Tag Archive | USA

No Way To Treat A Legend 

On looking through some old poems tonight I came across an unfinished effort I had started to write  on American Olympic legend Jesse Owens. It had some notes scribbled beside it which were key words and phrases I had taken down with the intention of adding them to the poem which was to be written on his achievements in Berlin and the subsequent mistreatment of one of America’s all time sporting greats. I noted that the inspiration for this poem was the anger I felt on watching a documentary on his life and times which was shown in the early noughties. On finding this poem and the notes I had taken to complete it  I set about finishing it and have given it the title No Way To Treat A Legend. I hope you enjoy what I think will be a challenging and thought provoking read.  
No Way To Treat A Legend 
Dateline 1936: Berlin. Olympic Games 

an athlete shattered Nazi dreams and ran his way to fame 

winning four gold medals he proved he was king of the track 

but Hitler wouldn’t shake his hand as Jesse Owens was black 

the champion was American from from the land of Uncle Sam 

and he’d met Hitler’s type before they called themselves The Klan 

those good ole boys who used the lord to justify their bigotry

no matter what they put him through he won with style and dignity 

by winning his Olympic crowns he captured people’s hearts 

he gave them dreams to cling to at a time when days were dark 

for unemployment plagued the land at a time of great depression 

but Jesse Owens had now become a global sporting legend 

This should have been a guarantee of national hero status 

for the man who mocked the master race and left them devastated

but Jesse’s dreams would be destroyed because he dared to say

athletics was a serious game and.he should earn some pay. 
Now this to those who ran the sport was regarded as a crime 

they banned him from all track and field until the end of time 

because he wouldn’t toe the line and wasn’t afraid to speak. 

in just four months he’d been reduced from a hero to a freak 

On boxing day of that same year his fall from grace completed 

he faced humiliation in the way that he was treated 

forced to race against a horse to see who would come out on top

a great Olympic champion had now been cruelly mocked 

he never gained another chance to show his record pace 

although he smashed the fantasy of the fascist master race 

but in his nation’s darkest hour he was given great acclaim

he should have been rewarded and enjoyed the fruits of fame. 

but this alas was not to be as Jesse’s dreams were crushed 

by those who held the reins of power who trampled him to dust 

though his place in history is assured by his victories in Berlin 

nobody knows his tormentors names but the world remembers him 

the suits who brought about his fall poured shame upon their country 

they revealed the truth they couldn’t hide their hate filled hearts were ugly 

when Jesse brought the glory home a brilliant future beckoned

until they destroyed a hero’s dream 

that’s no way to treat a legend. 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 

Inaurguration 

On the day Donald J Trump becomes the 45th President of The United States Of America I post my thoughts on his inaurguration and what it may mean for my American friends. I’ve given it the title Inurgaration I hope you enjoy the read.
Inurgaration

