It Was The Best Of Times It Worst Of Times But I Always Try To Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Hey everyone As I look back on 2014 I can’t help but think that the old Charles Dickens quote ‘It was the best of times it was the worst of times is the perfect summary of the year which is now in it’s final round of the clock.

Speaking personally this year has had it’s fair to say more up’s and downs than a rollercoaster ride at the shows as we Glasgow girls would say. There have been some moments which were truly magical many of them poetry related and others which were and I’m putting this politely beyond my wildest nightmares.
These were mainly due to my flatmate’s depression which resulted in her losing her job and
trust me it has not got any better or at least not yet. You see I am one of nature’s optimists, after all being Scottish I see this as not only my nature but also as my duty.

So if begin this review in a wet and windy when my life was centred around. Celtic Connections and SNP Burns Suppers I would say that even in a difficult year the good has tended to outweigh the bad yes I know I’m a proper little Polllyanna but sometimes you have to be and that was certainly the case for yours truly in the 12 eventful months of 2014.

With the Independence debate being the key theme of the year
There was of course the excitement of campaigning for something I really believe in and no words can describe the privilege I felt at 7.45 on the morning of the 18th September when I voted Yes for the proposition that Scotland should be an independent country. Then the next day there was the searing pain of defeat and temporarily at least I have never felt such hatred towards many of my fellow country men and women. I soon realised however that hatred was not the way to go and slowly but surely I started to love my unionist friends again.
It was during the referendum campaign that I met some of the most inspiring women I have ever known and many were young enough to be my daughters. On my side of the campaign there was the lovely and highly energetic force of nature that was, is and ever shall be Saffron Dickson, and we were also blessed with one of main the driving forces behind the national collective Glasgow sessions the brilliant Victoria Kerr. On the other side of the debate I was particularly impressed by the articulate intelligent and passionate commitment of Alison Clark Dick. This is a young woman who like Saffron and Victoria is destined for great things in life and I wish all three of them well in the coming year.
Talking of the National Collective, the Glasgow sessions at Stereo provided me not only with great entertainment and motivation to get out and do my bit for my country but also with several new creative contacts and some friendships which I am sure will only grow stronger with time. One of these friendships was particularly inspirational in providing ideas which have resulted in new poems being written. Yes I do mean you Margaret McCabe. Those Monday night discussions on why the price of a pair of tights is more important to the Scottish economy than the renewal of the trident missile system resulted in a poem which has been performed at various venues throughout both Glasgow and Scotland and Tights Before Trident is amongst my top five of all the new poems I’ve written this year.

Still on the subject of the National Collective it was perhaps my greatest honour in over 20 years of performing my poetry to get the chance to perform at the Glasgow session in July which was held just three days after my birthday. To perform at a pro independence event when I’ve campaigned for it all my adult life meant more than many of you will ever be able to imagine, so setting out the kind of independence I would like to see for Scotland I read two poems. The first of them centred on the issue of immigration and why as a progressive Scot of the sensible centre left, the UK government’s stance on the issue truly appalled me. Twenty Four Romanians was written at the beginning of this year as a response to the ludicrous claims of UKIP and the right wing press that the UK was going to be overrun by more than 24 million economic migrants from Bulgaria and Romania then a month later red faced they had to admit that only twenty four had in fact made the journey to their not so Great Britain. I think they were what you call flattering themselves

My second poem on that never to be forgotten evening was written to celebrate what I liked and for that matter still like about being a member of National Collective. Titled I Am National Collective needless to say it went down a storm with an audience who were very clearly onside. However I have to say when you were as I was personally thanked for performing the first of my two poems by a young Romanian woman who just happened to be in the audience that night I did tend to put the cherry on top of a lovely cultural birthday cake.

On the Wednesday of the same week I was delighted to accept an invitation to attend the installation of the new Glasgow poet laureate Jim Carruth at the Tron Theatre and privileged to be asked to perform one of my poems as part of the celebration. Jim is a poet I respect tremendously and a man I respect even more. With Glasgow at the heart of this event Jim wanted all those who compare or organise events in the city to be part of an inclusive evening which whilst celebrating his new role would showcase poetry and spoken word events around the city, Naturally I was proud to attend such an event and to read as part of the programme on behalf of Words and Music was indeed a great honour. The poem I selected My Glasgow was I thought the most appropriate given the circumstances of the evening.

