Tag Archive | Attitudes

Ten Days

As pride gets ever closer this poem looks at the story of a princess and a trans girl. Only ten days separated me and Princess Diana. Ten days, and different world’s.Though never a royalist it would have been impossible for a trans girl only ten days younger than Diana not to gush over her glamorous lifestyle not to mention wardrobe but sometimes fairytales are not  quite what they seem and at a time when I was struggling to confront my gender identity issues,  her life appeared to be less complicated than mine It is fair to say that perhaps I didn’t  realise how much pressure she was under or how lucky I actually was. As is often the case when I’m finding it difficult to select a suitable choice of title I let a friend make the call for me. On this occasion the friend in question was a member of the Blue Chair poetry family Molly Frawley who agreed with my original choice of title Ten Days as this shows both the few  similarities I had with Princess  Diana and the even greater differences between us. I hope you enjoy what I think you’ll find a thought provoking read. 

Ten Days 

I was never a fan of the Royal Family 

but as a young trans woman coming to terms with my sexuality 

I was subliminally influenced 

by Princess Diana who was only ten days older than me 

you see I  liked the way she carried herself

even though one of her dresses 

would cost ten times my family’s combined wealth

if everyone put all our money together

getting engaged to a Prince on Valentine’s day

seemed like the most romantic fairytale ever 

till I remembered that fairytales only happened in panto 

not to 19 year olds from forgotten housing schemes 

in remote parts of Glasgow 

and to be honest I never fancied her man 

well I couldn’t be doing with a guy

who spent more time talking to plants 

than he did getting in to my pants

no matter how rich he was 

that kind of man could never be my type 

he was more Mr Wrong than he could ever be Mr Right

now I don’t why but I always thought the marriage was a sham

It was too great a contrast 

like David Attenborough meets Wham 

and that it was never going to work in the long run 

Diana knew the meaning of girls just wanna have fun

not just the lyrics 

while his stiff upper lip made him typically British 

and I do mean sexuallly repressed 

when she got married I focused on her dress 

and how I would love to have worn it

for my  wedding to the groom of my choice 

she gave me the strength to admit to myself 

I fancied boys not girls

well I was too busy wanting to be one 

to look at them in that way 

of course, in those days 

If I aired those thoughts folk would have just have assumed I was gay 

nobody even considered girls like me could exist 

so I transported myself to the dream world 

of a girl who was just 10 days older than me

when her death came I was saddened 

though not as surprised as some 

I thought it best to say nothing

play dumb and watch Blair hijack her death 

cry fake tears for the queen of hearts

the people’s princess 

the girl who made another girl smile 

as she showed me style and high fashion

the kind of outfits I would have loved to have worn to the dancing 

if only I had the chance 

but the princess who was only ten days older than me 

was the girl who had everything

until she realised that sometimes princes turned in to frogs

and not every fairytale has a happy ever after 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Signature

It’s no secret that as someone who is actively involved in politics and has been for over 30 years I have signed my share of petitions on a number of different issues. My signature has supported campaigns on everything from demanding the end of apartheid in South Africa to the right to equal marriage, and the end of period poverty. So when someone asked me if I thought signing petitions mattered and could be viewed as political activism I had no hesitation in saying that it could and I wrote this poem entitled Signature to illustrate the point. I hope you find it an enjoyable and thought provoking read. 

Signature 

Someone once asked me

does signing a petition count as activism 

I told them it did 

they seemed happy with my answer

if slightly confused  

on realising this  I explained why our signature matters

I shared stories I had heard of injustice in South Africa 

when Nelson Mandela was labelled a terrorist 

by Margaret Thatcher

when all he wanted was  his people to have the right to rule their land 

I said that signing petitions was 

a way of raising awareness to make people understand

why things needed to change 

but would stay the same 

If we didn’t sign up to express our discontent .

I explained that this is direct democracy in action

and without this kind of participation 

it’s no exaggeration to  say 

Palestine would still be ignored

the lion rampant would never have roared for democracy 

governments could neglect child poverty 

and remain  inactive on tackling the gig economy.

equal marriage would have remained a distant dream 

and no it’s not the preserve of smaller parties like the greens 

It’s a valuable way of bringing issues from  the fringe to the mainstream 

of changing attitudes over time 

at street stalls or online 

authority knows

the power of your signature.

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Our Stories

​With the UK pride season taking  place throughout the summer I thought I would share my  views on what the pride marches mean to me and why they have such important place in the history of  the LGBT community in this new poem entitled Our Stories.I selected this title as I believe it captures the spirit of the event as it shows that the only way any community will gain any sort of respect let alone the equality they deserve is by speaking their truths in their language.  I hope you enjoy the read. 

