BEHAVIOUR . IDENTITY . DESIRE
NEWSFLASH LONDON LABOUR MAYORAL CANDIDATE KEN LIVINGSTONE has accused Conservative MP’s of hypocrisy regarding homosexuality. Livingstone says that even though the Conservative Party is ‘riddled with homosexuality’ they continue to denounce homosexual relationships and have double standards in his opinion. When asked why his comments were targeted towards the Tories he responded that everyone in the Labour party has already come out because it was favourable to do so under Tony Blair. Conservative MP’s have responded to the ‘offensive’ remarks and have asked for an apology.
PHOTOGRAPHER DAVID JAY has launched a breast cancer awareness project called SCAR which features a number of impressive large portraits of young breast cancer survivors. Jay says that his project puts “a raw, unflinching face on early onset breast cancer while paying tribute to the courage and spirit of so many brave young women.” Check it out at http://www.thescarproject.org/mission/
HEBDEN BRIDGE IS THE LESBIAN CAPITAL OF THE UK according to an article published on the BBC news site. Although figures can’t confirm that the exact percentage of lesbian people living in the small town in Yorkshire it is thought to be particularly high. The town is very tolerant with respects to peoples lifestyles and towards minorities according to local residents and the number of lesbian businesses and companies is sizeable. The rather bohemian town even has a hardware store called Home...Oh!
ELLEN DEGENERES HAS BROKEN HER SILENCE on the attention surrounding her appointment as spokesperson for US clothing company JCPenney. Referring to One Million Moms, the organisation which wants her to be fired because of her homosexuality, Ellen commented that they actually have only 40 000 fans on Facebook and she ‘understands’ that they are just rounding up to the nearest million. You can always count on Ellen to make a hilarious yet non-offensive comeback and she has hit the nail on the head once again.
THE BIG PICTURE
CEE LO GREEN HAS COMMENTED THIS WEEK ON RIHANNA’S LESBIAN FANBASE. The singer was apparently unaware of the lesbian love for Rihanna until he was a support act for her on her LOUD tour. He believes that the reason so many gay women come to her shows are because she “does as lot of girl-on-girl stuff ” and her shows are “racy and sexually charged”.
RIOTS, RESISTANCE AND REVOLT HAVE LGBT GROUPS FORGOTTEN THEIR ROOTS? ELLY BADCOCK LOOKS AT THE STONEWALL RIOTS AND WHETHER THEIR NAME-SAKE ORGANISATION IS REALLY DOING ENOUGH.
In the death grip of McCarthyism, 1960s America sought to seek and destroy any deviation from the norm. Anyone unlucky enough to fall outside the narrowly defined lines of acceptability - 2.5 kids and a dog - was harassed. Sexuality and gender, of course,were heavily policed; cross-dressing and transvestism were made illegal in public, and any bar openly catering to a gay clientele was refused a liquor license - in effect making it illegal to run a gay bar. Of course, the lauded ‘straights’ didn’t just mean heterosexuals. Black people, communists, peace activists, the homeless and single parents were relentlessly hounded, too - and each had their moment of resistance. But it was patrons of the Stonewall Inn that kick-started the modern LGBT movement. Known to be a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn was frequently targeted by police raids; and its regulars, for years, had meekly succumbed to police demands. They would line up, produce their identification and submit to humiliating sex-verification strip searches. On the 28th of June, 1969, however, they resisted. Rather than silently follow orders, they