As if that wasn’t enough celebrating in one week I then went to Pride Glasgow the following Saturday where I was VIP guest at a transgender tent which was hosted by Out At Tesco and my good friend Lisa Tait. This was the day I finally knew how Cinderella felt nothing was too much trouble for Lisa and her team and it was the perfect end to one of my best weeks of the year.

In late July the world or at least part of it came to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games and it was impossible not to get swept away by the atmosphere of the event as peace and goodwill threatened to break out in our city for which I hope I like every other Glaswegian was a good ambassador at this time as I managed to chat with athletes from England, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Zambia. I even managed to have a chat to an official goodwill ambassador when I was attending the Merchant City Festival. The ambassador concerned was none other than Words And Music’s very own Steve Allan.

My next stop was the Edinburgh Festival where I packed in a lot more than I ever thought possible performing at more events than ever before and taking in some wonderful shows the highlights of which have to be Becoming Wonder Woman by the multi talented genius that is Sophia Blackwell and Can’t Care Won’t Care by the equally lovable Sophia Walker. As for performing I really enjoyed every set I delivered but according my good friend and Words and Music regular John McGlade My slot at Other Voices on the final Saturday of the fringe was the best he’d ever seen me perform my work. Personally I have to say that my performance at the May edition of 10red hosted by that ever genial dalek fan Kevin Cadwallender would give it a run for it’s money but it was certainly nice to receive such a great compliment from of life’s good guys.

After the festival it was back to reality and what in my world passes for every day life. This meant attended my first ever mammogram screening and having to do it not once but twice. The reason for my second invite was the fact that a couple of the x-rays didn’t show up first time. Thankfully the x-rays which needed redone were the ones you have to be able to stand like a ballerina rather than the ones where your breasts are actually clamped like a car parked somewhere it shouldn’t have been. This I have to say was a considerable relief as though Darcy Bussell is under no threat from me it is by a mile the more the comfortable of the two positions.

After the mammogram was sorted it was back to the referendum campaign and I have to say the week before the vote was probably one of the best weeks of my life. The gatherings in Buchanan Street on the last Saturday before the vote and in George which the yes vote reclaimed for a time as Freedom Square were history I was proud to be a part of. I think I must walked the road of a long distance runner that hot September Saturday when I helped out at the Women for Independence stall and I also distributed leaflets on behalf of Labour for Independence, Business For Scotland and the Scottish Green Party well Patrick Harvie was and remains a real asset to our cause that I was glad to do my bit to help his party’s vision of an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable Scotland to let the voters know there was more to our campaign than just the SNP of whom by the way I am proud to be a card carrying member.

Looking back over the course of the campaign this was a time which shaped my poetry more than perhaps I realised at the time. Also I have to say that amongst many great memories
of a fantastic campaign will be the September edition of Words and Music. On this night the poets of one Glasgow spoken word event showed the politicians how it should be done as poets of all shades of opinion be it yes, no, or don’t know, selected their poems of choice and the rest of the gathering listened intently to what they had to say. No friendships were lost that night indeed I believe quite the opposite to be true and many politicians may have been better behaved if they had attended an evening where genuine respect shown to all sides by all sides.
My choice of my very good friend and no voter Chris Young as featured writer for that evening was not made by accident, it was made to show that you can have principled differences of opinion with those who matter most and in all my years at Sammy’s I have never been prouder of the spoken word community than I was that night.

Eventually the votes were cast and counted and it is I think fair to say that the result did go the way I had hoped for. After the disappointment of the vote I needed something to cheer me up and preferably quickly so a singsong with Citizen Smart and guests was the perfect tonic before heading along to the Centre For Contemporary Arts for the launch of Prodigal the latest collection of poetry by Jim Carruth. It has to be said that this not so manic Monday was the perfect pick me up for my post referendum blues.

After this and Glasgoes Poetic which followed almost immediately after my year began to wind down and draw to it’s inevitable close. This though would not be without some drama from a flatmate who is struggling to cope with her depression and mother nature who decided on a cold November to send me to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary because n the words of Kylie and Westlife I was Spinning Around and Flying Without Wings perhaps to remind me that I am not as invincible as I sometimes like to think.