Our Stories 

With rainbow flags side by side with other banners

 we marched through the city  

as well wishers smiled, took photographs, blew kisses 

with only the odd look of disapproval

from those who wished to  rain on our parade

this was and is a day to celebrate who we are

in all our glorious diversity 

some may call it perversity 

but love is love no matter what 

your gender identity or sexual orientation may be 

and in the new inclusive nation we are building 

there is room for everyone to express ourselves 

in whatever way we like 

this is what pride is all about 

as we gather together we see as many differences as there are similarities

like families no two among us are exactly the same 

nor would we want them to be 

individual identity is important on days like this 

when we take risks on dancing with strangers  

kiss frogs and hope we’ll turn them in to princes and princesses

see characters in dresses and shorts 

so tight they could never be worn on tennis courts 

and meet oversized guys with oversized egos

who truly believe they could be  heroes 

when you think that life on mars has been discovered

and arrived on Glasgow Green 

It is a wonderful mixture of the beautiful and the obscene

but that doesn’t matter the most important part of the day

is to see and be seen in this colourful cavalcade

there was a time when this day and this parade

would not ,indeed could not have taken place 

we would have called a disgrace

for daring to show our faces

and public displays of affection 

would never have been allowed

now we hold hands as we march 

through city streets 

we are even allowed to marry 

politicians speak at our events 

expressing support for our right

to be who we are, 

live life without fear 

be accepted as we accept others 

because we got active became the change 

we wanted to see in the world 

by telling our stories in our words

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Token Gesture

​I write this poem as a direct appeal to Facebook to retain the rainbow pride button they introduced for Pride Month. I do this in the spirit of friendship and equality and to remind them that though the pride season may be at an end in the USA that is not the case in the UK or in many other countries in the world where many important pride marches have still to take place during the summer months. There are and it has to be said many sceptics within the LGBTIQ community who believe that the rainbow button was only a token gesture used to generate good PR for the social media site. I however am prepared to offer the hand of friendship and give the organisation the chance to show it more rainbow friendly than some people think, and hopefully they may yet prove me right. I have given the poem the title Token Gesture due not only to how the removal of the rainbow button may be perceived but also due to the fact that there are still some people who believe that token gestures are good enough to satisfy a community which is larger and more diverse than they think and that we will be happy to be tolerated whether we are accepted or not. Well  I’m here to tell these deluded and ill informed souls that is not and will never be the case.  I hope you enjoy the read. 

Token Gesture 

As  a token gesture 

we are given  a rainbow button on social media sites 

I ask myself does it give us the right 

to express ourselves with pride 

fight for equality during pride month

surely that can’t be right 

or is it simply a sign that the ultra conservative right 

who champion traditional values

 will tolerate our existence 

on the grounds they can’t wish us away 

there are those among us who are nervous of anyone who is 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, 

or anywhere else on the spectrum 

they are still apprehensive 

when they see us holding hands , kissing, 

or daring to show any public display of affection 

and believe me they are more numerous than you would like to think 

the boys wear blue and girls wear pink brigade 

still use God to excuse their views on equal marriage 

personally as a Christian I find that so 19th century 

what don’t they get about the fact that the world has moved on 

and so has the church 

I remember a colleague commenting on the length of my skirt 

I replied that I didn’t come to work to flirt 

I go to the dancing for that 

and anyway there wasn’t any man in the office 

 I found attractive enough to waste my lippy on 

but men might look at you she claimed

honestly she should have been ashamed 

to even suggest that anyone would be so unprofessional 

as to look at me in that kind of way

when I was only doing my day job 

but this is this kind of thing I had to face

disgraceful yes , but not surprising 

when you consider the attitudes which are out there in wider community 

some of them are a cross between mythology and lunacy 

are usually grounded on hand me opinions 

from tabloid and television screens

where reality is lived through soaps and the six o clock news 

which many take as fact without ever questioning why 

meanwhile we watch as equality dies 

and we travel back in time to a past 

when life was colder and crueller 

and those considered different are labelled by triangles 

as one by one colours are removed from the rainbow 

and tolerance replaces acceptance

as the new normality 

and those who can will control the buttons 

we no longer are able to push. 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

The Way I Look Tonight 

Hey Readers This poem is dedicated a brilliant young blogger who blogs under the title Half Girl Half Tea Cup. In her latest post she writes very candidly on sexual harassment and the impact suggestive comments can have on women’s confidence.

