Tag Archive | The Press And Media

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 

When It Comes To Independence Some People Are Really Obsessed.  

After seven weeks of campaigning it’s finally here election day 2017. Depending on who you are talking to this election has been about Brexit , A Fairer Britain , and Nicola Sturgeon’s Obsession With independence. It’s also been about the Environment, a Second European Union Referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence. 

Other topics for discussion have included the Dementia Tax Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘dealings’ I prefer to call them peace negotiations,  with the IRA, and Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence. Have you detected a theme yet ? I think I have and it’s this according to the unionist parties and their friends in the press Nicola Sturgeon has an obsession with independence. 

Reality however paints a slightly different picture. Far from Nicola Sturgeon having an obsession with independence it is in fact the unionists who are obsessed by the right of the Scotland to at any time determine our future god knows they’ve mentioned it often enough In every campaign leaflet in every party political broadcast and in every televised news bulletin the burning question at least according to the interviewer wasn’t Theresa May’s refusal to take part in debates or Jeremy Corbyn’s suitability for the job of Prime Minister , it was yes you’ve guessed it Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence

 This to me is nothing of short of propaganda of the type that Josef Goebbels would have proud to call his own. It was the same all through the recent council election campaign when unionists of all political hues pleaded for votes on the grounds it send a message to Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland didn’t want what they referred to as another divisive independence referendum even local councils have absolutely no power to stop such a referendum from ever taking place should the Scottish parliament decide to hold one. Still one mustn’t let the truth get in the way of the unionists plan to bring Scotland to heel. 

This constant drip feeding to the most gullible and misinformed section of the public is bound to have had an impact on how they were persuaded to vote. Fortunately I am too well educated to fall for this toxic nonsense but many other people particularly in the older demographic are not so lucky and will tend to take these comments as if they were handed to them on tablets of stone. You see some people really are obsessed with independence and guess what there not in the SNP 

Till next time. 

Gayle X

The Press Wee Ruth And The Tory Truth And Deliberate Miscalculations (My Thoughts On The Scottish Local Elections)

This post is my personal take on the Scottish local elections  and now  that the dust is at last beginning to settle on them it is I think time to give my slant on the results  and explain why despite the fawning schophancy of a very compliant press and media deluding Ruth Davidson in to believing she had won these elections the results may not be as good as she thinks for herself or her party.

 I make this point because Tory expectations have been raised to what I think are unrealistic levels and this came through loud and clear as I followed the results on Twitter all through Friday from  morning till late afternoon. 

As a political campaigner it is fair to say that my twitter feed was buzzing during this period  as bit by bit we or at least of us who are actually interested discovered the composition of Scotland’s councils. There was I am sure some mixed feelings for activists of all hues as the picture from the results became clearer. Well as party members (whatever our party of choice) we will have friends standing for our parties and whisper it maybe even for some of our opponents. 

Yes it’s true,  elections are emotional times for all in party colours.   I make this point because those who are not involved in politics seem very quick to forget this and often tar everyone involved with the sane  heartless brush by commenting that they are all in it for themselves. This is not only untrue it is very unfair and if people knew how many hours potential candidates put in, in the run up to any election often after working in a full time or part time job they would be less inclined to parrot this nonsense.

As a member of the SNP it is fair to say that I had friends standing for election on Thursday many of whom were elected and some of whom were not and it broke my heart that due to injury I was unable to help out with the final push in the last week of the campaign or do my duty at a polling place on the day itself. Trust me with a badly sprained ankle it was hard enough to get to the polling station to cast my vote let alone do my usual shift for the party so being at home for most of the day meant I was unable to guage how the wards were going and catch up with the chat that is a feature of these occasions. 

As the first results came in it was evident that the SNP had  done well and held our ground in terms of vote share from the last council elections in 2012 though the electoral geography of our vote had shifted westward with gains in the Labour heartlands of Lanarkshire Renfrewshire and Glasgow and modest losses to the Conservatives  in what some would call the more traditional party strongholds in the north east of Scotland such as Angus where along with Dundee the party lost its overall majority’s  Perthshire, and Aberdeenshire. 

