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a i ga April 2016

for every woman

Margaret Cho The woman! The Comic! The Legend!

Wrecked Again! Living with an alcoholic

A Mother’s Perspective

My daughter is gay

Travel 24 hours

in Krakow


ROSA PARKS “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”


THIS ISSUE

FEATURE From a mother’s perspective - my daughter is gay OPINION Women’s Sexual Expression ON THE COVER - MARGARET CHO One of the busiest women in show business - between her comedy shows, Showtime specials, her activism, animal rights and chatting to us - Cho has found the time to write and record her follow-up album, American Myth THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD This month, Ashley M Moss from the US, tells us why she’s a feminist SALLY EDWARDS On why we shouldn’t kill off the arts TRAVEL Krakow is one of Poland’s main tourist attractions and anyone who loves old castles, medieval town squares and historic architecture will fall in love with the city… in just 24 hours SPORT A look back at some incredible moments for women in sport FEATURE Wrecked Again! Living with an alcoholic

REGULARS COLUMNIST VG LEE ARTS: BOOKS,MUSIC,FILM FOOD AND DRINK: WELLBEING AGENDA: EVENTS CALENDAR HORSE WHISPERS


EDITOR’S LETTER Happy Birthday to us! April is a very special month for Gaia magazine: we are celebrating our first anniversary. Still in our infancy we are gratified by our ever growing loyal readership. I am pleased that we have kept to our ethos of having an intelligent and inventive approach for a refreshing no nonsense, no bulls**t, no airbrushing women's magazine for every woman and all the men that support us. I hope that we deliver you a quality magazine which is reflected in the calibre of both the columnists and the inspiring women that feature. I’m delighted to have Margaret Cho as our cover star. Over the years, Cho’s comedic voice has also advocated social activism and self-worth. Her anger, bluntness, and fearlessness have won her a leadership role among women and the LGBT community and this month sees the release of her new album, American Myth. At Gaia we’ve always asserted that women get a voice and that’s getting more and more evident in each issue as we give you a platform in our Opinion pieces. So I am in an upbeat mood for our April issue. Come join in with the celebration and here’s to another year…

AJ Alanna Jane

Follow me on Twitter at @AlannaJane1 Instagram GaiaWomen …….Tweet us on @GaiaMagazineUK

Editor: Alanna Jane Cover photograph: Mary Taylor Contributors: VG Lee, Sally Edwards, Ashley M Moss, Kali Munro, Jane Allen Design: idesign idesign Advertising: Emma More idesign Publishers: Randan Publishing Ltd Company Number SC201978 idesign

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Feature


A Mother’s Perspective… My Daughter Is Gay When Ann Amos came out at the age of 17, her Jewish mother withdrew, for a short time, anyway. This was in 1988. Like many parents of gay teens, Magda Amos was struggling to reconcile her daughter's sexuality with her own religious beliefs. She sought advice from a few gay people she found through family and friends but Magda was still grasping for perspective. Now a mother herself Ann, who is 45, is aware the internet is awash with parenting blogs. There are dozens of websites relating to raising children and teens, but the landscape for parents of gay kids is virtually unchanged. "Is my son gay?" "Is my daughter bisexual?" "Can I as a parent find it within myself to accept my child's sexual identity, or should I try to dissuade my child of his or her feelings?" These can be very difficult questions for parents to consider. Ann sees a generation coming out younger, and some parents are more willing to embrace them. But gay teens are still one of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in society, facing the pressures and dangers of homophobic bullying. There is a threefold likelihood of lesbian and gay teens being bullied than other youth groups. These pressures in turn lead to a higher incidence of social isolation, alcohol and drug abuse, family problems and low self esteem from their peers. Through her own research, Ann found that teens talking to parents about their sexuality can sometimes can be difficult, if not seemingly impossible. She says that if they have heard anti-gay conversations between their parents or others close to them, this may contribute to their fear. In some situations, these youth may run away from home because they feel they cannot deal with the reaction of their parents. There are also many gay teens that are forced out of their homes by parents who are unable to deal with their teen’s sexuality. Even for those who remain at home, the tension that occurs when the teen comes out can push the relationship between the parent and child beyond breaking point. Ann believes that when a teen comes out, the same expression of love and support is called for. She urges parents to separate their belief in their child from whatever religious beliefs, or other ,may conflict with a child's sexual identity. But, she cautions, one of the most important things for parents of all teens — gay or straight — to remember is the importance of emphasising to your child that they deserve to be treated with respect and that they should be respectful of others. The trauma of the resistance to the teen’s sexual identity can be emotionally devastating for all the family. This refusal to accept the change may be particularly


high in parents who have been raised with the conviction that homosexuality is always wrong. Becoming a teenager is already a big deal regardless of whether the person is homosexual or heterosexual but for the gay teen, the issues are far more frightening. Often, the teen is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he or she is homosexual and is already fearful of people’s intolerance of them. The ultimate rejection of the parents on the basis of gender issues leaves the person feeling confused and isolated. “Learning to accept that your teen is gay, lesbian or bisexual is a process,” says Ann. “Like many of life’s processes, you have to go through it in order for you to learn from it. “Start by recognising that it will take time. Reassure your teen that you will learn to accept his/her sexuality and that you love them regardless. “It is worth remembering that your child is the same person he or she was yesterday. The only thing you have lost is your own image of that child and the understanding you thought you had.” Meanwhile Ann, and her mother Magda, have come a long way since those early days. Magda, 70, now accepts and embraces her daughter, and her daughter's wife. "I don't know exactly what happened. The only thing to say is that I didn't want to lose my daughter. Instead, I have gained another," says Magda. “I urge all parents to look deep into their hearts and give your child all the support you can. God knows it is hard enough growing up these days as it is.” And now, Magda says she's proud of Ann and of how she is trying to support other parents. "I was struggling so badly back then with her being gay, and I didn't know if I could ever come to terms with that. Now, I look back and can't believe we went through all that turmoil," Magda says. "She's a wonderful woman. She really is. To me, she is just my daughter. ” For further information and help: Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays http://www.fflag.org.uk Albert Kennedy Trust http://www.akt.org.uk


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VG LEE

From Caterpillar ... to Butterfly

I was five when my parents split up. While the dust of their broken relationship settled they sent me away to spend the summer with an aunt I’d only ever met once before. Our family home in Birmingham had been a narrow back-to-back terrace with a dusty yard and an outside toilet. My aunt’s house on the outskirts of Enfield was detached with gables and an enormous flower-filled garden. I remember the sprawling rockery, fruit trees, a stone bird bath, a conservatory with a sun-bleached sofa and next to it; an ever-increasing pile of newspapers where Aunt’s cat liked to snooze. Gardening was Aunt’s passion. I spent the summer learning the names of flowers, how to prune, how to wash away aphids. I learnt that ladybirds were friends and butterflies could be tolerated as things of beauty. But not their caterpillars - they were to be squashed! When my mother finally arrived to reclaim me, I didn’t want to leave. With my brother we moved into an upstairs flat and it was six more years before I again had a garden. For my twelfth birthday that same aunt bought me a bright yellow Goldilocks Floribunda rose bush and it was through having something of my very own to look after that cemented my love of gardening. In my early forties, realising that I could write, perhaps even make a living from writing, helped me through a dark phase in my life, but much earlier during an unhappy marriage, gardening saved my sanity. During that time, the garden was the only space I could call my own, where I


had some control over what happened although I had little money to spend on it apart from buying the odd tray of bedding plants. I took cuttings from neighbouring gardens. From small shoots I grew three buddleias: deep purple, white and one with yellow pompoms. In midsummer clouds of butterflies would rise up from the blossoms and I’d let them settle on me.

