Archive by Author

Royal College of Psychiatrists, Make A Right Royal Mess Of It!

26 Apr

Well, well. They may have plenty of letters after their names, but sometimes you do have to wonder about their thought processes! Those (seemingly not so enlightened) people at the Royal College of Psychiatry have had to cancel a meeting titled ‘Transgender: Time To Change’.

Now, this may be due to poor ticket sales, as they claim, or may be to do with the outrage voiced by, and proposed demonstration organised by, trans* people that was to happen if it went ahead.

With an amazing lack of insight, the Royal College of Psychiatry were going to hold a meeting that was, to quote them:

‘exploring the most recent academic, clinical and contemporary thinking on transgender issues, for all people interested in this field.’

with speakers to include every transperson’s bete noir Julie Bindel!! Oh dear!

The Gender Identity Clinic at Charing Cross Hospital had decided to pull out of the meeting, having been aware of the disquiet Bindel’s appearance was causing in the trans* community. Let’s hope the next time the R.C.P decide to talk about transfolk, they actually engage with us first.

 

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‘Dude’- Trans Male Zine

20 Apr

Well, I was distracted for rather a long while (!) checking out the blog for the new trans male zine ‘Dude’. Launched in February this year in Australia (which, from the U.K., is a mighty long way to go to pick up a printed copy. So yay to them that it should soon be available on download!), those hot off the press Antipodean folk are hoping to keep up the printed version as well as making it available to us Northern hemisphere types on download.

The blog page for ‘Dude’ will help to keep you informed of all the latest news on the zine. It also features a picture of the cover of the first edition, how to get hold of a copy, and how you can help to keep it as good as it, so clearly, is. Originally intended as a ‘How to play with transguys guide’, it hopes to open up to cover more info, help, advice, relevant articles and hot, hot pics for future issues.

Judging by the cover (my, some of us transguys are well fit!), and what’s inside, we can only hope it’s a success. Zines on transmasculinity, that are not afraid to cover our sexuality, are a much needed resource. The more widely this zine is seen the better for our community, our understanding and, let’s face it, our libidos. (Really, the cover pics are very sexy..am I stressing that enough??)

Dude cover by Sam Orchard

Barbara Carrellas ‘Urban Tantra Professional Workshop’ in the U.K!

18 Apr

My, we are a lucky bunch in good ol’ Blighty. Barbara Carrellas, author (of  ‘Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex For The Twenty First Century’ and ‘Luxurious Loving: Tantric Inspirations for Passion and Pleasure’), sex educator, theatre artist, sex/life coach and workshop facilitator, will be holding one of her amazing workshops in the U.K!

To say Barbara Carrellas is multi-talented, and an expert at what she does could be considered an underestimation of her skills. Designed for, but not specifically restricted to, those who work with sex and sexuality, the ‘Urban Tantra Professional Workshop’ will benefit all who attend it. Barbara Carrellas shows you how to make the most of Tantric and BDSM techniques to enhance your (and your clients’/students’) sexuality, meaning and understanding. The workshop will help you with your professional goals, how to get your message across, and how to be a better professional success in the world of sex and sexuality.

Whether you work as a pro-Domme, Tantrika, sex therapist or educator, or indeed something else in the sex field, this workshop will be of great benefit. The week long coures aims to be of specific use for each participant’s needs. The ‘Urban Tantra Workshop’ will help, inform, support all participants, and open up a new way of thinking and practicing all that is possible. Barbara Carrellas’ unique way of thinking, educating, her expertise, and her way of communicating these ideas, will provide all who are lucky enough to attend the workshop a wonderful, new insight to their work, their clients/students, and their personal development as sexual, sensual beings.

To give yourself the chance to attend and participate in this life-enhancing, awesome workshop, contact Hayley Caspers at hayley@urbantantra.org . It will take place from 15-20th September this year, at a stunning location. The chance to meet and learn from one of the most successful, interesting, knowledgable and unique minds in our wonderfully sexual, sensual and kinky world, should not be missed!

 

Photo by Barbara Nitke

From Birth To Chosen

5 Apr

A vibrant treasure of a collection of short films was shown at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. ‘From Birth To Chosen’  had eight films that explored the areas of gender and family, both born and chosen. With a mix of documentary, drama and comedy, this group of films delighted the audience and left all who saw them contemplating issues of gender identity and what family is all about.

The programme started with a U.S. documentary, ‘The Family Journey: Raising Gender Nonconforming Children’, which interviewed various family members from several families about the issues that both they,  and their children,  faced in society and amongst friends and peers. This touching, candid film was very moving. It was refreshing to see the family love and support that was given to the children concerned. With a wealth of different experiences and emotions felt between the interviewees, this film provided a sense of hope and recognition to many.