This resulted in me being out of commission for a few weeks gave me a chance to focus on my blogging. This has I think been a good year for yours truly as I have hosted my first guest post from senior SNP member and former parliamentary candidate Iain Lawson on why Scotland’s Conservatives should embrace Independence. Not only I have hosted my first guest post I have also written my first guest post for another blogger. The blogger in question being the weegingerdug as to why as a Transwoman I said yes to independence. This to me is a sure sign that tartantights is maturing as a blogger though not too much I mean you don’t want me turning sensible that would never do. Please notice I did say maturing and not growing up, let me say here and now I have no intention of doing that in coming year or any year. I am only sensible when I have to be and when my injury forced me to rest more than I wanted to, I focused on tartantights and began to think of plans to improve it and bring in a touch more variety in this post referendum Scotland.

So I used my health setback in the most productive way possible, but having said that I was disappointed to be missing two events I would have been very proud to attend. The first being Nicola Sturgeon’s sell out appearance at the Hydro and the second being the launch of the new clinical services for trans people. Missing these events hurt me more than you will know but sometimes you’ve just got to take the bad days and make what you can of them. I did however make it to both the Christmas Words And Music at Sammy’s and the Tinsel Tales event at GoMA to finish off my year in spoken word.

This I thought would be a perfect place to finish my review of my 2014. Then in Christmas week disaster hit my city and reminded me that no matter that whatever challenges 2015 decides to present to me at least I am still here to face them and for that I thank God and remember the that though this has not been the easiest of years at least I’m still here to make the most of the coming one and hopefully many more after that. You see to me 2014 really was both the best and worst of times but I always try to look on the bright side of life.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Ranting Reviewing And Sometimes Reflecting As I Look At A Mixed Bag Of Stories

Hey everyone. As Yesterday was the last Sunday of 2013 I thought I would take a look back on the year which is about to slip in to history as the clock chimes in the new year on Wednesday morning.

There is no doubt that speaking from a personal perspective this has been a year of high’s and lows for me as I’m sure it has for everyone but I have to say that more than any other year I have felt the pain of death in 2013 as more than one friend or hero has made the journey to the pearly gates in the past 12 months.

In the world of poetry we lost a giant of the craft in August when one of my favourite poets Seamus Heaney was laid to rest at the age of 74. A man who influenced many, it was he alongside the late Edwin Morgan and the brilliant Liz Lochhead who got me in to poetry. Thanks Seamus I owe you a debt for that, a debt I can only repay by pledging to work harder at the craft as every poet must in order to fulfil our potential and leave our footprint on the world.

Closer to home that doyen of many a spoken word my good friend Frank Mullen was finally taken from us in early summer aged 89. A man of wit and wisdom Frank is greatly missed by the writing communities of Glasgow and East Renfrewshire amongst whose members he was greatly admired and respected for ability to entertain as well as his devotion to the craft .

The world of politics has also been touched by death this year. On the global stage we lost Margaret Thatcher who whatever you think of her politics certainly left her mark on the world. I have to say that it was she who inspired me to get involved in politics though maybe not in the way she would have liked. You see far from joining her beloved Conservative Party which wanted us all to believe we were part of one nation her contempt for Scotland drove me in to the waiting arms of the Scottish National Party. Why them and not Labour I hear you ask? Well it’s like this I think any party leadership that lets someone like her butcher Scotland in which they had a clear mandate to govern rather than declaring an immediate state of UDI are a bunch of chancers, charlatans, and idiots that I wouldn’t let head the queue for a bus let alone a country. You see if there is one thing I learned from Margaret Thatcher it is the fact that Labour are irreverent and will only ever get elected if they ape Tory rhetoric and policies and please the man from the Daily Mail and that is why I will be voting Yes in next year’s independence referendum and confidently expect that when the time comes Scotland will do the same.

The other big political beast to go to their final rest this year was former South African President Nelson Mandela. Unlike Thatcher Mandela was someone I respected for the right reasons. A principled man Mandela fought for a cause he believed to be right and was eventually rewarded by becoming the first black president of a multi-racial South Africa and was fiercely proud of the rainbow nation he helped to build. However his success came at a price and that price was 27 years in prison for the crime of believing in equality and a fairer land for his people.

