Tag Archive | Bloggers

It’s Good To Have A Friendly Chat And Bloggers Do It Better 

​At this time last week I was bricking it and it had nothing to do with pre election nerves as to how my party may or may not perform. Trust me that wasn’t even on my radar  as I physched myself up to prepare for something which was in at least in my world, much more important. 

You see, last week marked my debut as a monthly host of the blogging twitter chat Bloggers Do It Better. Using the @BDIBChat twitter handle I had to think of at least five questions to ask the participants who would be arriving in the chat space at 7 pm 

Remembering that I had worked as an equality trainer I reminded myself that the secret to the success of the chat was just like the secret of a successful training session . In other words it was all about the preparation so it was time to questions sorted, fast. 

Having decided on the questions I then saved as draft tweets to be asked at roughly 10 minute intervals during the chat. Job done it  was time to get changed in to my smartest skirt ,get my lippy on and wait for my guests to arrive. 

And arrive they did, bang on 7 o’clock from Scotland the other nations of the UK Canada , and believe it or not Sweden. Yes those of you who aren’t bloggers may find this difficult to grasp but bloggers can and do chat to each other from just  about every corner of the globe and boy can we talk 

After getting everyone to introduce themselves we proceeded with the chat and had a  lively, interactive, and fast paced discussion which made my first @BDIBCHAT pass really quickly and the healthy turn out of Scottish bloggers and many of my closest blogging friends made me made me feel really supported and you know what I’m really looking forward to doing it a again on the First Monday of every month and any other time Claire may want me to cover. Well , its good to have a friendly chat  and Bloggers Do It Better 

Till next time 

Gayle X

I Had To Say Yes To A Truly National Party And A Night With My Family Of Friends.

Hey Readers

On a cold Tuesday night in late November when most sane people would be sitting warm in front of the fire watching comfort telly I and many friends and comrades gathered in a ciry centre bar to celebrate a very important and historic birthday which some people said would never happen. 

Before continuing with this post, I should perhaps explain that this birthday wasn’t that of a friend, relative, or neighbour. It was actually the birthday of a newspaper, a newspaper its opponents had written off before the first edition had even hit the printing press. I refer of course to The National which is the only paper which supports the cause of Scottish independence.

The fact that the paper which opponents claimed wouldn’t survived its week long trial run has now become an established part of our media shows beyond question that there is a core support for a newspaper with supports an independent Scotland and it’s my belief that developments since Brexit have the need for such a news outlet more essential than ever.

As I arrived at Yes Bar it was good to see many familiar faces from the last referendum campaign who like me realise the value of the National and acknowledge the fact it has played and will continue to play a vital role in counter acting the unionist message that Scotland is miraculously the only country in the world which is incapable of governing ourselves and prioritising the needs of our people above a  remote Westminster elite who are so far removed from reality their last known address was somewhere west of Pluto.

As I made my way through the crowd it wasn’t long before I got chatting to those around me. First up to chat was Common Space editor and Sunday Herald colomumist Angela Haggarty who told me she had really enjoyed the article I had submitted to Common Space for World Transgender Remembrance Day. To say I was delighted with her feedback would be an understatement. So I think you could say I was a very happy lady.

As I mixed and mingled on a night which was made for celebration it was good to enjoy catch up’s with fellow Blue Chair regulars Aileen MacKay (see Picture 1) and National and Common Space journalist Michael Gray (see Picture (2) with his lovely and talented college Shona Craven) as I hadn’t seen either of them since before the Edinburgh Fringe. During our chat Michael informed me he had recently moved to Edinburgh, so knowing that he likes a bit of spoken word poetry I informed him that when it comes to the fringe then the Banshee Laberinyth is the place to be during the fringe and there are plenty of great nights taking place in our capital throughout the year of which my friend and fellow poet Jenny Lindsay will be only too happy to tell him about. Like Angela, Michael who also works for common space as well as The National told he had read my post for World Transgender Day and thought it was an enjoyable and thought provoking read.

