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We Have To Mind Our Language And Not Sow The Seeds Of Hate (My Blog For Common Space On World Transgender Remembrance Day)

I wrote this post for Common Space to commemorate International Transgender Remembrance Day and have made only a minor alteration to the title just as I did last year, for the purposes of reblogging on here. 

It is a tremendous privilage to have undertaken this task for the site I consider to be the best most ground braking news site in Scotland for the second year in a row and as such it is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. With this in mind I wrote what was originally two posts which Angela Haggarty the editor of Common Space and known for her innovation managed to combine in to one.

The main body of this post is in the form of an article on the impact of language in shaping attitudes to and about trans people and the concluding part of it comes in a poem Sometimes It’s The Little Things which was specifically written to commemorate the day and the small acts in life that can have a positive  or negative impact on a trans person’s quality of life. I have titled it We Have To Mind Our Language And Not Sow The Seeds Of Hate I hope you find a challenging and thought provoking read.

Till next time 

Gayle X

https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/12039/gayle-smith-media-needs-understand-consequences-its-words-trans-people

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Sometimes It’s The Little Things 

On Inernational Transgender Remembrance Day I hope you will have remembered in your own way any transgender friends you may have among your circle Wheather it’s a kind word on social media or remembering them in your prayers or in your thoughts if your not known to pray because somdtimes it’s the little things which mean the most to people. It is for this reason that I have titled this year’s memorial poem Sometimes It’s The Little Things I hope you enjoy the read.
Sometimes  It’s The Little Things. 

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter 

little things like an older person

getting your gender correct 

a young guy treating you with respect 

a teenage girl’s smile on remembrance day 

these are memories no one can take away 

sometimes it’s the little things that matter 

Sometimes it’s the little things that count 

like a stranger complimenting you 

as you enjoy a night out with friends 

or that time a neighbour called you hen and not son 

sometimes it’s the small battles won 

Sometimes it’s the little things that count 

Sometimes it’s the little things that scare you 

when you hear how those like you 

are treated in other countries  

in Brazil , Colombia, Honduras,  Turkey  things can and do turn ugly 

for people like you and I 

 we are often condemned to die 

lying slaughtered like discarded rags on empty streets 

 you weep with sorrow and fear

you worry it could happen here 

Sometimes it’s the little things that scare you 

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you angry

the causal but deliberate misgendering 

the spiteful use of words like tranny 

the unwanted comments the cat calls the stares 

the threat of  passing skinheads glares 

sometimes it’s the little things that make you angry 

Sometimes it’s the little things that make you remember 

where you once were

 and the journey your taking 

and with each little victory

see the progress your making 

sometimes in silence on days of remembrance 

we commemorate the fallen in our thoughts and our prayers 

Sometimes it’s the little things so often unnoticed 

we recall with most fondness when our stories are shared 

Sometimes It’s the little things that matter 

Sometimes it’s the little things that count 

 Sometimes it really is the little things 

that make a difference to us all 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

As Lands Lie Bleeding 

On Remembrance Day I write a poem which is based on the concerns of a 94 year old veteran who served in the Second World War. This former soldier believes that we are now standing at the brink of a third world war and potential global catastrophe due to what he calls the greed and self interest of a group of sociopathetic leaders who have no compassion or empathy for those they lead or for the greater human race as they seek only power no matter the cost to the rest of us. I hope I have done justice to the words of Harry Leslie Smith in this poem which I’ve titled As Lands Lie Bleeding. I hope you enjoy the read. 

As Lands Lie Bleeding 

I can’t stand by and watch the world explode

these are not my words 

but those of a former soldier

in the winter of his years

who genuinely fears for our human race 

this is a man who has faced unspeakable horrors

the likes of which we hoped we would never see again 

like hearing whilst stationed in Germany 

that atomatic bombs had been dropped on japanese cities

and turned the souls of inhabitants 

in to what he describes as chalk marked stenciled drawings on pavements 

in the fragile peace of a cold war world

we had believed those days were behind us 

yet now we stand at a crossroads

not seen since the 1930’s and rise of Nazi Germany

as once more the conservative right 

squares  up for a fight without realising the consequences 

these people have a glorified sense of self 

but no sense of other nor compassion for their plight 

without a moral compass they play games with our lives 

in contrast to those who rebuilt a shattered continent 

at the end of the last global conflict 

who in this country brought us

The NHS and welfare state 

but now the politics of fear and hate are on the rise again 

as the disadvantaged look for scapegoats

to blame for their decline 

shortage of housing and rising crime statistics

blame it on the forigners not the British 

say those who preach exclusion 

as if by doing so we magically solve all problems 

I support an independent Scotland 

but I recognise that independence alone would not solve our problems overnight 

however in the dreamworld of the British Conservative right

they are prepared to make no such admissions about their United Kingdom

and by perpuating their delusions 

they are sacrificing the ambitions of their children 

to live in a better world than this 

an old soldier is warning us 

with autocratic governments in positions of power 

the world stands at the darkest hour 

since the days of Hitler and the reich 

life he says cannot go on like this 

something has to give.

we are standing on the brink of war 

he urges us to take a step back 

not for the Saltaire, stars and stripes, or union flag 

but for humanity 

he worries about the sanity of sociopathetic leaders 

with no respect  for others 

as they lust for power at all costs

and watch lands lie bleeding 

as they play war games by remote control 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 

An Ordinary Women Looks Back On A Journey. 