As I watched the inauguration of President Trump

my thoughts were with my American friends

poets like Carly a former Scottish slam champion

who says what she sees

expresses her concerns for humanity

with words of empathy and compassion

I remember she told of her embarrassment at the fact

that though she loved Texas

she couldn’t take it to parties anymore

and Katie who wrote a letter to her future daughter

which will let her know how valued and cherished she will be

by a mother whose poetry and love for life

will empower her beyond anything

she could have imagined

these women weave words

in patterns Uncle Sam can be proud to have shaped

These are the voices which can make America great

the founding mothers and fathers

know this to be true

they had a global view of the world

because they knew their children came from other lands

to blend together in melting pot that is the USA

It is this land that has given me

the gift of strong women

poets who have something to say

about the human condition

which makes us who we are

the land of the star spangled banner

has bequeathed me a personal legacy

in which Brittany played her part

as I enjoyed her words and sentiments behind them

when it comes to friends

I won’t get better than Arielle

who holds me in her heart

viewing me as her aunt across the Atlantic

now I am frantic with worry

about what this may mean for them

their families and communities

for the American dream and equality

for democracy and human rights

Trump supporters will say

this is the day that America starts to fight back

but to those of us watching in Scotland and elsewhere

this imperialist agenda smacks of despair

and a country which had given us

the reasoned voices of Lincoln , Roosevelt, Parks, Kennedy, and King

was singing a chorus of desperation

a once proud nation reduced to this

empty words replacing visions

ambitions limited only to those who can afford them

the rest of the people will be ignored

discarded in the void

the old and unemployed left to rot

Women treated as second class citizens

as for immigrants the land which was built by them

will be a very difficult place

for those starting out on that road

in a land of opportunity , freedom, and choice

the only voices respected

will be those of the wealthy

whose influence will increase

at the expense of the poor

meanwhile the giants carved on Mount Rushmore

look down on a deeply divided country

in which things could turn ugly

as I watched the transfer of power

I prayed for the poets, the thinkers, the liberals

at this critical time in their history

In the knowledge that the next four years.

will be testing times

and the land of the free

will have to be

the home of the brave

@ Gayle Smith 2017

Marching Backwards

Hey Readers

It is my considered opinion that there is something very wrong with politics in democratic nations. With regards to the UK, there has been a disturbing rise in the number of racially motivated attacks in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and there have also been a significant increase in transphobic and disability related hate crimes.

Whilst not everyone who voted to leave the European Union is a racist and many decent and honourable socialists voted to leave for a completely different set of reasons but there can be no denying that post Brexit Britain has unleashed a very unhealthy strain of right wing British Nationalism which if unchecked could see Britain more divided than at any time since the 1930’s.

As a supporter of Scottish independence some people might say this should please me but those who make such wild assumptions do not know me and will never know me. I may be a member
of the Scottish National Party but I was raised an internationalist and I will hopefully many years from now die an internationalist. So believe me when I say I take no pleasure in watching this horror story unravel and the recent victory of Donald Trump will I fear drive this right wing agenda still further. It is with this division and politics of fear clear in my mind I have written this poem entitled Marching Backwards I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Marching Backwards

Good morning Britain

I am now going give you a wake up call

ignore it and one day you will be

welcome to the UKKK

an insular xenophobic
small minded island

led by a right wing authoritarian regime

where a very privileged few
will fan the flames of fear

Who needs the facts when you have cheerleaders

like the BBC and 90 per cent of broadcast media.

If we try to find the truth they’ll ban the internet especially Wikipedia

they may deprive us of our human rights

but they’ll do it under the guise

of keeping us safe at nights

whilst numbing our minds

by remote control

EastEnders and Coronation Street

are light family viewing

not manna for the soul

but this is their strategy

they want you to talk about some fictional characters

having problems with their sexuality

this will prove how liberal you are

to friends and neighbours in your street

and your drinking companions at the bar

providing nobody like that lives next door to you

that would to be too much to handle

in this new fantasy land

where the only scandal is getting caught with your morals down

It just isn’t right and all those Muslims and other foreigners

frighten granny’s in Gloucester,

though she won’t say that when visiting her Syrian doctor

or her Bosnian care worker

In this land of strivers and shirkers

her Polish bank manager is always so nice and eager to help

but in this gray unpleasant land

she and her fellow Brits tell anyone willing to listen

this is their United Kingdom

so everyone else has to look , think , speak like them

they see 10 Downing Street
as the epicentre of civilisation

believing that Jesus once walked in their nation

claiming foreign fields as forever English

forgetting or dismissing that Scotland Wales and at least a small part of Ireland