 To be fair these results weren’t entirely unexpected  especially since the Tories have been given a free ride by a unionist press desperate to dent the fortunes of the SNP in any way they can. It must really upset the powers that be that most of the conservative gains at least in terms of voters came not from the SNP but their fellow unionists in the Labour Party as those of a unionist mindset played musical chairs with the council seats in towns and cities from the Highlands to the Borders  Yet despite the large number of  conservative gains and downright lies on certain television channels that Tories had won Scotland  it was the SNP who energed victorious from these elections and winning 431 seats to the Conservatives 276. This means that the SNP 155 more councillors than the Conservatives. 

This is by any stretch of the imagination a significant victory for the party as when you compare like for  like elections this represents a five fold increase in the SNP majority over the second placed party from 2012 when they had only a 31 seat majority over The Labour Party. So this is not quite the fairytale comeback the Conservatives would have you believe. That however will not stop the press and media both in Scotland and in the UK from trying to peddle this non story as the greatest comeback since Lazarus. Make no mistake there are agenda’s play here as a  predominantly right wing establishment tries to rebrand Britishness to Scotland after what it sees as our disastrous flirtation with independence. They badly need the voters to believe the  story that the Tories are as popular in Scotland as they are in England and Wales. The results however give a slightly different narrative, and whilst it is true to say that they did make gains including some  in places one would never have thought of it is I think important to stress one key  fact which may have come in to play which may not be so beneficial to them in a General Election 

Younger Voters Often Ignore Local Elections But Older People Always  Vote 

A simple statement but nonetheless a true one, many younger voters don’t vote in local elections. This may be due to a combination of reasons including the following 

  1. Younger voters have busy lives and some of them may be busy with important college or university exams. 
  2. Many younger voters will have a heavy workload and will be trying to climb the career ladder  or out searching for employment 
  3. local government elections are seen as less relevant than national elections 
  4. you can’t get as excited over bin collections as you would over independence,  Fracking, or The NHS. 
  5. Some younger voters may feel disenfranchised and feel that no party speaks for them 

Any or all of these reasons can be applied to an individual’s circumstances as to why as a younger person may not have  voted on Thursday and there may be  half a million others I haven’t began to contemplate but whereas our younger voters may not have went to the polling booths our older voters  did and they did so in great numbers. Since the majority of older voters are pro union, this when combined with the voting system used at this election disproportionately assisted The Conservative Party and indeed to a significant extent The Labour Party which I believe it saved from electoral oblivion. This I think can only benefit the SNP at the forthcoming general election as I believe it will have shaken many of the SNP voters out of any complacency which may have been creeping in after 10 years as the dominant party in Scotland.  

There is no doubt that in my opinion even as an SNP member our party needed to be challenged to prevent it becoming stale. However few if any of us would have expected that the challenge to come from the right  especially  the hard right Conservative Party.  The fact that this council election saw the return of working class conservatism and saw Conservative councillors elected in Shettleston , and The Calton should be a worry. for all of us on the socially Liberal left and that this at least to some extent was due to the hard-line orange vote should be of significant concern to those voters on both sides of the constitutional debate who value the kind of inclusive society the Conservative  Party stand opposed to.

It  is my opinion that  those involved in politics  can  clearly see, that the incendiary language the unionist parties and in particular the Conservatives have been using to describe the prospect of a second  independence referendum has been framed to target this demographic  by a party  who due to their toxic stand on the independence issue need all the unionist votes they can get 

Whilst it’s true to say the SNP will be disappointed not to have gained overall control of the city the fact they have become the largest party in the city chambers cannot overlooked and is in itself a magnificent achievement of which the party can be justifiably proud. This result and many others throughout Scotland is I believe all the greater when one considers the toxic campaigns of both the Labour and Conservative parties who refused point blank to conduct debate  which actually mentioned local issues.  Instead both main Westminster parties showed what in my opinion amounts to  a hysterical obsession with independence. 

