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Welcome to my blog, which I started way back in December 2002 - long before social media was a thing! With the advent of Facebook, Twitter etc. I don't write that often here now, but you never know when I might feel the urge to do so.

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Halloween = Another excuse to wear black (as if I needed one!)

Sunday, October 31, 2004

If you're wondering where the new picture at the top left hand corner of the journal pages came from it was taken at a halloween party we went to last night.

It's been absolutely ages since I've been to a party, let along a student run one (yes, I know I'm 38, but I certainly don't feel it!). It was good to meet some new faces, and just for a change I wasn't the only one wearing black.

I wore "that black dress". The last time I wore it was in Thailand earlier this year, and it looks more and more stunning each time.

The picture on the right was the result of me playing with long exposures and the timer on my now well used Canon Powershot A40. The more I use that camera, the more I like it, even though it's resolution is a little low by todays standards.

Perhaps surprisingly I didn't wake up with a hangover this morning, although according to the scales I am a little heavier than usual (just under 138 lbs) as a result of late night munchies!

Posted by Anna at 16:37 | Get Link

It could be Ireland's turn next

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Those of you who have been following the progress of the Gender Recognition Bill (now established in Law as the Gender Recognition Act) in the UK may know that the Government was forced to change UK Law as a result of two rulings in the European Court of Human Rights - Goodwin v. The United Kingdom and I v. The United Kingdom.

It could soon be the Republic of Ireland's turn to bow to the inevitable and grant us equality. According to an article in the Observer today, a Russian businessman living in Ireland is taking legal action under the European Human Rights Act to ask for his marriage to be recognised:
If he is successful, Ireland - like the UK before it - could be forced to change its Law to allow transpeople to correct their birth certificates.

I for one hope he succeeds.

Posted by Anna at 11:11 | Get Link

Bourne Free Day

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The flyer for the Bourne Free EventToday was a first - we attended an LGBT demonstration! The event was "Bourne Free" - a celebration of diversity by LGBT people in the Bournemouth area. Although I believe the event was originally intended to be just an afternoon of music and entertainment in the park in the centre of town, it took an entirely new twist when it was discovered that an evangelical Christian organisation called Christian Voice were planning to mount an anti-gay protestin the town on the same day.

They were billing their protest as "Harry Hammond Day", in memory of a street preacher who three years ago was arrested after preaching against homosexuality and lesbianism in Bournemouth town centre. If the events described in the Times online article Preacher fined for anti-gay sermon are representative of the events of that day, the incident did nobody any favours. Despite the fact that Hammond was elderly and suffered from Aspergers syndrome, he was abused by people disagreeing with his views rather than being ignored. He should have been left alone...after all, his views belong to the past, and he was no threat to anyone.

Nevertheless, Christian Voice seized on this sorry incident to spread their own rather more sinister message. One look at their newletter confirms that as well as condemning the gay ommunity they are equally dismissive of transpeople. To quote:

As a Christian trans woman, I find the views expressed by groups such as Christian Voice highly insulting and very upsetting, and want to do whatever I can to counter them.

Interestingly enough, Harry Hammond's family dissassociated themselves from Christian Voice's "event". According to Hammond family in anti-gay march plea :

Not surprisingly, news of this protest resulted in the organisation of a counter demonstration by the LGBT community. Central to this effort were the local Metropolitan Community Church, who organised a "Special Ministry to the GLBT Community" on the same day. It's notable that while the Bourne Free event and march were given formal approval by the local council, they refused to authorise the anti-gay protest organised by Christian Voice. I find that a sign of real hope.

On to the day itself. As we arrived in town slightly early, after a quick hello to the people from MCC (who had set up a stand in the town square) we went for a coffee at the nearby Legends cafe before walking up towards the Triangle to the car park behind the Branksome Arms where everyone taking part in the march was meeting. The atmosphere was relaxed and casual, with no sign of extremists who could all too easily have turned a peaceful protest into an ugly incident. Members of MCC mingled with the crowd handing out "God Made Me Gay" stickers to anyone who wanted one.

Representatives of the Dorset police were of course very much in evidence. Like the marchers they were relaxed and friendly, passing time by chatting with us and sharing jokes. Although they made it clear that they were not there to take sides, but to ensure that everything ran smoothly, I got the distinct impression that they were sympathetic.

