Friday, 18 April 2014
Abortion is a topic I have written about in the past, but in recent times I have become more vocal in my support for the reform of abortion law within in the UK.
Abortion is an issue I have always felt emotionally attached to following my adoption as a baby in the 1980s. The child of a young couple not yet ready to start a family, I often wondered whether if my mum had been pregnant today whether as a result of the abortion culture we see she would of chosen abortion and not adoption as her way of dealing with a pregnancy she wasn't ready for.
Throughout university I gradually moved into more equality circles a socialisation which ultimately led to the career I have today as a Diversity Consultant. Whilst in these groups I would hear time after time that being pro equality, pro women and a "nice" person meant one thing and one thing only you had to be pro choice and in fact in most cases it meant you having to be involved in an ever increasing "I am incredibly more pro choice than you" rhetoric, an awful radicalised one up manship that was worn as a badge of honour by some vocal feminists.
I often felt uneasy at this one dimentional view forcing people to accept one perspective without thought or reason, often driven from an increasingly radicalised group constantly looking for further ways to claim to enhance the "pro choice" mandate in society by the removal of all other options from women other than that of abortion.
The complete hypocrisy of a campaign that used the term "pro choice" but that so often worked hard to remove women's ability to have any choice but abortion made me seriously consider what my views actually were and whether in fact "pro choice" was probably best replaced with "pro abortion" as that was much closer to the truth.
Whilst at University I saw woman after woman labelled a traitor to their sisters for daring to hold true to either their religious or moral values "that all life is precious and should be protected". I watched men labelled as sexist and evil people for expressing their personal view on the rights of a pre born babies to live rather than for abortions to contiunue.
Only now as a confident conservative woman in politics, hoping one day to stand up for my community by standing to be an MP, do I feel confident enough to join those brave pro life voices. I feel its important to express my view that women deserve a real choice and can be supported to choose life instead of the rail roading abortion agenda we have seen develop as a result of the current commercialised and marketised agenda of pregnancy and children that exist within our society today.
As a bisexual, trans woman working as a diversity consultant I know I am far from the "traditional image" of a pro life campaigner. Although I was christened when I was younger I'm not currently a practicing christian (although exploring my faith), but the values of protecting life and the vulnerable in our communities are strong christian values that have always stayed with me and still guide me in my life today. I feel more than ever that its important for me to face down the abusers that target all pro life supporters and to stand up with many other mums, dads, men and women to give a voice to those babies that have not had a chance to be born and for those who are genuinely too scared about being targeted by the pro choice lobby to speak up..
Most pro life campaigners have no intention of hurting, abusing or targeting anyone personally with their views however the mere mention of the topic on social media or within any group setting will get those accusations labelled and directed at you quickly closing down the debate.
I have never gone quiet and backed away in the face of abuse or challenges no matter how small the cause has been. Life is one of the most precious and important causes you can ever stand up for and so you can be sure I will continue to speak up for it, continue to call for reform of UK abortion law and work with other men and women who feel the same.
Saturday, 5 April 2014
Most of society are not bigots, but being overly zelous in the name of equality can make you an abuser
This week we saw the resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich after an intense campaign from Mozilla employees and some equality campaigners calling for his resignation. You might therefore expect that Brendan Eich had come out and banned the employment of disabled people at Mozilla or labelled all gay people as paedophiles or other abuse towards a minority group? In fact Brendan was being condemned for making a small donation to a campaign which supported the idea of traditional marriage in the USA, a donation made before he even became CEO at Mozilla.
As a bisexual and trans woman working as a diversity consultant I passionately campaigned for many years alongside other equality campaigners for the introduction of equal marriage in the UK and work hard to promote the culture of respect, engagement and freedom where ever I go. It is for these very values that I speak out now to say the abuse Brendan Eich has received and his ultimate forced resignation is not a victory for equality but instead a defeat for freedom and simply the vicious backlash of some who believe if you don’t agree with their perspective that gives them the right to label huge chunks of society as bigots and homophobes.
What is the world coming to where holding a view not even passionately expressed but merely the small donation to a cause results in you losing your right to stay in a job or to not be vilified or spat at in the street? I do not spend long nights planning campaigns and diversity training to just deliver a world where others freedoms are oppressed simply for my equality goals to be delivered, equality through oppression is no equality at all.
