Please Bear With Me: day jobs calling.

Remember a couple of weeks ago, I posted about how I have this new job that has me working all-day-every-day for a few weeks at a time and then off for another few weeks?

I’m off again!

This time I’ll be off working for two weeks, so I might be quieter than usual for the next two and a half weeks or so. I’ll need a couple of days to decompress once I’m done.

I do hope to publish some posts during the fortnight, but I can’t guarantee anything. If you’ve left a comment on a post and it’s gotten stuck in spam or mod, please be patient with me as I won’t be able to check here as regularly as usual.

If you want to keep up with me or get in touch or bring something to my attention, my Facebook page is the place to go. But you know that already, cause you’ve already liked and followed me there. Haven’t you? Of course you have.

Thanks for bearing with me while I’m less around than usual!

Oh and before I go, one thing: I’m sure I’m not the only one who works a job where I end up spending weeks on end staying in hotels all over the place. Aside from too much Netflix (OITNB, I’m lookin’ at you..) how do you keep yourself amused on your off hours?

Please Bear With Me: day jobs calling.

Two (Genuine) Questions For Americans Who Support Gun Ownership And Your Constitution

I’m not American. There’s a lot of things I don’t really get about American culture- and, if I’m entirely honest, I’m not always interested in finding them out. Not because I’ve anything specifically against Americans as people. It’s simply that I get tired of the USian hegemony over my part of the world, culturally as well as economically, and I want to move my attention to someone else. I know more about some aspects of the US than I do about my own country. That bothers me.

One of the things that I don’t really understand- don’t really grok, I guess- is USian gun culture. Your attachment to guns. I’d very much appreciate if you could help me to get it. Continue reading “Two (Genuine) Questions For Americans Who Support Gun Ownership And Your Constitution”

Two (Genuine) Questions For Americans Who Support Gun Ownership And Your Constitution

Queer people, QPOC: Where did you go after Orlando?

Queer people- where did you go after Orlando?

Here’s where I went on Monday evening:


I tried to sing along. My voice cracked.

And then I went here:

I went to Pantibar. It was packed. I found a seat. Got a goddamn drink. We raised our glasses: to calling out homophobia wherever we see it. Then we raised them again: to being us. To being as unapologetically queer as we can.

This is important.

Two days before, a man had walked into one of the Orlando Latinx LGBTQIA community’s most necessary spaces. He’d walked into a space where people who have been told that they’re nothing from so many angles go to celebrate one another. And he gave his life to destroy that space.

Queer people, trans people, QUILTBAGgers, POC: where did you go when you heard? How many of you went back to y/our spaces? How many of you went somewhere where you could be seen? Continue reading “Queer people, QPOC: Where did you go after Orlando?”

Queer people, QPOC: Where did you go after Orlando?

A Man Walks Into A Bar: the Orlando shooting was never just about guns.

A man walks into a bar.

Except he wasn’t just a man, was he? And it wasn’t just a bar. Muslim, gay, American: a Muslim man walks into a gay bar in America, and everyone knows how it ended. The Orlando Shooting, we call it, before the sun has risen.

Grief means so many things when it’s public. It’s never simple.

There’s the first response, almost a routine: oh no, not again. There’s always the panicked worry- nobody I know, is it? And then details filter through, little grains of information that lodge inside us, growing larger and larger, getting covered with all the layers of our own assumptions and preconceptions until I’m not sure we could see those tiny truths if we tried.

And some of us want to say- no- what about the thousands of other Muslim men in gay bars in America that night? And some of us want to say that we knew it would happen, that it was only a matter of time before some fundie with a gun took a break from abortion clinics and shot up the queers. Some of us want to shout that yes, homophobia is everywhere in their Muslim communities. More of us want to shout that no, you will not use homophobia to excuse your hatred of Muslims. Others will talk about how exclusion itself is to blame, turning one isolated kid against another, shutting us off from one another from the beginning. Still others went hoarse years ago, exhausted from saying over and over and over and over again that it’s guns, it’s always guns. More wonder how many people have drowned in the sea this week alone, and then we hate ourselves because we only wonder about people drowning in the sea when other people in the West are killed by someone whose name sounds a lot like theirs did.

And in the centre, fifty families grieve. Continue reading “A Man Walks Into A Bar: the Orlando shooting was never just about guns.”

A Man Walks Into A Bar: the Orlando shooting was never just about guns.

Relationship Abuse and the False Middle Ground

Are you tired of me yammering on about relationship abuse yet? I am.