are still for the moment form part of the United Kingdom

they talk about only when it suits

meanwhile as union flags, flutes and Nazi salutes

are dismissed as harmless fun

tabloid Tories like The Sun, The Mail, and Daily Express

make me proud I voted yes in the independence referendum

and if they think I’ll by led like sheep to Armageddon

they must be living in an alternative reality

televised trivialities will not stop me

 pursuing my vision of a better world

where inclusion and attainment are not dirty words

and aspiration is viewed as normal

not dependent on a formal by which I mean private education

we must remove walls not build them

to keep others out

this isn’t what progress is about

nor is it about labelling, demonising, or stereotyping

to provide the few with silver linings

at the expense of everyone else

this mind thyself attitude

which puts Britain first

is the refuge of the cursed

the curse which if ignored

could see the wolf enter through the back door

and wreck havoc if unchecked

this is supposed to be
a nation of fairness and respect

where all lives matter

but the shaven heads who hold their flags

and chant Rule Britannia

don’t agree

these poster boys for the BNP
Britain First

and others on that side of the political spectrum

are the kind of Brits who don’t contest elections

this type of subject has no time

for anything as complex as choice

only wanting one nation one voice, one race

the world will be a safer place
they claim

point the finger of what they see as shame

at any group they don’t like

disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender

people of different ethnicities

these people are not truly British

according to their way of thinking

as the sinking ship austerity

brings their ideas into the mainstream

if this poem doesn’t make uncomfortable reading

we have not learned the lessons of history

and will be condemned to repeat its mistakes

by marching backwards to the right.

@ Gayle Smith 2016.

In The Place Where We Partied We Honoured The Dead And Glasgow Chose Pride Over Prejudice

Hey Readers

I write this post in sadness, shock, and anger. I am struggling to find the words to express how I feel.

On Sunday night I was relaxing after an enjoyable and active weekend much of which was spent updating my wardrobe with some new summer outfits when after having some down time I switched on my phone to check my Facebook and Twitter to check what was happening in the world and was greeted by the news of  yet another massacre in the United States this time in  Orlando.  This massacre was so horrific it stunned me in to silence. Now as any of my friends will tell you this is not easy to do bit but such was the devastation caused by this attack it achieved the almost impossible.

You see there are some things for which there are no words and this was definitely one of those occasions. On Saturday night in the sunshine state of Florida clubbers gathered to celebrate the beginning of the pride season. Unfortunately for the regulars in one the city’s gay bars who were enjoying what we in Glasgow would call a night at the dancing their night and in many cases their lives were cut cruelly short as a laughing gunman burst in to the Pulse nightclub and started an indiscriminate shooting spree in which he killed 50 people and injured a further 53 in the eyes of this gunman the people he shot had committed a crime that crime was being gay.

This by any stretch of the imagination is a truly sickening act the depravity of which is beyond all human comprehension. On a personal level it also strikes very close to home. You see, as a transsexual woman I have close ties to the Glasgow LGBT community. It was in the likes of Polo, Delmonicas locally known as Del’s, and the ill fated LGBT centres in both Dixon Street and Bell Street that I first felt confident enough to be myself and I discovered that to paraphrase the words of Katie Perry there was
nothing wrong with  kissing boys and liking it despite what my puritanical presbyterian instincts might have been attempting tell to me.  It is because I was made to feel welcomed and included in this diverse community that I now live happily as the woman I always knew myself to be and am an active campaigner for the right to equal love. To me this is not just an equal right it’s a human right and it is a right which no one should have the right to take away.

Thankfully however, I live in Scotland where those with these kind of extremist views are largely ignored or ridiculed. Unfortunately or indeed tragically this is not the case in the so-called land of the free where the right to own a gun is deemed to be more important than a National Health Service or the right to express your sexual orientation or gender identity in public. No doubt some people will say that for every Orlando there a dozen New York’s or San Francisco’s where the social and political climates are of a more liberal view. I counter this by saying that for every New York or San Francisco there are a dozen Alabama’s and North Carolina’s where regressive anti LGBT laws have recently been passed and this has resulted in a dramatic rise in LGBT related hate crimes of which Orlando is the most shocking example.

