Tag Archive | LGBT Community

The Wrong Diagnosis 

  

In my latest poem I recall a recent incident as I take a look at arrogance, and assumptions based on stereotypical attitudes. The event in question happened a few weeks ago as I made my way to Katie’s Bar when a stranger attempted to bark orders at me and in typical Ruth Davidson fashion ordered me to sit down. Naturally I refused to entertain this attention seeker and made my way to my destination where I enjoyed a very pleasant evening in good company. However I decided to write this poem to illustrate that there are just as many ill mannered attention seekers in the LGBT community as there are anywhere else. I have given it the title The Wrong Diagnosis. I hope you enjoy the read. 

The Wrong Diagnosis 

On a quiet autumn evening

I am singing contentedly to myself 

as I walk to my pub of choice 

as it comes in to view 

a stranger shrieks at the top of his voice 

barks orders telling me to sit down 

says he’s seen me around 

really I reply

 walking on I ignore him 

he seems aggitated

 that I pay no attention to his demands 

but what he fails to understand 

is that while his scouse accent may be fine 

his Ruth Davidson style charm is something I can do without 

my world has borders 

and he’s just made the mistake of crossing them 

without my permission 

the line of respectability

has been violated

and history will show he was on the wrong side of it 

you don’t cross boundaries without permission

that doesn’t work it never has and never will

trust me I am not the kind of girl

who likes her world invaded by unwanted intruders

I don’t like the assumption  it implies 

you know boys will be boys 

and claim women as their prize 

this is male privilege of a very British kind 

which states if you ignore me

 I will diagnose you and give you a label

to which I think ‘it will be nothing to one I give you 

and trust me it will take you on a journey 

for which you wish you had never volunteered’  

but the moment he sneered at me 

I smiled knowing I held every ace in the pack 

and he could do union jack to stop me 

I played a tactical game 

because I checked his privilege 

and called him out for his arrogance 

I’d met his type before 

he had plenty to say for himself 

but nothing worth my time 

his crime was barking orders 

believing dog whistles work at his command 

and failing to understand 

a poet will always defeat 

a conservative charm school graduate 

especially one who gave her

the wrong diagnosis 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

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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 

The B Word

Hey Readers On day 28 of NaPoWriMo I look at the issue of bisexuality This is a topic seldom discussed in the press or shown in the media. When it is portrayed it is usually done in a negative way to reinforce cultural stereotypes of bisexuals being greedy  promiscuous and responsible for half the world’s ills. This negative publicity  otherwise known as biphobia  damages the image of bisexuals and is why I decided to challenge them. You see I believe that a significant percentage of people have bisexual feelings but most choose never to admit it.
I identify as a non practising bisexual in other words I have made the decision that I will probably never have a relationship with a woman but I will admit that there are some women I find attractive.  I have decided to write this poem after much soul searching due not to my own feelings which I am entirely comfortable  but for everyone who has experienced prejudice based on the stereotypical images society presents of the bisexual community. I’ve given this poem the title The B Word I hope you enjoy the read.

The B Word

bisexual say that word and note the reaction
listen to the voice of prejudice
watch them recoil in horror
at the idea of loving an individual
rather than a gender
refusing to surrender
to the binary option
an act of rebellion in socially conservative Scotland
where even in these liberal times
bisexuality is perceived
as the worst possible crime
we are told we have pick a side
like we do for football or other  sports
we can’t like both the guy in the rugby team and the girl on the tennis court
that’s just being greedy
and it’s not right
you’re not allowed kiss a boy
and a girl
well not on the same night
this hypocrisy is what we are faced with
every time the topic is discussed
usually by straight white members
of the pseudo middle classes
scared to mention the B word
in case it makes them blush
they show their ignorance on the subject
by saying that you can’t maintain
two relationships at once
I hate to say this
but they must have been the dunces
in their sex education class
this not how it happens
like everyone else
bisexuals follow the rules
of attraction
take me I prefer men
but there are woman I find sexy
the fact I make the choice
not to act on these feelings
because of my trans identity
doesn’t make them any less real
It just proves I won’t sleep around
this is another stereotype I have found
with regards to this typically topical taboo
bisexuals are not primal
with the sexual urges of wild animals
or those caged in the zoo
we are perfectly normal
we hold down jobs and mortgages
go to church and aerobics classes
the fact we like both lads and lassies
doesn’t make us lepers
for refusing to conform
to norms imposed by society’s sobriety 
viewed with suspicion by both gay and straight communities
we refuse to restrict opportunities
for love
preferring to give individuals the chance to impress
whether they wear trousers or a dress
doesn’t matter as long as a lover
is intelligent, kind, and treats me like a lady
then for him or very occasionally her
perhaps I may be.
you get the point I’m making
bisexuals are not wild untamed nor greedy
nor are we mischievous, or needy,
we are just normal people
leading everyday lives
some of us are husbands wives
or not the marrying kind
we are trans cis and who we decide to kiss or have relationships with
is our private business
do not limit us or put us in to nice little boxes
which you can store
in your own private closet
because if we are honest
more of us are bisexual
than will ever admit it
it’s just something we don’t want to say
but I have a question
in these enlightened days
why are we scared
to mention the B Word 