After a quick briefing from the police and the leaders of the march we were off (with a police escort of course!) on our way to the town centre. As we marched through the town people stopped to watch us pass...some bemused, some openly supportive, but none hostile. Although there was no sign of Christian Voice, representatives of the media were very much in evidence.

The march winds its way through Bournemouth, with the MCC contingent singing hymns as they marched.

The march eventually concluded at a car park just outside the square. From there we wandered into the park to watch proceedings for a while, before leaving when the British weather started to make its prescence felt.

It was then we finally encountered Christian Voice, and what a sorry bunch they were. They'd gathered in the square preaching a message of doom and condemnation which was notably lacking in any sign of God's Love. Immediately in front of them a group of people from the march - carrying the rainbow flags of the LGBT movement - had gathered:

Christian Voice being ignored by the local LGBT community

MCC were a far better advert for the Christian Faith. They'd gathered opposite (just out of shot in on the left in the picture above), and unlike the Christian Voice crowd, were all smiles and laughter. I imagine they were as disgusted as I with the hateful rhetoric Christian Voice were spouting, and eventually they responded - by singing hymns, and walking slowly towards the Christian Voice representatives.

It was certainly good to hear the sounds of Faith drowning out the rhetoric.

In the news report Gay Campaigners face off in town the BCC quite astonishingly refered to this "incident" as a "clash":

That's the media though. Laughable, isn't it?

I'll close this rather long entry with a rather appropriate quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

It's good to see that the people of Bournemouth seem to share that view.

Posted by Anna at 23:10 | Get Link

On the sofa, no one can hear you squeal....

Sunday, October 10, 2004

This weekend was another busy one. On Saturday morning Beth and I drove up to Stoke on Trent in the Midlands to visit my friend Elaine. She's been down to visit me twice so far and we thought it was about time we returned the favour!.

On the way up we took the scenic route, and while it was maddeningly slow, it was beautiful....something we don't appreciate anywhere as often as we should in our busy lives. Regardless of which routes we travel, one issue we always face is the difficulty of finding places on the journey offering healthy food. I have to say that each time I have the misfourtune to encounter it I find the junk food culture which is rife in service stations and their ilk more and more appalling. Often it's difficult enough to find a sandwich made with wholemeal bread at these places, let alone a healthy balanced meal free from dangerous ingredients such as hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Whatever you find you'll pay through the nose for it too. It's enough to make a sane person turn activist!

That's exactly what we encountered when we stopped at a service station on the M4 yesterday. After looking despairingly at the meagre selection they had on offer we eventually settled for sharing an overpriced wholemeal egg sandwich and a prawn and pasta salad. There really wasn't much else, but at least they did fruit smoothies. I must admit I'm getting to rather like them.

It's always good to see friends, and this weekend was no exception. Beth and I would like to say a big thank you to Elaine for putting up with us all weekend - especially our random tickling attacks and my terrible sense of humour! We stayed in yesterday night, and as Elaine's DVD player wasn't co-operating we ended up using my laptop to watch a movie instead - Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Beth's never seen it, but given how much she was laughing I've got a feeling that particular movie is now on her Christmas list.

Stoke on Trent is only an hour or so's drive from Burton on Trent where my brother Mike lives, so after we left we headed in that direction to hopefully meet up with him. Unfortunately, during the night he'd sent us a txt to say that he wouldn't be in until 4pm, and we couldn't stay in the area that late, so we didn't expect to find him in. Sadly we were right, but we left a note to let him know we'd called.

A real pity...I was really looking forward to seeing him again. It's been far too long, but at least I know where he lives now. Sometime soon, I hope.

Driving through Burton was strange. It's not my home town (I'm a Northern Lass, after all!) but it is familiar because of my family (my parents live nearby too). Personally, I'm glad I don't live's just not a place I would ever feel comfortable. After leaving there at 2:30pm we headed home - down the long and rather dull M40 this time. It's been a long weekend, and by the time we got back at 6:30pm we were both exhausted.

So what has all this got to do with the title of this post? To answer that question, you'll have to ask Beth about her experiences on the sofa with Bombay the Duck...:tongue:

Posted by Anna at 23:52 | Get Link