LGBT+ History Month: Some Cool Resources

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*rolls in* YAY it’s LGBT+ History Month and I am very excited! If you guy haven’t seen, I’m doing a thing about LGBTQ+ history in schools and as a part of that project I started to research LGBTQ+ history myself… This is one of the main things that came up! Since I hadn’t really learnt much about the topic before then, I thought it would be cool just to collect some of the resources that I found through which you can learn about LGBTQ+ history. (Like, I wish we did learn about it at school. But pro-activity and all that.)

The LGBT History Month theme this year is is Citizenship, PSHE and Law. (Note: I think it is officially called LGBT History Month? But they seem to have things including people from across the spectrum, so I’m just kind of going with it as an umbrella thing if that’s alright.) This July will be the 50th anniversary of decriminalising homosexuality, which lines up nicely. I was having a chat about this the other day, but I think it is interesting how things seem to have changed fast… I mean, I don’t know. But my parents were still alive when being gay was illegal which I find kind of weird. Obviously there’s still a long way to go, but…yeah.

The LGBT History Month website itself has a whole host of cool things to offer, including posters about LGBT+ people from history and the wonderful official magazine. I’m literally just reading through it and SO MANY COOL THINGS, from mental health to TV representation to activist interviews! They also have a series of posters about inspirational LGBTQ+ people, and a super cool wallchart here: (warning for some not-great language)

The app Quist tells you things that happened on this day in LGBTQ+ history. If you are able to download it I think it’s a fun and easy way to learn a bit about LGBTQ+ history!

I know I have been shouting a lot about it recently, but I FINALLY WATCHED THE MOVIE PRIDE AND AAAH IT WAS SO COOL. I feel like I don’t know that much about the history of LGBTQ+ rights in the UK, and I read less historical UK books with LGBTQ+ characters, so it was super cool to learn about that. It’s based on a true story and it’s about a group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. (As in the miners’ strike.) You can even follow them on Twitter, which I think is wonderful; they did a panel alongside a showing of the movie but alas I couldn’t go. It was just!! Very fun but also informative. Yep.

The Proud Trust don’t yet have a guide for 2016 LGBT+ History Month, but they do have several from previous years, and an activity/information pack on LGBT+ Black History. These are more aimed towards schools and youth groups, I think, but they’re still well worth checking out!

I haven’t actually listened to this episode yet, so I’m not completely sure what it’s like, but Radio 4 did a thing on how British attitudes have changed towards being gay. (They also have a really interesting episode on non-binary people.)

By the way: I’m probably not going to be around much over the next few days since I’m mostly shrieking about my school play, but fear not! I am alive somewhere! And I hope you’re having a wonderful day. 🙂 If you want to share any other cool LGBT+ history things I’ve missed then I’d love to hear them!

7 Less Touristy-y Things to Do in London

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Whenever I go away to places, I like to try and find actual advice from people who live there. I think it’s really cool to try and get more authentic idea for what the place is like, and it’s one of my favourite parts of travelling! I also think London is pretty cool, and I think it has some really underrated activities, so I thought it would be fun to share some things that I like to do up and about town. 😀

1. Do a scavenger hunt

If you’re with a group of people and have some time to kill, them scavenger hunts are a super way to get out and about! You can find a selection for different areas and themes here, and once you’ve picked one you’re good to go. As well as little tasks like finding street names or counting things on the outside of buildings, the hunts that I have done also give you some information about the area you’re in. You can check the ones that i have used here — you have to buy them, but it’s not much, especially split between a group. There are also some free ones here!

 2. Visit the Southbank Centre

In general there are just SO MANY good things to do spread all along the south bank of the river. Stuff happens in the Southbank Centre all year long, from the Festival of Love to fountains to Women of the World to the Christmas market. The National Theatre nearby has some great shows — if you haven’t booked you can queue up on Friday mornings (I think?) for tickets if there are any left, or try and get a Friday Rush one — as well as some free things to look at and somewhere warm to sit. You might also want to pay a visit to the Globe Theatre, BFI, Tate Modern, or second hand book fair thing. Just. SO MUCH STUFF NEAR THE SOUTHBANK. It’s always on my list for a day out!

3. Go to a book event

I am an ENDLESS ADVOCATE for book events! I love them! They’re normally really cheap or sometimes even free, and they really give me something to look forward to. I don’t think everyone always knows that they exist, so…? Of course it depends on which events are on and whether they coincide with your visit, but a quick browse on the Waterstones website will do you no harm. (Basically all the events I attend are run by Waterstones, since they tend to have the YA ones. But there’s other stuff out there too, including various cons!)

 4. Enjoy some art at the Tate(s)

I know I already mentioned Southbank, but there was too much squeezed into that short space and I LIKE ART THINGS. Some things are better than others at the Tate — the descriptions can tend to overanalyse a bit in my opinion post-capitalist modern critique or whatever I DON’T CAAARE @ CONCEPT ART but there’s so much choice as well as great permanent collections. The buildings are well worth a visit on their own, too! Tate Modern is home to the Turbine Hall which has different installations inside, and the new Switch House building is cool too. If you visit the Tate Britain then your #claimtofame can be standing at the site of Lauren Aquilina’s live Echoes video, ayy. 😉 At the moment Tate Modern has a really good Rauschenberg exhibition, by the way! I like going to see art just on a day out because I don’t feel any pressure to analyse it or whatever; I just like to try and enjoy it and consider how it makes me feel.

5. Visit Covent Garden

Covent Garden has a bunch of shops, from the wonderfully cute Moomin shop to the Whittard’s tea shop where I normally just go around testing EVERY SINGLE ITEM in their cute plastic glasses. (I have actually bought stuff from Whittards so I don’t feel too bad. It is fun to taste all their things.) Sometimes there’s street performers or market-y stalls, and in general it’s just a nice place to visit! There are also some cool quirky shops around the general Covent Garden/Seven Dials area such as Tofu Cute and Tatty Devine.

6. Do a fandom tour

London is the home to lots of cool fandom things! Of course it depends what you’re into, but some internet searching can prove very useful should you want to explore some fannish London locations. For Harry Potter, you can go on a self-guided tour or an actual professional walking tour, which  really sounds like a job I should be applying for haha. A Doctor Who tour is available (though I hear it’s more focused on Classic Who), and as well as visiting the Sherlock Holmes museum you can take a look at one of the Sherlock tours. (That link is really good; it has locations for a self-guided one as well as organised tours.)

7. Trawl through the bookshops of Charing Cross Road

Charing Cross Road is well known for its second hand bookshops — even if some of the prices might make your eyes water, it’s so atmospheric to look around them at all the old books. (I love old book smells.) Sometimes you can find real gems! ayyy my 19th century copy of Les Mis The really big Foyles is also there if you want a different selection to Waterstones, and Forbidden Planet is around the corner on Shaftesbury Avenue. 🙂

have you been to london? done any of these things? do you have any underrated activities for where you live?

Femslash February // i rec some things!!

February is not only LGBT History Month, but also the wonderful internet creation that is Femslash February. It’s essentially a month where people do prompts, write fic, art, whatever, celebrating f/f  and girls liking girls! It’s mostly for fandoms, since both m/m and even f/m fanworks are a lot more popular there, which kind of sucks. (I talk ENDLESSLY to my friends about how people just aren’t as interested in f/f. They’ve heard all the things.)

SO! I am here today to recommend some fun queer girl things for you to read. I thought about just doing fic recs, but I have a somewhat specific and obscure fandom tastes, and also sadly I don’t know loads of f/f fic. (I’m hoping to find some more this month.) (Literally? I’ve read about 2 novel-length f/f fics ever. Which is small compared to others. I feel distressed.) I know it’s Femslash February, but in general I think queer girls are left behind in the fandom so I’m also including some GENERAL QUEER GIRL THINGS.

Thus: I’m also going to be reccing some books and comics. I’ve tried to include some different ones to what I always recommend ahaha. Enjoy 😀

books

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour I read this the other week and AAAH IT WAS SO WONDERFUL. I loved the setting, the characters, the soft & hopeful beauty of it. I know that I’ll be rereading it when I feel down. It was also cool to read because it’s about a girl who does film production and I’m currently doing some production for my school play. IT’S A SIGN AMIRITE.

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham I LOVE FINDING QUEER CONTENT WHERE I WASN’T EXPECTING ANY. This is about three generations of women in a family, and how their lives interact. And there is also a thing about sexuality.

Carol by Patricia Highsmith This one is also published under the title The Price of Salt, but my copy was Carol, so. It’s hella awesome! There are vintage lesbians in New York! The writing is lovely! And it’s also a super cool film. The soundtrack gives me a lot of emotions.

All of the Above by Juno Dawson Aaah!! Another queer girl UKYA! (I would also put Radio Silence here, but by now you guys have probably just accepted that I talk about it 24/7. I LOVE IT. READ IT.) Anyway: this is a funny, honest contemporary YA with a bunch of queer characters and it’s just generally cool.

The Last Beginning by Lauren James This is the second book in a series about science and time travel which I think is super cool! The MC is super gay, and I liked that it was less focused on a coming out narrative. (Those are very valid and important. But sometimes I want to read something where the character is also comfortable in their sexuality already and worries a lot about accidentally messing up the entirety of time.)

fic

Following You, Following Me by lady_ragnell An Eponine/Cosette AU in which Cosette has a tumblr crush on Eponine, and also a new neighbour. A podfic (like an audiobook except of a fic) is also available here.

to be loved and to be in love by missandrogyny Eponine/Cosette, soulmate tattoo AU. (Where the first words your soulmate says to you are tattooed on your arm. Yeah, don’t ask, just suspend disbelief.) Eponine and Cosette are music people! They are hella cute and I love them!!

your passion, you take me home by knightinbrightfeathers Clary/Izzy, Hogwarts AU. Things heal after the Battle of Hogwarts. By an author who I think is very cool. *nods*

Here, Queer, Getting Used to It by azurish REMEMBER BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM. Remember that movie?!? Yeah, no, I like it a lot. One time I just stumbled across this fic and I was like…in retrospect, it was a pretty gay movie. I realise there was stuff about stereotypes of all girls who play sport being queer but also — I think it would have been really cool to consider how then do they find their place within that? (Because queer girls play sport too.) I am not articulating my feelings very well but anyway. YEAH.

Grazed Knees by montparnasse Ginny/Luna. Also healing after the Battle of Hogwarts. Except it’s different to the other one. *nods sagely*

I have read a miserable amount of Harry Potter f/f, which makes me sad because I SHIP ALL THE THINGS. I think that’s probably because a) there wasn’t loads of it to begin with but b) I don’t really look beyond AO3, and a lot of HP fic resides in other places like livejournal or ff.net. However, a quick internet search pointed me to this 2007 masterpost, if you so wish to browse it.

(web)comics

Rock and Riot by Chelsey Furedi It’s 50s except way cooler and lots of queer characters aah! his comic is about gangs at school except there is diversity and GIRLS LIKING GIRLS and AWESOME ART STYLE and it is just all round very wonderful. I may or may not have read it all in one day. Whoops…?

Always Human by walkingnorth This is still-running sci-fi webcomic about the cool peeps Austen and Sunati. Although there is cool future stuff, it’s more about their personal lives and how they develop as characters. There’s a diverse cast and lovely glowy art and the creator is also a complete cinnamon roll! The updates bring me a lot of joy. 🙂

Lumberjanes Sometimes I’m confused by this comic, but it’s fun to be surrounded by just a whole lot of pure joy and enthusiasm, hehe. IT’S SO CUTE AND THERE ARE CUTE GIRLS AND SMALL CUTE PEOPLE GAH. There’s also a trans character, and maybe some some other queer characters about from the confirmed ones, so…?

Anyway! I hope you liked these recs, and perhaps find some use for them. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions! 😀

The Women’s March on London

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As probably a lot of you have heard, last Saturday hundreds of Women’s Marches were held across the world in protest of recent political events. Donald Trump had just been inaugurated. Over the previous week he has continued to do pretty awful stuff. These Women’s Marches were in support and protection of our rights, and for equality.

I attended the Women’s March on London. It was my first demonstration/march/suchlike — I didn’t bring a placard, and I wasn’t able to march the whole way, but I walked for a bit and then my mum & I stood on the steps in front of the National Gallery. I was surrounded by others who were angry about the world.

We talked a bit to the those standing around us, and it was cool to see that there seemed to be a wide variety of people attending. The newspapers after said that it was mostly young people, but I actually saw a lot of families there, so. I’m not sure where that came from. I don’t completely know the stats, though.

You can keep reading this guest post I wrote on The Feministas. 🙂

Poetry: lemonade lies

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So. It has been a LONG time since I posted any poetry. This is not to say that I haven’t been writing any — over the summer I did in fact do a lot of writing. The thing that makes it difficult is I go through phases with poetry, and it takes me a long time to warm my mind back up into it. So mostly that time is just writing and discarding. But THAT’S HOW WE IMPROVE, right? Or at least I hope haha.

This poem was written sometime in early summer, I think? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s not very recent. I just realised that I’d never shared it, so. (Summer is probably my favourite poetry writing time. For some reason it gets me super in the mood.) I was trying out some different styles, and I don’t know if I’d go back to this one, but I hope that you enjoy reading anyway. 🙂


lemonade lies

the sandstone wind is an arid, brittle heat that carves
through the canyons of your body. you are steeped

in the parched gold of grasses. the earth
is thirsty for more plum-perfumed words to

slip from your tongue like a bruise, like the way
your mother looks at you and your lungs crumple inside:

breathless, stormclouds flowering across eyes & hands
& hips. every place you have traced

the syntax of her skin.
(but that is a language she does not speak.)

//

at night your body entangles itself in sheets
like a feverish wasp, fingers locked
in the honey of
a sticky caesura.

quenched with chlorine, your thighs scale
into miniature maps

of your sins; of hair half undone
in a promise you cannot keep. but

the cool drains quickly. her eyes trickle elsewhere as
clouded insects catch the evening sun.
your structure hums in readiness of the snap.

Becoming Happier With My Appearance

I KNOW, another personal post. What am I doing?!? Yeah, the New Year has kind of put me in quite a reflective mood, so I thought…I may as well.

I discussed in my 2016 recap post how I’ve started to feel more comfortable with myself, and that also includes the way I look. Although maybe it seems trivial to write about my own appearance, I have felt pretty negative about it in this past, and it’s taken a while to try and move past that. I still am! So I guess this is a part of myself. And in particular I find it difficult to sort out the things that are society or actually me. Like am I genuinely doing this for myself, or is it part of the pressure to be conventionally pretty/skinny? GAH ALL THE THINGS ARE SO MIXED UP TOGETHER.

Firstly: I cut my hair really short at the start of last year. I like it a lot this way. I tell people that I might go back to long hair, but to be honest…I don’t think I will any time soon. Getting my hair cut has given so much more confidence, and except for sometimes dying it I don’t really need to take time to style. It makes me feel cool! Sometimes I can look more ~traditionally feminine~ and sometimes I can look more ~traditionally masculine~. In general I just LIKE MY HAIR A LOT and I’m so glad that I did cut it.

The hair kind of let me start to do all the things I wanted… I was wearing makeup only on school days, just because I felt self conscious about my skin. Argh, this is difficult, but I want to be really clear here: caring about your appearance is 100% okay! Liking makeup is 100% okay, that’s cool for you! But it wasn’t something I particularly liked, and I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was doing it for other people. I still sometimes put on makeup, but not as much, and not just out of embarrassment. (Right now I’m wearing eyeliner. I’m terrible at putting it on, but it makes me feel cool and badass.) (I’m trying to worry less about what people think, and it’s hard but I AM TRYING.)

I wrote a little about gender earlier, and thanks for kind of letting me rant there — I guess this is all related. I don’t really know if I feel dysphoria, or if it’s just discomfort with the stereotypical feminine roles or whatever so many big words but I just don’t feel like wearing skirts and dresses that much anymore. (Hence I don’t often wear them.) Although it took a little persuasion *coughs* deception on my part with my parents, but I now have trousers that I wear to school instead of a skirt. It makes me feel a lot better about myself.