  Now whilst the almost constant reinforcement of this message through the press and media may have benefited the Conservatives to some extent it worked against Labour in pretty spectacular style and succeeded only in diminishing both their influence and profile in many of their staunchest heartlands. With a snap general election called for June I would suggest that this tactic has backfired in the sense that a Labour Party who are sitting in second place in most of the constituencies held by the SNP have now been upstaged by the Conservatives who despite both their  Scottish and UK leaders boasts are nowhere near to winning the majority of votes or seats in Scotland and Ruth Davidson and Theresa May  might be about to find out that they are nowhere near as popular as the press has led them to believe.Indeed the Conservative party are only the majority party in four council areas in the whole of Scotland whereas the SNP occupy that position in 16 councils and tied for control in another three, now pardon me for shining a light on the Tory spin machine but I think 16 is more than 4 just as I think 431 is more than 276.My reason for that is simple, when I went to school I actually learned to count. I also learned how to distinguish  fantasy from reality.  I don’t think the Scottish Conservatives can say the same. 

Yes it’s true to say they made the greatest number of gains but we start allow their supporters to eulogise on the virtues of Saint Ruth I should point out two important facts that the media are ignoring. I have already mentioned one of them but both need to be put out there so the public know the truth of this so-called Tory revival

These Are The Facts The Media Ignored 

 (1) The vast majority  of the Conservative vote increased were gained at the expense of The Labour Party whose more hard-line unionist voters voted to endorse Ruth Davidson’s message to send a message to the SNP that they didn’t want a second independence referendum.  This is despite the fact that local council authorities are powerless to stop such a referendum taking place 

(2) The Conservatives were starting from such a low start base having only polled 13%  in 2012 they could have a made as few as 50 gains and still promoted it as a revival. Indeed if we are honest about it all parties can find something to smile about and  some causes for concern as they analyse the numbers from the vote.

As for me, I have already said that this was an emotional election and that was due to the fact I knew so many good candidates who were primarily though  not exclusively  from the SNP.  Due to the results particularly in  Glasgow, I now have a number of friends who have been elected to serve their local communities and yes there were tears both of joy and sorrow as the results were declared. 

The Joy came for Christina Cannon and Graham Campbell in Springburn/Robroyston, Stephen Dornan in Govan, David McDonald in Pollok, Greg Hepburn, and Jennifer Layden in Calton, Laura Doherty and Michelle Ferns in Shettleston where the SNP got more councillors than The Conservatives despite what the  media would have you believe, and Elaine Ballantyne in my local ward of Baillieston. There were also personal  reasons to cheerful outside Glasgow with great results for Katy Loudoun in Cambuslang  East, and Lorraine Cameron in Paisley South West.

There were however even on a good night, some disappointments for me and my party. In my local ward  we lost a fantastic and hard working  councillor in David Turner who had served his community well since first being elected at a by-election in 2008. There were also  tears of sadness for two excellent first time candidates, Alex Kerr who lost out in Shettleston, and Linda Pike who suffered a similar fate in the  Calton. As members of my branch I know that both  Alex and Linda would have been hard working and committed councillors who would have made a real impact in their communities  but on this occasion at least it wasn’t to be. However I am sure both of them will continue to be great assets to the SNP in general and in the East End of Glasgow in particular.

Those defeats aside these elections were good for the SNP especially when you consider they are now a third term  government in the Scottish Parliament so I think claims by unionist politicians and their supporters that we have reached peak SNP are at best propaganda  and at worst competely deluded. Had this been true  I think the SNP would almost certainly have incurred at least the same scale of losses as the Labour Party and probably much worse. After all, we are told every day how bad they by a fanatical pro UK press how bad they are.  

