Stiff Upper Lipstick 

Hey Readers  In this post I share a poem on the topic of mental health from highly personal perspective which is that of identity  in particular relating to gender. As  a trans woman, I do not believe nor have I ever done that my gender identity is a mental health issue, but I do believe  where an identity is repressed it can trigger this type of issue and I will openly admit that coming out and living as my real self probably saved me from not only an episode but from a complete meltdown. It is with this in mind I have written this poem on pressure to conform to what society sees as the acceptable cultural, social, and political norms and why sometimes you have to defy them to be truly happy and live the best life you can. I’ve have given the poem Stiff Upper Lipstick as challenges the dangerous and potentially damaging myth that people in the UK are not allowed to show emotion and must remain controlled at all times. I hope you enjoy the read 
Stiff Upper Lipstick 

you must keep a lid on emotions

it’s for the best 

you understand 

you were raised in the British school of thought 

Scottish identity suppressed 

deemed unworthy of recognition 

by those and such as those

who fantasise that a united kingdom 

can be anything other than a fairytale 

these people ignore reality 

any discussion of sexuality 

would be bound to make them blush 

god help them with gender identity 

to them  it wouldn’t matter

if you knew from an early age 

your body didn’t match your  brain

preferring pink to blue

tights to socks

and skirts to shirts and ties

a conservative society tried to downsize your dreams 

as parents, teachers, and youth leaders 

focused on  reinforcing the dominant cultural theme 

boys were boys and girls were girls 

you couldn’t be somewhere in between 

let alone change sides

someone born a boy 

couldn’t dream of a big white wedding

let alone being a bride 

this was something you had to hide 

and you couldn’t complain 

you had to  wear stiff upper lipstick 

whilst reading secret copies of girl’s magazines 

you kept hidden under your  bed 

and only you knew why your face went red 

when you saw that boy you liked 

and had to keep the door to your heart closed 

even if you wanted to open it 

and show the world 

the girl you knew was real 

feelings ignored but never quite crushed 

you blushed as you went in to your room 

dressed yourself in your mum’s old clothes 

and wore stiff upper lipstick 

as your heart cried tears 

and you longed for a kiss from a prince.

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

The Shoulder Smoulder (Reblogged From Half Girl Half Teacup)  

Hey Readers As you know I very occasionally reblog posts from other bloggers, but every so often you’ll read a post with such an important message you simply have to share it. This post from Half Girl Half Tea Cup is a cracking example of this. Written on the issue of dress codes and why they can be sexist and discriminate against women and girls, this post entitled The Shoulder Smoulder is a powerful , passionate, principled piece of writing and well worth a read.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Half Girl Half Teacup

This isn’t a post about why it’s okay to defy dress codes– after all, they’re often implemented for a reason- however surely we must question the rules in order to imageestablish whether the logic behind them is fair or not. Because the guy that sang that song that was used in the Cadburys advert a few years ago which then got covered by Ella Eyre said ‘we don’t have to take our clothes off to have a good time’ which presents a nicely rounded smorgasbord of options. We can strip if we want to but we by no means have to. However at the moment, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Recently minimal clothing has become synonymous with forcing little girls in spaghetti straps to leave school to prevent their shoulders from being a distraction to the boys. In this situation, the child was five years old.

In the…

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The Clothes Of An Honest Man 

Hey Readers On what would have been his 90th Birthday I post a poem I’ve spent the whole day working on in loving memory of my father John James Smith. I would have liked to post it earlier but I had to get it just right before sharing it. My dad was an engineering inspector and would have expected no less. I am however pleased to say that I have finally completed it to my satisfaction and it will be posted on time. I have given it the title The Clothes Of An Honest Man. I hope you enjoy the read.

