when men don’t? Men do actually. As I stated, the people most at risk of street violence are males aged 16-25. Most of the murder and stabbing victims in London are young Black males. I was married to a man until last year. We lived near a rough area. My husband was regularly threatened in the street during the day time. He avoided walking down many streets. He stuck to the main streets. He did not go out after 9pm.

Talk to men. At first, men will say they don’t have to guard their safety. Then when they have had a real think, men realise they do do many things such as not walking down some streets, not going out at night, to guard their own safety. Men often don’t realise they do things to protect themselves in the street because it is second nature to them, and no one ever asks men about how they feel about their safety.

The truth is most attacks against women and murders committed by men are committed by the woman’s own family members or her partner or ex partner. By being choosy about the company she keeps, a woman can guard her own safety, just as men do when they are choosy about the company they keep. It is very rare for a woman to be attacked or murdered by a stranger.

I’m not a screechy person. Men do confide in me that they have been sexually assaulted. Many male taxi drivers have been sexually assaulted by men and women. In the UK,12.5% men have been sexually abused in childhood – often by females. I’ve had several male friends who were raped on a regular basis by their mother or grandmother or female sports coach.

I have had trouble in the street in recent years. As I said, my husband and I lived near a rough area. Only one incident was verbal sexual harassment, and yes, I was surrounded, I broke out and went to the police station. I now live in a much safer place. I am working class and rent my property. Renting means you can move if you need to. I chose to move to a much better place.

However, 99% the time, men in the street treat me as an equal. They say “Hey mate”. They ask for directions or they ask for the time. The same is true in the rest of my life. Men treat me with respect. I do choose to hang out with men who are respectful people. Most of my friends are men. I have no problem with men because men treat me so well.

Maybe the women who shriek on social media that they can’t walk down the street without being sexually harassed and they are sexually harassed every time they leave their homes need to talk with women like me who experience next to no sexual harassment. I am over the age of 40 and I can count less than 10 instances of sexual harassment from men for these 40+ years.

I’ve had plenty of sexual harassment from women, including women who would class themselves as straight. One of the reasons I stopped going to church was the amount of sexual harassment I got from women in churches. I was under the age of 16 when I got regular sexual harassment in the street from women, often groups of women. These women were blunt about what sexual acts they wanted to engage in with me.

So please, let’s stop this nonsense that all women are victims, all men are perpetrators, all women are at risk, all men are guilty because it simply is not true. What is true is that men and women are murdered every day in the UK – far more men than women, and in London it is mainly Black males stabbing Black males. The media and most people ignore these murders.

Very few of the comments I have seen from women today on social media offer condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. The comments are very much me me me,

There is a family who is grieving, there are friends who are grieving, and they need to be given their space. Let’s give the family the space they need and deserve.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Conversion Therapy

I have wanted to write this for a number of weeks because the UK government is seeking to ban conversion therapy. I am against the ban and I will tell you why. I know this is controversial, but stick with me and read what I have to say.

Conversion therapy in the UK that was practised in the NHS (National Health Service, our free health service for any UK citizen) was practised up until the mid 1990s. It could include giving the “patient” electric shocks or giving them a drink that would induce vomiting and diarrhea. The “patient” would be shown sexualised images of people of the same sex. The aim of this conversion therapy was to make the person associated attraction to the same sex with physical pain or being repulsed at the physical mess they were in. It was cruel and dehumanising. This practice was outlawed and rightly so.

“Conversion therapy” today revolves around talking therapies, and if the person is religious it involves prayer. The person is free to leave at any time. No one is forced to engage in any therapy at all in the UK.

The BBC has published an article saying how conversion therapy left a 17 year old “traumatised”. Being prayed for, as he was, does not leave a person traumatised. I should know. I have been prayed for hundreds, possibly thousands of times. Most Christians have been prayed for hundreds of times. Receiving prayer from others is a key part of our living faith. It is part of living in community with others. I have prayed for hundreds of people.

We sometimes put our hands onto people’s heads, shoulders, hold their hand while we are praying for them. This is because God’s power moves through us, and so we want that power to move to the person we are praying for. Laying on of hands also symbolises that we care about that person and we are standing with them in their need.