There is however only one problem with this narrative and that is that at least 45% are becoming  incessantly bored by what  they see as unionist whining in which they paint a very bleak future of Scotland under the SNP  but offer precisely nothing in the way of alternative solutions and that is where the would be empress Ruth is found not to be wearing any new clothes but the second hand  rags of  the most hated UK Prime Minister in the history of the union.

The name of that Prime Minister in case Ruth needs reminding was Margaret  Hilda Thatcher. Now Ruth may like to delude herself that the Tories have moved on from those days but she is fooling only herself. You see no matter how badly the opinion formers try to shape our thoughts through the press ,wee Ruth and the Tory truth and deliberate  miscalculations . The statistics of these elections show the Conservatives whilst  doing well when compared with 2012 have at best improved only marginally since  last year’s Scottish Election and may not be as loved by the voters of Scotland as they are by the chattering classes in the unionist press and media. 
Till next time

Gayle  X

Democracy Matters 

On day 20 of NaPoWriMo I tacke the media made myth that Scotland’s voters and getting tired of voting and may be have a bit of voter fatigue. This is exactly how Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale  want you to feel , it represents by far their best chance of even limited electoral success as they know that a politically motivated Scotland is not in their intersts These people who are no  more than branch office managers for their respective Westminster parties are really keen for Scotland to be quiet and go back to sleep so they can do what they like and no-one will notice or even care. It is therefore fair to say that apathy is one of the most important weapons they happen to have in their quest to keep Scotland subordinate and that’s why I’ve tilted this poem Democracy Matters. I hope you enjoy the read. 
Democracy Matters. 

The drip feeding has started on TV and in the press

as the establishment suggest 

the voters of Scotland are fed up with voting 

 you’ve  got to be  joking 

I never tire of defending my hard won rights and liberties 

I’ll campaign hard but I’ll do it with dignity 

you see I’ve been involved in too many fights 

for too many causes 

to ever even think of giving up on democracy 

so when I hear people say 

I don’t do politics 

I say a prayer for the apathetic 

and hope they remember their words 

when someone they don’t like gets elected 

and their rights are infringed 

I’ve had enough of this cringing 

it really is time for them to stop their whinging 

or shut up and never raise their voice in anger  again 

as for who wins the race to number 10 

God forbid  the Tories will be re-elected 

though I think they will 

I like some Labour policies 

but voting for them would be 

 too bitter a pill to swallow

their still toxic to me 

I voted yes to independence 

and will do so again 

I’m scunnered with Westminster

and their heartless austerity policies

I want to live in a country where democracy  matters 
where our rights and liberties are respected 

and no-one needs to live in fear 

because of who they are 

or what  they are perceived to be 

stereotypes don’t do it for me 

my politics will  never be 

 about giving people different coloured triangles 

this is not 1933 

I wouldn’t be here if it  was

a trans woman with physical impairments 

who supports the Trade Union movement 

I’d have been a cert for the final solution 

my only saving grace would have been

having so many labels 

the Nazi’s wouldn’t have known 

where to place me or what box to tick  

though no doubt they would have got me on something 

trust me I’m not bluffing 

this country is facing a very stark choice 

if we don’t use our vote 

The Tories will claim we’ve made our choice 

more families will be forced in to poverty 

more disabled people will die 

but the top one percent will thrive 

and the media will spin it

 that we’re doing well 

they’ll talk of prosperity and dig out a few selective examples 

as proof of their point 

giving no further thought to consequences of their actions 

or the trail of devastation they leave in their wake 

to be apathetic to this heartless government 

is a risk I’m not willing to take 

If you say we’re voting too often 

that’s your call 

but if you fall for this trap 

 don’t say you weren’t warned 

when your nightmares become reality 

and  one by one your rights die 

at the dawn of a true blue Tory kingdom 

united in your name

 by your apathy and your ignorance 

© Gayle  Smith 2017 

The Verdict

Hey Readers

In this poem entitled The Verdict i aim my sights firmly in the direction of the UK Parliament and ask why our political leaders talk a lot of hot air and put profit before people whilst doing as a little as they think they can get away with on climate change. It is my opinion that lack of action will not be viewed favourably when these politicians meet their makar it is for this reason I’ve given it the title The Verdict I hope you enjoy the read 