Here’s something I see people saying a lot: that can’t know what happened within a relationship, so it’s best not to take sides if someone accuses someone else of abusing them. They say we should wait until we know more before making our decisions. These people think that they’re taking a middle-ground, and that they’re being far fairer than those of us who decide from the beginning who we’d prefer to believe.

They’re wrong.

Let’s break this one down.

Alex and Bob are in a relationship. Or: Alex and Bob are friends, acquaintances, or workmates. One day, Alex accuses Bob of one of the following: domestic violence, sexual harassment, relationship abuse or rape. The response is as it almost always is: Bob denies having done anything, and Alex’s character is called into question.

Maybe Alex and Bob are well-known figures. Maybe they’re in your circles. Either way, you’re now in an awkward position. You weren’t there, and yet people expect you to take a side or have an opinion. Continue reading “Relationship Abuse and the False Middle Ground”

Relationship Abuse and the False Middle Ground

Frivolous Friday: The Writing Process

Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care about that may not have serious implications for atheism or social justice. Any day is a good day to write about whatever the heck we’re interested in (hey, we put “culture” in our tagline for a reason), but we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun. Enjoy, and be sure to check out the other bloggers too!

The Writing Process

Every writer has a process. Some may be more efficient than others. This.. may or may not be mine. Continue reading “Frivolous Friday: The Writing Process”

Frivolous Friday: The Writing Process

Her Bisexuality Made Him Do It: Amber Heard, Johnny Depp and excusing abusing bi women

In the dissolution of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s marriage, I’ve been hearing a lot said about Heard. Including this: Heard’s bisexual ‘tendencies’ (not that he may have been violent towards her) caused the downfall of their marriage. I’m not sure what they mean by a ‘tendency’. Heard has been out since at least 2010 and as far as I can see didn’t try to hide her orientation or relationships before that. When Depp started seeing her he knew this.

But I’m reading that he was driven insane by jealousy over Heard’s orientation. Which he knew about when they started dating. Because everyone knew. Because she was out. Publicly. And by the fact that she has lesbian friends. Not to mention the advice to simply not ever marry bi people.

So here’s what bi people shouldn’t do:

  • be bi, continue to be open about their orientation while in a relationship
  • have queer friends
  • have friends who someone else might think she was attracted to
  • Never do anything that someone might construe as flirting
  • get married at all

Does this seem reasonable to you? Continue reading “Her Bisexuality Made Him Do It: Amber Heard, Johnny Depp and excusing abusing bi women”

Her Bisexuality Made Him Do It: Amber Heard, Johnny Depp and excusing abusing bi women

What Do We Expect Abusers To Do?

A woman (it’s almost always a woman) comes forward stating that she’s been abused by her partner (almost always a man). How she does this isn’t important. Although- if she doesn’t press charges she’s assumed to be lying and simultaneously blamed for letting her abuser go free. If she does go to the police, she’s assumed to be overreacting and blamed for destroying a good man’s life over one little mistake. She can’t win.

The next thing that happens? People go to the partner. They ask him for his side of the story. Invariably- yes, invariably- he either denies everything or downplays what happened. Maybe she’s making it up. Maybe she really wanted it at the time. Maybe she provoked him and her provocation was just as bad, wasn’t it?

So he says that he didn’t do it, or that it isn’t something we should bother worrying about.

Why does this surprise us? Why does it make us less likely to believe her? What do we expect him to do? Do we think that someone would abuse their partner but feel that lying about it is crossing a line? Do we expect them to put their hands up, saying “damn, you got me!” and offer to be led away? Maybe break down in tears ashamed of what they’ve done, giving the rest of us a hefty dollop of superiority and the feeling of justice being done? Is that realistic? Really?

What do we expect abusers to do? Continue reading “What Do We Expect Abusers To Do?”

What Do We Expect Abusers To Do?

Did ya miss me?

Hello, my lovely readers!

It has come to my attention that I have been.. neglecting you. All of you. I’m awfully sorry for this- especially since the last post I wrote was pretty personal and unhappy, and then I went and disappeared for almost a month without so much as a by-your leave. Awfully inconsiderate of me, I have to admit. 

There've been a LOT of these.
There’ve been a LOT of these.

So, where have I been? If you’re worried that I went off the deep end or decided to throw in the blogging towel, it’s okay. I just got a new dayjob (hurray!). As I’ve been out of paid work for months, this is both something I’m really happy about, and a bit of an adjustment. As it turned out, it didn’t leave me with any time (or spoons!) for writing while I dragged myself up the new-job learning curve. Continue reading “Did ya miss me?”

Did ya miss me?

An old friend died this week: where the personal and political collide.

I’m furious right now.