During what seemed an endlessly unhappy time the wonder of those delicate quivering Cabbage Whites, Red Admirals and Comma butterflies had the ability to transport my thoughts to a happier elsewhere. When I finally found the courage to leave I missed nothing about that gloomy house only the buddleias and the butterflies. I moved on to a third floor flat in north London with just a wide windowsill on the landing. I crammed this with geraniums and fuchsias. Each week I budgeted for a bunch of flowers; daffodils, tulips, Sweet William and Stock. Since then I’ve always factored a garden no matter how tiny, into my life. My tastes have varied. I remember a grandiose period when having visited Vita Sackville West’s White Garden at Sissinghurst; I turned my back on any flower that was more vibrantly coloured than white to palest pink. Last July I moved yet again. (During my childhood, my mother found it hard to stay in one place for more than a few years and this desire for constant change has rubbed off on me.) My present home has a yard very like the one I started out from – also an outside toilet which again I have grand plans to turn into a potting shed. There is dust and cracked concrete with the added bonus of a billion or so ants. Transforming this into a green and abundant sanctuary is proving an enjoyable challenge. When finished I hope it will leave me time for the allotment I share with my friend Les. As I’ve grown older the elements of gardening that I particularly cherished have changed. I no longer have an absolute allegiance to flowers. Unthinkable five years ago but now growing vegetables take first place in my daydreams. At this time of the year Les and I are planning


our crops. We hungrily search our local garden centre on the look-out for an early delivery of brassica seedlings. There are lists to be made and then superseded, the weather to be watched and discussed at length – conversations tedious to anyone but ourselves and other gardeners. Working on an allotment isn’t just about growing things; there is the wider, human aspect: a stalwart allotmenteer dies and I feel genuine sorrow as I pass his old plot. Someone else has it now but it’s no longer the plot it was. There is Margaret, possibly the most dedicated gardener arriving early in the morning and always cheerful – yet I sense her loneliness, the snooty couples who come for a season with their children and dogs and bright shiny equipment, the woman I conduct a vendetta against because she leaves the outside tap dripping. And the wildlife: the friendly fox, the anti-social badgers, flocks of sparrows decimating our seedlings. I now make chutney, I pickle red cabbage, donate my glut of courgettes and French beans to friends and family who accept these home-made gifts reluctantly as I did years ago when allotment friends brought me their surplus. Gardening goes perfectly with writing. There are hours when all I need do is sit and meditate, or something amuses or annoys me that seem worth jotting down. I believe that taking time, having patience is good for the soul – you can’t hurry writing and you can’t hurry gardening either! It seems as if I’ve been working towards this realisation all my life. Slow down. Sit. Observe. Daydream.

www.vglee.co.uk


women’s sexual expression Kali Munro


Opinion

Have you ever wondered whether other women, lesbian or straight have problems with sex? Do you worry that you're the only one who makes passionate love at the beginning of a relationship and then withdraws? Or perhaps you enjoy making love to your partner, but feel uncomfortable receiving sexual pleasure? If any of these sound familiar, you are not alone. Barriers to Feeling Comfortable with Your Sexuality While we may believe that sex should flow naturally and easily, the reality is often different. It's no wonder, given all that we're up against--sexism, heterosexism, and homophobia; society's repressed attitudes about sex generally and especially about women's sexuality; messages we receive from families, religion, schools, and the media about women, lesbians, and sex; and the fact that so many girls and women are sexually assaulted. It's remarkable that we feel comfortable with sex at all! Patience and Awareness If you're having a hard time with any aspect of sex, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be patient and understanding. Freeing yourself of pressure, blame, or criticism is crucial to moving through any obstacle you face. A good starting place is to simply pay attention to everything that you feel as soon as you are aware of feeling uncomfortable. If you are numbing, or shutting down, you'll want to figure out how you felt immediately prior to that. *How does your body react? *What body sensations do you notice? *Do you hold your breath? *Does your heart quicken? *What are your thoughts? *Do you see or sense images, sounds, smells, or tastes? *What do you notice before and during the point you start to feel uncomfortable or begin to numb yourself? Being aware of your own experience and responses is an important first step. This awareness helps you be in your body and be present with yourself. These are important elements for being able to relax and enjoy sex. This does not mean that you suddenly feel comfortable with sex, in fact initially you may feel even more uncomfortable because you are more aware of how upset or scared you feel. Some may respond to this process by feeling calmer. If you feel more upset or about the same, continue to be with your feelings, let yourself breathe if you can, and remember this will help you to feel better about sex.


It is important that you and your partner accept how you feel and approach your feelings with tenderness and love. Awareness, acceptance,and compassion are probably the most important things you can do for yourself and/or your partner. Are There Any Connections to the Past? You may want to ask yourself: Have you felt this way before? Do you feel this way in other situations? See if you can remember the first time you felt this way and whether there might be a connection. Does it make sense to you why this was triggered at this time? If not, try to remember the next time you felt this way and whether you can make a connection to your present feelings. Strong emotional reactions are usually connected to past experiences that have not been fully resolved. You may have been sexually assaulted and coped by numbing out. Or you may have been raised in a chaotic household and feel a strong need to be in control. Directing your attention to what originally brought on these feelings or reactions, and finding ways to work through those issues can help a lot. How is Your Relationship? If you are withdrawing from sex, how are you feeling about your relationship? Are there areas in your relationship, apart from sex, that need to change? Are you spending too much time together, which can dampen passion? Are you not spending enough time together, which can lessen your intimacy? Are you carrying around "baggage" from a previous relationship, which may be blocking your ability to relate intimately with your partner? Are your childhood experiences coming between you? You may want to ask yourself what happens when you withdraw from your partner. Does it reduce some anxiety or fear, or get you some much needed space. Maybe there is another way that you could accomplish the same thing. When you are aware of what is going on, you can let your partner know how you feel, and ask her/him for what you need. What You Can Do: Slowing Down If you are going numb or shutting down, there are a number of strategies you can try. One strategy is to approach sex at a slower pace, spending more time at sexual activities in which you don't numb out. Maintain a lot of contact with your lover by talking to each other and keeping eye contact. The idea is to stay present and in your body, and to stop when you begin to numb out.


Asking For What You Need You may need a stronger or softer touch, or to be in a certain position. Stop whenever you need to, and talk about how you are feeling. You might want to hold each other for awhile, then begin again unless you don't want to. Only you can know how you are feeling and whether you want to continue or not, your partner can only guess. It is far better for you if you take charge of your own needs and that your partner respects that. At times, it may feel frustrating, for both of you, so remember that by being patient and taking it slow, your sex life can improve. Partners who view each others' difficulties with sex as something to work on together have the best results. In this situation a partner will ask how the other is feeling, what is wanted, and whether they need to stop. This sends a clear message that you care and that it is okay to stop at any time. Talking About Sex Talking about sex, both inside and outside the bedroom, is important in any relationship. If you're shy about saying what you like while you're making love, tell your sweetie at another time. Have fun, it doesn't need to be serious. You may feel more comfortable sharing sexual fantasies because it is less direct. Do what works for you, but find a way to communicate your likes and dislikes with sex. Starting and Stopping Sex For the person who feels uncomfortable on the receiving end of sexual pleasure, try starting with just a little and stop. Talk about it, if that feels okay. Then try a little more, remembering to breathe. Take a break again. Keep trying this, receiving a little each time and then maybe increasing the amount of time each time. By going slowly, stopping and starting again, you can increase your comfort level with the focus on you. Both of you need to be patient because this can feel frustrating too but it is well worth it in the long run. You may find you even enjoy it. Letting Go To have an orgasm, we need to be able to ride the waves of arousal and let go--not always such an easy thing to do. If you find this difficult, begin outside the context of sex by thinking or talking about the following questions:

What does letting go mean to you? What would happen if you were to let go? How do you feel about letting go? Do you know what those reactions, associations, and feelings are connected to?