Another short film from the U.S., ‘Loop Plane’ was a gem of a film. With a fictional story set in an amusement park, following a day in the life of a transgender teen who lives and works there with his supportive father, this wonderful short took you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Beautifully acted and directed, and with some quite stunning cinematography, this film is definitely worth looking out for.

Nominated by the LLGFF for the Iris Short Film Prize (which is one of, if not the, gay and lesbian short film awards), ‘James Dean’ was a smart, funny short set in Scotland. Perfectly capturing the way families behave, argue and relate, all whilst waiting in a car ready for a family outing, this amusing film pleased the audience no end. Everyone could relate to the way families bicker, support or disagree, and the ‘punchline’ towards the end of the film was fabulous.

‘Spiral transition’ was a personal exploration of the development of relations between a mother and her trans son, from the moment when he first finds out her feelings about his transitioning. ‘Absence’ was an artily crafted short about gender fluidity, and the way some have to navigate between identities, in order to relate to family members. ‘Living Room: Bar Wotever 2008-2009’ is the first installment of an ongoing project by Dr Jane, about the people who go to the fantastic Bar Wotever, and what the space means to them. It gave a real sense of why Bar Wotever is cherished by so many and incorporated some of Dr Jane’s stunning photographs as well.

Filmed as a pilot for a possible series, ‘Traverse City’ followed the adventures of a woman and her trans boyfriend as they cross the U.S. to meet her gay male parents. Much comedy was had from the reactions of the gay father, the seperate sexual adventures of the non-monogomous central couple, and the awkwardness of having a partner meet the parents for the first time, which most can relate to. Incorporating comedy, drama, animation and fantasy, this had the audience laughing out loud and waiting for the next installment.

The final film in the selection was ‘Bella Maddo’. This fantastic comic melodrama was about a self-obsessed pregnant wife and mother, and the hell she brings on most of her loved ones. Although none of the characters in the story were transgendered, all the actors in the film were. Co-writer, director and amazing star of the film, Janice Danielle, wanted to make a film that showcased talented trans performers, in roles they may usually not be considered for. This hilarious film had a great sense of heightened drama (in the best possible way!) and was shot, written, directed and acted to a very high standard. It made ‘Mommie Dearest’ seem tame by comparison, and was extremely well received by the audience.

Hopefully you will all get the chance to see this great collection of films. You will be amused, enlightened and have your heart touched by the films.

The Polyamory Paradigm

4 Apr

The Polyamory Paradigm blog is one for all polyamorous people, and those who do not consider themselves to be, but would enjoy being educated by such an informative and witty blog as this. With personal, reflective pieces about the joys and difficulties of maintaining happy polyamorous relationships, as well as commentary on related news articles, this blog is rather a good read.

The writer does not always take themselves too seriously, unless the particular post demands it, but still manages to get some important points across in a way that is not over-bearing or preachy. The ‘definitions’ page is both witty and useful (the writer’s own definitions for words that already exist, and some that don’t!) is a great addition. The blog is also ‘live’, so additions and corrections will occur if they are pointed out to the author.

The resource page is a useful ‘go to’ for any polyamorous people, and generally, the blog itself will recount moments of recognition for many. With other, non-poly related posts as well, this is a blog that is well-rounded and thoughtful. I am sure many of you will enjoy it.

Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism)

3 Apr

Showing at the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival,  ‘Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism)’  is a documentary about the sex positive feminist movement, as seen by the activists, sex workers and performers. Virginie Despentes (director of the film ‘Baise-Moi’ amongst others) has interviewed a wide-range of pro-sex performers, academics, film makers and activists across the U.S and Europe, notably France and Spain. With clips from various porn films and performance pieces interspersed throughout, this winner of the CHE ‘Derek Oystan Film Award’ at this years’ LLGFF, is thought-provoking, entertaining, sexy and informative.

The list of interviewees is extensive, starting with Annie Sprinkle, who always manges to raise a smile and challenge prejudice in an enlightened and humourous way, Carol Queen and other women from the early days of the pro-sex feminist era. We follow the changes, growth and expansion of ideologies from the early 1980s to the present day, demonstrated by the views, activism and porn produced by the punk porn movement’s new radicals in France and Barcelona. The way the shift in feminist thinking has occurred over the decades shows how there is constant change as our understanding of gender, femininities and masculinities and sex itself is constantly challenged and built upon.