It does however have to be said that these kind of barbaric acts do not happen in isolation, they happen because the political establishment either cannot or will not challenge the prejudices that lead to them. Without this institutionalised  challenge the attitudes which led to the Orlando Massacre will  continue and maybe even flourish. This cannot and must not be allowed to continue if America wants to call itself a civilised society.

When I was a teenager growing up in the Scotland of the 1970’s I often felt constrained by my country’s socially and culturally conservative values and wished that I lived in the United States which was held up as a beacon of glamour and this wonderful land where everyone’s dreams could come true. Now as I read of these unspeakable atrocities I am glad my teenage dreams didn’t come true

Now 40 years later in my mid fifties rather than my mid teens I realise that this was all an illusion and that in many ways Scotland is a better place to live than the USA ever was or ever will be for trans woman like myself. Yes it’s true to say we have our problems but last night as I watched Glasgow stand with Orlando and see the rainbow flag fly over our city chambers I was proud to call my city home.

As a trans woman myself I know the importance of fighting for my rights, and those of others. It was great to see so many of my fellow Glaswegians standing in solidarity with the LGBT citizens of Florida.

As for the night itself, it was both emotional and dignified as we paid our respects to the fallen.

The Youth Of Glasgow Stand With Orlando.

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The Youth of Glasgow Stand With Orlando

This is a picture of Carl who told me that he identifies as Queer and since his move to Glasgow he has learned that many locals pronounce his name as Carol. This however doesn’t seem to bother this likable gender non binary individual who won’t accept any kind of labels which others may use to make him fit in their boxes. I say good on you Carl/Carol.

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The Rainbow Flag flies over the City Chambers

The Banner spells the one word we as LGBT Glaswegians want for our city and for our rainbow family in every nation on earth.
Peace.

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Get the message bigots End Homophobia and Transphobia Now.
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Dear right wing/fundamentalists we reject the idea that Muslims were to blame for this attack.
The facts are that it was a combination of the ready availability of guns in the United States and the passing of anti LGBT legislation which has led to prejudice against the LGBT community which created the conditions for this carnage and to say otherwise is to deny reality.

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This picture reinforces the message that Glasgow Stands With Orlando

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If we couldn’t get Kylie to sing the crowd we got the next best thing a highly chatty Aussie by the name of Natalie who could easily be her double. Natalie was originally from Glasgow but has spent most of her life in Australia and moved back home because she fell in love with a Glasgow girl.

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The final picture shows Keira and Matt and I had to get a picture of them as soon as I saw the contrast in height as it was a cracking way to end the photographic collage. You see by showing that Glaswegians and Scots like everyone else come in all shapes and sizes, I hope I am also making a political statement that we are a city and a nation who accepts and embraces all cultures and sexual orientations/identities. Indeed that it is the way it should be not only in Glasgow or Scotland but everywhere on earth.
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Last night I was proud of both my city and my country and more than that I was proud of the LGBT community and the way we conducted ourselves. On many occasions our community have gathered in George Square as part of our pride celebrations. This occasion however was rather more somber as we remembered the tragedy of lives cut brutally short. That said it is I believe fitting that in the place where we have so often partied and just yards from our rainbow village we held our heads high to honour the dead as Glasgow choose pride over prejudice.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

John Wayne Won The West

Hey Readers On day 10  of NaPoWriMo I take a walk down memory lane to recall childhood memories of those early 1970’s Sunday’s and the viewing habits of my dad on the what was the only day he really got to watch the telly. Like many men of his generation my dad was a massive fan of Cowboy movies and anything to do with the wild west. It is with this in mind I have given this poem the title John Wayne Won The West I hope you enjoy the read.

John Wayne Won The West

Sunday’s were my dad’s day
to pick the programmes he wanted to watch on TV
every week he would be tuned in Bonanza  or The Virginian
Imagining the wild west as his dominion
this Glasgow adventurer who taught me
that native Indians were the only real Americans
and that all others were immigrants
in an international melting pot
Irish, Scots, Germans, Italians, Mexicans
to name but a few who pursue the illusion
that anyone can make it
in the land of Uncle Sam
the fact that many are doomed to fail is never mentioned
in a country where God has had more reinventions
than Frank Sinatra had comebacks
meanwhile my dad would roll back the years
as he sat in his comfy chair
and John Wayne won the west
just like he had the previous week and would do again next Sunday
the wild west was his dominion
as Bonanza and The Virginian
got my dad in the mood for the movie

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Wake Up And Smell The Future Now With A Redistribution Of Attitudes

Hey everyone It is with great interest that I read Michael Gray’s column in yesterday’s National with the headline It’s time for equality to take global centre stage. This is an excellent headline and the article which follows makes a very powerful case for redistribution of wealth.

This is indeed a welcome call for greater sharing of global finances and the end to the current levels of inequality which have quite frankly reached obscene proportions. Indeed as Mr Gray points out, the top 1% are on target to own more than the other 99% combined by 2016 and it’s making us all worse off. That this is indisputable is a undeniable fact cannot be denied, however there is another side to equality which also needs to be examined and that is that whilst we must address the economic barriers between the richest and poorest in our shared global village we must not forget the social and cultural issues which can and all too often do lead to the demonisation of marginalised groups of people as ‘other’ or the even more insulting term ‘them’.

These two factors go hand in hand but Gray’s article focuses on the wealth gap and in the eyes of the general public this is correct road to take as that needs to be the primary concern before we can get our other issues sorted out. There is no doubt that the last 20 years of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st have seen capitalism get so far out of control that what we now accept or at least tolerate as normal is a ridiculous level of personal wealth where those who have are allowed to do what they like as those who have not pay the price. Yet until now it has been allowed to go virtually unchecked.

As a race, yes I count us all as one human race, I believe we need to stop and ask ourselves how it ever got this crazy, and it seems that the world it seems is at last waking up to this fact.

As Gray points out key figures from Barack Obama to Pope Francis have stated the need for change. Austerity isn’t working well not for the less well off who have either had to endure a pay freeze which in real terms amounts to a cut or like myself lost their jobs due to cutbacks or redundancies. This for many people has had a serious and detrimental impact on both their standard of living and quality of life.

There are Michael Gray states ‘towards one million people living in relative poverty’. This means already stretched resources are stretched still further and a growing number of families pay a visit not to Morrisons, LIDL, or Tesco but to foodbanks and I should know having had to use these facilities myself in times of need and been grateful for the service they provided. Meanwhile the top 1% of the population have seen there wealth increase since the so-called Bankers crash which ushered in the birth of austerity Britain. Indeed Gray goes on to say that the wealth of the richest 1,000 people has doubled in the last five years to 519 Billion. This would be laughable were it not so disgusting, and yet politicians both Conservative and Labour tell us there is no alternative to austerity. What they really mean is there is no alternative for them, maybe just maybe that is why leading Labour Party figures such Anas Sarwar, and Jim Murphy were so keen to keep the so called United Kingdom united no matter the cost as it really was better together for them so they could completely unchecked in their ruthless quest for wealth.

As we know, austerity says indeed it demands that the poor pay the price for the mistakes of the rich but there is another way namely to place as Gray says ‘a tax on the super-rich and financial services’. If President Obama can suggest in what is after all a nation which is even more right wing than the UK then surely it shouldn’t be beyond the SNP and The Labour Party to base it as a starting point for any post UK election deal. A deal with which this card carrying SNP member would have few if any problems.

My reason for stating this is that I believe the two parties have when we strip away the constitutional question far more in common with each other than either of us have with the Conservatives though there are some in the Labour Party Murphy and Sarwar amongst them who would I am sure like to change that at their earliest possible convenience. Therefore it is imperative that should the post election arithmetic prove favourable to some sort of arrangement that the socially progressive forces in both parties reach a deal to send a loud and clear message not only to Scotland but the whole of the British Isles that the days of New Labour and the Blair, Murphy, Sarwar axis are over and over for good. There will be no more Red Tories now or ever.