Whilst the deaths of Thatcher and Mandela made headlines around the world it was deaths closer to home which had a greater impact on me. As I lost two political friends whom I had known since my party’s stunning by-election which will forever be known as Govan 88. This was the by-election which changed Scotland for good as after Jim Sillars victory in which he overturned a 19,000 Labour majority to win by a majority of 3,554 Labour did more on devolution in 9 hours than they had in the previous 9 years. However though Jim Sillars will get most of the credit for winning the seat and his place in history is assured, anyone with a fully functioning brain cell will realise no candidate no matter how talented they are can win a victory of that magnitude without a formidable back up team and in Alison Hunter and Steve Butler Jim certainly had that. Therefore to have both of them taken from the Independence family in last year before our referendum they had worked all their political lives to achieve is a particularly cruel blow for the yes campaign and a reminder if any were needed of the debt all parties and causes owe to our activists.

However though death featured prominently in the past 12 months there were also moments of hope which restored both my optimism and my faith in humanity. There was good news for my friend Sharlene with the birth of her second child as Harper-Rose joined big sister Darcy to bring much needed happiness in to the world and give Sharlene and Ryan a good few sleepless nights. There was also a second child for my friend and fellow nationalist Alison Thewliss as she and husband Joe were blessed by the birth of a baby daughter Kirsty who joins her son Alexander as part of Thewliss-Wright dynasty.

As for matters cultural I have to report a good year for spoken word as I attended many fantastic evenings in both Glasgow and Edinburgh throughout a busy year making many new friends as I did so whilst remembering to nourish existing ones. It was during a busy Edinburgh fringe that I met poets who have since became friends such as Jim Higo and Sophia Blackwell and cemented friendships made earlier in the year with younger writers such as Agnes Torok and the man who has Sammy’s his home the brilliant Craig Scott.

On the subject of Sammy’s this was the year when Pamela decided to retire and left me to take over the reins. Following in the footsteps of such a brilliant organiser was not easy but fortunately I have a great team round about me to help plan for the future of our club, a team which was boosted by the return to the family fold of Audrey Marshall and John McGlade.

Aside from my poetry commitments this has also been a year where my faith has played an increasingly important part in my life and the friendship, fellowship and teaching I have gained my local parish Baillieston St Andrew’s known locally as the kirk on the corner has been an invaluable source of comfort during difficult and challenging times. Still on faith I am lucky to have found a friend in my local area who is a constant source of strength and I really can’t imagine what my world would be like now without Leanne McKay.

Another friend who has been a great support particularly in the area of blogging has been Caron Lindsay who has been almost like a mentor with her support and encouragement featuring several of my posts in the Scottish Round-up and even giving the chance to sit in the editors chair. This was a significant boost to my confidence as though a seasoned poet, performer and political activist I am conscious that I am still reasonably new to this game where you reveal a lot more about yourself and your values in one or two posts than any poet ever could in a five or ten minute set.

Indeed this point is validated by a comment from my long standing friend Andy Fleming a poet and musician of some excellence has said to me on more than one occasion that he feels he knows even better now as a regular reader of my blog than he did even after 17 years of friendship and I was flattered rather than offended when he said he prefers my blog to my poetry on the grounds that I can put more of myself in to it. This is a real compliment as I know that Andy enjoys my poetry.

Talking of things technical this was the year I set up facebook pages for Words and Music at Sammy’s and Just For The Girls a page where my female friends can give me advice on my transition or ask the questions they want to but can’t get round to in public.

I also set up groups for those of all political persuasion’s who love Scotland but want a break from the constant referendum chat (Our Scotland) those who are part of the culture and entertainment scene or who have in interest in any aspect of it, (Culturally Speaking) and (Bards In The Park) which is for those of us who attend and have attended this monthly event at Tollcross Park and I am delighted to say that though they have been slow burners they are beginning to attract interest.

As for other topics which have made the news this year. There was the tragedy of the horrific helicopter crash at the Clutha Vaults, Andy Murray finally becoming at least according to chattering classes the first British man to win to Wimbledon men’s singles title since Fred Perry though the press still call the area where his fans gather Henman Hill as it was or so they tell us Tim Henman who was responsible for the great British tennis revival. Aye right I’ll bet they were gutted that it took a Scot to win it for them

There was also the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson from the manager’s job at Manchester United and the fawning little sycophants in the English press told him he was the greatest football manager in the history of the game. It is obvious these clowns have never heard of Jock Stein the man who guided Celtic to the European Cup in Lisbon in 1967 at his first attempt. Now don’t get me wrong Ferguson was a very talented manager but I don’t buy this idea that it’s tougher these days just because there four teams from the so called bigger nations allowed in this corporate football event. You see what this really means is that real champions from real countries get excluded from this feast of the greedy. This If anything actually devalues the achievement of the winners in my eyes

It is my belief that this greed is killing the game and that many footballers are paid way too much money and have salaries which vastly outweigh their mediocre to at best moderate talent. The fact that Liverpool have recently signed Luis Sureaz on a four year contract reputed to be worth £230,000 a week shows that the so-called beautiful game is spinning out of control.

