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D&G Queerier FREE!

Inside:

Issue 1 April 2018

cover!

Local Artwork Ecologically Curious Poetry Literature and Rainbow Cake

LGBT+ Disco Stories Queer Haggis: The D&GQ Origin Story Local LGBT+ News, Politics & Opinions


The Team

Guest Editor

Lucy EJ Woods

Co-Founder Leo Barrett

Designer Cat Acheson

Writers

Matthew Byers Lizzie Parsons Joseph Kidd-Bentley Elinor Predota Diane MacLean Leo Barrett

Treasurer Michael Gowan

Social Media Editor

Cover Artist

Andre Anderson Ella Dutch

Artists James Webster Ayla Fudala

HELLO! Hello and welcome to the first ever issue of The Dumfries & Galloway Queerier! D&GQ began after a sequin-filled evening of cabaret at the Big Burns Supper festival (see page 3 for more). It was here a group of LGBT+ volunteers decided to relaunch The Queerier, an LGBT+ newsletter from 2009. Uniting old and new communities, the magazine in your hands has only been made possible thanks to an army of tenacious volunteers and fundraisers from across Dumfries and Galloway. From the whole D&GQ team, we hope you enjoy this issue. If you’d like to get involved or give feedback, please contact us at: dg.queerier@gmail.com

Dg.queerier@gmail.com Facebook / Instagram @DGQueerier CONTENTS

If you need support, want to make new friends, or you’re just looking for a safe space to be yourself, these local groups are here for you:

News 2-6

Features 7-8

Opinion 9-11

Lavender Menace: facebook.com/lavendermenacedumfries or contact leo@lgbtplus.org.uk

Creative 12

Queers Of The South: www.facebook. com/groups/queersofthesouth/

Queer Haggis / LGBT+ Disco / D&G Pride / Gender Recognition Act Black Doves / Top 10 Queer Venues / The Queer Gardener

Literature & Cake / Tackling Rural Isolation / LGBT+ at Annan Academy

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LGBTQ+ Services

Ecologically Curious

LGBT Youth Scotland: www.lgbtyouth. org.uk D&G LGBT Plus: www.lgbtplus.org


Queer Haggis: The Dumfries & Galloway Queerier Origin Story Lucy EJ Woods

Photo: Burns Supper

On 18 January 2018, people flocked from across the UK to enjoy the queer-themed cabaret show: Queer Haggis.

combine world-class cabaret entertainment with LGBT+ political issues.

An offshoot of the annual Big Burns Supper festival, Queer Haggis hosted a number of dazzling acts, from divine drag queens and leather-bound burlesque, to a neon-lit aerial performer.

The first Queer Haggis show was performed in 2017 and after the success of the 2018 show - performers are expected to enthrall audiences again next year. Main says, because there was “such audience warmth,” there was no question among the festival team when it came to deciding whether to put Queer Haggis on again.

The acts were showcased beneath the colourful canopy of the ‘Speigel’ tent, which was packed with an excited crowd, eager to volunteer for audience participation! The buzz from this queer cabaret show ignited the launch of D&GQ. That night, the founding members of D&GQ met on the dance floor and made an instant connection in a shower of glitter. Big Burns Supper’s Executive Producer Graham Main says Queer Haggis bloomed as a result of “reaching out to the audience” in Dumfries, with the “blueprint” for Queer Haggis springing from the support and “powerful energy” of the southern Scottish region. Main says the audience of Dumfries gave the Big Burns Supper team “permission to mess around”, which led a character from the popular, lead cabaret show, Le Haggis, to create Queer Haggis. To find performers, the Big Burns Supper team sent out casting agents to scout for local talent, aiming to

Alongside the queer cabaret, more than 200 shows and events were put on across Dumfries and Galloway during the Big Burns Supper festival, this was thanks to “spirit and ambition” and “goodwill and volunteers” says associate producer, Rachael McDougall. The Big Burns Supper festival is now in its eighth year, Queer Haggis will return to Dumfries for its third year, as part of the Big Burns Supper festival 2019.