Picture (1) Aileen MacKay at Yes Bar for The National Birthday Celebration)

Picture (2) Two rising stars of Scottish journalism and very much national treasures Shona Craven and Michael Gray

To get this kind of feedback on what was I have to say a very personal post meant a lot to me as I am a serious blogger with serious opinions and a real desire to see a fairer more equal society in Scotland and elsewhere. This is something I have fought for all my life and will continue to fight for until it is achieved, so have my voice valued in this way has lifted my sprits and given me renewed determination to step up the fight. for the Scotland I believe in .

This kind of encouragement is in my opinion typical of what both the National and the yes campaign from which it was born were actually about. It is not an accident when yes voters even now talk of the yes family in a way which the no campaign can never and will never be able to do. You see when we talk of the yes family then that is exactly what we mean and that family spirit was evident for all to see in the Yes bar in this cold winter’s evening.

This was a night when everyone mixed together and chatted like we had known each other all our lives. If you’ve never been to a yes gathering you may not understand but if you have you’ll get where I’m coming from and you’ll wish you’d been among us

As I said earlier in this post this was a night to chat and to congratulate those responsible for producing Scotland’s best quality daily newspaper and I passed on my birthday wishes to the original editor and founding father of the paper Richard Walker and his successor and current editor Callum Baird. In my chat with our current editor I said that I really enjoyed the sports coverage and in particular our coverage of shinty rugby union, and women’s football as these sports are often neglected by established titles in favour of more commercial sports like men’s football, golf , and racing. Our editor’s response was that the team at the National know they can’t compete in terms of resources with the so-called_bigger titles so the decision was taken to give the best possible coverage to sports which are marginalised and may otherwise go unreported

It is this style of honest journalism without the sensationalism of other titles in addition to its support for independence which  has carved The National a very distinct place in the hearts of the Scottish public

In the two years since the first edition (the birthday edition was on Thursday ) this innovative paper has had columns from some of the most powerful voices from the yes movement such as Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie former Hue and Cry star and long term independence supporter Pat Kane, the best political bloggers in Scotland Kate Higgins (Burdz Eye View) and Paul Kavanagh (wee ginger dug) and one of the funniest voices ever to inhabit Twitter the one and only Angry Salmond.

As a fairly recent development in the print media The National hasn’t been slow in embracing new ideas as I illustrated by the fact they’ve given bloggers and digital media commentators a platform to air their views but more than that it have made a positive contribution to challenging the gender imbalance within journalism and more than any other paper it has given voices to talented female journalists. Prominent amongst this talented team of excellent women writers are Cat Boyd who was one of stars of the yes campaign in 2014 the SNP MP for Clackmannanshire and Dumblane,Tasmina Ahmed-Sheilk, her party colleague and Scottish Social Security minister Jeane Freeman MSP, former Scottish Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie features Editor Janice Burns and one of Scottish journalism’s brightest stars Shona Craven.

In what an enjoyable and entertaining I had the pleasure of enjoying detailed and interesting chats with Janice and Shona and found them both to be brilliant company During my chat with Shona, she asked if I had ever written to the paper. When I confessed that I hadn’t she told me to get busy and write to the letters page as we need to see more women writing to the papers and expressing their opinions. Well, as she says men don’t hold back in their opinions so we shouldn’t hold back in saying what we think. As those of you who know me will know, this is something I’ve never done and I’ve no intention of starting now. It is however gratifying to receive this kind of encouragement from the likes of Shona and other journalists as it is heartening to know my opinions are respected and it gives me a wee bit more motivation to take my blog to the next level wherever that may be.

Aside for the serious business of mixing with the journalists it was also good to spend time with friends I haven’t seen for longer than I care to remember. One man who could definitely come in to this category is former Scottish Socialist firebrand Alan McCoombes who had travelled down from Dunkeld to be part of the celebration and is pictured below with his daughter Katie.As we chatted Alan told me how much he was enjoying life in the heart of rural Perthshire.I have to say he’s looking well on it I think the country air must be suiting him, it’s certainly a long way from Govan where we fitst met more than 20 years ago. It is however safe to say that though there may have been a change in our personal geographies since we first met there has been no change in our shared vision of a fairer more inclusive Scotland and the belief that independence is the best way to bring that vision to reality. 

Picture (3) Alan and Katie McCoombes both say to being part of yes family.