As my flatmate Janette says we could work our whole lives and never see that amount of money. So when there are tales of such avarice it is I think heartwarming to hear and I say this as a Celtic fan that Rangers forward Jon Daley gave 150 tickets for his club’s home game against Stranraer to be distributed amongst the city’s homeless and former Rangers captain Ally Dawson who works for a homeless charity was delighted to accept the gift. It appears that at least with some footballers tis not the season to be jolly but the season to be generous and remember to show the real spirit of Christmas.

As for personal highlights well Pride is always a great day and Glasgow 2013 was no exception. It was a brilliant occasion and I had one of those days I’ll remember for a very long time. I have to say however that this year will be remembered more than anything else for one very special Saturday in September when the independence movement gathered on Carlton Hill and 30,000 of our citizens said we will be a nation again. Not only that, we will be the kind of nation according to our First Minister Alex Salmond which puts bairns before bombs an independent Scotland. Now I don’t know about you my dear readers but that is the kind of Scotland I can’t wait to be a part of.

However if the March and Rally for Independence was the best day of the year and one of the best of my life I have no doubt as to the saddest and angriest days of this year. The saddest day was when I attended the funeral of a man eight years younger than I am. A good man who was the long term partner of a woman I love like a sister. As for the angriest don’t even get me started. I hate thieving scum especially when they steal photographic equipment and rob a business it has taken two very talented young women time and money to build. However Katie Walker and Kirsty Hughes are intelligent and resourceful as well as talented and that is why despite the worst and most disgusting attempts of these low life vermin KK Snaps is back and will be brighter bolder and better than ever.

In other matters there was also a new Doctor Who is actually Scottish Oh and before I forget a couple of posh rich kids had a baby and live in a palace. Now William and Kate seem like a nice couple, but despite what the British press and politicians would like you to think the arrival on the arrival of their son this was not the second coming. I mean the baby’s name is George not Jesus so that should give you a bit of a clue to where I stand on this issue. Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed my review of the year where I’ve ranted reviewed and reflected on a what I think I can say has been a mixed bag of stories.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Rainbow On The Green

Hey everyone. I don’t know why but I never sleep well on the night before pride. Yesterday morning I was up by 4.35 despite not going to bed till just before midnight. Maybe it’s nerves excitement or even both, but either way I was up with the birdies to welcome to Pride Glasgow 2013.

After watching too much early morning telly than is decent for a woman on a Saturday morning, I eventually locked the door of Smith and Marshall mansions at around about 10 past 11 and made my way to the bus stop where I waited far longer than i should have done for my bus to the city centre.

During my 20 minute wait a couple of older people stopped for a chat and asked where I was going. I think my outfit may have attracted attention. Well. It’s not every morning you’ll see a middle aged woman standing at a bus stop in a red dress red fishnet tights with silver shoes and bag as matching accessories.

When I told them I was going to Glasgow LGBT Pride Carnival at Glasgow Green they both told me to enjoy the day and behave myself. I say I would try to behave but me being me I couldn’t make promises. At just after half 11 I finally boarded the bus. I was on my way to join the party would bring together so many kinds of LBGT people it would create a rainbow on the green.

Eventually I got off the bus at the border which separates the East End from the Merchant City. As I walked passed the Tollbooth bar I overheard a conversation between two regulars. ‘Whit’s wi awe they marchers?’ One asked ‘och it’s just gay pride says his pal ‘it’s better than the orange walk’ smiling I shouted over too right it is Celtic fans are welcome today I should know I am one. He smiled as I walked past, and since I thought he gave us good PR, I had to show my thanks with good chat.’

Realising I had missed the start of the march, well it’s kind of traditional for me. I made way along the trongate and who should I see but the lovely Joanna Barr. It is I think fair to say that Joanna is one of those younger lesbians I mentioned earlier in the week when I posted my poem a Thorn Amongst The Roses. You know the ones who tend to see me as a trans mammy. Anyway we had a brilliant wee catch up before I went on my way to join the parade.