Do demons get driven out? I have been in churches where prayer became quite loud and the person being prayed for started convulsing and making loud noises and screaming. They were not being harmed at all by the people praying for them, so it is obvious that something else was going on. Whether it was driving out demons from the person or the person releasing trauma they had held in, you would have to ask the individual what was true in their case.

When it comes to the talking therapies for LGBT people, it is just a talking therapy. No one is approached by a therapist. The LGBT person contacts a therapist. Talking therapies are led by the client. I am a semi-trained counsellor. I have known several therapists who work with LGBT clients on matters around their sexual orientation. When someone enters therapy wanting change for their sexual orientation, the first question the therapist asks is “Why?” Why does the person want to change their sexual orientation?

If it is out of self-hatred, the therapist tells the client to have a real think. The therapist might want to work on the client’s self-hatred. Most Christians do not think anyone should hate themselves. We are created and loved by God. We should not hate ourselves.

The talking therapies are always conducted by therapists who have fully recognised counselling certificates, who are fully trained under UK law. They are mostly person centred and CBT based. The sessions run just like any normal therapy session. The person is often asked to make a time line of their lives and chart important events and people. As I have covered in previous posts, evidence shows we are not born LGBT. 40% gay females and 20% gay males are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, whereas 25% heterosexual females and 12% heterosexual males are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It is clear that for many LGBT people, sexual abuse has played a role in the development of our sexual orientation. LGBT people also have higher incidence of having a parent with a severe mental health condition, a detachment from the same sex parent, being bullied in school from a young age or come from otherwise chaotic backgrounds. The therapist will seek to work on these traumas.

By working on the actual trauma, the therapist and client will work through issues the client currently has, which will be difficulties relating to the same sex, difficulties relating to the opposite sex and difficulties relating to themselves. The aim of the therapy is to make the person free from the effects of trauma.

Some people do become heterosexual as a result of working through their trauma. Mostly homosexual people become bisexual. I have known several women who were sexually abused in childhood so were terrified or repulsed by men, they had therapy for the abuse and became attracted to men as they worked through the effects of the abuse with a therapist. I have known men who were homosexual have therapy for the effects of having an absent father and they became attracted to women.

Myself, I have worked through many issues I had coming from parents who physically and mentally abused my sister and I, having been bullied in primary school and growing up around the sex industry. I am still bisexual but my crazy, overwhelming feelings have ceased, and I am no longer trans. Being trans was harmful for me personally because I had urges to cut off parts of my body with a knife, and I was emotionally overrun at times. I worked through my hatred of women with an LGBT Christian Bible study group and I lived abroad among women who were intelligent, multilingual, cared more about personality than appearance and above all were simply nice to me and were friends with me, which was a totally different experience to my experience of women in the UK.

Several articles in the mainstream media have raised the matter of Christian organisations calling LGBT people “sexually broken”. Yes, all humans, according to evangelical Christianity, are sexually broken. What this means is everyone’s sexuality is affected negatively by the imperfect world we live in. LGBT people are not singled out in this theology at all. The mainstream media and leftist publications are simply trying to stir up anti-Christian sentiment by asserting that Christianity sees LGBT people as “sexually broken”. According to evangelical beliefs, all areas of all people’s lives are broken because we are negatively affected by living in an imperfect world. I personally do not use this language, although I agree with the basis of its meaning, because I think it encourages people to focus on what is wrong in their life, instead of what is going well in their life and the many blessings they have.

I do not think praying for people to change sexual orientation should be banned, and I do not think talking therapies for sexual orientations should be banned. LGBT people are not so pathetic and weak and child like that we need special laws in place to protect us from the big bad world. It is homophobic to even assert that we need such protections. We can stand up for ourselves.

LGBT people need to be treated as equal to heterosexuals. Heterosexual people get prayer for their sexual urges and heterosexual people get therapy for their sexual urges. Heterosexual people suppress their sexuality every day. Heterosexual people make decisions that they later regret. Heterosexual people get emotionally hurt by things they have chosen to engage with. We do not make those things illegal. Instead, we tell heterosexual people to take responsibility for their own lives and their own decisions.