“That night, the founding members of the Queerier met on the dancefloor and made an instant connection in a shower of glitter.” 3


News

ess c c u S o c s i D + T rs’ LGB e e t n u l o V l a c o L Lucy EJ Woods Photos: Ayla Fudala

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Ross explains, David Mancuso is “the godfather of disco. His Loft parties got the whole [disco] thing started and inspired everyone, including On 2 March 2018, when most of the region was at a Nicky Siano.” Mancuso organised invitation-only standstill due to the snowstorm, Lavender Menace parties, and Siano opened his own commercial club. hosted an LGBT+ disco event at The Stove cafe. Mancuso’s parties “inspired” DJs Larry Levan and There were DJ decks, lights, rainbow badges and a Frankie Knuckles, who spun decks at the Continental glitter station. As a “long-time dedicated fan of disco, Baths (a gay bathhouse in New York). Both DJs “went boogie and house music”, DJ and veteran LGBT+ on to play huge roles in the evolution of dance music event organiser Lesley Ross told D&GQ the event in the ‘post-disco’ years,” says Ross. In New York (at aimed to reclaim the dancefloor. Working alongside Paradise Garage) DJ Levan created US ‘garage’, and Lavender Menace, the disco coincided with an DJ Frankie created ‘house’ music in Chicago, at The LGBT+ history month display at The Stove. Warehouse. “Imagine being so influential that an entire genre of music is named after the club where Through music, zines, conversations and badges, you’re the DJ!” says Ross. the event shared inspiring stories of the influence of queer culture on mainstream club music. The use This fascinating history and essential influence of of two decks and a mixer, the development of club the LGBT+ community on disco inspired the event’s sound systems, and the switch from 7” records to 12”, name: ‘We Created Disco’. Posters for the event are all queer influences on mainstream club culture, featured images of the above mentioned influences says Ross. – plus DJs: Ron Hardy, Mark Moore, The Black Madonna, Derrick Carter and DJ Sprinkles; producer “I’ve always loved soul and disco records, so it was Tom Moulton, and singer Sharon White. incredibly powerful when I was younger to learn about the queer origins of dance music,” says Ross. Ross also used Dumfries-born DJ Calvin Harris’ During the event, rainbow coloured badges were album cover ‘I Created Disco’ as part of the poster handed out with pictures of influential DJs: David image. Harris’ local connection to Dumfries “worked Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Larry Levan and Frankie nicely” to promote the event, says Ross. People of Knuckles. all ages and backgrounds, from across the region


attended the disco event to talk, put on glitter and dance.

“[the LGBT+ community in Dumfries]...is very divided. You feel like you need to be invited. There are so many gay people I know who did not attend. Disco attendee, Becky Adams, told D&GQ she was Dumfries has a unique and vibrant big gay scene, invited by a friend and “would go to a gay bar if but we need to bring it together to see it.” there was one in town, and I would come to The Stove for an LGBT+ event again.” Tunes produced by Mancuso, Siano, Levan and Knuckles, alongside edits by Dimitri from Paris, Bruce McClelland told D&GQ he attended the Joey Negro and The Reflex were played throughout disco after struggling with anxiety and depression. the evening to an energetic crowd. “This is music “I just wanted to stay inside,” he said, but after I love, and it was wonderful to share it in that being invited by a friend to the disco, “I wanted to environment,” says Ross, “There was a lot of love – come out for once. And I would come again. I don’t and glitter! – in the room.” think I would want anything different, the LGBT+ community in Dumfries is fantastic!” Ruaridh Thin-Smith came to the disco to “support the cause; I would like there to be more [LGBT+] social events.” However, Thin-Smith said he only found out about the disco through word-of-mouth, adding that this is because the LGBT+ community in Dumfries “has a nice atmosphere and a good community” but “is fragmented.” Kaz Rogerson attended after seeing the event on Facebook. Rogerson says despite living in Dumfries all his life, he had not heard of an LGBT+ event being held in the town before. Rogerson added,

“Dumfries has a unique and vibrant big gay scene, but we need to bring it together to see it.”