As I left the party to make my way back to the village I reflected on a lovely night which proved beyond doubt the spirit of the yes campaign is despite what our opponents would say very much alive. You see try as they might to divide us there is a core support who actually have become like an extended family and when push comes to shove will support each other in whatever way we can and take real pleasure in hearing of other’s successes. This unbreakable bond is what made yes campaign the most unique in Scottish political history and led to formation of the National to articulate the values, views , and visions for which we are proud to stand.

Like any family we will have our occasional disagreements but that’s allowed and indeed cherished as we all have slightly different ways of doing things and our particular talents to bring to the table. I mean me and Shona had a difference of opinion over Donny Osmond but we never fell out about it. Well, just because she doesn’t think he’s the most gorgeous man ever born doesn’t mean I don’t value her opinion. In our yes family, debate is encouraged not stifled as nobody imposes their will from on high and tells you what to think

As you can probably tell, I am very proud to be part of this dynamic collection who have been a fantastic advert for Scotland and the fact we have our own newspaper to give voice our to concerns in a way that the unionist press never will is a very heartening development as it is something which only four or five years ago would have been dismissed as unrealistic and written off as an impossible dream.

We should I think be very proud of how far we’ve come in what is a very short time. We have I believe changed the political landscape of our print media and cannot be dismissed as a passing phase no matter how much some of our more vitriolic opponents may want to do so. No matter what the unionists think the National is here and here to stay and that is why when I received an invite to attend this celebration I had to say yes to a truly national party and had a lovely night with friends because I did.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Why The New Assertive Me Is A Fighting Female Force Who Gave A Christmas Present To Myself

Hey Readers Merry Christmas to one and all. Now it may surprise some of you that Christmas eve is one of my favourite days of the year not for the late night shopping or the panic of buying last minute presents, I love it for a very different reason. As I’m sure regular readers of tartan tights will know, it was on Christmas eve seven years ago that I got my name legally changed from the male name my parents gave me to something more suitable to reflect the female identity I’ve always had and the woman I had always known myself to be. I can’t believe it’s been seven years since that cold wet winters morning  when I went to the city chambers and in the presence of the former councillor for Carlton Alison Thewliss (pictured below with Glasgow East MP Natalie McGarry, signed my statutory declaration which legally changed both my name and my gender.  Yes I know that only a gender recognition certificate can change my birth certificate but to all intents and purposes this does 90 per cent of the job. 

You know sometimes, particularly at this time of year   I really do have ask myself where has the time gone? Honestly it’s flown by so quickly I can hardly believe it and believe me I’ve learned a lot about myself since I slipped in to the wee gold metallic dress to attend my then work’s Christmas night out just a few days before I  made this  momentous life affirming change.

As with any trans woman my journey has been a gradual one but I feel the pace of change has quickened both physically and emotionally in  the last 12 months. This is a year when I have found out who my true friends really are and who won’t be there for the haul with though I will name no names some surprising results on both sides. There are certain people whom I  would never expected to become friends who have become really good sources of support and there are others I have known for years with whom I have been very disappointed.

In a momentous year for my party It is fair to say I  was busy with political activity as well being kept busy with my real obsession spoken word poetry. In other developments the growth of my blog has kept me far busier than I would have an anticipated in this new post referendum Scotland. Part of the reason for this is that I have joined a great community of blogger chat groups and since this this community is both predominantly female and UK wide I have yet another group of teens and twenty something in which I can be mother hen. Believe me this group of talented and creative women have inspired me much more than they know. The result of this is that I have at least to some extent
feminised my blog and have written far more posts on women’s and trans related issues and it’s young women with blogger names like  All Things Beautiful, Becky Bedbug,  Blogs All Beauty,
Colours Of A Rose,  Colorful Stuff,  Dorkface , Dungarees And Donuts Frankly Ms Shankly,  Last Year’s Girl, and Luxury Blush who  though we have become friends through cyberspace are more important to me than they will ever realise as they have given me the confidence to truly embrace my womanhood for the wonderful chaotic rollercoaster ride that it is and probably know more of the secrets that could make me blush than just about anyone outside my closest inner circle.