So why treat LGBT people as less? It is homophobic to push forward a law that says LGBT people cannot take responsibility for their own lives, their own decisions to engage with activities, and take responsibility for any negative emotional fall out.

What I want is for LGBT people to be able to say NO to anything they don’t want. If you don’t want conversion therapy, say NO to anyone who suggests it. Most LGBT people choose to go to a therapist or get prayer of their own volition, not because anyone has suggested it to them. But I want LGBT people to develop the ability to say NO. Say NO to any therapy you don’t want. Say No to any prayer you don’t want. I have stopped people from praying for me because their prayers for me were inaccurate and not what I wanted. I told the people to stop praying for me and to go away, and they did.

I want LGBT people to develop the ability to say NO. Say NO to any sex you don’t want. Say NO to any person approaching you you don’t want. Say NO to any extra work your boss wants to pile on you. Say NO to any door to door sales person. Learn to say NO.

I want LGBT people to be strong enough to decide for themselves what they want for their own life, and to take responsibility for their own life. I want LGBT people to stop seeing themselves as victims. Michael Stipe, Angelina Jolie, Julius Caesar, Calligula, Peter Teele and Martina Navratilova are not victims. They are strong, courageous people – the top people in the world for what they do or did.

I want LGBT people to give up the victim narrative. Yes, life is hard. I have been through plenty of work place discrimination. I now have my own business, which is successful. I come from a bad family, but I have made plenty of great friends. I do have to work or I will be homeless. This pushes me to develop my skills and further my business. I am not a victim.

I now want the UK government to stop treating me like a victim and stop this ban against conversion therapy. Legislating against prayer and therapy is legislating against choices people make in their private lives. These have nothing to do with government. What is next? Legislating against praying for people’s illnesses? Legislating against therapy for depression? This is a slippery slope into tyranny. In the last month, a Christian cafe has been told by police to stop displaying Bible verses in the cafe.

There are many support groups for LGBT Christians, and LGBT people of other religions. Some I recommend, some I don’t. Try them out for yourself and see which fit you. In Christianity, being attracted to the same sex isn’t a big deal in most expressions of Christianity. All Christians are held to the same standard in the Bible, which is no sex outside of marriage. Jesus said the only relationship He recognised was between one man and one woman for life. This governs the lives of heterosexual people as well as LGBT people. There are 9 verses that refer to same sex practice in the Bible. There are 137 verses that refer to opposite sex practice. Does God hate straight people?!

Heterosexual Christians are held to the same standards as LGBT Christians in the Bible. Yes, there is a huge difference to how churches and individuals treat Christians who are same sex attracted or have gender dysphoria, but the Bible does not see any difference in sexual or gender orientation. There are bad translations of the Bible that use the word “homosexuals”. That is a bad translation of the original language. The Bible talks about sexual acts, not people themselves. In fact, St Peter in the Bible said that Christianity was for men who receive anal sex from other men. By saying this, he both included LGBT people into Christianity and fought homophobia. God does not see any difference in sexual or gender orientation. God sees us as dearly loved children.

The main reason why I no longer am a member of any LGBT Christian organisation is my sexual orientation does not mean much to me. When I was younger and had overwhelming attractions to others and when I was in emotional turmoil because of my personal history, I needed and welcomed the help I got. I want others to have the amazing help and fellowship I had. One of the aims of the organisation I belonged to was that people get help for the root causes of their orientations, overcome the difficulties their personal history poses, and as a result be able to relate better to themselves, to others and to God, and eventually not need any support.

LGBT people should be treated and classified as equal to heterosexuals under UK law. By banning LGBT people from being able to approach a therapist for an issue they want to explore and banning therapists from following the wishes of their client, this prevents therapists from working with an ethos of equality, and it changes the equality status of LGBT people in UK law. I know people mean well, but the reality of a ban on conversion therapy would be a step back for LGBT people and our human rights.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment