Tag Archives: Community

2012 Pride Day Poem by Wills Morgan

7 Jul
ANTHEM

for the children

of our time

Image

HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF. This is what I say.
HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF each and every day.
HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF. Keep your troubles at bay.
Whether straight or bisexual, or if you’re gay


Lesbian or Transgender, this is what I say:
HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF each and every day.
At home or your work. When you rest. As you play.
Stay in the right track if you were born that way.


HAVE PRIDE IN YOURSELF.
EACH.
AND.
EVERY.
DAY.

Contributing Artist Wills Morgan is pictured sitting behind the map at the Island bar and restaurant in north west London in 2010. Photo used with kind permission of the photographer, Mr.Tyson Sadlo.

This photograph is one of a series of five portraits entitled A CORNER OF COLLEGE PARK.

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Miss California

19 Jan
It took two very brave women to make history in California this year: in the sixty years that the Miss USA pageant has been running, Jenelle Hutcherson (26)  and Mollie Thomas (19) were the first openly gay contestants to compete.

Hutcherson, from Long Beach and Thomas, from West Hollywood, both stated that their platform was that of acceptance. Whilst the Miss USA pageant has very conservative roots, organisers insist that the pageant is all about women being role models and promoting individuality – and who wouldn’t admire these women?

Whilst there have been other lesbian contestants in the pageant world, many of them blend in and don’t make it a known thing. This is a world of long hair and high heels, in a general sense. However, the contestants aren’t judged solely on their super-model looks; this pageant is about charisma, self-confidence, poise and knowing oneself. When Hutcherson wore a tux for the Evening Gown phase, there was no questioning her self-confidence and poise; truly, it’s something to admire.

Carrie Prejean could stand to learn a thing or two from these women.

While the media made rather a large fuss about Hutcherson sporting a mohawk, piercings and tattoos, I don’t think that has much to do with her sexuality. Hopefully, this will encourage other ‘alt’ girls to participate in pageants and not feel that they wouldn’t fit in – you don’t need to be gay to wear a ‘hawk, after all! Her girlfriend, a journalist, wrote a wonderful piece on the entire event. The amount of community support that the Long Beach contestant received is heart warming to see.

For Thomas, this was her first pageant. A part-time student at UCLA, she decided to run to promote awareness for the LGBT community and hopes to become a youth advocate and role model. Having volunteered for a school for handicapped children in Mongolia as well as helping to rebuild homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, I’d say that she was already a role model before setting a foot on stage.

Whilst Thomas and Hutcherson won’t be wearing a crown this year, we can only wish these exemplary ladies the very best of luck in their future endeavours.

Who’s Mum?

18 Jan
Florida has been the source of contention in the past few weeks thanks to an unprecedented case. It seems that American law regarding the custody of children will have to be re-written, and new attitudes adopted in a great many courtrooms.This over-due change is thanks to a lesbian couple who are in disagreement over their daughter’s custody. The unnamed couple were in a committed relationship for eleven years before seeking counselling and medical advice in preparation for adding a child to their family dynamic.

However, upon discovering that the 39-year-old woman was infertile, her 34-year-old partner donated one of her own eggs, to be implanted into the 39-year-old who then carried the baby to term. For ease of reading, let’s refer to the 39-year-old as the Child-Bearer and the 34 year old as the Egg-Donor. The father was an anonymous donor who waived all rights to the child.

Their child bears both women’s names, though the birth certificate named only the Bearer as the mother. This, then, is the source of all their problems. The couple raised the child in a joint effort until their daughter was two; upon splitting, the Child-Bearer moved to Australia with the child, and the Egg-Donor remained in America. In a bid to gain custody, the Egg-Donor found her former partner in Queensland and both have returned to America for the duration of the custody battle.

However, according to the current legal system, the woman who bore the child is the child’s mother. There is no other case where the woman bearing the child had an egg donated to her by her partner. There are no guidelines; there are no previous rulings. The Child-Bearer claims that she is the mother, due to the fact that she gave birth to the child. The Egg-Donor claims that she is the true mother as she is the girl’s biological parent.

No clear mention has been made as to whether the two women are suing for sole custody. To me, it would make complete sense to treat this as any other divorce between a heterosexual couple who have had children together. While yes, one woman carried the child for nine months and gave birth to her, the other woman gave a part of herself to make this possible. The man does not carry the child for nine months, but he is just as responsible for the child’s creation. How does this differ? They are both parents. They are both mothers in their own rights. The only thing throwing perception is that both parties are women.