Are there other ways of your life in which you find it hard to let go? Do you like to be in control? Is there anything you are afraid will happen if you are not in control? You might want to begin by finding opportunities to let go, to be in less control outside of sex. How do you feel about that? Start small. Find little ways you can be in less control throughout your day. See if you can relax more, take it easy. Remember this can help improve your sex life so let that motivate you. During sex notice your reactions. If you start to tense up or pull back, stop right there. Notice that for a moment, breathe, and if you want continue. Trying to push on while you tense up will not work, backing off will. You'll immediately relax some. Remember, you are tensing up for a reason, honour that and let your partner know you need to stop. Obviously it is crucial that your partner handles this sensitively and respectfully. Additionally, you may need to let your partner know how to pleasure you just the way you like it. Give yourself permission to do that. And most importantly, no one has an orgasm by trying to have one. Let go of that goal, and focus on the pleasurable feelings in your body. Some women need to hear gentle loving words or be held when they approach orgasm because for them it brings up all sorts of safety issues. Others like to hear something more raunchy. Final Thoughts Experiencing sexual pleasure involves being present; staying with your feelings, your breath and other body sensations; expressing yourself (talking, making sounds, moving your body); and letting go. Finding ways to feel more comfortable doing these things, in and outside the bedroom, will help your sex life. Try not to worry if you don't notice any difference right away, be patient with yourself and your partner--your sex life can and will improve.


book reviews


Stop The Clocks Joan Bakewell

Joan Bakewell has led a varied, sometimes breathless life: she has been a teacher, copywriter, studio manager, broadcaster, journalist, the government's Voice of Older People and chair of the theatre company Shared Experience. She has written four radio plays, two novels and an autobiography -- The Centre of The Bed. Now in her 80s, she is still broadcasting. Though it may look as though she is now part of the establishment - a Dame, President of Birkbeck College, a Member of the House of Lords as Baroness Bakewell of Stockport - she's anything but and remains outspoken and courageous. In Stop the Clocks, she muses on all she has lived through, how the world has changed and considers the things and values she will be leaving behind. Stop the Clocks is a book of musings, a look back at what she was given by her family, at the times in which she grew up - ranging from the minutiae of life such as the knowledge of how to darn and how to make a bed properly with hospital corners, to the bigger lessons of politics, of lovers, of betrayal. She talks of the present, of her family, of friends and literature - and talks too of what she will leave behind. This is a thoughtful, moving and spirited book as only could be expected from this extraordinary woman.

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
 ISBN: 9780349006093


Not Quite Nice Celia Imrie Theresa is desperate for a change. Forced into early retirement, tired of babysitting her bossy daughter's obnoxious children, she sells her house and moves to a picture-perfect town, just outside Nice. Once the hideaway of artists and writers, Bellevue-Sur-Mer is now home to the odd movie star and, as Theresa discovers, a close-knit set of ex-pats. Settling to the gentle rhythm of the seaside, Theresa embraces her new-found friendships and freedom. But life is never as simple as it seems, and when skeletons fall out of several closets, Theresa starts to wonder if life on the French Riviera is quite as nice as it first appeared… Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
 ISBN: 978140884689 The Moth Catcher Ann Cleaves Life seems perfect in Valley Farm, a quiet community in Northumberland. Then a shocking discovery shatters the silence. The owners of a big country house have employed a house-sitter, a young ecologist named Patrick, to look after the place while they're away. But Patrick is found dead by the side of the lane into the valley...D.I. Vera Stanhope arrives on the scene, where she finds the body of a second man. All the two victims have in common is a fascination with moths catching these beautiful, rare creatures. Those who live in the Valley Farm development have secrets too: Annie and Sam's daughter is due to be released from prison any day; Nigel watches, silently, every day, from his window. As Vera is drawn into the claustrophobic world of this increasingly strange community, she realises that there may be deadly secrets trapped here… Publisher: Pan Macmillan
 ISBN: 9781447278306


JANIS little girl blue


FILM

Janis Joplin is one of the most revered and iconic rock and roll singers of all time, a tragic and misunderstood figure who thrilled millions of listeners and blazed new creative trails before her death in 1971 at age 27. With Janis: Little Girl Blue, Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis) examines Joplin’s story for the first time on film, presenting an intimate and insightful portrait of a complicated, driven, often beleaguered artist. It delves into the misunderstood mind of Janis Joplin before and during her rise to worldwide fame and is all linked together by Joplin’s letters home, read by Chan Marshall, better known as Cat Power. A picked-on high school outcast who discovered her voice at 16 or so, moved to Austin from Port Arthur, Texas, then to San Francisco, where she was a folk blues singer and developed a drug problem, which led to her being packed on a bus and sent back to Texas by her friends. The documentary is full of tragedy. It’s difficult to watch but it’s impossible to turn away from the complicated, insecure person on screen that exists in everyone. This is real, gritty humanity with a magnificent soundtrack - the music, and the archive, all woven beautifully together in Berg's film, is as compelling as any feature film could hope to be.

www.janismovie.com


LISSIE


MUSIC My Wild West

My Wild West is Lissie's third studio album and is perhaps her most honest material to date. It explores the journey she has embarked on and a celebration of new adventures still to come as she moves back to the Midwest and waves goodbye to her life in California. "I want my 40 acres in the sun," sings Lissie on 'Hero'; written before she had made the decision to leave California, the song revealed her sub-conscious desires and predicted the changes to come. It details Lissie's struggles with life on the West Coast and the inner strength she gained from overcoming her problems to forge her own path: "I could have been a hero, I could have been a zero, I could have been all of these things.” It was a documentary about the fight for equality by women in Liberia that inspired ‘Daughters’, while ‘Don't You Give Up On Me’ is the most poppy track here, and returns us to that Fleetwood Mac sound of her first two albums. ‘Stay’ is harder edged again, where Lissie moves from vulnerable to angry in a blink of an eye. Bringing the record to a close with acoustic ballads ‘Together Or Apart’ and ‘Go For A Walk’, Lissie's also no stranger to a love song with a whole lot of heart. With a career that has seen her open for renowned artists Lenny Kravitz and Tom Petty, Lissie has had a wealth of incredible experiences that have made her the confident and determined artist she is today. My Wild West is an evocative, atmospheric third album, one I’ll be listening to again and again.