After walking the length of the town I joined the march just before it turned in to union street. I don’t know how it happened but for the first part of my walk I walked with LGBT youth one of whose members gave me a placard with stated I support equal marriage which I was very proud to carry all the way to the green. It was during this part of the route I had chat with one of my longest standing friends Anne Marie Kelly who was one of the event stewards.

Eventually due to my somewhat relaxed walking style, I ended up with the team from the unite trade union group where I had an interesting chat on equality, football fans and the upcoming independence referendum. As we marched through the streets of the city centre It was great to see so many workers out cheering us along the route and to hear that many trade unionists are considering a yes vote as they believe it will result in a fairer nation more at home with traditional trade union values than a Britain which is moving quickly and dramatically to the right.

As we approached pizza hut we were met with some ill mannered jeering from a group of Rangers fans who shouted some foul mouthed abuse. They probably didn’t realise that there were Rangers supporters walking in the parade. Well I hate to inform these idiots but not all parades take place in early July or need commissions to approve them. It is my considered opinion that these knuckledragging neanderthals were a total embarrassment to the club they claim to support though as a Celtic fan I can’t say I’m surprised by this.

The rest of the journey passed peacefully and on entering the green one of the LGBT youth team collected my placard and I was free to wander around the many stalls, which suited a highly sociable wee madam such as myself.

As was the case last year I visited the stalls of Better Together and Scottish Labour and enjoyed good debate with members or in Labour’s case the comrades. Oops I don’t know if I’m allowed to call them that. Well let’s be honest I think they’ve had orders from on high to ban two s words Scotland and Socialism.

One of the first chats of my day was with a better together activist who just so happens to the cousin one of my best friends. She is a thoroughly decent woman whose politics are based on the principled ideas of socialism though quite how she believes this is even possible in a country which still has and seems to be determined to hang on to an unelected unrepresentative second chamber I do not honestly know. Personally
I think she is living in a dream world and I wasted no time in telling her this. I think she was slightly stunned that I was and remain confident of a convincing victory on the day and being good at predictions I think I can safely say that after my butchery of the butcher’s apron and the Dis United Kingdom, that though we get on very well I don’t think she will be posting my nomination for diplomat of the year any time soon.

Anyway I enjoyed good chats with political colleagues on both sides of the independence debate and it was a real pleasure to meet two of the good guys in Scottish politics Patrick Harvie Leader of the Scottish Green Party and Labour MSP for Glasgow Drew Smith. Both guys spoke at last year’s Pride at George Square and it is empowering to know that the LGBT community have such committed allies in our law making chamber.

I have to say that Patrick is a man I have always respected as I believe the three E’s he contributes to Scottish politics are vital to the debates currently taking place in our country and will be even more important in a post independent Scotland. Those three E’s are Education Equality and the Environment. Well he and his party colleagues educate the public on the need for equality and how that will help shape a better more culturally and socially sustainable environment which will in turn be beneficial to the political and economic health of the nation.

The Greens had lots of leaflets and were very kind to me as they gave me a copy almost everything they had on their table. This is valuable educational material which I will read for poetic purposes and recycle when I’m finished with them. Well Smith and Marshall Mansions as I call my home is getting better on the recycling issue and I intend to keep it that way and where possible improve our track record.

In my short chat i said to Patrick and his colleague Alasdair Duke that in our house we do try to be as environmentally friendly as possible and if I say so myself we have a very impressive record on food waste. Well as our budget has been slashed since I lost my job we tend only to buy what we know were going to like and thus we cut food waste to a bare minimum. In fact such is our shopping intelligence I can truthfully say that since the council supplied us with food caddy bins at the beginning of July we as yet haven’t had to use them even once.

In my chat with Drew I recalled that in his speech last year he had talked about the horrific impact of section 28 and its consequences and told him that this law passed during my early adulthood meant repressing my identity for a far greater time than anyone should ever need to. We even had a brief chat about football and the indy ref amnesty on Thursday night. Like me Drew said he liked that idea as after the referendum is over no matter what the result we will all need to work together for the benefit of Scotland. I couldn’t agree more with those sentiments and told him that I’ve got form on this issue as where I can find areas of common ground I always will get involved in cross party campaigns.