 The Verdict 

It seems to me that British politicians

talk a lot of hot air

when it comes to making changes

trying to avoid them just in case

they might not work

we they claim, are by nature risk averse

preferring safety first

or better the devil you know

personally I think this is madness

you can’t keep doing the same thing

and expecting different results

that is not how the world works

but this is something Britain fails to understand

an isolated island we are told

we are a happy land

and those who want change

are viewed with distrust

or even suspicion

blamed for causing divisions

which in reality have always existed

no matter what Westminster thinks

you can’t paper over cracks

by wrapping everything in union flags

yet they seem to believe

that singing a chorus of Rule Britannia

will make everything better

there will be no surrender to the truth

facts will be dismissed

as lies which get in the way of a good story

the British establishment live in a bubble

unable to comprehend

the importance of taking care of the land

or that the world has evolved over time

and may not want the benefit of our advice

which will always come at a price

when it’s wrapped in corporate pin stripes

by the city of London

as gamblers disguised as traders

get away with whatever they like

it’s the way they play the game

meanwhile the ragged trousered philanthropists

live in poverty in areas where dreams died long ago

I thought they would have known by now

this is the inevitable result

of trusting Tories with democracy

it is they and their wealthy friends

who want to frack the land for profit

extract shale gas from under the ground

without a thought for the long term damage

this could do our environment

not to mention the impact

on our tourist industry

food crops or drinking water

whilst gullible sheep are led to the pen of self interest

and deliberately misformed by the press and media

to ignore these trendy liberal leftie causes

as many gladly will

preferring tabloid horror stories

which are exaggerated for effect

by journalists who know

there is always someone to blame

and that rule applies

whatever the problem may be

the UK leaders need to be made to see

what Scots Sudanese , Senegalese, and Swedes already know

this is not the time for showboating and grandstanding

we need to develop an understanding of our habitat

and stop referring to those who value nature

as tree huggers

those who put profit before people

are no better than muggers

stealing priceless gifts of nature  which do not  belong to them

if you think that sounds like

I’m singing a song of sustainability

then that would be correct

I value my world I treat it with respect

this plundering of the planet

cannot be allowed to continue unchecked

we need to learn where things are at

and see that next summit we attend

debating the problems facing the earth

we have to open our eyes and see the solution

if this takes a revolution in our thinking then so be it

we can’t just wish these issues away

global warning does  exist

we must open our eyes and actually listen

believe it or not the world does not revolve round the united kingdom

far less the stockbroker belt in the home counties of England

we have bigger issues to consider

than playing petty political games

where short term goals

are all that can be scored

a problem ignored is a problem doubled

if we don’t sort it out

we’re heading for trouble

we need to focus on cleaner greener energy

cutting down on waste

not acting in haste now

and regretting decisions at a later date

for the sake of humanity the future can’t wait

we need to act locally, nationally, and globally

or slowly like desertification

tomorrow will speak of our shame

when that happens the judge of the earth

will deliver a verdict on our environmental vandalism

and the scandal is that

on the charge of death by hot air

we will be found guilty of murder by apathy

@ Gayle Smith 2017

Prescription For Happiness (A Poem In Memory Of George Michael ) 

Hey Readers 

It was with sadness that on Christmas Day I learned of the passing of George Michael who died peacefully at his home aged 53. In a year which has seen the music world robbed of the talents of David Bowie, Lemmy from Motorhead, Prince , Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt  and the genius that was  Leonard Cohen, George Michael’s death was for me at least the hardest of all to take in. 

You see talented as the others undoubtedly were I never fancied any of them. I did however have the hots for George Michael since his band Wham first appeared on Top Of The Tops in 1982 and I and millions of others loved the fact that he had that winning combination of good looks and genuine talent. 