Label: Cooking Vinyl ASIN: B017JJRAJ8



Margaret Cho exclusive interview with Alanna Jane


ON THE COVER

Margaret Cho is one of the world’s most well-known, funniest and forthright comedians. She has battled sexual abuse, homophobia, gender discrimination and racism to get to the top. The famously non-conformist Korean-American has also won awards for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of women, Asians and the LGBT community. Where many people have failed at their endeavours in the entertainment industry, Cho has endured. Not only has she been successful in stand-up, film, and as an author but she’s a talented singer with a stunning voice. Cho's been very vocal about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child and how she was raped as a teen. We caught up with her during her psyCHO tour and before the release of her much anticipated new album American Myth. AJ: You grew up in the 1970’s San Francisco. How has this period influenced your work? MC: It was a great time of gay political activism, where Harvey Milk was actively campaigning to be the first openly gay elected official. His tragic assassination devastated the community, but there was a major shift forward in fighting for our rights and looking to the future. I learned how to be political then, and this has always influenced my art.    AJ: Where do you get your comedy inspiration from? MC: Everything, from news to daily life experience, both looking back and looking ahead.    AJ: I love your impression of your mother, you manage to capture the essence of Korean mother-ness. What does your mother think about it? MC: She loves it. I think that women in my family become invisible as they age, and she loves that she still gets to be in the spotlight.    AJ: How important is it for an individual in the public eye to stand up for what they believe in?


MC: I think it's a personal choice, but I really want to use my experiences to heal others, if I can.   AJ: Do you feel your comedy has evolved because of this? MC: I am constantly searching for my own peace, whether it is from body image or racial inequality. I want to push for change in a world that is continually unfair to outsiders. This is what I hope to do as a comedian and an artist.    AJ: How do you feel about becoming a role model in a varied community, and as someone who has paved the way for the younger generation?   MC: I am grateful that I have inspired others, and broken some ground so that a new generation may flourish. It's my greatest achievement, to have set the stage for this new show, this new wave of artists. AJ: There’s a lot of debate right now about PC culture and how it’s affecting comedy in particular. Do you feel that you consciously adjust jokes to respond to that culture? MC: I don't know if I need to, as political correctness really exists to protect people like me. I am glad that it exists but I resent when it works to silence me.    AJ: You have mastered the art of transitioning between comedian and social commentator. So far as activism is concerned, is there anything that needs to change in the Asian American community? MC: I would love to see more Asian Americans in the arts, pursuing their dreams, and I am seeing this more and more nowadays. This is an extremely exciting time for Asian American artists of all kinds.    AJ: Do you think there has been progress? MC: Yes, and there will be even more change coming.    AJ: In your opinion has Hollywood become more accepting of Asian Americans?


MC: Yes and yet in the most mainstream arenas like blockbuster action films, whitewashing still exists. White actors are still playing roles in yellow face, and this needs to change.   AJ: Why is it important to be open and honest about sex and why do you think some people struggle or are repulsed by it? MC: Sex is political, and so honesty regarding sex is even more political. People are silenced by shame or fear of their own making. I don't think that anyone needs to be afraid of sex, which is why I talk about it openly. To be free about it is a political statement about it.  AJ: Why do you feel there’s silence among the bisexual community? MC: I think there's still a lot of bi-invisibility and bi-erasure. We are seen as outsiders by the gay and straight community, possibly because we belong to both and we belong to neither. It's confusing.    AJ: You’re currently in the midst of your psyCHO tour. How has that been going? MC: Great! Touring is a constant - I have been on tour for 30 years and it's the most stable and recognizable thing in my life. I will always tour.    Margaret Cho is very much linked into the music world as well. For her debut album, she  collaborated with many talented musicians such as Fiona Apple, Andrew Bird, Jon Brion, Tegan and Sara, Grant Lee Phillips, Ani DiFranco and Brendon Benson to name a few. AJ: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future? MC: I would love to write and sing and record with all of these wonderful artists again, and in the future I hope to work with Nile Rodgers, Allee Willis, Linda Perry - these legends I know and have loved for so long.   AJ: Your last single was called (I Want To) Kill My Rapist. It comes from a very real, and a very dark, place. What reaction did that get?  


MC: It was tremendous. I performed it the day I wrote it, at a small gig in Oakland, and women were singing it with me at the top of their lungs. They rushed up after and shared with me their stories of abuse and trauma. This has happened now every time I have performed it live. People want to tell me what happened, and it's a huge release for them. I am so grateful to have them share their burdens with me and I feel unburdened as well. AJ: What’s the first thing you do when you’re off tour? MC: I get in bed for several days. I love my bed and I use it like an office!   AJ: Do you have a preference between standup, acting and singing? MC: Standup comedy is my real medium, but I use songs as standup comedy and I often am cast in comedic roles as an actor, but I will always do standup comedy. It's my life.    AJ: You are calling your new album American Myth. Where did the title come from? MC: It’s from the song Anna Nicole which is the first track. It's about the story of her and how it's much like a very american myth, the beautiful soul who was too good for this world. AJ: Are you proud of American Myth?  MC: I am extremely proud to release American Myth. This is an album of anthems and showcases my first efforts as a composer. I made it with my longtime collaborator Garrison Starr and an incredible and inspiring crew of artists. It is my glamorous and glittering tribute to family, comedy, anger, fame, gayness, grief, fat pride, love and hate.   AJ: What’s next for Margaret Cho? MC: Touring and working on Fashion Police and developing a show called ‘Highland’ for Amazon about the marijuana boom in California.  American Myth is released on 29 April 2016. For further information visit: www.margaretcho.com



thoughts from abroad Image of DJ Wirginia, by Mona Blank Prywathie


USA Why I’m A Feminist Ashley M Moss I had never considered the concepts of the words feminist and feminism until I started working on my bachelor's degree, and encountered two literature teachers who changed my point of view. I never grasped the meaning of the words until I became a part of a movement (the natural hair movement), and formed a sisterhood with other women. Am I a feminist? Yes. Am I pro women empowerment? Yes. However, I wasn't always aware that I was. To put it simply, I always had a voice, but until I met those literature teachers, I was afraid to tap into it. I was afraid to use it, and speak up for myself and other women. The word feminism is thrown around so much in the media today that a person would think it was a fad, instead of a symbol of a woman's power and strength. There have been strides in the world regarding women since the concept of feminism began taking over: Women are owners of businesses and mothers as well as valued members of society. Yet, there have also been setbacks in the world regarding women following feminism's introduction to the world. Women are only paid 78 cents to every man's dollar on their jobs, they're mostly objectified as sexual objects, and most of the time they aren't covered for maternal leave and birth control insurance through their jobs. It's time for a change.

Niloofar Rahmani image le360.ma


Police surveillance operation images of suffragettes

I'm not a radical feminist, but I'll always stand up for the causes of feminism and women empowerment. To support, encourage, and empower a young woman is to empower a nation. Once women are empowered, they empower others. Feminism and women empowerment is building up other women, supporting them, and encouraging them. Femininity is strength. There's something special and refreshing about groups of women coming together to love and lift one another up, which too often isn't the case in today's society and times. Am I anti-male because I'm a feminist? No. Will I not support the building up of men's confidences and self-esteem's because I support the empowerment of women? No. Not only am I my brother's keeper, but I am my sister's as well. I am my mother, sister, aunt, best friend, cousin, and grandmother. I am a nurturer, comforter, teacher, healer, scholar, and truth-seeker. I never knew or understood just why I was a feminist until a few years ago. I'm a feminist. That fact and knowledge gives me the confidence and power to help other women, and myself.