I also visited the equal marriage campaign and am pleased to report that the stall was very busy with many people queuing up to sign the declaration of support. This is an issue which will not go away. LGBT people want and deserve the same right to equality as anyone else that includes the right to marry.
It is my belief that if Scotland or Britain are ever to be viewed as modern mature nations who are relevant to the 21st world then this right must granted and granted at the earliest possible date.

On an even more personal note I really pleased to see the Scottish Transgender Alliance was also attracting a lot of interest. As a transwoman I have to say this pleased me greatly as it shows people want to learn about the topic though it was mainly women and younger women who stopped to get information.

As I mixed and mingled with the crowds I enjoyed a good catch up with one of my best friends Derek Read who informed me he had lost a very tall lesbian and If I found her I was to tell her he looking for her. This is earth calling Derek how in the name of god how did you manage to lose her in the first place?

Not long after my chat with Derek I bumped into another of my closest friends that one man tour de force Chris Young. Now it’s no secret that I see Chris as my baby brother bard, so like any big sister I was I ever so slightly concerned when I saw his hand all bandaged up. Naturally I had to ask him how it happened and he told he had an argument with a chisel, when doing some DIY. Honestly I worry about Chris and as a protective poetry big sister I think I really should advise him to stay away from any household object sharper than a member of the BNP.

Moving ever onwards I made my way to other stalls such as Guy to Girl a new community business for male to female transgender women which is based in Cathcart on the south side of the city. I think this will be an invaluable resource for transwomen and it’s a resource I fully intend to make use of when the need arises and will inform transwomen I know about it at the first available chance.

My next stop was the Yes Scotland stall to go and show my support for my country’s independence. This visit provided by far the most ironic moment of the day, when I was asked by a young volunteer if I would like some information on the yes campaign. When I told him I had already made up my mind up as to how I would be voting he asked who for them or us? When I told the young man that I had spent half the day terrorising those at the Better Together and Scottish Labour stalls I think it would be safe to say I would be voting yes.

Now those of you who are regular readers of tartan tights will know that the fact I’m voting yes is not exactly a secret so as you can imagine this caused me to have a wee chuckle. Well it’s good to see that even my lot aren’t taking my vote for granted.

I stayed at the stall for a wee while and I think I may have changed a young girl’s vote from no to yes. Well when one of the team asked her how she thought she would vote she said she would probably vote no. When asked why she said ‘It’s to do with the money, can Scotland afford it?’

Armed with the ammunition of the official statistics my colleague explained to the girl that Scotland was a net contributor to the union putting more money in than we got back and this meant we could comfortably afford to be independent. As he spoke to her about GDP and the technical stuff which those of us in politics get bogged down in to a greater degree than ordinary voters I thought it was the right time to kill this unionist myth in more voter friendly language, informing her that our parliament receives only 16 percent of the tax we pay Westminster takes from us. This in anyone’s language is daylight robbery and we need to call a halt to it on the 18th September next year.

I also used another tactic which has worked so often for me in the past. I informed her that as someone who reached her 52nd birthday just a month ago I know that many countries have gained independence from Britain since I first came in to the world and many more did so in the 10 to 15 years before. So if we were so poor as better together would like to make out then why are so desperate to keep us? I mean if you have a partner whose not pulling their weight you leave that relationship and move on to something better.

This I think was the game changer for her as she said that she would need to look in to it more and there was now a serious possibility of her voting yes. Whilst she made no promises on it I think our chat probably gave her the confidence that better together try so hard to destroy. On concluding our chat I said that we in yes Scotland would work hard to earn her trust and would not take her vote for granted. We would never be so arrogant we prefer to leave that kind of behaviour to our opponents. It’s the reason I believe we’ll win on the day the votes are counted.

I believe that the job of yes Scotland is not just to gain our country independence but to encourage dialogue and discussion amongst our people about the kind of Scotland we want to live in post independence. I was greatly heartened to have a discussion with a young man who says that though he will vote yes he does not want independence to be the end of the road but rather the beginning of a new journey. Like me he believes that austerity cannot be allowed to continue and that we must seek to find a better way to address the social and economic problems we face.

At this I decided my work was done for a wee while at least and went on another wee wander round the stalls. Well I figured there must be some I hadn’t visited and I was right. However just as I was passing that no women’s land between Scottish Labour and Better Together I was greeted by another member of my chosen family the adorable Heather Currie. Heather and her daughter Shauna who was with her mum probably to keep her in check, have always been important to me and I know Heather has not had the easiest few months.