@ Gayle Smith 2016

 
NB This poem was written on Day 28 but I was unable to post until now due to my ‘ usual issue ‘

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

Coming Out For Fairness And The Right To Equal Love

Hi All Yesterday was National Coming Out Day and LGBT youth encouraged us to have a day of online action in support of the LGBT community. This was something I was proud to participate in as I wanted to give this idea my full and unqualified support. This is the reason why I decided to write this post for my blog

My reason for supporting this day of action is not just because I myself am an out and proud trans woman is due to the fact that I really believe in equality and fairness and if you believe in these fundamental tenants of what I see as the benchmark of a civilised society then you cannot restrict love only to the purest form of biology. The right to love is a basic human right and must be available to everyone no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is in my opinion the mark of any civilised society to make sure all citizens are treated fairly and given the respect they deserve.

So if love is as I have said a basic human right. There are those amongst us who will ask why do some people feel the need to come out and tell everyone they are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender? This is a valid question and it is one I hope by writing this post I can give the dignity of an answer which may help those who ask it understand the challenges faced by those within the community and why they feel they need to be honest with both themselves and the world.

It is the opinion of this blogger that a day like this is necessary to raise awareness and to give our LGBT population the chance to explain positively and without prejudice their sexuality or gender identity and explode some of the myths surrounding them. You see it is those myths which lurk like demons in the hearts and minds of the general public due to their continual use by the press and media who have over the course of decades and even centuries built up negative and damaging stereotypes of the LGBT communities. This is why coming out is so necessary as people feel the need to explain their love to members of their family or peer group in a way which none of their siblings or neighbours need to do as they are seen to fit in to society’s perceived and socially accepted norms.

Whilst for some people coming out will not be a problem and they will acceptance easy from family, friends, and neighbours, others will find it much more difficult to come out and they
could be members of your family community or friendship group. I know I could never have managed to come out as trans and enjoy the quality of life I do without a lot of fantastic support from a brilliant group of mainly but not exclusively female friends. However, not everyone is as lucky as I was and for that matter continue to be so those people really need your support.

You can show your support by posting a positive comment on your wall or and yes I know it’s a shameless plug you could read some of my trans blogs at http://www.tartantights.wordpress.com/ I recommend these poems The Lemon Dress, Dutiful Daughter, Secret Girl, and A Trans Daughter Remembers Her Mother. These poems were written to empower people with an understanding of transgender issues and the difficulties and challenges we face even within places where we would hope to have the greatest level of support.

Speaking personally I know that coming out is a slow and gradual process and is also pretty constant in the sense that you are always meeting new people and may feel that you need to let them know your sexual orientation or gender identity in order to avoid any socially awkward situations which could lead to embarrassment later if allowed to go unchecked.

As a trans woman who came out later in life I was mid way through my 47th year when I finally came out to face the world at my work’s Christmas night out on 19th December 2008. I knew what I was letting myself in for. However I believe that coming out is a difficult process for many people regardless of age, class, gender race or religion. As for me I think it was easier as a transwoman than it is for some gay men and lesbians. My reason for this belief is the fact that as a transsexual my decision is to some extent whether I like it or not far more in your face because of the physical change in appearance. This means that people are faced with the this is me take it or leave it approach. Also I don’t give permission for people to be smart or attempt wisecracks at my expense. Try that little routine and you may find out the hard way the every trans woman has an inner bitch and isn’t afraid to kick ass.

Bearing this in mind I was delighted to meet two young lesbians on a night out in Paisley who couldn’t keep their hands off each other and quite right too. It was obvious they fancied each other and were really loved up. The fact this happened in a straight bar made their very public display of affection all the better in my opinion. You see for as long as a heterosexual couple can kiss in public without anyone batting so much as eyelid but a gay or lesbian couple can’t be given the same right to love each other then we really need a national coming out day. You see the way I see it is simple nobody is coming out to get preferential treatment we are coming out for fairness and the right to equal love

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle XXX