By taking this action Ed Milliband and Nicola Sturgeon could bring about the conditions where genuine economic redistribution of wealth could begin to mean exactly that and create a climate where both businesses and individuals could gain the opportunities they seek to improve their situation. Indeed one benefit of such an arrangement could be a similar Land Reform Bill for the rest of the UK than the one SNP Government steered through the Scottish Parliament last year.

Both parties are also committed to greater social and cultural equality and though much has been done both at Holyrood and Westminster since the turn of the millenium I believe there is much more which can be done to create a greater sense of social cohesion. This is an issue no Scottish or UK Government can afford to ignore as there continue to be far too many marginalised groups within these islands. I say this a degree of authority as I speak with a great deal of personal experience on this issue.

You see I speak as someone who is a self identified trans woman who is also a self identified disabled person, I am also a member of the Irish-Scots community, and a Christian, I think I may know a thing or two about the barriers be they cultural, social, or economic which can lead to exclusion and this gives me an insight to environmental and attitudinal barriers within communities which many of the more mainstream political thinkers may accidentally overlook especially in times of austerity where the idea of every man and women tends to sow the seeds of selfishness within many hearts if action is not taken early to cut it off at the root.

As a former equality trainer who specialised in disability issues I found the attitudes of many people to be almost shockingly naïve with regards to causal prejudice and discrimination. Indeed many participants on courses I delivered would often say to me at the end of the course how appalled they had been by their own attitudes and how the course had helped them and made them take action to change their previous way of thinking. As I said early on in this post labelling groups can and does lead to demonisation as ‘other’ or ‘them’ and it doesn’t cost anything to change an attitude. Believe me I have experienced both disabling and transphobic prejudice and though a small percentage of it was nasty, most was just ill informed and when I challenged it in a firm but non threatening way you would be pleasantly surprised as to how many times I managed to change what had been deep rooted cultural or social beliefs.
No doubt I can hear certain people asking why I thought such a challenge to someone’s opinion was even necessary. This is usually stated by those who hide behind the mask of free speech and claim I am too politically correct. Sometimes they may try to use a rhetorical question like what’s that got to do with the price of fish or did you really need to say that? You know the usual nonsense when people are resistant to change, well perhaps if I put it in plain language they may begin to understand.

The way I see it is simple, the less people you brand as other, the more you see them like you. The more you see them like you, the more chance there is that you will see their talents and skills and maybe give them an opportunity to contribute to society. The more they contribute to society the less marginalised and excluded they feel. The less excluded they feel the more they want to contribute and the more they contribute to society the more likely they are to be successful in whatever they do. So instead of creating a vicious circle in which people feel trapped and excluded you create a virtuous circle in which people are happy to be included.

This idea of a kind of attitudinal redistribution ties in nicely with Michael Gray’s theme of economic redistribution. Indeed as I said earlier the two go hand in hand. In summing up his thoughts Gray states that ‘redistribution once seen as radical is now considered a necessary solution. Indeed in his final paragraph he states that ‘Inequality is a threat to social stability in Scotland and across the world’. This is something I very much agree with but economic redistribution alone will not solve the issues of exclusion or marginalisation. There has to be in my view a shift not just in financial redistribution but in also in social and cultural attitudes. I say this as these often unrecognised factors can however unintentionally put up barriers between groups and communities. This makes the case for an attitudinal shift one of the fundamental truths of our time because as any good economist will tell you the real wealth of a nation lies in it’s people. Personally, I think Scotland and the world need to wake up and smell the future and we need to do it now. This means we need to have a redistribution of attitudes and only after we have this attitudinal shift then we can start on our economies. You see it is my belief that If we don’t redistribute our attitude and see us instead of them, then the super rich will have escaped yet again perhaps for another two generations. I ask you are you willing to take that risk? I most certainly am not. The future is ours to be won or lost and the decision you make now could be the most important you’ll ever make. The time has come to stand up and be counted the future of your children and grand children may depend on what line you decide to stand in.