George Michael, was an artist in the true sense of the word. Not only was he a brilliant live performer he was also a gifted songwriter and one of the few musicians from the world of popular music to win the coveted Ivor Novello award. His death has left me saddened, shocked, and acutely aware of my own mortality since he was two years younger than me. After taking time to collect my thoughts I have written my personal tribute to the man and his legacy and given it the title Prescription For Happiness I hope you enjoy the read.

Prescription For Happiness. 

I loved his songs I sang along 

as I danced to  young guns, bad boys, and club tropicana 

the feel good music a prescription for happiness 

in the days when Thatcher’s reign 

left a nation polarised and fragmented 

split between those who had and others who hadn’t 

on the covers of magazines

he  gladdened the hearts of the young 

of which I was one 

and in the days when my gender identity 

had to be kept secret 

he gave me dreams 

as a young trans woman 

from the scheme on the edge of nowhere 

he took me to the edge of heaven 

of course I fancied him 

like millions of others 

including Princess Diana 

at a time when ambition was privatised 

I can’t deny the gorgeous one gave me hope 

wake me up an anthem for a generation of girls 

who wanted him as part of our world 

and yes I did have lustful thoughts 

how could I not 

when I checked out that body on top of the pops

it sent my heart soaring 

there was no ignoring the reality 

he awakened feelings 

I never knew existed 

younger friends kissed his picture 

but for me it was slightly different

he had filled the void which lay empty 

since the Osmond’s and the Rollers 

were the secret poster boys 

in my Jackie reading years 

when he came out tabloids labelled him queer 

preferring to focus on his sexuality

rather than the music he made

the venues he sold out 

and the principles he made sure he  kept 

it was Erasure who sang a little respect 

but he deserved much more than that 

now as he begins his eternal sleep 

I sit in my flat and reflecting on an award winning musician

and a life cut shorter than mine 

though he had so much more to give than I 

the stars know the truth genius never dies

his music provided a backdrop for the lives of those 

who listened without prejudice 

 had the faith to let his words speak to our hearts 

whilst remembering careless whispers

would be used to wrap our chips 

@ Gayle Smith 2016 

Till Santa Delivers Equality I Would Sooner Wear Pink Than Be Pitied. 

Hey Readers

On day 3 of Blogmas, I take a step back in time to move on to a better future. I promise it will make sense when you read it, so with that in mind let’s journey back a Sunday in mid October and the final day of this year’s SNP conference 

Featured Picture Me (Gayle) and Bemis spokesman, and fellow Celtic Connections regular  Danny Boyle at the SNP Equalities Conference October 2016. 

Picture (1) The Picture Shows The Headline So I Can Tell The Story

image

A couple of months ago on a calm autumn Sunday I attended, the SNP equalities conference. It was a very enjoyable day where I listened to a variety of speeches from a number of contributors both from within the party and from spokespeople representing a range of campaign groups who are united in their aim in fighting for a fairer more inclusive Scotland so why you may ask did I wait till now before talking about it.

Well there is a simple and honest explanation namely that this was a day when I learned not only about campaigns and causes it was a day I learned about myself and what I learned and will reveal on this international day of disabled people will shock and even anger some people but as someone who is both a disabled person and a transsexual woman I have no hesitation in saying that given the choice to identify as disabled or trans I would choose trans and I would do it every single time.

Now before some disabled people completely lose the plot let me say that having to make choices of identifying with one part of me over another part of me is something I should never have to do. As someone who worked as a disability equality trainer I recognise the value of a united equality movement working together to achieve a better society for our people.By this I mean a society that values everyone whether it be Women, People From Black And Minority Ethnic Communities, Disabled people, Trans people and values them equally

This however is I regret to say not the case at the moment and on this particular day the disabled members forum was meeting at the same time as the LGBT members forum and superwoman though I try to be even I can’t be in two places at once. So on the grounds everyone who was at the disabled people’s conference was a disabled person but that trans people and especially trans woman are underrepresented in politics I thought it was important that my voice was heard at the LGBT conference which was excellently hosted by Kirsty McAlpine and the Right Honourable Stewart MacDonald MP see picture below.