kick-danced and show-tuned their way through a line of riot police. They boldly declared themselves to be the ‘Stonewall girls, with our hair in curls’. They rioted for 48 hours, and there was no coming back. Stonewall sparked mass movements for LGBT rights, not just in America but across the world. Fourty years on, it’s worth taking stock of where we are now. Of course, Stonewall hasn’t changed everything. A recent report has revealed that 65% percent of young LGBT people have experienced homophobic abuse - and a staggering 17% of them have experienced death threats from their peers. Across ages and ethnicities, LGBT hate crime is still on the rise in Britain. Despite this, there are things to be thankful for. Across much of the world, it’s no longer illegal to be gay. Whilst we may still fall victim to homophobia from our peers, we no longer fear that holding hands in public will lead us straight to a police cell. In wider society, too, being openly LGBT is no longer a social catastrophe. Some of our best-loved public figures - Stephen Fry or Ian McKellen, for example - are openly gay. However, there’s a simmering resentment amongst much of our community that acceptance has become assimilation. We even have word to describe our monetary value under capitalism - the ‘pink pound’. This is the idea that because we’re statistically less likely to have children, we are therefore big camp cash cows ready to be milked of our abundant disposable income for the latest scent, song or sexual enhancement device. This should come as no surprise; capitalism has a particularly slimy tendency to appropriate resistance movements, package them up and sell them back to the same people it once batoned across the face in a backstreet bar. Sloganed t-shirts, boho chic and tartan miniskirts are all examples of this - at one time they were the uniforms of resistance. Now they’re merely commodities, stripped of all sense of social justice by the child labourer who stitched them together. Even the well-heeled, slickly presented organisation that takes the riots as its namesake appears to have forgotten its roots. Stonewall ostensibly exists to further the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain. But it was the trans community that played a huge role in sparking the riots. And the same community is are now left to fight alone, or join more inclusive fringe movements. So what lies ahead for those of us who think there’s more to resistance than sipping a £4 Smirnoff Ice at London Pride, or passing out in Soho? For those who believe the trans community are an integral part of our fight for justice, and can see both the road we’ve travelled and the distance we have left to go? This LGBT History Month, let’s take a leaf from the Gay Liberation Front’s book. The activist group famously produced a poster screaming ‘You think gays are revolting? Damn right we are!’ Let’s get out of G-A-Y and into the streets, and give our ancestors something to be proud of.
THE RULES OF:
Sophie Cohen gives you a run-down of what to wear this Valentines Day
So February appears to be the month that the most hopeless romantic of us all kill over, buy oversized and overpriced goodies for our loved ones and either spoil someone or get spoiled senseless. In times of romance and sickly ‘lovey dovey’ holidays who needs the pressure of deciding what to wear to impress your one and only? I therefore have devised 4 date scenarios and some simple steps to help you not overcomplicate or ruin your Valentine’s Day.
The Bowling Date A classic romance contest, a heated competition to define whom in your relationship is indeed better at knocking over ten pins. Everyone will take their own technique to the bowling lanes but to make sure everyone is safe lets all agree to wear socks. It is nice to show off a new pair of heels but maybe not at the local bowling alley; most of them supply you with shoes anyway so there is no getting out of it – everybody will be wearing the same shoes. Again as flattering as it may be for your partner to get your legs out in a flowing dress or a mini skirt, there is a time and a place ladies. The bowling alley deserves some attention too so why not opt for jeans and a top or see-through shirt (with crop top underneath) instead; an easy combo that allows you to move freely and maybe even beat your partner to knocking down those pins. When it comes to jewellery I would say there are simple boundaries especially at a bowling alley. My main rule here, stay away from rings; even if you do think you will remember to take them off or put them on the opposite hand to which you bowl with...is it really worth losing that favoured ring of yours inside a bowling ball? Last but not least; what to do with the barnet? It is not essential to have your hair tied back for this sport but it may help in preventing that athletic glow and why not show off some cutesy earrings at the same time.