Hey Readers

 On World Transgender Remembrance Day I have written this poem which charts my personal journey from the early years and suppressing my natural instincts to be the girl I knew I was to now and where I have eventually found contentment as the woman I am.I’ve given it the title An Ordinary Woman Looks Back A Journey I hope you enjoy the read. 
An Ordinary Woman Looks Back On A Journey

You try to suppress your desire

to wear that dress

Look at that boy

buy that magazine

your folks would be mortified

you’d be talk of the scheme

If you were ever found out

this is the kind of hassle you can live without

so you lied

tried to fit in

wish yourself away

for fear of what the neighbours might or might not say

whilst friends are getting ready

to go to the dancing on Saturday night

you go to your room put your music on

get made up

slip in to a secret skirt and tights

dream of that boy you fancy like mad

you know the best boyfriend you never had

the one who looked hot in shorts

In those long days of summer

or maybe that long haired drummer

who played in a band

wrote lyrics your mum would be too old to understand

or so you’d like to think

you blushed

your checks pink like roses

but your mum knew more than she told

at the time you cursed her for being old

it was just the way she was brought up

now you’re old enough to be a mum

or if you’d had a family young enough

maybe even a granny

you no longer care if some ned calls you tranny

you know your a woman

you couldn’t care less

long ago you abandoned yourself

now you wear your dress with pride

unwilling to hide your identity

for the contentment of others

if that makes them uncomfortable then so be it.

your just a trans woman who says it as she sees it.

 too many like you have died in denial

due to fear and social constraints

placed on them by those who cared too much

about the opinions of others they’ll never meet

strangers in shared city centre streets

whose only communication would have been

to talk about the weather

a quick blether in the queue

outside Marks and Spencer

or some similar well known department store

life is better than before

for a woman like you

it’s certainly true to say you have nicer times now

than you did growing up

your teenage years were troubled times

but now I stand as the woman you’ve become

to say things have turned out fine

and more enjoyable than you could dare to have dreamed

your just an ordinary woman

your talk of the scheme no longer

so remember the journey you’ve taken

you’re stronger than you thought you could be

trust me your greatest achievement will be campaigning for the rights of others

but on this day say a prayer for trans sisters and brothers

in countries less accepting than ours

Brazil, Mexico , USA , Russia, Italy

flowers of life cut down before being given

the chance to bloom

robbed of dignity

there fate was to be left behind

the victims of hatred

fuelled by ignorance and fear

give thanks God placed you here

in this land

then think of others

first used then discarded

like washed up rags

on the deserted beaches of humanity

remember them then get on with your life

It’s what they would want you to do

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Bloodstained.

Hey Readers

On this remembrance Sunday I attended church to remember those who gave their lives in war such as James Stokes who died whilst leading others to safety in the great war and gave thanks for those who came home from world war 2. This includes my dad John Smith who joined the marines just as the war was ending, his brothers Robert Smith and James Smith who fought with the Highland Light Infantry, My uncle Donald (Dan Russell) who was proud to serve in the Scots Guards my uncle Charles Hayes who was a member of the Enniskillen Fusiliers, and my uncle Arthur Timperly who served in second battalion the Lancashire Regiment. All were good men who were proud to serve and fight in the name of democracy and freedom in the fight against fascism.

In more recent times I am also proud to have known poets such as Jim Craig who served in the Second Battalion the Parachute Regiment 1962-1974) reaching the rank of corporal and Sean McBride who like Jim also served in the Second Battalion the Parachute Regiment from 1983-1995 and also reached the rank of Corporal. It is for these men and many more and women like them I have written this poem entitled Bloodstained and I make no apologies for having a swipe at the political classes of all nations as it is on their hands the blood of the fallen and nightmares of many others, must forever rest.

Bloodstained

I remember uncles who never talked about war
they preferred to talk of those actions that caused them
the horrors of watching comrades die
I remember a mother who told me
boys don’t cry
and a dad who said that real men do
when they see injustice and
hatred cause by fear
so let me make it clear
when politicians pose for the photographers in tanks
whilst giving thanks to God
by quoting poetry from the ruling classes
I remember my father’s words
I am angry beyond rage
when I see politicians
with blood stained hands
hogging centre stage
believing that wearing a poppy
shows they care
I despair at this Union jackanory
the glory hunting
which shows they never served anyone but themselves
and the arms industry
meanwhile nations
stand in dignity
to mourn those to who never came home
give thanks for those did
and watch the greedy make fools of humanity
by allowing this insanity
to happen time and time again
the political classes who send
the young to die
at the going down of the sun
we will see hands covered in blood
and in the morning we will remember
them

@ Gayle Smith 2016