Surely, in this situation, due regard should be given to whoever can provide for the child in a more complete fashion. Is the child better cared for by the Child-Bearer? Would the Egg-Donor be in a better position to provide for her? How has the move to Australia changed the situation between the two – would there be arrangements for the child to visit both her Antipodean and her American family? These questions seem to be more pressing than identifying who is the ‘real’ mother; surely the debate centres on intention and the ability to provide for the child? Without a doubt, the question of who deserves the title of ‘true’ motherhood is exceptionally important, though I think a little bit of focus has been lost on some of the large issues here thanks to the unusual circumstance providing a great deal of excitement. Personally, I feel that those viewing this as a purely cerebral argument are conveniently forgetting that this is a real family that’s being discussed.

On Dec. 23, 2011 a Daytona County judge ruled that the Child-Bearer was in fact the ‘true’ mother, as the law states that the person who gave birth to the child is the child’s mother. There was no allowance for the Egg-Donor in the place of her child’s creation. He stated that it ‘broke his heart’ to rule this, but that the law provided no other alternative. I count this rubbish. So did the lawyers in D.C. In the 5th District Court of Appeal, the courts later gave both women custody to the child, stating that Florida law was ‘outdated and violated the Constitution’.

I think it is incredibly important for the law -and those who enforce and represent it- to keep up with the changing technology in reproductive medicine and the evolution of modern-day family structure. Things are not so black and white anymore; as society grows, we find ourselves with new situations. We need our laws to reflect and protect what we hold dear as a society. Whatever shape our families or our relationships take, we need the flexibility shown in everyday social regards to be reflected in our law practitioners’ attitudes, the laws and their interpretation. Thank goodness this case proved a catalyst to make the necessary changes to outdated systems.  A family is not a simple construct, and as such, it should not be restricted by simple ideas.

First Kiss

13 Jan
A lesbian couple made history in Virginia Beach as they shared the first ‘first kiss’ in American military history. The touching scene took place at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek when American Navy troops arrived home from their service on the Oak Hill. The American armed forces lifted their ban on openly gay service in September 2011, so this was the very first time that this couple could display their affection in such a public manner.

For Marissa Gaeta and Citlalic Snell, this was the first time in two years that they could openly display their relationship, as both are fire controlmen in the US Navy, having met while they were roommates in their first training school.A strong American military tradition, the privilege of being the first to disembark and kiss a waiting partner is won via raffle. Gaeta said that she bought 50 tickets at $1 each to heighten her chance of winning; she suspectssome of her division also bought tickets for her.This is certainly the most perfect display of the good that lifting the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy has done; allowing many of the servicemen and women to be open and honest in their relationships. It is wonderful to see such progress being made, and we wish these two lovely ladies the very best!

Butch/Femme

18 Nov

I was reminded the other day of a hilarious YouTube sensation created by Team Gina, Butch/Femme. This is a catchy, humorous song about the butch/femme dynamic and is more than slightly inspired by Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back. Filmed in 2007, Butch/Femme was the duo’s first hit single, and features Cindy Wonderful from Scream Club. Possibly NSFW, you can watch it here.

Quite Interesting

18 Nov
“I have to do this, Mother, I’m a tax inspector.”
Being incredibly cool, the highlight of my Saturday night was sitting in front of the TV with a happy furball on my lap whilst watching the new QI episode. Who doesn’t love a bit of Stephen Fry? I have so much respect for the research elves and I adore the mix of intelligence, humour and wit that has turned a simple panel show into something unique.Saturday’s episode was entitled Inland Revenue, focusing on all things financially related. Lo and behold, within ten minutes of the programme’s start came a question about Pakistan’s transgender tax collectors.

In Pakistan, transgender people are a cause of great embarrassment to much of the population. They are part of a third gender called hijra, and are the subject of great discrimination and derision. They are often forced to work as wedding dancers, sex workers, or as mentioned in QI, tax collectors. They are harassed, abused and intimidated by both their fellows and the police.

There is a strong tradition of tax evasion in Pakistan, and the government is constantly seeking new ways of forcing or convincing people to pay their tax bills. In this case, a group of transgender women are sent round to the offending shopkeep who is told to cough up or else. The ‘or else’ generally leads to the women singing and dancing around the shop, causing great embarrassment for the shop owner. This, presumably, ensures the swift payment of the tax bill for fear of more embarrassment.

While this is all very interesting, I think QI makes light of a very serious situation. It was only last year that improvements were made in government legislation in Pakistan which discouraged discrimination and ensured that hijras enjoyed the same rights as other Pakistanis in inheritance, employment and election registration. The Guardian covered the story here.

You can watch the QI clip above (the specific segment is from 2:45 – 5:30). I’d love to hear what you all think of this; please leave your comments below!

The Theatre of the Nameless

18 Nov

copywrite Illamasque 2011

When I imagine the Theatre of the Nameless, I imagine a dark, twisted world covered in glitter and hidden, shadowed niches. I imagine a place filled with chandeliers and gold filigree, black latex and knowing smiles. Dancing girls in laced up boots, gentlemen shrugging free of their titles and every one of them anonymous. The Theatre of the Namelessinvites you to take a ticket, leave your coat and abandon your daytime identity.This is the image that Illamasqua brings to life in their Autumn-Winter 2011 Collection. Embracing their slogan ‘make-up for your alter ego’, this London based company has time and time again brought forth exciting, dazzling products.As the days get longer and the temperature begins to drop, I am reminded by every TV advertisement that Christmas is coming. Naturally, this means the start of Christmas parties and the explosion of the winter clubbing scene!

The products that particularly caught my eye were the nail varnishes added to the Theatre of the Nameless collection. These new products go on smooth, and dry with a rubberised finish; with monikers like Vice, Kink, Faux Pas and Taint, the colours are as sinful as their names.

It doesn’t stop there. Lipsticks in all colours to take you from daytime to daring are available in both gloss and matt finishes, boasting names such as Obey (a peachy pink) and Fetish (blueberry violet).  Their eyeshadows are versatile and all are reasonably priced for the superb quality provided. Illamasqua has managed to find the balance between corporate and club, allowing us to bring out our darker side and experiment to our hearts’ content.

Here at CCK we always support the right for people to be who they want to be and to express their individualism. I was incredibly pleased to discover that Illamasqua followed the same philosophy and that they provided a chance for their customer to support the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Their essential black eyeliner pencil, S.O.P.H.I.E, donates £3 of every sale to the foundation; wristbands and £1 donations to the cause are also available on the site.

I have scattered a multitude of hints about the house for the last fortnight in the hopes of finding some of these products in my Christmas stocking; after all, I’ve been a very good girl! Here’s hoping I’ll see some of you sporting weird and wonderful creations out on the dance floor this holiday season!

Now that I’ve shared some of my favourite products with you, why not drop us a line in the comments box and tell us what is essential to your clubbing look? Is there a certain brand you always turn to? What product can’t you live without?

You can also find out more about the Sophie Lancaster Foundation here.

Community Event – The Stonewall Awards 2011

2 Nov

The 6th Annual Stonewall Awards 2011 is taking place on Thursday 3rd November to celebrate the contributions made by organisations and individuals to the Gay, Lesbian and bisexual community in the UK. Categories include Politician, Writer and Entertainer of the Year Awards.

This year is being hosted by Stephen K Amos, and judges will include Gok Wan, Maureen Chadwick, Hope Powell MBE and Eddie Mair.

The event is being held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

http://www.timeout.com/london/gay-lesbian/event/241594/the-stonewall-awards-2011

A Surprise for Daddy…

9 Jun
Fred F: an animated version of your Male Parent.

Under the best of circumstances, you get to know your father pretty well. So…how well is that? There are many kinds of dads in the world…not all of them are biological. And where there’s a father figure, there is likely to be some kind of offspring for him to relate to. How are your relations?

Here at CCK, we can help. What with Father’s Day round the corner, your friendly community service provider can supply you in a myriad of ways with presents and messages of fun…of flavour…or other such fanciful things. There is sure to be something in our shop to surprise you… and your parents.
A Greeting Card That Says It All On A Sweet

Get this card for your sugar daddy

Here are a few suggestions.  You could 1) feed your father with Yang, our energy-boosting chocolate from our Feeding Your Imagination Range;
organic chocolate, sensitively wrapped

edible and organic

2) sneakily feed yourself with Yin, a partnering choco-combination which should do for you what the Yang will do for Dad:
bra-lady key ring

Sonia Spencer's Key Ring! Nice.

3) fix him up with a saucy keyring or a set of matching cuff-links,

Mr B: a gift for shiny happy people

Be good to your leather!

4) perform a clean-and- soften-up job with products  for your leathers fashioned especially  for the purpose by the wonderfully resourceful Mr. B!
A photo print by Ulli Richter

Daddy Cool?

5) procure a special print from Ulli Richter, one of the artists we support here at CCK. (note: these are done to order from Ulli in Germany:  so get your order in  by Monday13  and we can get it sent to you in time for the  Big Daddy day).
All right! Let us know how we can add fruit to your fatherly festival. You can count on us to have more to say on this subject in later editions of the blog…

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.