Picture 2 Stewart MacDonald MP gives his opening address to SNP LGBT members conference with Kirsty McAlpine looking on

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Taken in isolation one might think I am saying to declare as trans rather than disabled was a spur of the moment decision relevant only on the day of the conference but believe me this is not the case. So why do I think that my trans identity for all the difficulties trans people face is more positive than identifying as disabled person? Well I’ll tell you why it all comes down to preconceived assumptions which in turn lead to stereotypes which have an impact on wider society. In other words, it really is in the words of Robert Burns about seeing ourselves as others see us.

You see as a trans woman though I may experience some transphobic abuse as I go about my daily business I believe I still have a far better quality of life than I would if I identified only as a disabled person. Now I realise this isn’t fair and for some people it will make very uncomfortable reading but facts are facts and can’t be changed just because some people don’t like them. You see the truth of the matter is that disabled people are unfairly viewed as a burden on society.

This view has always been a popular myth within society but it to has to be said that aided and abetted by the right wing Conservative press it has increased dramatically since the climate of austerity become the accepted norm in UK politics after the 2010 General Election. The idea that that somehow disabled people are on the make and are making false claims on the benefit system has to a large extent gone unchallenged by the UK political mainstream as with help from their friends in a compliant media they have established this discourse as part of a national narrative which seeks to demonise anyone who is viewed as in any way different.

Be under no illusion it is fair to say that trans people are to a significant extent also viewed as other. In spite of this and the fact that we do experience a degree of hostility from some of our less enlightened members of society I honestly believe that disabled people get far worse treatment than the trans community in early 21st Century Britain.

It seems there is hardly a day goes by without politically motivated story appearing in the less erudite sections of the tabloid press labelling disabled people as lazy, workshy, benefit cheating, scroungers who aren’t really disabled but who are in it to milk the system.

This is hysteria, pure and simple and yet the British government have the nerve to wonder why more disabled people than ever before are being targeted by hate squads and many are choosing to end their own lives rather than take this daily torrent of abuse from those who are too narrow minded to see they are being played by a Westminster elite who would sooner spend billions on weapons of mass destruction than creating the conditions for genuine equality.

So why are disabled people the new acceptable scapegoats which allows them to be treated in ways which if it were a BME citizen we would be screaming racism or a woman we’d be shouting misogyny. Personally I believe it’s all about perception and disabled people are still perceived by some people as being less able than they are even when the facts don’t support this line of thinking. Many less intellectually able members of our society believe that disabled people are weak, and possibly even stupid and they believe this line of argument without anything to back it up except for the pre historic opinion that physical strength equals intelligence. Surely if this was the case then I as the first disabled person in my family would not have been the first university graduate but I was. 

It does however have to be said that in spite of many examples which disprove this outdated theory  it is a popular myth which has been around for hundreds of years and has been  carefully socially and culturally constructed over time to find a place in the national pysche. This attitude annoying though it is will not evaporate overnight and even now we are seeing disabled people being pitied and patronised rather than treated as equal citizens and it with this last comment you can begin to see why I would sooner identify as trans than as a disabled person.

Speaking from the heart and as a trans woman, (trans men can speak for themselves ) I will explain why I take what some would see as a challenging stance on this issue. For me my justification for this viewpoint is that it really is all about equality. You see as a trans woman I am never even on my most difficult days told what clothes I can wear, where I can travel or socialise or what time  I can get up or go to bed. Yet the basic right to make these and other choices are denied to disabled people. This to me is obscene and though being trans is not without it’s problems as I know only too well I say again what I’ve said throughout this post which is until Santa delivers real equality for all I would sooner wear pink than be pitied or to put it in even more brutal terms I would sooner declare as a trans woman than I would  as a disabled person

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X