I find the culling of badgers intensely cruel however I know that others disagree and believe it is an important measure in the protection of UK farms and livestock. Does my strongly held views on badger culls and my view that the practice is cruel and inhumane mean I would never employee someone for example as an equality trainer who held the opposing view? No it does not, as to create a world where only my views are accepted is one to exclude the talents and skills of others and to believe that I never make mistakes, which as humans we all make. Diversity of views and constructive debate within the workplace is a positive not a negative and ensures your outcome is one which has been tested and contributed to by the broadest possible skill sets and perspectives.
Are some people who oppose equal marriage homophobic? Yes they are. Have some of the campaigners against equal marriage been abusive and upsetting towards those that have campaigned for it? Yes they have with the describing of gay and bisexual people as paedophiles and victims of abuse some of the views expressed have been beyond the pale and I have condemned in the strongest possible terms. But are all those that oppose equal marriage homophobic? No they are definitely not. Many make their case in as respectful and as engaging a way as many of those people in the equal marriage campaign have done basing their argument around their religious view of how marriage is carried out as they believe it is not about the state definition but that marriage is an actual spiritual union and thus a decision for spiritual leaders and not the state. Does this mean they are right and I agree with them? No again I strongly believe in the right for all people in the UK to gain the benefits of marriage and will continue to support this right being extended to other nations around the world.
I have been in the past, I am right now and I will continue to be a campaigner for equality, fairness and freedom in society not just for those who I agree with but for everyone. I believe passionately that a society without debate, a society without freedom and a society without justice for all and not just for the few is a society based on oppression and not the equality I and others are campaigning for.
Stop the hate and start celebrating the love is my message to all!
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Last Weekend we saw a historic occasion in the UK the first Same Sex marriages took place up and down the country. For the first time Husband and Husband and Wife and Wife were sharing their vows and becoming legally united in marriage in the eyes of the law.
As someone who has campaigned long and hard for equal marriage it was a happy moment to realise that if I ended up in a relasionship with another woman that we would have the choice to marry in the same way I would have if I had a relasionship with a man. Love is an empotion and a value that should be valued in society and marriage is an important insitution that creates stability and focuses committment, which are all positive outcomes that those in a marriage and wider society benefit from. I want everyone regardless of their sexual orientation to be able to benefit from the advantages marriage brings and for us as a society to also benefit as a result of their choices.
However the cloud was not all lined in gold. There are some people who still fundementally object to the concept of the term marriage being changed in law, an objection based on their strongly held religious beliefs and the definition and very basis of marriage itself. This being the case it is not suprising that on the launch of the first same sex marriages in the UK that they may wish to share their views and concerns the same way any of us would when those views are strongly held and important to our values and life. Caroline Farrow is one of those people who has a strongly felt objection to the change in the meaning of the term marriage and the introduction of same sex marriages into the UK. On Thursday Caroline expressed her views on air during the BBC Question Time show in a way that was direct passionately delivered but not directed in a hateful or personally attacking manner to anyone. Many people who hold Caroline's views feel scared and too threatened to voice their views and have welcomed Caroline's contribution giving them a chance to have their opinions form part of the ether of our national debate and discussions.
That might of been it; a passionate campaign about love and a simple belief that the legal definition of marriage discriminated against same sex couples. A campaign won by changing culture and years of campaigning by many from across the community. Then on the other hand a strongly held religious view based on the theological and not legal basis of marriage, voiced by a few confident and directly spoken individuals aired in the ethos of free speech and along side the implementation of the new same sex marriage law which is now in force.
But it was not it.
You might think having won the campaign for same sex marriage some campaigners might be content to let those that disagree with their view have their say just like they have had their say during the campaign.
You might think that a campaign with the aim of allowing the equal celebration of love would stay built on love and compassion and not hate.
You might think that those that campaign for equality and respect of individual rights would also respect the rights of people who hold religious views in a non abusive and personally attacking manner.
However this has been far from the case.
