Hey everyone As some of my friends may have known I had hoped to attend the brilliant spoken word event that is last Monday at Rio last night. This is an event I really want to get back to and as soon as humanly possible however I fear that I will not be to get back to this cultural feast of spoken word until May as there is for those who haven’t quite noticed yet a general election in just over a month’s time and as a member of the SNP I am only too aware I have my duty to my party and my country at this important time.
According to my good friend Stephen Watt I missed a brilliant night in which Shaun Moore was an excellent headliner and Matt MacDonald was on fire. I have to say that knowing Shaun and Matt as both poets and friends I am really sorry to have missed such brilliant performances and also some fantastic debuts.
I have to say that on this poetic evening my creative talents were put to good use at the rooms of my local branch of the SNP as I worked on the first draft of our candidate’s statement to sell her to the voters of Glasgow East.
Honestly the buzz I got from working on this task was incredible, I felt privileged to be asked to use my talents in this way especially as our candidate is one of my longest standing allies in the party and took this loose cannon under her wing from the moment I first met her not long after joining the party five years ago.
The fact that Natalie McGarry is young enough to be my niece matters not one jot. Indeed I am honoured that see she has said that I am like her honorary auntie. Yet she is the one who has to occasionally gently discipline me. Yes I know you’ll think I got that the wrong way round as it should surely be the auntie honorary or not who should be the one dishing out the discipline. Not in this case it shouldn’t, well when your auntie is a ranting raving poet with a history of rebellion then it is the niece who has to make the rebel toe the line and it is due to her kindness, support, and sometimes well chosen words that Natalie has helped and encouraged me to develop my skill set and be as active member of the party as time and commitments allow.
You see Natalie was born in to the SNP whereas I had who had spent many years as an election volunteer helped came late to ‘official membership’ This was due to personal reasons of gender identity which I had to resolve before I felt I could give my time to the party I had supported for 99 percent of my adult life and will continue to support for the rest of my remaining years which I hope to number in decades rather than figures.
This it has to be said was not a party decision this was my decision. If there is one thing I have learned about the SNP in the past five years it is the fact that we are as I had always hoped we would be an inclusive party who accepts and values the skills and talents of each and every member. Well, we believe in Scotland so it stands to reason we also believe in the potential of our people.
Natalie McGarry is a shining example of this of belief in our ability to deliver a better Scotland. You see not only does she believe that Scotland should be an Independent nation she also believes that Scotland must be a nation where equality must be more than just a buzzword.
The fact that this feisty fearless Fifer has chosen to represent a seat in her adopted city of Glasgow should come as no surprise to those who know her, she is after all the current chair of the Glasgow Regional Association of the party and has had an active role in the politics of the Glasgow SNP since coming to live in the place she calls home during her student years at Glasgow University.
I have to say I was delighted when I heard Natalie had put her name forward to be a candidate for Glasgow East. This is my constituency and I know it’s people well. I also know that the Glasgow East SNP had a brilliant selection of very able and talented candidates from which to choose and I appreciate that for most of my fellow members this would make selecting our candidate a very difficult choice.
For me however it was a no brainer it had to be Natalie it could be no-one else. Well I don’t give up my poetic Mondays for just anyone you know.
Yes I was disappointed to miss what sounds like a fantastic evening, it always is Robin Cairns makes sure of that but I knew had to go the office to help Natalie because I believe as she does in a fairer more inclusive society and the principles of social justice which underpins that society. There are many however who do not share our vision of an egalitarian Scotland and I received transphobic abuse from one such homosapian as I waited for my bus to a venue which even at that stage had still to be decided. I was told by this so-called member of the male species that I should start dressing like a man as I was doing his nut in. I have to say I have poshed this comment up for the purposes of this blog, but let me be very clear on this issue I will not tolerate let alone accept any transphobia of any kind not today, not tomorrow not ever. As for his ridiculous suggestion that I should in his words stop dressing as a woman I answer with this reply. I am not dressing as a woman I am living as a woman and that will never change so do the world a favour and get over yourself.
This unprovoked attack was not only insulting and aggressive in its tone it illustrated someone who is clearly ignorant of the law of the land. So let me enlighten anyone who shares these misguided and deluded beliefs. As a transwoman I am legally protected under both the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and The Equalities Act 2010. These pieces of legislation give me the full rights of a woman and those are rights I intend to use with the full force of the law to back me up against any narrow minded individuals who may resort to discrimination against me or stereotyping of me. It was this transphobic incident which finally helped to make my mind up as to where I was going last night and that was to campaign for Natalie McGarry the woman who signed me up for Women for Independence. Like Natalie I have always believed the best way to deal with narrow minded people is by educating them. I also believe as a transwoman I have an important role to play in both women for independence and in the Scottish National Party and beyond in that social and cultural education in shattering myths and misconceptions about the trans community as part of a broader political education.
You see, though I will always take my revenge against these bigots I will do it not in the way they expect. Instead I will do it by campaigning for the one thing these people and that is by working as I hard as I can to create a better Scotland than they could ever imagine. Well I may be a ranting, raving poet with a history of rebellion but I believe in a Scotland of equals and that and only that was the reason I missed a cracking night of top quality poetry.
Yes it’s great to have choices, but sometimes we have to guard those choices and make sure they are not reversed in any way shape or form. It is this fact which motivated me to go down to the campaign rooms and do my bit for Natalie and leave the ranting and rhyming till next Monday night at Words and Music.
So to the voters of this constituency I say I have a very clear message. If you want a Member Of Parliament who will fight for fairness, if you want someone who will make sure equality becomes a reality for all of us and who doesn’t believe the old Orwellian quote that some are more equal than others should be treated with the same reverence as a biblical quote. If you want a representative who will listen to you and value your voice, then we have the perfect candidate to stand up and fight for you and the principles you hold dear. That candidate is Natalie McGarry.
Love And Best Wishes