Love. And Best Wishes
Gayle X

The Night I Put My Panties On Was The Night That Saved My Life My Message To The Not So Christian Right

Hey everyone I write this post both as a transwoman and a christian and I write it in a state of outrage. Yes I can and do get and angry sometimes, I know that’s hard to believe I mean I’m such a mild mannered moderate little missy but get my knickers in a twist then you’ll really feel the pain and wish you hadn’t bothered tampering with my metaphorical lingerie.

This is especially true when it comes to trans or for that matter any other equality issue. To me fairness and acceptance of others are the benchmarks for the kind of society, country, and indeed world that I want to live in.

There are however some people who it seems do not believe we should all be treated with respect and tend to believe that George Orwell’s quote from his brilliant novel Animal farm,that some are more equal than others is the way it should be rather than Orwell’s critique of what was and for that matter still is wrong with society. It should come as no surprise that it is one of this group which I call the demented demographic who has got me more than just little bit angry with her thoughtless comment of a teenage trans girl in the United States recently .

The culprit in this case is right wing American conservative Gina Miller a woman who would make Margaret Thatcher look she had a heart and Sarah Pallin look like a future Mastermind champion and potential member of Mensa. I came across the rantings of this woman thanks to trans activist and blogger who reported on them in her Lexie Cannes State Of Trans. This is an excellent blog for those of you who wish not only to learn about transgender issues but also the prejudice and discrimination we can and do face. I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

In her blog post on this tragic suicide Lexi reports that Ms Miller commented on this tragic death by labelling the young trans victim as being mentally ill and suffering from a deluded fantasy that she could be a girl. This so-called Christian then went to claim that by jumping on the inter state the young woman committed a selfish action and gave the driver no choice but to run her over and states that he will have to live with the horrific consequences of this suicide for the rest of his life.

Coming up as I do from a city still grieving for loved ones from the tragic bin lorry accident in George Square just before Christmas I have no appetite for blaming any driver for circumstances which were out of their control, however the person I feel most sympathy in this case a young 17 year old with her whole life ahead of her. Yes Ms Miller I do use term her, because had she lived I have no doubt that she would have eventually become a woman. You see, trans people are neither deluded fantasists nor are we mentally ill.
I know I am a transwoman in my early fifties and like the young victim she so ignorantly taunts in what I can only describe as heartless and spine chilling comments I also knew my desire to be a girl from a very early age.
Of course it was different back in the 1960’s and 70’s no-one had ever heard the term transgender let alone countenanced the idea that someone born biologically male could ever wish to be female or indeed vice versa come to that. And even if they had it certainly hadn’t reached a socially and culturally conservative Scotland where there were I have to say very pre defined gender roles and norms to which one had to conform.

So bearing in mind what my country was like at the time I was a young child I would have to ask Ms Miller a few searching questions like for examples how did I know as far back as 1966 when I would only be five years old that I was meant to be a girl? Was it because I screamed my nursery walls down when the other girls were getting to try on make up like red lipstick and nail polish and I wasn’t allowed to?or was it because I used to beg my mother to curl my hair and dress me like a girl? Maybe it was the fact that all my friends at school were female I don’t know, Maybe it was because when I was seven or eight I read girls comics and liked to think of pretty things rather than those horrible boys comics which focused on fighting and war. Maybe it’s because at the age of eight or nine I can recall my mother dressing me up in a pink top, navy blue skirt, tan stockings with a red suspender belt as for the colour of my panties in those days when I was too young for a bra, all I will say is there are some things a women never talks about but let’s say it was age appropriate for a girl of tender years and I can still recall this memory as if were yesterday. Maybe it was one of those incidents which set me on the road to be the woman I am today, or maybe and far more likely it was a combination of all of them as they were all early signposts on the road I had to travel.