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News

Celebrate Pride in D&G Dumfries and Galloway is to join the LGBT+ party map with its own Pride celebration. After a year of planning, the event is being launched by new local charity, DG Pride. The main celebration will take place 15 September 2018, with talent from across the region showcased on a live stage at the Planestanes. The eighth annual Pride event in Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway is now on Pride event calendars across the United Kingdom and Europe. “Future generations see the world very differently,” DG Pride said in a statement, “To our young people, everyone is equal, and that should be celebrated loudly and colourfully.” The same day, local charities LGBT Youth, and LGBT Plus, will be taking over The Stove, to provide spaces for people to change and take time out, a youth space, and much more. The Stove can be accessed from the carpark behind for privacy. DG Pride is still looking for volunteers to take part in the celebration. For more information please contact: dgpride@outlook.com

Beyond Binary Sex and Gender > > > > > > > > > It can be easy to think of sex and gender as a binary, with the occasional trans person choosing to live as the “opposite sex”, but in reality there is much more variation. Consider one man, who was treated for a hernia age 70, to discover he had a womb (he had also fathered four children). Intersex conditions (generally) do not pose medical problems, and are just part of human diversity. However, modern society is so concerned with gender conformity, babies born with visible intersex genitalia (around one in 2,000) are operated upon - sometimes without the parents’ knowledge. Biological sex is not binary, and neither is gender identity (one’s sense of self). We might feel that we are sometimes male, and sometimes female (genderfluid), that we are both (bigender), or that we are neither (genderqueer, nonbinary, agender). The terminology for identities is still evolving, but most fall under the umbrella: Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC). If you are unsure about how to refer to someone, just ask! What pronouns do they use (eg. he/him, she/her, they/them)? If you’re still in doubt, remember it is generally not polite to discuss people’s appearance, identity or medical history, especially if you don’t know them well!

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Gender Recognition Act Review Underway The Scottish government’s public consultation to amend the Gender Recognition Act (2004) ended as scheduled last month. The consultation was held after Scottish parliament invited people to voice their opinions on if, and how, the Act should be changed. Since 9 November 2017, the Scottish government sought public responses to “adopt a new streamlined administrative process for legal gender recognition.” The consultation’s focus is to reduce the minimum age for people applying to legally change gender, down from 18, to 16 years. The government also aims to create a self-declaration system, as opposed to the current system which requires medical reports. The consultation is also aiming for the legal recognition of non-binary people. Anglea Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities stated as part of the consultation: “At the time, the 2004 Act was seen as ground-breaking. But it is now out of date”, and it “needs to be reformed and simplified. The requirements laid down in the 2004 Act are too intrusive and onerous.” The current Act stipulates transgender people must gain a “recognition certificate” via tribunal hearings. Tribunals are, at the moment, only available to people over 18, who convince a ‘Gender Recognition Panel’ they are suffering gender dysphoria, and that they have lived as their preferred gender for two years, alongside a self-declaration, and two medical reports. The review proposes changing these requirements. Instead, applicants will be asked to make a statement to show they “understand what they are doing and intend to live in the acquired gender for the rest of their lives”. The consultation also asked for views on how transgender and non-binary people under the age of 16 should be legally recognised. The government plans to use the results of the consultation to update its policies by 2020. A separate consultation will be published later on in 2018, seeking responses for intersex issues.

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Sex, Doves, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Lucy EJ Woods Photo: Black Doves Queer Theory is held in Glasgow’s ‘Nice N Sleazy’ bar, showcasing a diverse array of cabaret, comedy and drag acts. Queer Theory has been giving queer performers stage space since Spring 2016. “Every time there are different acts. Every time it is a surprise,” says Black. Lead singer for the keyboardand-vocals duo Black Doves, and co-organiser of the monthly ‘Queer Theory’ event in Glasgow, Jamie Black took time out to tell D&GQ how it all started.

Queer events - such as Queer Theory - are “very important” because of the social and networking opportunities they provide for the LGBT+ community, says Black. “You meet so many people,” and it’s a way to get people to “just come out!” he says. At Queer Black says he has “always” been a singer and songwriter, Theory, “people know each other, and can bounce and has known his bandmate, keyboard player Dean ideas off one another. We also support each other by Cargill, since they were just five years old; they grew up going to each other’s nights”. If Queer Theory did not living around the corner from each other. Deciding to exist, “I would have no social life!” jokes Black. team up and create songs together, Black and Cargill produced Black Doves’ debut album, ‘Queer Theory’, Black and Cargeill have performed as the Black Doves last year. The album name was then reprised to brand across Scotland, including Edinburgh and Ayrshire, the queer variety show, which Cargill and Black and will be performing in Dumfries, at The Stove, as organise. A monthly, alternative entertainment night, part of the D&GQ launch event, 21 April 2018.

D&G Queerier Top Ten LGBT+ Friendly Venues Diane MacLean Hello to all D&GQ readers! My name is Diane MacLean, and I am a queer woman living in Dumfries. For those of you who might already know me, you won’t be surprised by my involvement with this new queer publication! For those readers who don’t know me: I’m 48 years old and I’ve lived in Dumfries all of my life. For the past 15 years I’ve worked in both mental health and social care. Alongside this, I am involved in, and perform at various entertainment events, including Youth Beatz festival, Big Burns Supper and Maidens of Music. However, one of my main interests and areas of employment is cooking and hospitality. So, over the next few months, I would like to create a ‘Top Ten’ list of the best places to eat, drink and socialise in Dumfries and Galloway.

If there is a local place you love, or you work or run a local hospitality business, D&GQ would like to hear from you! We want to know about your accessibility, are you LGBT+ friendly? Pet friendly? What food is on offer and for what budgets? Do you offer gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options? My email address is: dianemac1969@outlook.com - I would like to receive queries from local businesses, or reviews from readers. Please include marks out of ten, alongside a brief of why you enjoyed (or did not enjoy!) your experience. I look forward to hearing from you and compiling a list of D&GQ’s favourite, local LGBT+ friendly places!

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Springtime Advice from the Queer* Gardener

Joseph Kidd-Bentley Artwork:James Webster

*This advice applies to any LGBTQ+ gardeners… And heterosexual/cisgender gardeners, or anyone who isn’t a gardener but would like to be. Basically, it’s for anyone! As I write, March sunshine shines warm and bright through the window. Early spring bulbs, snowdrops, crocuses and dwarf narcissi are in flower. They bloom alongside the hellebores and purple sprouting broccoli. The edges of my lawn are starting to look a little shaggy, and no doubt the lawn mower will be making its 2018 debut soon. The vegetable patch is dug into neat rows, with kale plants and pea seeds already sown.

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What has been neglected all winter is now due a serious dose of green-fingered care. Spring is a time for making a start on a garden. Dead herbaceous growth looks stately when covered in snow, but it starts to get messy when new shoots appear underneath it. To keep a garden healthy and luscious, I’d suggest the following advice:

• Sow seeds. The vast majority of flower, herb and vegetable seeds can be sowed in March and April, and they are a cheap and effective way of adding colour and variety. Ensure you follow instructions on the packets, and don’t sow too thickly. Ideally you should leave about a fingerwidth gap around each seed. • Cut back dead stems from last year’s herbaceous perennials (long-lasting herbs). They should be chopped up and then either added to your compost heap, or, as is my preference, put back on your borders as a mulch. • Watch grass growth and give your lawn its first spring haircut on a dry day, before it gets too long to manage. • Clear out the remainder of last year’s vegetable crops, with the exception of purple sprouting broccoli if you grew it last year, and get vegetable beds and boxes ready for new crops.