To me this year has been filled with challenges it has also given me room to grow and develop both as a performer but more importantly as a woman, I have if you like begun to walk with a more confident air. I feel equally at ease at the Girls Brigade prize giving or a night with the Ladies of the Guild as I do at Women For Independence meetings or on wonderful all female social occasions such as Girls Day Out. 

As time has past I think it is fair to say I have grown more confident in my skin and I am no longer worried about what others think of me. I have spent far too long both pre and early post transition seeking the approval of others most people of whom have only and will only be bit part players in my life As a woman in the early part of her mid fifties I have all of sudden realised this life is mine and mine alone and I intend to live it my way for those who can’t  deal with that then they’ll be no loss when I  evict them from my life once and for all.

There are of course what some would say are delicate issues such as  sexism and misgendering which need careful handling. Well some might say that but I don’t and I’ll tell you why. You see sexism and misgendering really get on my tits. No excuses this is discrimination pure and simple. Now whilst everyone knows about the everyday sexism that girls and women face in our daily lives, I suspect misgendering is slightly less well known. This occurs when someone knowingly or unknowingly calls someone by an inappropriate pronoun like son or Mr for a transsexual woman or lady for a trans man.  There is a school of thought that says I should accept this with good grace and move on but I’ve walked this road and it doesn’t work
all it does is give your abuser the green light to do it again and not for one moment do I let people away with the but I’m getting tired and bored of  old excuse that some of our senior citizens seem to think they can get away with. The other excuse that this generation and also male chauvinists attempt to use but I knew you when you were (insert other name ). This doesn’t work with me either  as it shows total contempt for the trans person concerned and this year I decided to take no more of it. 

This new assertive me is due to a combination of three factors. The first is an increase in confidence, this comes not only from knowing who I am but accepting it. The second is when you move on from acceptance to comfort. This is important because you are making a bold political statement in the most ordinary way by saying this is who I am every day of my life
and more comfortable I am with myself the more comfortable other people will be around me. The third and most  important factor is that I am much more open with people than I was previously it is almost as if showing the real woman I know I am has removed the fear of being
outed. This is a burden the trans community have to carry around with us until the day we take the leap of faith which says this is me take it or leave it and the change of name plays a really important part in that.

You see changing your name means a lot more than some people may think. For a start , it says this is who I really am and it is how I want to be known from now on. This is how I want to the world to see me on everything from the electoral register to store cards from my organisational cards (in my case Trade Union SNP, Glasgow Libraries), to my council tax bill. Bearing this in mind,  I think Gayle was a sensible choice. I mean let’s be honest I couldn’t have called myself Kylie as no-one had heard the name Kylie in the year I was born (1961) This is important because I think your choice has to say something about you and who you are.

You know some people usually those with no imagination who are usually male and quite often gay think my given name must have been Dale which I’m sure must have been a very popular name I’m the early 1960’s and I don’t think. There are others who think that I must have chosen my name after the Coronation Street character Gail Platt. Now I hate to inform them but though is my favourite soap I think I have more imagination than to name  myself after fictional character in a television drama and the way character spells her name is the shortened version of Abigail

As for reason behind my choice it was to reflect my
Irish-Scots identity as Scotland and Ireland are known as the lands of the Gaels. Given not only my roots but also but my cultural and political leanings perhaps this isn’t going to go down as shock of the century. It will therefore come as no great surprise that I also considered Catriona, Fiona, and Mhairi  along with Claire, Donna, and Grace. So as you can see I had a few ideas before settling on Gayle in 1993 a full 15 years before my eventual transition would begin.

This did however coincide with my first forays on the Glasgow LGBT scene in when the scene was much smaller than now and I also have to say a lot more small minded and though these were only fledgling steps it has to be said that the rainbow was not always trans inclusive and I often got the impression that we were distinctly unwelcome. I though was not going anywhere and it was around this time I decided that Gayle was definitely the most appropriate choice as a
gale has the power to decimate anything in its path and it was this message of being a life affirming force that I wanted convey. I wanted the world to see that I was not only a woman but a strong confident assertive women and on Christmas Eve seven years ago I made a start on that road. Believe me, there is more to selecting a name than you might at first think and that is why this Gayle  is a fighting female force with faith in the future.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X