Usually I wear shirts or t shirts. I own SO MANY button up shorts, guys. Flannel! Office-y shirts! Really oversized bright yellow shirts! I LOVE SHIRTS. I like the way they look, and I like the way that they make me feel. Just in general…SHIRTS. Basically my favourite item of clothing, if you couldn’t tell. I live in shirts and skinny jeans.

Many people call people my age the ‘selfie generation’ or whatever. I often see things about how narcissistic we are and stuff. I’ve personally never been that comfortable taking selfies or having photos taken of me — I didn’t even have anything to take selfies with for a long time. I still don’t take them a lot but it feels really good to document the days when I’m just feeling super nice about myself or wearing a nice outfit! I like going back and looking at those. It’s fun to see me smiling as well. 🙂 I haven’t actually put any pictures here because this is more about my own feelings than my appearance, I guess, but if you do want to see my face then you can find me on my tumblr blog.

Yes! So this was actually pretty fun to do. I think being comfortable with yourself and gaining confidence is really important. It might be easier for some people than others. Although it’s taken me a while to get where I am now, I’m glad that I feel pretty okay with how I look and people’s opinions of me right now.

7 #Relatable Clarinet Things

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I’ve played the clarinet for a couple of years now, and I love talking to other clarinet players about all the clarinet things. So HERE ARE A FEW. Also, whilst I was writing this post I I realised that this was kinda similar to An Overthinking Teenager’s #Trumpeterproblems post so do go and check that out, it’s excellent! I mean, I’m not actually a trumpeter, but I DID ENJOY IT NEVERTHELESS.

1. Wait, how many ledger lines?

As you can see here, you can get a whooole bunch of ledger lines on the clarinet. I’ve got a pretty solid hold on the lower ledger lines, but in the higher register? (The weird altissimo one.) Yeah, just no. I am that person who sits there counting them all out. TOO MANY LEDGER LINES, GUYS.

2. There are approximately 30172907 other clarinet players out there

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally glad so many people choose to play the clarinet, because clearly the best instrument out there. *coughs* It just means that there’s a lot of competition for the few clarinet spaces there are in orchestras. (Like, at least there are about a million violins. Compared with THREE CLARINETS, I tell you. THREE CLARINETS.) (This especially sucks when you have, like, a clarinet prodigy at your school. RIP me.)

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3. Playing 3rd clarinet in the school orchestra

Even when you do manage to get a place in orchestra, if it’s a lower part then it’s often just minims or crotchets plus 40 bars rest. I’m still pretty bitter from my 3rd clarinet days, to be honest. But it means that you can be SUPER HAPPY when you move up a part.

4. Trilling over the break

Some composers obviously just…do not understand how the clarinet works. BRO, I CANNOT TRILL FROM AN A TO A C. I JUST CAN’T. For non-clarineters: that means going from leaning on one key with your index finger to having all your fingers down! Plus another key! THE HORROR. I mean, there probably is a trill key for it. (See below.) But when you have to do it in like a scale of really quick notes going over the break and it’s just asdgyjhakeflkw.

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5. SO MANY DIFFERENT KEYS

I’ve played the clarinet for a good while now, and even I don’t know what all the little keys along the side do. (I think I know most of them. But I might have to experiment a bit if you actually asked me to tell you.) It also means that if you knock one of them slightly, it can send your entire instrument off kilter and then you have to improvise with cling film and blue-tack to try and get the notes out.

6. Cleaning your clarinet is just…no

There are a variety of different clarinet cleaning things out there that you can use, but I have a weird cloth with a weight on the end. It used to be white, but now it’s brown and ripped and just in general extremely disgusting. I used to barely ever clean my clarinet, so when I did it would come out with loads of brown stuff, but now I try and clean it every time I play to minimise that. It’s still pretty gross.

7. Your one good reed always chips

Reeds are just really weird and mostly out to hate you. (It always seems like they’re especially out to get you when you are a wee tiny clarinet player.) They’re dry and they chip really easily and sometimes you find a 2 year old one somewhere and it is super super manky. And then when you get out the one reed you trust to play it at the concert…IT GOES AND CHIPS. Because of course.

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do you play an instrument, or would you like to? (the clarinet maybe?!?) can you relate to any of these struggles?