OPINION DON’T KILL OFF THE ARTS SALLY EDWARDS

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what my next blog should be about.Then this morning I remembered seeing an article on social media about proposed plans to not put any more money into Arts in Education. I can’t remember specifics but do remember the initial headline filling me with sadness and rage.Therefore I want to spend a little time talking about my feelings on this subject and also give some personal accounts of my experiences of being involved in the arts in many different ways since being a small child. I realise many of you reading this will think I’m preaching to the converted, but I feel it’s important for people who this subject does affect get the chance to see it and maybe comment. To me the idea that Arts in Education is a waste of resources, or is not a valuable enough subject for people to participate in, is ridiculous. Since being an arts practitioner, in some form or another since 1994, I have not only embraced the benefits to my physical and emotional being, but being a deliverer of arts to others, I have also witnessed the joys and benefits it gives others. As one of the first two students with disabilities in my home county to attend main stream school, I experienced life changing situations and attitudes that were negative until I started attending GCSE drama in my third year. This had an immediate impact on my confidence and status within school. I remember vividly having a monologue assignment when I chose to use a segment from Pygmalion. I instantly related to the text and took to work on staging it and learning my lines. Not surprisingly I was the only one to stage my monologue with full costume and props and I used it as a statement whereby I felt I was standing up to my bullies and saying ‘no more’. A similar situation happened years later as a mature student. To my classmates shock I was awarded a distinction at performing arts college during a singing assignment. Later in life, as a dance practitioner, I spent many weeks and months facilitating workshops, residential courses and school projects with all age ranges, personal backgrounds and community groups.


Within this role I was constantly reminded how, for a lot of participants, this was a wonderful way to find new skills of communication, new relationships and renewed confidence with both their own bodies, and with others, to accept others ‘differences’. I can’t count how many times I was told by group leaders or teachers ‘you won’t get much out of such and such’ and ‘they have behaviour issues’ etc, but by the end of our time together they were the ones who stood out the most and openly went through personal development as a direct response to being involved. But my working in dance was very much a two way thing. Yes, as practitioner delivering workshops I ‘gave’ and assisted people’s personal journeys but also I massively ‘received’ a great deal from them too. I could write a feature on this subject that would end up being as long as one of my books because I cannot tell you in a short sentence how passionately I feel about this subject. One of the many reasons I do my work now is a way to give back something to a world I feel so grateful to have experienced.The Arts!

Not every pupil in a school is going to be the next scientific genius or medical wizard or even the next leader of our country. Academia isn’t the best way for some people to make a difference in the world but art is for everyone, in some way or another, so my plea here at the end is please DONT KILL THE ARTS!!


little italy


FOOD AND DRINK

205 Byres Road, Glasgow G12 8TN Tel: 0141 339 6287

This busy Italian café sits in the heart of Glasgow’s West End. You can perch on a stool by the window with a cappuccino while watching the world go by, or grab a seat at one of the tables and enjoy a pizza, probably the best around. Prepared from scratch using only the finest ingredients, the chefs take great pride in their offerings and have done since 1994. With an authentic selection of pizzas (choose your own toppings, also available by the slice), pasta and focaccia, a varied clientele frequent this friendly cafe. I opted for the meat cannelloni and my dining buddy opted for pizza (goats cheese, spinach and pesto) washed down with latte and espresso respectively. If you are going to order pizza or a portion of pasta there is really no need for a starter as they are so filling, but the bruschetta makes for a tasty opener for those feeling particularly peckish. There is also garlic bread, plain or topped with mozzarella. On this occasion we were too full for desert but the selection of cakes looked delicious and a mental note was made for a return visit. Little Italy boasts a cracking atmosphere, helped in no small way by the friendly and very attentive staff. It stands out from the crowd thanks to its fuss-free attitude to food and unpretentious style.

www.littleitalyglasgow.com



FOOD AND DRINK

Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, AB39 2JU Tel: 01569 762287 Given the little town’s long maritime tradition, the restaurant’s setting couldn’t be more fitting. White-washed stone walls and unpretentious decor give it a distinctly maritime feel; you’ll be glad you’ve made the trip here even before sampling the menu. Having won many plaudits and awards for its food, The Tolbooth should definitely be on the radar of discerning seafood lovers in the northeast of Scotland. With an everchanging seasonal menu, the restaurant ensures that you enjoy a taste of Scotland’s finest fish and shellfish with contemporary twists; whether it be fillet of hake poached in Cabernet Sauvignon and served with sesame prawn bonbons, Puy lentils, pancetta and curly kale, or oysters and crab soup made with sherry. Of course, the restaurant also caters for those who’d rather dine on meat and vegetables; while the seafood is recommended, it is by no means mandatory. I went for the specials on this occasion. Shetland mussels to start, fat and juicy, with a tasty sauce, followed by a whole grilled sea bass. The fish was beautifully cooked and the mash had a nice hint of ginger. Meanwhile, the home smoked monkfish was being devoured across from me. Julie went for the pork fillet stuffed with langoustines. The crushed Jersey royals, black pudding and a sage and apple purée was a great accompaniment. It never felt like I wished there was more of one item over another and the portion size was perfect.

Everything is made in the Tolbooth’s kitchen, even the bread rolls, canapés and the chocolates served with the coffee. The meals are reasonably priced, service was friendly and swift and well worth a visit if you are in the area.


Krakow Image (c) Artur Zyrkowski


TRAVEL 24 HOURS IN… Krakow If you believe the legends, Poland’s cultural capital Krakow was founded on the defeat of a dragon, and it’s true a mythical atmosphere permeates its attractive streets and squares. Here's how to make the most of your time in this picturesque city: Early to bed early to rise

If you rise early and are up and about, then the first thing to do is take a walk around the beautiful square in the Old Town. The Rynek Głowny (Main Market Square) in Krakow is the oldest medieval square in Europe. It can get pretty crowded but being there early in the morning means you get to see it in a completely different light, literally and figuratively. The sweet smell of summer bloom as the florists set up their stalls, the sound of horsedrawn carriages trotting down the cobbled streets and the whiff of coffee as cafés prepare for the busy day ahead all make for an unforgettable sensory experience. There’s a beautiful balance between the early morning calm and a slowly escalating air of activity. And if you needed things to get a little more perfect, look up at the aweinspiring gothic towers of St Mary’s Basilica. Having built up an appetite with all that walking, there are several cafés around Rynek Głowny offering traditional Polish breakfast. This normally includes a lot of side dishes, and can be quite a spread that’s typically served with chleb (bread), ser (cheese), ogórki (pickles), kielbasa (traditional Polish sausage), powidła (a special kind of Polish jam or preserve), tomatoes and eggs amongst other things. About a 20-minute walk or a short bus ride away from the Rynek Głowny is the magnificent Gothic Zamek Krolewski na Wawelu (Wawel Castle). Located by the picturesque Wisła River on the Wawel Hill, if there is one sight you need to see before you leave Krakow then this is it. On display are the Polish Crown Jewels, impressive State Rooms and interesting exhibitions such as ‘The Lost Wawel’ and ‘Oriental Art’.