The Clothes Of An Honest Man

 
Born at the time of depression 

he was the fifth of nine children 

eight of whom survived to adult years

In reflective moments my dad wept tears for Alexander 

the wee brother who died 

in infancy 

a quiet man who kept his dignity 

he never showed emotions

in front of others 

I was the exception to his rule 

he encouraged me to do well at school 

and knew my rebellious streak 

was his gift to his youngest child 

he couldn’t deny the reality 

even if he wanted to try 

too many others knew the truth 

with proof from his younger days 

used as evidence to convict him 

the man who lost his religion

but never his team

 green  and white till the day he died

though the faith of his fathers lapsed 

when a priest threw a book at him 

for forgetting his catacisim 

in class 

never again did my dad go to mass 

and when he was told  

he couldn’t marry outside the church 

he told the priest what he thought 

a proud pragmatic Scot 

he often went fishing 

though he seldom caught a fish 

as for his politics he had a very clear vision 

of a better nation 

 which he claimed much to my mother’s annoyance 

could only come with independence

like most unionists I knew growing up 

 she avoided poltical debate 

having what my dad called  Mrs Bouquet syndrome 

and I  knew what he meant 

she was content to leave the world to it’s fate 

claiming it was just the way it was 

I got more sense out of Santa Claus 

than I got from my mum 

too many friends of her family 

 banged on the empty drums 

of a lost cause 

and could never forgive her 

for marrying a catholic 

even if he did raise his children 

in the faith these people walked for 

but seldom if ever practiced 

and to those who thought 

that the wee man should know his place 

I answer that he did 

and it was way beyond 

anywhere they could ever reach 

this was a man who never gave up on me 

when I was ill and doctors claimed  

I wouldn’t see my first birthday

he told them  I would come through  

because I was a fighter 

on my graduation day 

he knew the truth of his prediction 

my honours gained by the hard work and commitment

which were the hallmark of a skilled engineer 

who rose to the rank of inspector 

in the job he held for 30 years

till Thatcher closed the gates 

in the name of electoral geography 

and votes in marginal seats in the midlands

in this united kingdom

which he said was united only in name 

whilst the so-called workers party 

did union jack to help others 

I have long since discovered the truth of the words 

he spoke in anger on that fair Friday night 

when he said Labour had always  played the Westminster game 

and must be viewed with suspicion 

in everything they do 

they would he said

 always put the red and white 

before the blue  

 they were the  secret enemy

 whose mask would eventually slip 

his daughter I now attend the kirk 

though this socialist republican Scot 

is an internationalist to the core 

my father never wore a sash 

preferring the clothes of an honest man 

Maggie and Arthur can be proud of their son 

the  boy from the scheme 

who was equally at home in the countryside

may have been a rebel 

but during his time among us 

he taught me the values I keep to this day 

fair play,  honesty, and being the best you can be 

whilst doing your best to help  others 

were the marks of the man 

the quiet rebel  

I am proud to call dad 

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

The Danny Kyle Showcase Finalists. The Class Of 2017 

Hey Readers As many of you will be aware I am a huge fan of traditional music. This means that one of the highlights of my year comes as early as January, though sometimes as was the case this year it can stretch in to early February. I refer of course to the 17 days musical feast that is  Celtic connections where the traditional culture of Scotland and Ireland meet many other styles from all over the world and combine to give my city the best possible way to banish the winter blues. 

Featured Picture The Class Of 2017 Smile for the cameras on final night of the Danny Kyle Open Stage. 

Though I love the big ticket concerts and the chance to see top name stars such as Cherish The Ladies , The Chair , Dick Gaughan , and Treacherous Orchestra. There is one event above all others, which I hold close to my heart and that event is The Danny Kyle Open Stage.

This event is very much part of my personal Celtic Connections it runs every night of the festival  and has done for more years than I care to remember. It has been the launchpad for to  many a glittering career including  current  stars  such as Karine Polwart, The Chair , and Iona Marshall and will I’m sure be aware the starting place for many more in years to come.  It is to celebrate the traditional music I love and the January family it brought me that I share these photographs of The Class Of 2017 Danny Kyle Finalists. I hope you enjoy them. 

(Picture 1 ) Brighton based band An Dha were first to grace the showcase with a set which was heavily influenced by a visit to the Isle Of Skye and whose haunting melodies will leave you feeling that you’ve been taken a very enchanted and magical place.

Picture (2) Is of the only solo performer to grace the showcase this year. The brilliant  Marianne McGregor may live in Dennistoun, but this  Orcaedian singer was in my opinion the stand out performer of the year. With a voice of the quality of Rachel Sermanni and a quirky style of catchy folk / pop lyrics I haven’t heard the likes of since Anna Meldrum ,  Marianne joins many fellow islanders including the Chair and Broken Strings in taking her well deserved place in the Danny’s hall of fame. 

Picture (3) Features The Magpies This Glasgow band played a range of songs and tunes which ably demonstrated their wide repititoire of playing music from all corners of the British Isles. This eclectic trio have a real passion in their music and it shows in their professional polished playing style 

Picture (4) Shows Avocet  This trio combine blues, folk, and jazz in a way which is easy on the ear and pleasing to the audiences wherever they play 

Picture (5) The final performance of the Showcase was from Dopesickfly  This  band got the crowd smiling with a mix of Rock and Funk with edgy poetic lyrics. Surely proof if proof were needed that the open stage truly lives up to it’s name and is always willing to bring new ideas to the party 

Picture (6) The prizewinners with the exception of Whyte who couldn’t play on this occasion due to illness) pose for photographs as our compere Liz Clark offers her congratulations watched by the wee bust of the of the wee man in a bunnet in whose memory the event was named.  I am talking of course of a man I was proud to know the one and only Danny Kyle. 

Picture (7) One for the road as I miraculously managed to capture all award winners holding their awards in one picture. My congratulations goes to all as they now take the first steps on the road to bigger things and they do it as the class of 2017. 