Following Caroline's comments on BBC Question Time last week she and other people who oppose the introduction of same sex marriage have been subject to the most horrendous and truly horrid abuse, personal attacks and threats. The level of this abuse has shocked many including myself despite my fundemental disagreement with those that oppose same sex marriage. I am truly ashamed of any LGBT person or ally that has felt the way to further equality or to celebrate the introduction of same sex marriage is to abuse, attack and threaten any other person simply for holding a differing view.
If we can't live in a society where we can passionetly disagree, debate and critique but still value one and other then we lose the meaning of the term civilisation and have lost the very basis of hunmanity which we should hold so dear. I want a society where respect engagement and positive debate is the norm no matter how much we may disagree with those around us.
I might be an LGBT Woman, I might be a campaigner for LGBT issues but I am also a fellow human and work hard to help make society one where everyone single person feels valued and I hope other people will join with me in working towards that goal.
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
Like many people across the country who are lucky enough to not be facing flooding right now, I can't imagine what its like to face such horrendous conditions and the risk of losing my home. We have seen parts of the UK face the highest level of flooding for nearly 200 years and still the storms and rain blow in from across the Atlantic. I think its important that we stand united as a country behind our fellow citizens when we have a natural disaster. What ever it takes we need to help get families and businesses back on their feet the security and the support of people across the land has to come before party politics and any other issue of the day.
What ever our agenda for a future Britain the foundations need to be built on safe and secure homes, strong businesses and sustainable land we live on. Why it's vital we ensure the resources get to those hardest hit fast and we get Britain back on its feet.
As we clear up the floods of the future and face the prospect of a new era of climate in Britain (for what ever the reason man made or natural) we need to face the prospect that ignoring the weather is no longer an option. We need a clear and positive plan for securing the future of vast parts of the UK which are now at risk from flooding based on a mix of protect, support and restrict provisions which best utilise the resources we need to give flood protection if we are going to maintain the security of the nation and the homes of thousands of our citizens in the UK.
It's ironic that at a time of such natural crisis and families struggling to have the basics that parliament was debating on whether introducing an unenforceable law regarding smoking in cars was the biggest problem and threat people faced. I'd suggest we all focus on the matter at hand and hopefully we see that the bigger issues need solved, before we begin to micro manage the lives of people who would prefer government was left to providing support in time of crisis instead.
Sunday, 9 February 2014
Dear Bengt Holst
I am writing as a human from another country but one who values our humanity and our ability to empathise across the world, with life and the animals around us.
Your decision to kill a healthy Giraffe "Marius" on the simple basis of "strong genes" brings shame on the credibility of all zoos but also that of our humanity which should stop us carrying out such barbaric and cruel acts of naturalistic vandalism.
Nature is indeed a cruel place and in the wild animals are killed and die everyday but at least have the chance to roam free and live the life nature intended. In captivity that is denied to animals either in the name of conservation or simple entertainment for the masses. The Trade off should be that we treat these animals with the utmost dignity and respect that values the sacrifice they are making to bring pleasure and joy to those who visit the Zoo and also the learning through the study of animals in captivity can lead to.
You were given options and offers from other zoos around Europe and yet you decided that death rather than life was the only option putting academic attitudes above the life and dignity of another living being.
Your simple dismissal of the opinions attitudes and out cry from people within Denmark, Europe and the rest of the World is pure arrogance and all I can say is I hope that you are hit where it hurts most by your bank balances and others with better ethics have the option of taking over in your place.
I hope these strong words and those of others you will have undoubtedly received in the thousands, make you re consider your actions and decide to give a full apology. Whilst not changing your dreadful actions it would at least prevent such a travesty happening again.
Learn more about the Story here:
BBC News -Surplus' giraffe put down at Copenhagen Zoo
I hope you will take a few minutes like me to email the zoo to share your concerns. Their email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you will take a few minutes like me to email the zoo to share your concerns. Their email address is: email@example.com
Thursday, 14 November 2013
Dear All Pop Stars,
I love music, I love old music, I love new music I love music I’m too embarrassed to let Spotify post on my Facebook status (we all know that feeling).
I also love it when my role models and idols make me smile and remember they are more than a sex object, more than a marketing gimmick, but are human beings with a beautiful talent that we all want to experience and share.