Lunch on the run

A Polish speciality is pierogi, little dumplings filled with meat, vegetables or cheese that are a cross between ravioli and dim sum. Several Krakow cafés specialise in pierogi, such as Zapiecek (17), a small, rustic establishment at Ulica Slawkowska, where you will get a quick but very tasty lunch. Afternoon

After a leisurely stroll along the river, make your way towards Kazimierz, the Jewish district of Krakow. There is a lot to see and do in Kazimierz and walking is the best way to discover the area. Stumble into the synagogues which document the horrors of a recent past, and explore Oscar Schindler’s renowned factory. There is also a Ghetto Heroes square with an interesting installation. Walking around what was once a Jewish ghetto under the Nazi occupation is a particularly sombre experience. The vibe is as solemn as the architecture. Parts of it even appear run down, a stark contrast to the Krakow you would’ve experienced earlier in the day. Aperitif

Come evening, if you’re still in Kazimierz head to the legendary Alchemia, located just across the Plac Nowy. Very popular with Poland's arty crowd, Alchemia is the boho centre of the nightlife scene in Krakow. Enjoy a glass of the local Okocim or Zywiec beer, or a shot of Polish vodka, at Alchemia (20), at Ulica Estery 5 (www.alchemia.com.pl). or one of the many bars on Plac Nowa. An alternative for those who prefer something less crowded, quieter or more cultural is to make their way to one of the city’s many theatres. The Krakow Operetta,


The National Old Theatre, The Ludowy Theatre and The Groteska Theatre of Puppetry are just some of the several well-known theatres here. Dine like the locals

Look out for Polish specialities such as oscypek, a smoked cheese that is fried and eaten with cranberry sauce, and bigos, a spicy mixture of pickled cabbage and chunks of sausage. CK Deserter (21), at Ulica Bracka, is a relaxed place with a rustic decor and a warm atmosphere, serving a tasty range of meat and fish dishes as well as a good selection of vegetarian fare.

Throughout the year there are also a host of festivals and events taking place in the city, which means there is always something happening in Krakow, whatever the time of year. Did you know: Krakow is a city of many mounds. For panoramic views, the best of these hilly knolls is Kosci Uszko (www.kopieckosciuszki.pl), with vistas of the fort, the city and surrounding countryside.

For further information: http://www.poland.travel/en-gb


TRAVEL HOLIDAY QUIZ

If you’re overwhelmed by all of the different holiday destinations out there, fear not! Take our quiz and find out which destination is best suited to you… 1. Which shoes are you most likely to find in your wardrobe? A. Comfortable flats B. Hiking boots C. Heels D. Birkenstocks E. Slippers 2. Your friends describe you as… A. Inquisitive B. Adventurous C. Glamorous D. Friendly E. Laidback 3. What’s your perfect holiday drink? A. The local beer B. Bottled water C. Champagne D. A cocktail E. Cup of tea 4. What’s the first thing you look for as you step off the plane? A. The local art galleries, museums and galleries B. Book a jeep safari C. Nightlife D. Nearest beach E. I don’t fly 5. What’s your ideal date night? A. A romantic meal at a restaurant where you can people watch B. Skinny-dipping in the sea C. Swanky cocktails in a slick bar D. A candlelit meal by the sea E. A home-cooked meal for two


6. What’s your perfect holiday must-have? A. A phrase book to help you communicate with the locals B. A backpack C. Selfie stick D. A good book E. My own home comforts

Mostly A’s - A cultural holiday

You’re a culture vulture who loves nothing more than to explore a new city, from the cafes to the churches and everything in between. City breaks are your nectar and you probably go on a couple of them each year. Try locations with a rich history like Rome, Athens or Paris. Further afield try Vietnam. - An adrenaline-fuelled experience From climbing mountains in the snow to skydiving and paragliding, you, your friends and your other half are extreme adrenaline junkies. You’d love diving with sharks in Australia or experiencing an epic safari in Africa. Mostly B’s

- A stylish city break If you love the idea of sipping on a cocktail in a swish bar, or indulging in some delicious dinner in a chic restaurant, then a slick city break is perfect for you. Go all out and imagine you’re a part of The L Word by visiting Los Angeles or try New York, London and Barcelona.  Mostly C’s

- A relaxing beach escape The word holiday to you means beaches, turquoise sea and plenty of sunbathing. Quite simply, if the sun isn’t shining on holiday, you won’t have a good time. There is nowhere better than the white sands of the Maldives, Mauritius of the Bahamas. Mostly D’s

- There’s no place like home You like your own surroundings and enjoy nothing more than exploring all that the UK has to offer. You could try pet sitting or a house swap or join us on one of our weekenders in the beautiful Perthshire countryside. Mostly E’s


SPORT SPORT Nicola NicolaAdams Adams

(c) (c)Nicola Nicolaadams Adamspicture picturegallery gallery


A LOOK BACK AT SOME INCREDIBLE MOMENTS FOR WOMEN IN SPORT

Meet the talented female athletes who deserve a spot in every Hall of Fame.

Heptathlon Gold, 1972 After finishing fourth and ninth in the previous two Olympics, Peters beat the local favourite, Germany's Heide Rosendahl, by the narrow margin of 10 points to take home the gold in Munich. Mary Peters

Montreal Olympics 1976 Gymnastics is based off of judges critiquing your form and deducting points based on errors—no hops on your vault. But Comăneci's 1976 Olympic performance on the uneven bars scored the first perfect 10 in the sport's history. She went on to win three gold medals. Nadia ComAneci

Billie Jean King

King isn't only known for being the No. 1 ranked female in tennis for five straight years—she's famous for crushing 1939 Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs in a 1973 match rightfully dubbed "Battle of the Sexes.”

Wimbledon, 1977 In the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, Wade won the Wimbledon title after recovering from a slow start to the game and one lost set. She is the last British woman to have done so. Virginia Wade


Tanni Grey-Thompson Four

Golds, 1992 One of Britain’s most famous and successful Paralympic athletes, with a total of 11 gold medals in athletics. 1992 was the year she drew some much deserved attention towards the Paralympics by winning four golds in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m races in Barcelona.

Double Gold, 2004 Never having won a gold medal in an Olympics before, Kelly Holmes surpassed all expectation when she won the gold in not only one race, but in two. Kelly Holmes

Ellen MacArthur

Breaks a Record,

2005 MacArthur became internationally recognised when she successfully broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe. She sailed the 27,354 miles in just 71 days, 14 hours and 18 minutes.

Boxing Victory, 2012 Nicola Adams made history when she became the first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal. To gain her medal Adams had to defeat the world number one, Chinese boxer Ren Cancan. Nicola Adams


2013 Who could forget Nyad? She's the first person—not man or woman, PERSON—to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage ( from sharks and death). It was her fifth attempt, coming after four years of gruelling training, precision planning and single-minded determination. It might've taken 35 years and 53 hours, but she conquered that ocean. Oh, she was also 64 so there's that too. Diana Nyad

Michelle Payne

Melbourne Cup Victory 2015 Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win Australia's 154-yearold Melbourne Cup when she rode 100 -1 outsider Prince of Penzance to victory at Flemington. In a driving finish, Prince of Penzance powered home to hold off Ireland's Max Dynamite with Criterion third for a shock win ahead of a star-studded field.

Let us know your favourite sporting moments… @GaiaMagazineUK or email: aj@randan.org


FEATURE Wrecked Again! My Life With An Alcoholic

Jane Ward* It was a surreal moment when I received the phone call from the police. My neighbour had seen Lucy, my partner at the time, sitting on our garden wall bleeding from the arms. I rushed home from work- ‘Phil’ had believed she was trying to kill herself. I had suspected that one day a call like this might come. The all too familiar panic rising inside of me. On seeing Lucy I discovered that she was not, in fact, trying to commit suicide. She was stone cold drunk, and in her inebriated state, she cut the skin on her arms with a razor blade in an act of self - mutilation. The neighbours were obviously curious and the police officers bewildered. I could no longer ignore the problem that I had been telling myself did not really exist. I was now about to embark on the process of confronting my own denial. Instead of admitting I was living with an alcoholic, I chose to believe that I was somehow to blame. Was she unhappy in our relationship? Was I the cause of her drinking so much? Who was I to think that just because I didn't drink much, that I had the right to tell anyone else how much they should drink. There were times we would argue about the amount she drank. Like the time she drank too much and had wet our bed. Or the embarrassing displays at dinner with friends or family. But she held down a job - was in charge of a large department of men. She didn't drink every day. She wasn't homeless, she could function daily. She was fine. The perception of an alcoholic is that they constantly drink, that their lives are in tatters and not only are they unable to string two words together, they are completely incapable of being gainfully employed. Lucy wasn't the one with a problem - it was me. I was the one who kept making such a fuss about it. It was hard to argue with that


logic. Eventually I just stopped talking to her about how much she was drinking to avoid any confrontation.