 Though the post in question was written by a younger woman, it accurately reflects the experience of women of all ages who have been at the wrong end of inappropriate remarks by men who seem to believe they can comment on a women’s appearance or style and get away with it without being called out  or questioned about their actions in any way. It is for this reason that the poem the title The Way I Look Tonight I hope you enjoy the read. 
  The Way I Look Tonight 

Lipstick chosen 

to compliment the look 

nothing too revealing

lead us not in temptation

it says in the Lords prayer 

and nobody could be tempted 

by the way I look tonight 

right ?

wrong 

seduction’s song sings sweetest

 when we don’t look our best 

I suggest there may be truth 

in the belief that boys and some girls 

like girls who remind them of their mum

you know nice but plain 

beautiful but in a classic way 

like Doris Day 

It’s only when we’re coupled up 

they want us to turn on the style 

dress in something more revealing 

and may be show some cleavage

or a  bit of leg 

But 

there is something important 

they don’t seem to get 

you see

when we make our fashion choices 

boys or other potential partners

are the last things on our minds 

as I think you’ll find

when we do decide 

we are dressing to impress 

we are doing it for ourselves 

or for other girls to see us 

  looking at our best 

and believing in the women we are 

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

Breaking Point 

Hey Readers My latest post is a poem on  mental health issues which just happens to be the topic for the March edition of Extra Second at which I’m one of the billed readers. The poem is on the subject of public attitudes to depression and I’ve given it the title Breaking Point  I hope you enjoy the read. 
Breaking Point 
Every day 

I hear folk make 

thoughtless remarks 

to people I know 

like come on 

cheer up 

your lucky 

what about the poor Afician children ? 

at least you live in Britain 

what have you got to be moaning about 

what have you not got

that you can’t live without 

you’ve got a job, a house,  a man 

you’ve got everything planned

what right have you to be depressed ?

you can’t explain why 

you feel like this 

as they say 

in my mother’s day 

nobody got depressed 

we didn’t have the time 

are you sure your not just bored 

you should take up a hobby 

like jogging or baking 

mental health issues 

you must be mistaken

you not a wierdo or some kind of nutter 

as they  mutter under their breath 

about locking up loonies 

but the people they moan about 

are not in the moonies 

or some bizarre cult 

why can’t some people 

act  like adults 

and realise depression is real 

the black dog 

nobody wants as a pet 

never forget 

careless talk cost lives 

as knives are used 

to self harm 

by those who feel the pain 

and are never allowed to explain

 what’s hurting them or why 

fearing that no-one will listen 

knowing, someone will say 

at least you live in Britain 

yes they live in Britain 

a country conditioned in to thinking 

that crying is a sign of weakness 

so they hide their tears 

and the fears which make the rivers run 

as the silver stream of the night 

flood pillows and bring hearts to breaking point 

and yet my friends are supposed 

to get over a condition 

the powers that be  refuse to believe exists 

given pills instead of treatment

generation  lost are counting the cost

of penny punching profiteers 

who fear invisible demons  

stalking the communities 

around which they have carefully errected fences 

to keep others from entering 

yet if any of them had issues 

we would be told of benefits of therapies 

people like us could never afford

It’s  ordinary people who are ignored 

tossed aside not allowed to be depressed 

 and when they protest 

about needing support

to remain  in the  community  

they are told it’s lunacy

to make such unreasonable demands 

as chinless wonders order them 

 to get over themselves 

and the tragedy is that mental health 

is still viewed as something that happens to others 

it will never come to your door 

but it will for one in four of the population 

and when you are approaching breaking point 

 I hope you won’t be told 

to get over it
@ Gayle Smith 2017 


Hand Me Downs.

Hey Readers

In the week Donald Trump is elected to the Whitehouse to succeed Barack Obama as the next president of the USA I write a poem not on his election but on the dangers of assumptions and the problems they can and do create. Trust me I’m speaking from experience on this issue and it’s my considered opinion that the social and cultural conservatism so beloved by the political establishments in all nations are the biggest obstacles to fairness in every country on earth. The force of this phenomenon cannot be underestimated in creating fear and by extension the concept of other. Having done this the prejudice they fuel can and does lead to discrimination and hatred which is often handed down through the generations and reinforced by a willing a complicit press and media. These attitudes if left unchallenged can have the potential to result in some very unpleasant consequences which is why this poem had to be written. I’ve given it the title Hand Me Downs I hope you enjoy the read.

Hand Me Downs

In a quiet moment
I take thinking time
to remember the journey taken
as I map the road yet to be travelled
I ask for patience with those
challenged by authenticity
who see shadows where there are none
make fun of others and assume they know more about me than they do
comment when quiet contemplation would serve them better
they will never surrender
to the calm silence can provide
desperate to be
what they see as the winning side
they can’t hide their inadequacies
talking over others
never discovering anything outside their comfort zones
they prize only what they believe be truth
never thinking fact is supported by evidence
rather than take time
to ask questions
which I know I can answer
with no degree of difficulty
those with narrow minds mock
anyone perceived to be different
I keep my dignity
moving on to tomorrow
without the chains of fear
which bind them to the values of yesterday
and convince them of certainties
worn as hand me downs.

@ Gayle Smith 2016