This was one of the most emotional moments of my day and showed that contrary to the opinions of some people I do actually have softer side. I just hope that Labour lot didn’t see it after all we can’t have me showing a gentle side in the sight of the enemy. I mean god knows what dirty tricks they might use to try and weaken my resolve. Joking apart, it was great to see two very special women who will always have an important role in my life and a permanent place in my heart.

As I regained my composure I made my way to the stall of Metropolitan Community Church where I got talking matters christian with a girl called Susan who is almost as gabby as I am. Yes it’s true the age of miracles isn’t dead and we chatted for a good while about the metropolitan church the important role it play in the lives of many LGBT christians. Susan told me she also attends the united reform church and that her church is pretty liberal on LGBT issues. I said that I find the same in the Church of Scotland and it’s good to see the churches moving forward to greater acceptance of the community.

After chatting to Susan I thought it was time to enjoy the entertainment and check out the talent. I have to say I never saw a lot of hot guys but the talent on stage more than made up for the lack of talent in the crowd.

It was that of the day when I was in the mood to party and the carnival atmosphere which is so unique to pride added to the occasion. Of the acts I managed to see I particularly enjoyed the sets by Heather Small who was absolutely brilliant and the always enjoyable Robert and May Millar. As for Scott Agnew well he was as mad as ever and that is always good news. To me however the star of the show was a local lass by the name of Rozelle. This girl has the complete package, she has the voice, the look, and the personality to really go places, I think she may be one worth watching.

As the afternoon drew to a close Joanna found me as she had promised she would and I spent some quality with her and her friends. Realising I had taken only one picture during the whole day I decided to get at least one with Joanna. Her friends snapped us twice and both pictures show someone happy to be seen with her trans mammy before going to mix, mingle, and enjoy the rest of the festival.

Talking of my maternal instincts they must be really easy to spot as not long after leaving Jo I was ‘adopted’ by another three young lesbians all of whom were chatty, lovable, and ever so slightly mad. Something tells me they’ll fit right in to my family of rainbow daughters. The biggest chatterbox from my latest brood is pink haired nutter Cherry. Her real name is Emma but everyone calls her Cherry because of her bright pink hair. Trust me this one is just like me, a gabby wee madam who doesn’t need happy pills. The other newbies to my ever growing family Stephanie and Gayle are i have to say very sweet natured and quiet girls or maybe they were just waiting to Cherry drew breath so they could get a word in. Well she’s just that kind of girl and you can’t help loving her because of it.
At Cherry’s insistence more photographs were taken and with Stephanie as photographer it was her chance and to a lesser extent Gayle’s to grab the limelight. This was something she wasted no time in doing and she was quite right in my opinion.

However all good things must come to an end and as Alasdair Smith came to the stage to thank everyone for a great day we had one giant conga round the green to celebrate a wonderful day and head to the various bars to continue the party into the night or if you were lucky and not as skint as I am the wee small hours of the morning. It was perhaps fitting that the last friend I saw before heading for the bar was my wee princess and superstar Anne Marie. I think that’s as it was, as it is and as it ever shall be. Well there may be room in my heart for a lot of people but there’s only one Anne Marie.

Eventually I left the green and made my way to the merchant city where the whole place was buzzing with those in the mood to make a night of it.

As for me, I ended up in a jam packed Katie’s Bar where a group of youngsters who had never met a transwoman before bombarded me with questions on what it is like to be trans? These ranged from the obvious when did you come out? to questions on bust size it was a girl that asked that one so it was ok, style icons and did I ever think I was gay. I think the boy who asked that question was shocked when I replied that being gay had never entered my head as even back in the day I knew I was trans I just had to keep it secret. Honestly I felt like a celebrity getting interviewed in one of those an audience with type programmes. I was more than happy to answer every question as honestly as I could and it was really refreshing that they were interested enough to ask.

At the end of an eventful day I made my way back to Baillieston with only one regret. I didn’t have enough money to stay in Katie’s bar especially since Michelle McManus was going to be appearing later on to treat the crowd to a few songs which I have no doubt would go down a treat. Well it’s Michelle what’s not to love?

As l arrived back in Baillieston the streets were quiet and peaceful far removed from the madness of the merchant city. Having had time to reflect on the events of a great day, I just want to say thanks to everyone I met along the way who were part of my rainbow on the green and helped make Glasgow 2013 my best pride so far.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X