Several times she would end our relationship when she was in a drunken stupor, and then be filled with remorse and promises the next day when she was sober. I felt out of control and was constantly anxious, checking the house for any hidden stashes of alcohol. It was like having several personalities simultaneously. After she’d been drinking heavily, and in turn quite vicious in her behaviour toward me, I began questioning my own sanity and would often cry myself to sleep, telling myself that it would all be ok, that she loved me and would eventually change. On the rare occasions we went out together, I spent the evening in a state of hyper sensitivity, not allowing myself to relax and enjoy the night. I would count the glasses of wine she drank. I would watch for the telltale signs so that I could whisk her away before she reached the state in which she would embarrass us both. I became a master at making a diplomatic exit at the appropriate time. Complicit in her actions. Much later, I realised that I had become her enabler, her co-dependent. She continued to drink because I made it easy for her to do so. I protected her from making a fool of herself - and me. I would try to control the amount of alcohol she consumed since she seemed so unconcerned about it. The day after the police came to our house, I thought this would be the beginning of a change. I believed that this would be her wake up call to what she was doing to herself and our relationship. And it was. For about two weeks.


After she started drinking again, I realised that I was powerless to change her or her drinking habits. We had a terrible argument one morning where she physically attacked me. As I sat on our bed on my own I seriously considered ending it all. This thought shocked me enough to visit my GP, who listened patiently before prescribing me a course of antidepressants and advising me to talk to a support group. Slowly it dawned on me that trying to change Lucy was a hopeless cause. I’d completely lost myself to her and her alcoholism. I could, however, change my outlook and my life. I started seeing friends again, strengthening my support network. I learned how to respect myself for the first time in years. And when she decided to end our relationship one night after a few drinks, I decided that I had had enough too. In the cold light of day, when she admitted she hadn't meant it as she was drunk, I told her that I was no longer prepared to put up with the drinking and self harm, and it would be best if we both move on. Sticking with that decision after five years of living together wasn't easy. I loved her. What would have been easy was for me to allow bitterness, resentment and blame to set in. It was by no means an easy process. I think of Lucy often and wish that I could have helped her more. What I didn't know back then was that there were organisations that I could have turned to, AA being one of them. I choose to view the time that Lucy and I were together as a learning curve, determined to grow within myself and rebuild my self esteem. The most valuable lesson I took from my experience with her is that there is no way you can change an alcoholic - they need to make the decision to help themselves. I had to accept responsibility for my role in what was happening around me and move on. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Sadly there is no happy ending for Lucy‌ the last I heard she had just been released from rehab for a third time. I truly wish her well, but only she can choose a life without alcohol. For further help and information contact Alcoholics Anonymous http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk *the name has been changed to protect identity


WELLBEING Prescription addiction Jane Allen Addiction to prescription drugs is so rife that more Britons die from taking painkillers and tranquillisers than heroin and cocaine. By talking about these subjects we hope to start a dialogue and let others know that there are lots of women out there that have similar issues. With almost half the UK population on prescribed medication, is a small number of addictions from this figure acceptable? Or should we be promoting a healthier diet, exercise and lifestyle approach? Studies consistently show that more women than men are addicted to opioids. They are also the ones more likely to seek help for it; the Over-Count Drugs Information Agency, a charity which deals with addiction to over-the-counter and prescription drugs, reports that 65 per cent of inquiries to their helpline are from women. The dilemma is that while codeine-based products can be abused, for millions of people they are a safe and highly effective form of pain relief. To penalise all these people by withdrawing the product because of an unknown number of addicts is clearly not the answer. Codeine-based medicines are used to treat moderate pain, such as headaches or dental pain, if regular pain medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are insufficient. But they are opioids, part of the opiate family, and they can induce feelings of calm, relaxation and lethargy. If used for longer than the recommended three days they can produce 'cravings' and a psychological desire to keep on using them. One such person, 50-year-old Lisa Ewart, from Dumfries, found herself addicted to cocodamol prescribed for ongoing back pain caused from a car accident. “I've been using opiates for more than eight years. Codeine was the only thing that reduced my crippling pain,” she says. “A couple of years ago I realised it wasn't doing a thing - I was taking more than I needed as the feeling of pain relief became less and less effective.”


Lisa had cravings and would search the house for pills, asking friends and relatives if they had any of the drug. “Of course, my friends had no idea I’d become addicted.” Denise Larbert, from Guildford admitted she felt ashamed when she told people about her addiction as she thought it "wasn't a problem”, but acknowledged the dangers of burying her head in the sand. “I really felt like an addict, so I went cold turkey - I was sweaty, awake for days, shivering. I was so worried about taking it again, but it's the only thing that will help.” Now, Denise limits herself to a minimal dose of co-codamol once a month - taking the low-strength over-the-counter tablets - to break the cycle  of dependency. There are many dangers and risks associated with prolonged addiction to medication. Symptoms can include one or more of the following: Needing to take more of the drug to get the desired effect Asking for repeat prescriptions early Difficulty in trying to cut down or stop drug use Feeling guilty about using the drug Problems with work, finances or legal issues Being secretive about the drug Arguments or disagreements with significant others about the drug use Taking other medication to relieve the side effects of prescription drugs Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stopping/reducing the drug or between doses Continuing to take the drug despite actual or likely negative consequences

For further help and information visit: http://overcount.weebly.com


Reservations & Enquiries: t. 0141 564 1157 e. thesisterskelvingrove@outlook.com

Reservations & Enquiries: t. 0141 434 1179 e. jordanhill@thesisters.co.uk

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we print stuff 0141 561 8061 www.theprintbox.net


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The Printworks - 14 Claremont The Printworks - 14 Claremont. . America Ground . Hastings, America Ground . Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1HA East Sussex TN34 1HA 2222 March 2016 from March 2016 from19:00 19:00toto22:00 22:00 Following last year's Following last year'ssuccessful successfulsix sixmonth monthrun, run,Polari PolariLGBT LGBTliterary literarysalon salonreturns returnsto to The The Printworks, Hastings. Hosted author Burston readings Stella Printworks, Hastings. Hosted by by author PaulPaul Burston withwith readings fromfrom Stella Duffy, J Duffy, J Fergus Juno Dawson and Walton. Sarah Walton. Fergus Evans,Evans, Juno Dawson and Sarah https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/polari-on-sea-tickets-21079487314 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/polari-on-sea-tickets-21079487314 The Dinah Shore The Dinah ShoreWeekend Weekend

Palm Springs, California Palm Springs, California 3030 March - 3- April 2016 March 3 April 2016

The Palm Springs, Californiabased all girl party and music festival will again take place over the span of 5-days (March 30 through April 3, 2016) at the Hilton Hotel, the PS Convention Center and Zelda’s Nightclub. Celebrating 26 years as the largest lesbian event in the world, Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend delivers yet again another roof-raising celebration with a steamin’ hot lineup that will most definitely blow the lid off the sunny oasis including Lea Delaria, DJ Samantha Ronson, Angel Haze and more…