This refreshing, provocative film has many instances of humour, politics and what the pleasures and limitless expectations of sex is all about. It will leave the viewer with much to think about, as well as the memory of some hot films, which I am sure you will want to remember the titles of. Some of these clips have not been widely seen before, and will leave you wanting to seek them out to view in full. It also helps you rediscover some lost classics; I, myself, had forgotten the joys of Lydia Lunch’s fishnet clad ass as well as Tribe8’s ferocious BDSM influenced live performances. Strong, intelligent women, with a pro-sex, ethical feminist stance and aesthetic, that will hopefully counteract what is unfortunately an often misogynist porn industry, can only be a good thing. Let’s hope we get the chance to see more work from the punk porn feminist movement, and open up all our eyes to what is possible.

Fishers of Men

25 Mar

Having delighted many a fan of muscular men with previous photoshoots for their clothing ranges, Dolce and Gabbana have not disappointed said fans again. Steven Klein’s photoshoot for Dolce and Gabbana’s spring/summer collection has a Spartacus-come-Sicilian fishermen theme. Grappling with ropes, netting and chains, as well as each other, (which I am sure we are all quite familiar with, in one form or another!) the mixture of smooth, pretty boys and hairy, rugged-type models get all sweaty in their range of warm weather wear.

Fashion photography is reknowned for using kinky, erotica-themed ideas. In this particular shoot the muscular homoeroticism fair ripples off the page! If you are a connosseur of such imagery, you should check out Coffee, Cake and Kink’s selection of Ulli Richter’s photography, which gives a few, hard lessons to any imitators. (Especially my personal fave ‘Hard Labour’. There’s no messing with these men!).

Hard Labour

Hard Labour

Transgender Prisoners Get New Rights

24 Mar

On the 14th March, new Ministry of Justice guidelines  came into effect, making sure that all transgendered prisoners will be allowed to buy and wear gender-appropriate clothing, make-up and prostheses whilst serving their sentences. Prison workers must also address trans prisoners by their chosen name and title. For prisoners with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), placement in an appropriate prison will also be allowed, unless there are particular security reasons not to. Trans prisoners without a GRC will have their cases decided individually to see where they would best be placed.

Although certain newspapers and their readers have been throwing a hissy fit over the fact that  the various equality Acts put in place by Parliament are being adhered to (as they should be), these guidelines are a mighty step forward to recognising the rights of the transgendered prison population. There is no excuse for the rights of trans people being denied, no matter where they are in the U.K. That is why the Gender Recognition Act (2004) and other anti-discrimination policies were passed in the first place!

Still, there is some way to go to gain full acceptance for trans people. From offensive terms littering articles in the press, such as ‘sex swap‘ (I hate that phrase. It really is insensitive, belittling and demeaning!), and the prejudicial slant from reporting that focuses more on the aspects of the story that they can sensationalise, to some cisgendered people’s lack of knowledge and understanding about trans lives and issues. However, the law is (now) pretty much on our side.

Cakes Fit For A King and Queen

23 Mar

Well, Prince William and Kate Middleton (you know the ones..always on the news, something to do with a royal family..), have finally decided on what cake to have at their wedding. The Welsh National Culinary Team have been chosen to bake the cake, to be unveiled on the 29th April. The cake, which may well have Welsh-themed decorations, will then be donated to the Centrepoint charity.

If you want to have your cake (and eat it too!), Coffee, Cake and Kink have a delicious selection of beautifully made and tasty cakes on offer. Check them out, and as you will see from the photos, there are even some serving suggestions!

Talk About..Pop Factory

22 Mar

This Friday, 25th March, Wotever World are hosting their biggest queer club night at the Scala in Kings Cross, Pop Factory. For a mixed gay/queer/straight crowd, this will be a poptastic, tune-orgasmic night of dancing to some of the best pop, electro, indie, punk, rock n roll, glam and riot grrl music from the past few decades!

As you will have noticed, the term ‘pop’ is themed in a kinky kind of way, not following narrow-minded definitions, but keeping to a much broader spectrum, which is what we like! With POP ART (by the multi-talented, magically gifted Joe Pop) on display, free POP noodles to the first 50 through the door and lolliPOPs for the masses.

A live PA by BOY, a fantabulosa line-up of DJs to include Bob Henderson (Club Motherfucker), DJ Wanker (Fuck The Pain Away), Jo Bunny (Bar Wotever) and Vicki Lester (who I’m sure you all know from Torture Garden) means there will be plenty of choice for you to hit the floor, with happy dancing feet.

Entry is only £5 with a flyer/concessions before 10.30pm, others £7; or £7 concessions, £8 others after 10.30pm, so it won’t break the bank. Remember kinksters, sometimes it’s all about the music, so get down to Pop Factory to mingle with a wonderfully wotever crowd and start the weekend off with a POP (to go with a bang!)

Wotever World