Opinion Rainbow-coloured Literature And Cake Joseph Kidd-Bentley

One thing I enjoy about LGBT+ venues across Scotland is not the alcohol, or the music, or even the partying ‘til dawn! It’s going for lunch, or even just a coffee, to sit with a magazine and have a good read. Here in Dumfries, I will sit in any of the cafes with a copy of Gardener’s World and be content…But I’d prefer to be reading Attitude, ScotsGay, Out North West, The Pink Paper or Gay Times, or even on occasion Diva. In many LGBT+ friendly venues I’ve frequented, there is a selection of LGBT+ specific literature on the magazine rack alongside other papers. When thinking about LGBT+ venues in Dumfries, it’s not just night clubs with decent music and cheap beer the LGBT+ community need. Daytime venues are required too. Venues with visible literature proclaiming them as LGBT+ welcoming, LGBT+ stickers in windows, and posters on walls. And of course, good coffee and peppermint tea (made from real mint leaves!) with a slice of Victoria sponge to enjoy at lunchtime.

“It’s not just nightclubs with decent music and cheap beer the LGBT+ community need. Daytime venues are required too.”

Photo: Creative Commons

Cafe owners of Dumfries: do you want to be LGBT+ welcoming? Make a poster for your window stating you have LGBT+ literature. For example: “Dumfries & Galloway Queerier available here!” – you could do a lot worse! Even a small gesture can make a big difference, such as painting a small rainbow over your coffee machine. Some may argue that LGBT+ literature is aimed at a minority group, but so is Gardener’s World, yet each issue secures the return of customers . I think we can all agree that literature and cake are both so much better when they are rainbow-coloured!

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Tackling Rural Isolation Elinor Predota

When I first moved to rural Dumfriesshire with my partner, eighteen years ago, we wanted some isolation. Before the move, myself, my partner, and our two enormous dogs lived for several months in Birmingham with my parents, their dog, one of my brothers, and his girlfriend. We all remained on good terms, but after living in such a full and busy household, a little peace and quiet was welcome! The first year, we kept to ourselves. We took long walks in the woods, enjoying the rural beauty of Dumfriesshire. But it soon became clear I had underestimated just how conservative this rural setting can be. It felt like being pushed back into the closet - all the more so because my partner presented as a man. On the phone I was referred to as “Mrs. [Partner’s Surname]” so often, I gave up correcting people. I resorted to replying, “more or less,” just to get on with conversations. It may seem like a tiny thing, but these micro-aggressions build up over time to create unbearable pressure. Living in cities, I never had much of a queer community. I’m bisexual, out, and proud; I have always faced the equal risk of rejection in both gay and lesbian spaces, and in straight spaces. I am also neurodivergent and an introvert; once I stopped drinking alcohol in the mid-1990s, I no longer had a buffer to make it through the social events which most of the queer community revolves around. This made events like the annual UK Bisexual Convention, which had previously been my home, intolerable. For a number of years, my queer community was in San Francisco. My partner and I had made annual pilgrimages there since the late 1980s, developing a

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circle of close friends. I was delighted to become part of a world of queer, sex-positive fabulosity! While these intermittent pilgrimages refilled my depleted cup, it didn’t help with day-to-day support. For this, I turned online: to spiritual and fandom communities. I’m a member of two traditions of neo-Pagan witchcraft which centre around queerness (Reclaiming and Feri). I got involved with them both in 2000. There were UK gatherings, camps, and training. Attending these events provided relief. Here were people who met me in my queerness, both of sex and gender, and of spirituality. Between face-to-face gatherings, I stayed connected to this community through email lists and online groups. During the 2000s, I hit a period of severe depression. Science fiction and fantasy (SFF) fandom was my saviour. I found online corners full of queer folk, places to share readings and my frustrations over gendernormative representation, along with my excitement over those rare SFF books, comics, films and television shows that really get us. Not to say I have no face-toface queer community in Dumfriesshire: I volunteered with LGBT Youth Scotland, and served as the first chair of D&G LGBT Plus. It helped that this involved a small number of people, focused on a specific task, where I wasn’t alone identifying as bisexual. While I am now more visibly queer (as my partner is transitioning gender), my health has deteriorated, making it hard to be involved in the flesh. So, I have returned to the internet - to both my international spiritual and fandom communities, and my local queer community alike.