The Palm Springs, California-based all girl party and music festival will again take http://thedinah.com place over the span of 5-days (March 30 through April 3, 2016) at the Hilton Hotel, the PS Convention Center and Zelda’s Nightclub. Celebrating 26 years as the largest lesbian event in the world, Club Skirts Dinah


Jess Glynne

O2 Apollo Manchester 30 March 2016 Jess Glynne is a British singersongwriter best known for featuring on Clean Bandit's 2014 single "Rather Be"; the song reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart. Fresh from launching her debut solo album ‘I Cry When I Laugh’, Jess will perform across Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Birmingham in early 2016 to give fans another chance to experience her live show. http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Jess-Glynne-tickets/artist/1981564

Marie Curie Etape Caledonia Cycling Event

Pitlochry 8 May 2016

The idyllic town of Pitlochry welcomes cyclists from across the UK and beyond all embarking on this epic 81-mile route. You’ll take in the beauty of Loch Tummel and Ranoch before approaching the famous climb of Schiehallion which will reward you  with panoramic views across the valley.

More details: www.etapecaledonia.co.uk


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Horse HorseWhispers Whispers

I took I tooka adeep deepbreath breathand andlistened listenedtotothe theold oldbray brayofofmy myheart. heart.I am, I am,I am, I am,I I am. am.~~Sylvia SylviaPlath Plath IsIsititjust justasasyou youget getolder olderthat thattime timeseems seemstotogo gofaster, faster,the themoments momentsswifter swifter and andif ifyou youdon’t don’thold holdon ontotothose thosea alittle littlethey're they'regone? gone?I write I writefrom froma aplace place which whichisisreflective reflectiveand andlooking lookingback. back.This Thisisispossibly possiblybecause becauseon onlooking looking forward forwards forward I have I Ihave have a ayear ayear year ahead ahead ahead ofofof me me me ininin which which which I will I Iwill will be be be doing doing doing things things things I’ve I’ve I’ve never never done neverbefore. done before. done before. 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Steinberg.This Thismoved moved me metototears. tears.It’s It’swritten writtenbybyLee LeeHall Halland andwas wasthe theoriginal originalmonologue. monologue.Spoonface Spoonfaceisisseven sevenyears years old, old,autistic autisticand andterminally terminallyillillwith withcancer. cancer.She's She'sfascinated fascinatedbybyopera operaand andbybythe theway wayher her parents parentsbehave. behave.With Withthe thehelp helpofoftheir theircleaner, cleaner,Mrs MrsSpud, Spud,she shetries triestotocome cometototerms termswith withher her extraordinary extraordinarylife. life.Lee LeeHall's Hall'saward-winning award-winningmonologue monologueisisperformed performedbybyBecky BeckySimpson. Simpson. Although Althoughit’s itsnot it’s not notavailable available availableon on onthe the theiPlayer iPlayer iPlayernow now nowitititcan can canbe be befound found foundinin invarious various variousother other otherlocations. locations. locations.ItItItisis isso so so uplifting upliftingand andlife lifeaffirming affirmingit’s itswell it’s well wellworth worth worthaaahunt. hunt. hunt. I am I amininmy myusual usualscatter scattergun gunmode modeon onallallofofthe thedifferent differentthings things that thatI’m I’mworking workingon onatatthe themoment. moment.I’m I’mcurrently currentlyproducing producinganan album albumfor forsinger singersongwriter songwriterTracy TracyMack Mack- -this thisisisthe thefirst firsttime timeI I have haveworked workedon onsomeone someoneelse’s else’smaterial. material.I am I amtreating treatingititlike likeI I would wouldmy myown ownbaby, baby,sosoit’s itsrewarding it’s rewarding rewardingfor for forme me meand too andhopefully &hopefully hopefully for for Tracy’s Tracy’ssongs songstoo! too! I’m I’mheading headingtowards towardsmy myfirst firstband bandgigs gigsofofthe theyear year- -Glasgow Glasgow16th 1616 April Aprilatatthe theOld OldFruitmarket Fruitmarketand and2121May MayThe May, The TheByre Byre ByreTheatre, Theatre, Theatre,StSt St Andrews. Andrews.That Thatininturn turnmakes makesme mestart starttotogather gatherand andwrite. write.Songs Songs are, are,for forme, me,the theinner innerworkings, workings,the the‘heart ‘hearton onthe thesleeve’ sleeve’feelings, feelings, which whichevolve evolveinto intoa afinished finishedpiece. piece.ItIttakes takestime. time.ItIttakes takesa alot lotofof heart heartand andjust justa alittle little‘head’. ‘head’. I am I amalso alsoworking workingwith witha afew fewothers otherson ona ashow showwhich whichI will I willbe bedoing doing I am also working with a few others on a show which I will be doing through throughAugust. August.This Thisisisgoing goingtotobe bedemanding demandingboth bothmentally mentallyasas through August. This is going to be demanding both mentally as well wellasasphysically physically- -I know I knowI will I willhave havetotostretch stretchmyself. myself.IfIfititgoes goeswell well well as physically - I know I will have to stretch myself. If it goes well I will be immensely proud I will I willbe beimmensely immenselyproud proudfor fortrying! trying! for trying! I’m I’mamazed amazedatathow howresilient resilientwe weare areasashuman humanbeings. beings.We Wecan canpush pushourselves ourselvestotolimits limitswe we I’m amazed at how resilient we are as human beings. We can push ourselves to limits we never neverthought thoughtpossible possibleboth bothphysically physicallyand andmentally. mentally.I always I alwayssay sayI must I musttake takemore morecare care ofof never thought possible both physically and mentally. I always say I must take more care of to myself myselfespecially especiallyininwinter winterbut butother otherthan thanwear weara amask maskand andgloves glovesitits is almost impossible not especially inlurgy. winter but otherhate thansinging wear awhen mask gloves itbut isbut almost impossible tomyself get getthe the dreaded dreadedlurgy. I absolutely I absolutely hate singing whenIand have I have a acold cold I rarely I rarely cancel. cancel.ToTonot date to get the dreaded lurgy. I absolutely hate singing when I have a cold but I rarely cancel. To date Three - three coldscolds in a row in a -row and- asthma and asthma attacks attacks afterafter eacheach one. one. ColdCold 3 - Horse 3 - Horse 0. Sometimes 0. Sometimes there is date three colds in a row and asthma attacks after each one. Cold 3 Horse 0. Sometimes there nothing is nothing you can you do.can Thedo. spirit Theisspirit willing is willing the flesh theisflesh weak. is weak. there is nothing you can do. The spirit is willing the flesh is weak. We Weare areabout abouttotogo gototoLA the forUSA a visit to LA - part forwork a visitpart - part break. workOf part course break. one Ofofcourse the most one of the We are about to go to LA for a visit part work part break. Of course one of the most appealing most appealing things is things the climate is the climate as well as as well spending as spending time with time mywith other myhalf other and half friends. and friends. These appealing things is the climate as well as spending time with my other half and friends. These times These are times oftenare a rarity oftenbut a rarity quality butover quality quantity over quantity. every time. Love Love HxHx times are often a rarity but quality over quantity every time. Love Hx


BILLIE JEAN KING BILLIE JEAN KING “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”


keep your finger on the gay pulse

Gaia April 2016  

Gaia magazine for every woman. Offers a different perspective.

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