Clothes: Jeans - New Look £14.99; Shirt - River Island £22.00; Earrings - River Island £4; Belt Accessorize £10; Necklace - Topshop £5
The Restaurant Being taken out to a restaurant (or taking your partner out) is possibly the most traditional and romantic of valentines dates. It obviously depends on what restaurant you go to as to what your dress code is going to be, but as a safe bet, going out for a meal is the one time when you can properly dress up, go all out and make yourself look gorgeous and nobody can moan at you for being overdressed. Now skirt wearing during the day I find absolutely fine, in fact I like wearing skirts during the day (especially with funky tights) but I am one of those girls that cannot get away with wearing a dress during the day, even if the shops and designers do label them as ‘day dresses’. Call me old fashioned or maybe just a bit of an odd ball but to me wearing a dress means you are going out for the night. Going out for a meal is definitely that opportunity to wear that dress you guiltily bought, even though you thought it was slightly overpriced, put on that expensive jewellery you only wear on special occasions and wear those shoes that you know make you look hot but make you want to cut your own feet off. On the other hand you can always look out for a bargain dress, wear some comfortable wedges and get some cheap elegant looking jewellery; and you still have your feet at the end of the night. Clothes: Playsuit - Newlook £22.99; Sandals - River Island £25; Bag - River Island £20; Earrings - £3 (sale)
The Cinema Date The smell of toffee popcorn, sweet soda and nachos throughout the corridors, the teasing film trailers and the back seat that is calling your name; it’s practically the official first kiss scenario at your local overpriced cinema. It will sound ridiculously obvious when I say this but make sure you wear something you can sit down in for a few hours. The amount of times I have been sitting in the cinema itching to stand up and pull up my irritating jeans that I know will never fit me or been sat down in a skirt that I had really misjudged the length of, trying to slip it down ever so slightly and wriggling around in my seat is honestly beyond me. A playsuit is a great idea; loads of high street shops have got some really nice cheap ones that you can definitely wear during the day as well as out to the cinema, making them pretty much effortless yet still flattering. Clothes: Dress - Topshop £35; Shoes - H&M £29.99; Necklace - ASOS £6; Earrings - ASOS £6
The Night In Maybe cash is low, maybe you are being lazy, maybe you have been everywhere in town, whatever the reason there are people that chose to stay in on Valentine’s Day (with or without a date). Just because you’re not going out, doesn’t mean you can’t make an effort right? The most important thing about being in your own home is being comfortable. I am not saying throw on your tracksuit bottoms and one of your dads old t-shirts but maybe a pair of leggings and a sparkly top to jazz your outfit up a little will be enough to impress. Jewellery doesn’t need to be complicated anyway; maybe staying in on Valentine’s Day is the most romantic of them all; you, your partner, a bottle of wine, a takeaway, films, snacks and maybe some after dinner entertainment (who are we kidding with that one?)– Hell you practically have all of the above dates in one. Clothes: Leggings - H&M £14.99; Shoes - H&M £19.99; Bracelet - ASOS £7; Top - Oasis £35
Chasing Rosa ©2012 Copyright Melissa Martinez.
This week’s new contributor Melissa Martinez bares all in her new column about saphic love, lust and relationships in the Mediterranean.
I’m skipping off the beaten path, in a dark chocolate hazelnut forest gaily scoffing scarlet cherries and juicy blueberries like the proverbial Red Riding Hood (except for the record, I’m wearing an Adidas hoodie). I’m blissfully and deliriously lost. Dusk is looming and I sense yellow-eyed wolf-men lurking in the undergrowth lasciviously licking their salty lips and drooling on their hairy paws. I pretend not to be afraid and fearlessly whistle Gaga’s Born this Way. A wild hare with big mysterious hazel eyes and floppy ears hops past. I hightail after her, scratching my bare legs as we burrow under a barb wire fence. Breathless and blood-tinged we reach a clearing. Squinting up at a dazzling sky, I panic, suddenly realising I left my treasured tortoiseshell Wayfarers behind on a treestump. I turn to the hare but she has metamorphosised into a cute brunette. Smitten, I don’t go back. Thirsty, I invite her out for a mochachino. I wake up to the smell of brewing coffee and my girlfriend nuzzling my cheek... I’m always getting lost even in my dreams. I’ve never been good at deciphering maps (I’m an upside-down reader) and even at the tender age of nine, equipped with a com-