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 

Game Changer 

Hey Readers. In this my latest post for LGBT history month I look at football from the perspective of a community often stereotyped as not being interested in the game or for that matter any form of team sports. This of course is complete nonsense and I speak from the experience of being a transsexual Celtic fan who cares passionately for her club. The idea that there are no LGBT football fans is about as ludicrous as saying that we should return to the days when children were working down mines Among my friends I count gay men, lesbians and fellow trans women who support both  Celtic and Rangers  as well as a number of   other clubs and they have every right to support the team of their choice  without fear ,  prejudice , or discrimination. It is with in mind I have written this poem  which chronicles the gradual shift in social and cultural attitudes which has made it easier for us to support our teams with pride and at pride.  I have given it the title Game Changer I hope you enjoy the read. 

Game Changer 

It’s a West of Scotland Saturday 

sexuality or gender identity 

are the last things on the minds

of many friends who ready themselves 

to go to football games

and faithfully support their sides

as kick off time approaches 

I ask myself the question

from which they can run but never hide 

will we ever see footballers at pride 

the way we do at anti racist events 

surely this would be a game changer 

as to how fans view the rainbow 

I speak from the heart on this issue 

as an out trans woman I proudly wear 

My Celtic scarf around my neck 

In a way which would not have been possible 

30 years ago or even 15

when cheering our team no matter  who 

 would have been a far more  difficult ask 

the mask of respectably 

would have deemed it a game we couldn’t win 

we’ve travelled a  long journey since then 

those were  the days 

when football was or so we are told 

the  preserve of macho voices 

on terraces and stands 

 our community the silent fans 

who supported our clubs in all seasons 

 now openly express affection 

when goals are scored and trophies won 

but will rocks melt with the sun 

before a big name player comes out 

during their glory years 

is there still a culture of fear in the beautiful game 

 which lives on through talk which links football

with ships and whisky 

and  after match drinks in bars 

in bars perceived too risky 

for women to enter 

as men said no surrender 

to the ways of the grand old team 

Is scheme nostalgia still alive 

in homes with middle class salaries 

a football fan’s sexuality or gender identity 

doesn’t mean an automatic penalty 

for the opposition

 in every game we play 

we can watch sportscene  and match of the day 

talk tactics and debate substitutions 

just as well as any straight white man can 

and many cases better 

it’s time to blow the whistle 

on this homophobic and transphobic agenda

and give the red card to the last unspoken prejudice 

our fans wear all colours 

cheer their teams through thick and thin 

we don’t just go for glamour clubs

or sing when we’re winning 

maybe if players came to pride 

or attended LGBT history events 

it would kick off a new game

with respect as the goal to be scored 

then no longer marginalised or ignored 

we would have our game changing moment 

with every club included in the rainbow. 

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

 

 


When It Came To Winter I Went For The Comfortable Choices 

Hey Readers. Since  Spring is rumoured to be on the way , I think It’s time for my first outfit of the day post of 2017. The picture featured in this post celebrates those classic colours and combinations that we girls can wear at any time of year.  This in itself is a reason to celebrate in my opinion, especially since I like to get value for money from my wardrobe. 

This picture was taken at the Tin Hut after a brilliant night at the Words and Music Christmas Cracker but this being early in December I decided not to go too festive and wear more comfortable clothes from my capsule wardrobe so that I wouldn’t feel under pressure to look too festive too soon and getting this picture taken meant I was always going to post on it sometime after festive season was over. 

The Grey top and black skirt is I think a timeless look which help me can blend in to a crowd rather than stand out from it and can make me feel equally  at home no matter if I’m cheering on the hoops  at Celtic Park or sitting in the pews at church on Sunday Morning. I really like the smart , causal style as I think it works well for a woman of my age who has a very varied social life and needs to clothes which I can mix and match without needing to phone Gok Wan for last minute advice 

The fact I picked up  both from the River Island bargain rail for less than £20 is something that gives me a great degree of satisfaction. Well , Priscilla might be Queen of the dessert but trust me I’m Queen of the bargain rails at the high street store, not forgetting a couple of well known designer outlets.

 The jacket was bought from Top Shop more years ago than I can to remember I think it was around 2010 and illustrates the value of an appointment with a style advisor. I remember buying half a dozen items that afternoon and I think I’ve still got three of them. As I said it’s all about value for money as far as I’m concerned. 

With my satin touch tights and hotter shoes completing the ensemble, I think my understated look,  showed that when it came to winter I went for the comfortable choices. 

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 

A Picture Of A Rainbow Candle 

Hey Readers 

Sometimes a picture paints an image in your heart of community and resistance. This candle is a symbol of hope that in challenging times pride and respect can overcome barriers based on fear and ignorance, and prove that by working together and embracing diversity  we can and will defeat the prejudice of those who would deny our very existence and our right to love equally. 

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X