Ms Miller claims to be a christian and yet is quick to judge another just because she perceive them to be different from herself. Speaking as someone who is also christian and yes I can be as the title of one of my poems suggests A Prim And Prissy Little Missy. As such I refer her to the gospel of Matthew where it says in very clear terms ‘ judge least ye be judged’. In other words if you pass verdicts on others live their lives you must be prepared for others to do the same to you. Bearing this in mind judging others is something I tend to avoid.

When I read this article on the unfortunate suicide of this young transwoman I found her attitude cruel and if I’m honest, totally against all the teachings of the christian faith as I understand it. I was taught that christians are supportive towards others and
her unkind words were certainly lacking in empathy towards the victim. Instead this woman sneered contemptuously at her gender identity issues and reserved all her support for the bus driver and the parents of the bereaved whom she claim to be good christians who tried get someone who you refer to their son psychiatric care to cure what she wrongly and spitefully calls this delusion.

This in my view is entirely the wrong view to take. This young woman had issues which with support could have let her lead the rich and rewarding life which should have been her destiny. As for the false assumption and I and other trans people are part of some evil sexual anarchy movement this is something which I strongly resent. I am a church going woman with a very strong set of morals to act as a guide book for my life. Those morals are based on a book she and others of her ilk claim to know well it’s called the bible and nobody misrepresents more than the conservative religious right. This group tell me and others like me that I am demon possessed and suffer from a mental and spiritual sickness. This mindless labelling is something I find deeply disturbing and just for the record I am not demon possessed nor have I ever been The idea that I am spiritually sick shows who really needs to battle with demons and believe me when I say it isn’t me.

Trans people are not evil nor or we are a threat to religious freedom. In fact Ms Miller may surprised or even shocked to learn that the trans community in general and trans women in particular are often regular attenders at church. Personally I find many if not most of Ms
Miller’s comments to be ludicrous. I am offended however that she openly mocked a suicide victim. This in my view is a vile and disgusting act which no real christian would ever have contemplated. It is attitudes like hers which are the primary reason that many transsexuals live in denial for a great many years before coming out. I have personal experience of this as I fought against my natural instincts till in December 2008 at my former work’s Christmas night out at the age of 47 I decided it was in the words of an Elvis song Now or Never. It is I have to say a decision I have never regretted. Indeed my message to Ms Miller and the not so christian right is this, the night I put my panties on was the night that saved my life. This is a fact whether she and her narrow minded friends like or not I have a better life than ever before with a better quality of friends. You see real friends accept you as you are and don’t impose conditions on their friendship. Yes I have lost some friends over my decision but as it says in that well known Scottish folk song Caledonia. I lost some friends. I needed losing gained others on the way. And you know what I don’t miss the ones I’ve lost. That decision was their call and if they can live without me in their lives I can and will live very happily without them in mine.

No doubt Gina Miller will find this appalling and no matter how much I dislike her views I do respect her right to hold them, however I also believe that she should be held accountable for them. To use religion as a mask to hide her transphobia is completely unacceptable and should never be tolerated. As a christian myself I believe it is the duty of sensible christians to speak out against those who do our faith far more harm than good. For someone to say that society’s right disapproval should be least of a trans person’s worries shows a level of prejudice which against people like me which I find both frightening and if I’m truly honest a wee bit sinister.

To use words such as deluded and lunacy to describe the emotions of trans people does Gina Miller no favours. It is people like her who are the reason church attendances are falling in almost every western democracy in the world and why though trans I understand more about the world today than she does. Maybe that is why I know that children of the future don’t want the laments of the past and uncomfortable though it may be for the conservative right trans people are hear to stay I should know I am a transwoman and as the song says I am what I am. I however would also say I am who I am, and you know what I rather like being me.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X