An old friend died this week. I’m mad as hell with him for doing it, even though I know he’d have some choice words for me around the topic of minding my own damn business. I guess that’s something everyone feels when something like this happens. It’s easier to be angry.

While I don’t know why he did what he did, I know this: LGBTI people in Ireland are three times more likely to attempt suicide than our cishet counterparts. The further you go along that acronym, the higher our risk of elevated stress, anxiety and depression. Trans, bi and intersex people are most severely hit. I know that we’re only human. A lifetime of microaggressions and macro oppressions leaves you raw. Wears you down. When life’s ordinary difficulties come your way, you’re that little bit less resilient. More exposed. More vulnerable. I’m furious that, knowing this, we seem to accept bigotry as just how some people are. I’m tired of tolerance. That measly little word puts our selves and loves on a par with someone else’s ‘right’ to proclaim us disordered.

I know this: we punish men when they are vulnerable. Insinuate that a real man could just power through, or wouldn’t feel that way in the first place. We teach each other that support, closeness and intimacy are weak. Feminine. Lesser. I know that when we do this, we put men in a double bind: to be respected, you shove those parts of you down. If you choose not to, there’s an ocean of internal and external shame to deal with. I don’t know if I could handle that. I’m not surprised that so many men can’t.

Do we even care?

I’m furious that in the face of hundreds of people ending their lives every year, our government wants to drain millions of euro from our mental health budget. Do those hundreds of lives simply not matter? What about the tens or hundreds of thousands of people who won’t kill themselves but who still need those services?

I’m angry that my friend’s death can’t simply be a private tragedy. I wish I could think about his loss to our community without being overwhelmed by how many others are going through something similar. I wish that him being a man, queer and trans didn’t slot his death right into one of the biggest suicide clichés of them all.

And I’m scared. Back in 2013 I knew how lucky I was that my friends and loved ones had survived another year. I’ve always known that, and a part of me always waits for the shoe to drop. For the phone to ring. I’ve had one of those phone calls this year. I can’t stop thinking: who will be next?

A year ago, the derby world was shattered by news that one of our youngest members- a 15 year old boy called Sam- had died through suicide. I wrote this:

Sam didn’t die because he was trans. Transness is a perfectly ordinary variation of what it is to be human, and there is nothing intrinsic about being trans that could make life not worth living.

Sam died because we failed him. He died because we accepted a world where trans kids- kids, people at the start of their lives who haven’t had a chance to develop the context to see how things can change and who don’t have the option to get the hell out of where they are- are forced to live in worlds and with people who tell them every day of their lives that they are worthless. He died because we didn’t shout loud enough, didn’t insinuate our voices into every single crack, didn’t object every single time, didn’t counter enough of that kind of hate and torture of kids with nowhere else to go and by not doing that we let it continue. We let people hound another trans kid to death.

Are you tired of this yet? Because I am. I’m sick and tired of seeing yet another headline for yet another person killed or tortured into killing themselves because of who they are. Yet another teenager.

And here’s something I said way back in November 2013 on the Trans Day of Remembrance:

Today, though, I do feel luckier than most. I wish that it didn’t have to be that way. Today is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, you see, when we take time to mourn and recognise all of the trans* people who should be here with us today, but who have been killed by transphobia in the past year. Everyone who was murdered because of how their gender was perceived. Everyone who was driven to suicide by this transphobic, ciscentric society that we live in. Every year we do this, and every year I want to hold the trans people who I love just that little bit closer. Because we’ve all survived another year. Those I love have been spared.

Isn’t that selfish? I guess that we’re all a little bit selfish. We all love who we love, and though we care for those outside that little group, it’s the loss of our family, friends and lovers that tears at our guts and rips our lives apart. So every year on November 20th I feel a little bit lucky. The people I love are still here.

It’s a cruel kind of luck, and one that nobody should have to feel.

Like most of us, I’ve said goodbye to people I love over the years. They’ve died in different circumstances. Some after long years of illness. Some after short months or weeks. Some expected, some unexpected. Some peacefully, some in pain. The loss of every single one of them tore- and tears- my heart apart. But there’s one thing that is common to every one of them that I will always take comfort from. Every one of them died knowing that they were dearly loved. Everything that we could do to ease their suffering was done. They didn’t want for a hand to hold. They were cherished as they died.

Nobody can tell how each of us will end our lives. But that one simple thing- that in our last moments we know that we are loved and cherished, and that if there is any way to ease our suffering it will be done- is something that we can hope for everyone we care for. It’s the one thing that we can do.

Too many of our trans community are denied that.

Too. Damn. Many.

An old friend died this week: where the personal and political collide.