I don’t expect my role models to be perfect or for them to put on an artificial butter wouldn’t melt in their hot and talented mouths persona, I don’t even expect them to always make the right decision (lets be fair we all don’t go through a day without making at least one mistake), but I hope that if you make a career out of being so important in all our lives that you try to bring your special sparkle and glitter into our world its much more fun than all this old fashioned sexism.
I know that controversy can sell and we all have to make a living, but if I love your voice, your music videos, your dance moves and your personality I’m still going to want to buy your MP3 from itunes and make you the sound track of my day I promise and I know I’ll want to recommend you to my friends too especially when they are round for that bottle of Rose on a Friday night.
I know that growing up no one thinks “I want to be a bad influence on others” or even be part of the nightmare that pulls other people’s lives apart. That’s why I want less blurred lines in the world and more girl power hitting our airwaves as the former makes little angels cry and the latter will make you the pop goddess and gods we all know you are.
As people we naturally want to be ourselves so instead of letting your marketing manager or band of digital image consultants want to twist and hide the real you, behind a fantasy stardom template air brushed and behind a personality that even your mum would struggle to see you through. Let the real star glowing inside you out, the body that holds your talented voice and dazzling dance moves (I promise you that alone makes it beautiful) be centre stage . Let your personality out through the clothes you want to wear and lifestyle you want to lead instead of someone else’s story shaped by an agent design to attract controversy instead of selling the you that you want the world to see.
Remember that before you were a pop star, rock star or even a TV star that you always had a star inside you the star dust that makes us all. You don’t need someone to shape you to be a star you just have to look inside yourself and let out the star dust you have had all along.
Keep dancing, keep singing and keep bringing glitter and magic into our lives.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
If you are a journalist no matter what area you are working in be it art and fashion, politics and current affairs, crime and justice or even sport it is more and more likely that you will come across stories involving the full diversity of the trans community. With a tight deadline and with little experience in this area what do you do?
Here are some top tips to help make your article shine:
1. Do talk to the trans person you are writing the story about we don’t bite honest! We know best when it comes to writing about our own identity, so why re-invent the wheel?
2. Do Speak to All About Trans or Trans Media Watch. Facebook, Twitter, or Email them it doesn't matter which. They will give you everything you need to ensure you don’t fall down with any common mistakes.
3. Remember you are a fabulous journalist and not a bibliographer. You are probably writing a great story best to stick to that and let it shine not digging round in the mundane previous life of a trans person.
4. Do pose your trans subjects in a suitably glamorous pose, you will probably get more attention for flattering your subject rather than accidentally embarrassing them.
5. Do use a recent photo, not one of them that appears like a different person the main reason being the person in the photo is the wrong gender (I’m talking about past before and after pics not big or clever they just suck).
6. Do criticise trans people who do bad things, we are all people we can all do bad things. Trans people are not exempt from criticism but remember criticise what they have done not that they are trans that’s the story not their gender.
7. Do report news, we like news, we like scandal, we like entertainment and we even like the pull out fashion spreads many newspapers have. Now you are reporting news you won’t have space for those pointless “someone has transitioned” articles. Trans people haven’t suddenly come down from the moon, we have been around forever despite what the gossip circle in some shire town is telling you.
8. Do give trans people a voice. Ok I would say that I’m trans and I’m writing about improving media presence for trans people, but you will be surprised how many fabulous experts and commentators across a range of subject areas out there are Trans. Don’t be afraid to let us speak, we can do more than talk about our gender in fact most of us would prefer it instead of having to discuss ourselves all of the time.
9. Do use the normal dictionary of words you use in other articles they aren't broken so why try to fix them? No need to bring in “Sex Swop” “tranny” or “Sex Change” they just aren't cool and you just end up being the classroom bully instead of the dazzling journalist we all know you can be.
10. Finally DO REMEMBER the person you are writing about is more than a story, more than being transgender, they are human and have so much more to give than having their gender objectified if their gender history isn't relevant to the story why include it?
Now you have all the tools to be a journalist with extra gold stars and the tips to make your story shine. Go forth and continue to make our lives interesting with stories, glamour and news which ever part of the media industry you work in.
Here are some positive messages from Trans people that may help too: