On being invisible and unprotected

I’ve always been aware of discrimination. Sexism, homophobia, racism, all are blatant in our society. But all are also protected from discrimination by law. Our anti-discrimination laws are becoming increasingly stringent. If, for example, I wanted to rent a house with my girlfriend, anti-discrimination laws prevent me from being refused to rent by the landlord because of my sexuality or from having complaints lodged against me by neighbours because of the homosexual sex I’d be having. However, as it happens, I want to rent a house with my girlfriend AND my boyfriend, and I want to partake in consensual fetish and BDSM activities within that house. Neither my neighbour or my landlord have anything to prevent them from refusing to rent to me or getting me evicted on either of these grounds.

So I suppose I’m experiencing a new (old), kind of discrimination. Discrimination that is unchecked, that is condoned by society. It feels a little like stepping back into the 50s. It also feels kind of…scary.

Before I go any further, let’s quickly clear a couple of things up. I’m polyamorous. And no, that doesn’t mean that I cheat on my boyfriend, or that I’m unable to commit, or that I’m a huge slut. In terms of attractiveness to a landlord, my thruple relationship should be a big plus. There are three of us to pick up the rent, much like renting to sharers, but unlike sharers, we’re committed to each other just like a professional couple would be.

And I’m kinky. And this shouldn’t have any effect on my attractiveness to a landlord. OK, there might occasionally be some loud(ish) noises coming from my bedroom that could annoy a neighbour, but nowhere near as loud or annoying as the experience of living next to a constantly arguing couple, partying students, or a family with a young baby.

So really, it all comes down to the moral ‘rightness’ of my ‘choices’. Kink can be scary if you don’t know anything about it, but I play safely, sanely and consensually at all times, so really, what makes my knickers wet shouldn’t concern anyone who’s not involved. Poly is often misconstrued as well, but really, why should loving two people make me any less of a ‘normal’ person than loving one? We admit that it’s natural to love more than one of your children with the same intensity, so why shouldn’t it be natural for me to feel romantic love for two people at the same time? After all, a lot of people do it, they just don’t tell either of the two people what’s going on (also known as ‘cheating’). Poly is all about communication and honesty, and being in polyamorous relationships have definitely required more communication and honesty than my monogamous relationships have ever done.

Maybe I’m overreacting: maybe if I told my landlord the truth about myself, they’d be ok with everything. Maybe they’re an enlightened soul who’d never dream of judging me based on my sexual and romantic private life. But, unlike a gay or mixed-race person, I have no protection against people arbitrarily shitting on me because of who I am. I could be evicted. I could lose my job. If I had children, I could lose the right to see them. Because of who I am. Because I do things, consensual things, that society thinks are wrong.

Where do we poly kinksters go from here, then? Well, how did women, ethnic minorities and LGBT people win legal protections? They fought. They died. They were tortured. They were lynched. They were raped. They still fought.

I wish it wasn’t necessary to fight for the right to be who I am. But sadly, it is. Laws reflect society’s attitude, and the attitude of my society needs changing. But it won’t change while we ‘different’ people are hiding in our homes, scared to be who we are, scared to be visible in society. I suppose we’ll be hurt for it. I suppose we’ll be bullied, ostracised. Some of us may lose our lives. But we’ve seen this fight played out enough times now, for enough minority (and non-minority) groups, to know that, in the end, we will win.

Advertisements

An Open Letter to Humanists

AAAAGGGHHHH I love this! What great writing 🙂

Hey Bro

How about that sharing economy, amirite? Bitcoins; Uber; media disruption – all totally rad. *High five* It’s cool that we’re coming from the same space, you know? However, I sort of wanted to talk to you about, well, “humanism.”See, humanism is a word like “atheist”or “dude”that I used to seriously identify with but lately has morphed into a he-man woman haters club shibboleth; an epithet that proudly marks members of privileged classes trying desperately to pull up the ladder before some bogus subaltern claims more than a shred of equality.

Instead of referring to a belief in the inherent dignity and equality of all humanity, humanism in 2014 is marked by a tremendous anti feminist and anti social justice stance, predicated on a mistaken idea that, like, misandry is real and not just very, very, very funny. Essentially, humanists tell us, often / always…

View original post 1,166 more words

A quick synopsis for my ideas on good Consent education.

hessianwithteeth

Make it quick and repeat it often

Make it informative

Make it inescapable

Focus on Consent (but don’t avoid saying rape)

Make it quick

Make it from different perspectives

Tailor it to the audience where ever you can

Make it mandatory

Make it informative

Make it quick and repeat it often.

Obviously this doesn’t give good info on the actual how’s, though there are not shortage of skilled sex educators and film students out there. Make a hundred or so pick 15-25 of the best.

Withteeth

View original post

‘Unintentional poverty discrimination’ – does it exist?

Good point, and also I think this highlights the reasons why the ‘universal free school meals’ plan recently put in place by the government won’t really help the children who need the meals. The idea, I suppose, is that if all children get free school meals then there’s no distinguishing between those who need them to be free, and those whose parents could afford to pay for them. But as you point out, there are myriad ways that children are singled out at school for being poor, so wouldn’t the money the government’s spending on the free meals for the kids who don’t need it be better spent providing free school trips or free school uniforms for those that are in need?

fielsted

When I was 7 my dad was unemployed for a while. My parents cushioned us from the blow to the extent that they were able but still a few events from that time are forged in my memory. They are all connected with school. The somewhat blatant question asked of me by my teacher in front of the class: ‘WHEN is your father going to actually get a job, Fiona?’ holds a special place as it succeeded in making me feel I’d done something wrong. Having to wait for lunch in a separate queue to those who paid for their meals and then not being allowed to sit with my friends, resulted in my feeling tainted in some way. Whilst going to the Co-op with my mum to meet a man with a clipboard from the council who signed off the purchase of my winter coat, was just downright scary…

View original post 445 more words

British Values for British People

Great piece on British Values. I mean, really, British Values! I ask you, what the hell are they supposed to be? My top picks: 1. Oppression of minorities and women 2. one rule for the people and another for the private schools 3. fish and chips

Left at the Lights

As a member of my family, a friend of many circles and a citizen of the patch of land on which I made my entry into the world, I share a common set of values with the people I choose to have in my spaces. They’re old, young, black, white and brown. Some of them practice a religion but a significant number don’t. They come in all shapes and sizes, genders and sexualities. Oddly, they do not share the same political beliefs necessarily but they place the same values on the things we all think are important; like treating each other with respect, for example, and dignity regardless of borders and stereotypes.

Honesty also scores fairly highly in our value system. It takes courage and humility to admit when you are wrong or when you may have hurt someone, unintentionally or otherwise. Recognising humanity in others is something I need…

View original post 404 more words

Picking your battles

‘You have to pick your battles’

Out of all of the maternal advice that I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot), I think that this has been the most frequent. Picking your battles. I remember being a small child and throwing a tantrum over my sister nicking my toy or not getting the exact sweet I wanted from the corner shop, and my mother telling me to ‘pick my battles’.

I remember being older, having issues with friendships and having to deal with really very painful arguments and bitchiness as a teenager – pick your battles.

I remember learning about injustice in the world for the first time, and being absolutely outraged at the idea of children starving in Africa, or pollution destroying the ozone layer, or governments toppling the structure of entire countries in the name of ‘counter-terrorism’ – pick your battles.

And I remember being awakened to feminism, being angry at the manager who hit on me, the ex who told sexist jokes, the men in the street honking their cars, the men in clubs touching without permission. And again, I subsumed these issues, because – you have to pick your battles.

I’ve accepted it, and subsumed it into my consciousness, for so long, but I’m starting to realise that actually – fuck that! 

When I point out to my brother that his favourite TV show is full of sexist jokes and stereotypes – that actually matters – it is actually a thing! It’s not just me being the crazy obsessive feminist – it’s me getting increasingly tired and frustrated by living in a world where sexism is so normal it’s not even noticed half the time. Where sexism is so normal that sitcoms airing at 6pm – sitcoms that are essentially aimed at young teenagers like my brother – are full of it! Would we accept sexism on a programme on the CBBC channel (kids TV channel for non-UK folks)? No, we would not. So why is it ok that the programmes that air before the watershed and are essentially for kids (after they’re too old for CBBC but before they’re old enough to think for themselves) are so full of misogyny?

So I realise that sometimes I might post *too many* depressing stories about rape, or murder, or rape-murder, or rapists being allowed back on a football pitch with no consequences – but maybe instead of telling me to ‘pick my battles’ you should look at the societies that allow these things to happen so often that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.

And maybe I’ll come across as an angry or bitter person – but it’s not true. I have my personal life, and I have my political views – and I’d like to keep them fairly separate (or at least be able to compartmentalise so I’m not constantly walking around fuming about female genital mutilation – because who does that help?)

However, I’d rather be angry and bitter and yet raising awareness and trying to make the people in my life concerned about these issues in the way that I am than be blissfully unaware of the damage and pain that my culture is contributing to.

As I’ve written in other posts, sometimes the injustice in the world really does get on top of me, and makes me want to melt into a heap and just cry forever, because I feel utterly useless and helpless to make a change.

But I’m trying to accept that whilst I might not be able to end sexism or give everyone an education, give everyone life-saving vaccines, give everyone enough food and water and shelter to live – I can make small changes and I can contribute in my own way.

I have to follow my talents, and my talents are in my writing, in my theatre work. If I make a play and just one person comes to see it and they leave thinking, really thinking about how they can change this stuff, I’ve succeeded. And that’s all I can do.

Sometimes it does feel like I have to make a choice between pointing out sexism and injustice all the time, and people thinking I’m obsessive and weird, or allowing this stuff to pass by me, allowing people to say hideous things in front of me with no protest, and feeling ashamed of myself and internalising that sexism.
But, honestly, people have always found me a bit obsessive and weird.
I’m really not bothered.
So I’m sorry, maternal voice, I know that you want me to pick my battles. But looking back on my life, in the past I’ve spent so much time picking my battles that I’ve neglected to fight some of the most important ones. So, moving forward, I’m fighting, and fighting, and fighting some more. Because I have to believe that I can make a change. Because I won’t be silenced by anyone, not even myself.

I Can’t Cry

This post has opened my eyes about prostitution in a really big way – I’m still questioning, as I question every new idea I find, but it’s a compelling read and worth considering I think 🙂
(More of my meaningless opinions in the comment section btw)

Rebecca Mott

I want to cry so much.

My throat hurts so much coz it so blocked, my eyes are tired of being tired, my heart is in an agony where words disappear to.

I still can’t cry.

I wanted to cry when Lauren Bacall died, for she was my protector when all my world was being thrown to the wolves.

I remember as a 14-year-old wanting to be Lauren Bacall, wanting her presence by my side.

I stood by the bar in a sex club, and try hard to make it into “The Big Sleep”, and make reality disappear.

I imagined the dive I was in was a sophisticated nightclub – where I was wisecracking and keeping men at a distance.

I refuse to see the truth, that I had no voice, no safety, no access to dignity – I refuse to know I was nothing as I imagine I was…

View original post 841 more words