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My Experience as a Queer Student at Annan Academy Matthew Byers

Homophobic language was the biggest thing I had to deal with at Annan Academy. “Gay” is used as an insult, or as a synonym for weird. “That’s gay”, and, “you’re gay” are common slurs. This made it hard to decide what to do when I realised I was bisexual. Should I come out at school and risk homophobic abuse? Or should I stay in the closet until I leave? After coming out to my parents via a letter, they offered eternal support and acceptance. This parental support made me feel confident enough to come out at school. People were more curious than hostile. I would get random people coming up to me and asking to confirm the rumour that I was bi, which I did. They would then walk away. The worst thing that happened to me were comments when getting changed for Physical Education (PE) classes. My peers would jest: “are you checking me out?”, or, “stop looking at my arse!” I didn’t feel threatened by these inappropriate comments, but they did make me feel like I was predatory. I faced these day-to-day homophobic jibes, and I know others who have had to face other forms of homophobic abuse too. The acceptance of homophobic language is something that needs to change. I do not want a young person to experience normalised homophobia at Annan Academy, and to then feel too scared to come out. More needs to be done in Personal Social Education (PSE) classes, and in science classes (especially biology), to make the curriculum more inclusive. As a 2015 graduate, the sex- education I received at Annan Academy was geared towards heterosexual, cisgender students. There was no mention of safe sex if your partner was the same gender

After these experiences, there are a few things the school could do to make life easier for LGBTQ+ students: ~ Zero-tolerance of homophobic language ~ Inclusion of information on homosexuality and transgender identity in the curriculum ~ Make resources, information and support easily available for students who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity ~ Liase with charities and organisations to create a base in Annan, as Dumfries is sometimes too far for some people to travel

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Artwork by James Webster

as yourself, or if either of you was transgender. Even just the word “transgender” was not mentioned, in six years of PSE classes. However, I do have hope that things will change. After I came out, I made a Valentine’s Day card for a boy I was seeing at the time, in an art room during a free period. There was some comment from other students about me dating a guy after somebody asked if the card was for my girlfriend, and I corrected them. I brushed off this querying of my sexuality as harmless banter. The same day, during registration, I was asked by my head of year if I needed any support coming to terms with, and speaking to my family about my sexuality, because of the comments. I declined, saying that it had just been a throw-away comment, made in ignorance, though it was good to know that there was support there if I needed it.

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Ecologically Curious Lizzie Alice Parsons Rosie trickled down the stream in a shocked kaleidoscope. Fresh colours burst into our senses, smelling like raindrops and cherry blossom. Flesh chose its companion – waters’ balm, leafy eats, crunchy chews and sights, Mistlethrush song, on a tree climbing, climbing each other. ‘An oak apple’ they say, holding it out in a palm. We had sex on the balcony, overlooking the cosy moon, and the eerie river. We are as fish – proud, free, and severely threatened by climate change and global warming. So we cut trees to support Marsh Fritillary butterflies? I have antlers like a red deer in the dark: beautiful. Beaver-beetle, down your hole, like me in bed – feather pillow, warm as bread. See the shifting branches – the waking leaves. Open your eyes. Tell me, what are you like? Like a hugely complicated thing. Ecologically Curious.

^ Artwork by Ayla Fudala 12

D&G Queerier Issue 1  

Welcome to the first issue of the D&G Queerier! We are a magazine made for, and by, the LGBTQ+ community in Dumfries and Galloway. See insid...

D&G Queerier Issue 1  

Welcome to the first issue of the D&G Queerier! We are a magazine made for, and by, the LGBTQ+ community in Dumfries and Galloway. See insid...

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