pass and cryptic clues, I still managed to get hopelessly disorientated on a school orienteering course. Luckily I followed the river and snuck back to camp just in time to miss potato-peeling and being reprimanded for going off on my own. Admittedly it’s my own fault for not heeding directions of where I should go (even now, SatNav voices that sound like robotic Stepford wives aren’t exactly inspiring) but isn’t half the adventure, not always knowing where you’ll end up? I think sometimes in order to find yourself, you need to get a liitle lost first. I guess that explains why I’ve inadvertedly wound up in sun-kissed Spain, separated from a man, snogging a woman, living next door to a 12th century monastery and wondering how in heavens this all happened. Was it fluke, destiny or just pure unadulterated desire which got my knickers in a twist? I could claim sunstroke, blame the innocuous ‘Agua de Valencia’ (which is actually an intoxicating mix of orange juice, cava and Cointreau) or I could fess up to being seduced by Elena Anaya in the heady ‘Habitación en Roma’. Whatever the catalyst, I fell dizzily heart over heels in love with a fiesty, tomboyish Spanish girl called Rosa…
Don’t Cry A SHORT STORY BY LYNSEY CALDERWOOD
The storm is over now: no howling wind, no growling thunder; it’s all been whittled down to
one tiny solitary dreg of moisture that’s poised against the windowpane like a dagger. And Kat, she stares out into the street, but she can’t see anything except the thick black smear of night. And everything outside is graveyard silent, and she can’t hear anything except the booming of her own pulse. She turns away again and presses her pen down onto her journal. I think … no, I feel … no, I need… ‘Oh, fuck this!’ She draws a purple slash mark across the page: across the latest draft of the story that she’s just spent all afternoon on. The ink bubbles, and she lets her pen slide from her hand, down onto the table. She takes a slow deep breath. ‘It’s for the best,’ her brain tells her, ‘it’s what you both wanted.’ Kat wonders what Leigh is doing right now. Is she pouring her heart out into her diary too? Or is she blocking her thoughts with a glut of soaps or some wishy-washy true-life movie? She wonders if she’s cried at all. Or if she’s even told people what’s happened.
Flashback to the night the two of them stood kissing, furiously, in the rain, in the middle of George Square. Their clothes were stuck to them like second skins, water dripping down their necks and into their armpits; and their shoes were like paddling pools. The only time they came up for air was when a crowd of drink-fuelled revellers began shouting at them to get a room. She could remember how she nearly soaked Leigh earlier that evening in the club: how she nearly poured two drinks down her back when she was caught off guard with that first kiss. And she could remember the taxi ride home: the rush of excitement, the pure heady feeling that she got just from holding this girl’s hand; and the ebb and flow of what if’s as her stomach lurched and tumbled and she realised that they’d crossed a line in their friendship, and there was no going back. Months later, she would lie awake and listen to the rain on nights when Leigh wasn’t sharing her bed. Some afternoons too, when her windows were all misted up; and she would think about her girlfriend, and she would touch herself. She thought about how wet Leigh made her that first time when they went to bed together; and how she cried when she came, and how Leigh held her shaking body and asked her over and over again what was wrong. Kat would’ve loved them to have made rainy-day love. Thinking about it makes her smile. They never got the chance though. Because Leigh didn’t like to do it when it wasn’t dark because she said she didn’t like anyone seeing her body naked. Kat loved everything about Leigh’s body though: she loved every dip and dimple in her flesh, especially the rippling stretch marks on her thighs – she thought they looked like lines of fine silver embroidery, only more beautiful. But it was hard sometimes. The frustration she felt. Because no matter how many times she told Leigh how gorgeous she was, there would always be a stinging retort. And then a torrent of arguments would follow, which always left them both drained and miserable. Kat thought back to that first night she made Leigh cry: they were standing in Leigh’s kitchen having one of their usual makeup-breakup sessions when the tears suddenly exploded. She had never seen anyone so upset before. And she felt so helpless. ‘Don’t…’ she wanted to say. ‘Please don’t...’ But the words were frozen inside her. It was raining on Friday when Leigh told her it was over. Kat had been soaked three times already that day: at home in the shower, outside in the street, and then inside the swimming baths where she’d gone to think through what it was that she wanted from their relationship. She told her by email. Kat could hardly read past the third line because the words had become a total blur. She spat back a reply, telling Leigh that it was fine by her. And that she never wanted to see her again. And that was that. Kat shivers and wrings her hands. Then she turns and looks out into the street again; out into nothing and the dark shadows of nearby trees. She sighs, and there is a clap of thunder, and then the heavens open again.
B.I.D ZINE Issue 8
With Thanks To: Holly Richardson Lotte Murphy-Johnson SOPHIE Cohen lynsey calderwood elly badcock melissa martinez