In conversation: Roxane Gay at WOW

Introducing Roxane Gay onto stage was one of the organisers of the Women of the World festival, who praised Gay’s great contribution to a ‘fully intersectional just world’ which would ultimately ‘help our LGBT kids’. Gay was to be interviewed by fellow race card holder Afua Hirsch, who, when she interviewed Patrisse Cullors for the WOW festival the previous year, asked precisely not one incisive question.

I have to say, unlike most of the people I have covered for this blog, Gay was naturally funny, often deflecting Hirsch’s asinine and fake observations (Hirsch: ‘Your range is actually extraordinary-‘, interrupting, Gay quipped ‘-I do have the range’). Hirsch went onto list her many projects, which included fiction writing, TV and film projects, writing the World of Wakanda for Marvel and a podcast. And, of course, her cultural criticism.

Review of documentary: The Stroll

Prior to the viewing of the film we were treated to an excruciating presentation from the BFI Flare programmers. Diverse bunch they were too, the women all being being very young, black and ‘queer’ (if we were to go with our spidey senses alone) and the men being older, white and gay (again, spidey senses).

The outgoing director told us that the festival began 37 years ago and was called (?) Gay Zone Pictures and only nine films were screened, presumably just about gay men. For years it then became a Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, then LGB, then LGBT, until finally now it is an ‘LGBTQIA+’ festival. It is a core part of the BFI’s calendar. She thanked the sponsors, who included Campari, American Airlines (also provides the flights), Mischon de Reya (corporate law firm, I believe they also represent the Southbank in actions), PGIM (investment bank), Interbank LGBT+ Forum (financial staff network group), and special thanks went to FACTSET (data analytics corporate) for being the Festival’s ‘accessibility partner’. Just gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, dunnit?

LGBT+ History Month Event at Birkbeck on the Beaumont Society

About forty people attended this free lecture, held to celebrate LGBT+ History Month, with a number of men who were over sixty held by Birkbeck College, part of the University of London. Of course, we were warned right at the start that the event that it was not an opportunity to discuss any of current issues about trans-identities, nor were people to ask any improper questions. The lecture would last just 20 minutes with Q&A twice that.

Death Becomes Him: Munroe Bergdorf in conversation

The announcement of Bergdorf’s book came with much fanfare in July 2020. At that point it was described as part political tract, part memoir and part history. Bergdorf had apparently written eighty-thousand words (that’s about 260 pages) though I think I also recall seeing claims of the more modest effort of just forty-thousand. Anyway, despite apparently writing the whole thing upfront (final version is 224 pages) the publication date was beset by a number of delays. Ordering an advance copy from Amazon I was kept abreast of the ever vanishing release date as it went from 2021, to at least two dates in 2022, a promise of January 2023, until finally March 2023, which was suddenly bought forward to February. (I personally wonder if this was to get in first before any attention was given to Hannah Barnes’s expose of the Tavistock Time to Think, whose publication was announced on the same day of this event.)

Abolition event held at Law School. Yes, *really*.

Let’s bear in mind throughout please that this was a discussion about ‘abolition’ held in a university law school. In essence abolitionists seek the destruction of the police, prison and all forms of organised justice in favour of anarchy. The conference started proper by closing our eyes and looking into darkness of our minds to supposedly create a moment of visualisation we could return to later. This was suggested by the moderator of the event, Natasha Mutch-Vidal, a complete numbskull, who behaved throughout with unparalleled precocity. Her role at City University is as ‘Senior Equality Diversity Inclusion Officer (Race Equality)’, which is really just a way of saying she does nothing all day long and gets paid for it.

An Evening with Greta Thunberg

The Southbank took the unprecedented step of closing the building for a hour on the day of Greta Thunberg’s appearance for ‘security’ and thus when we duly arrived the entrances were mob-handed by security guards, who looked like they’d been in bought specially for the event. I’ve never experienced that before when attending the Royal Festival Hall. There was a ticket check outside, then a bag check outside the main door and then another ticket check inside before we were allowed to wander around the building. Outside Piers Corbyn and friends protested.

Part 1: Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

I read this book following my attendance of an event held with the authors of the book – Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan – when they were (sort of) interviewed by Juno Dawson, which I will write about separately and link here when done.  

In the past I have been a big fan of Jodi Picoult, having read pretty much everything she has ever written. However, I stopped a few years ago.  I can’t remember the name of the book now but do remember finishing it feeling uneasy and disappointed about the glib manner in which a very serious sexual abuse storyline had been used and the conclusion the author had appeared arrived at.

Review of: The Enby Show

The show was part of a series at the Rich Mix called ‘Rehearsing Utopia’. According to the Rich Mix, utopia involves networking parties for BAME people, discussing systemic racism with a panel of black women no one has ever heard of, a DJ set/club night for LGBTQIA+ people (quiet room included) and this show I’m talking about here, the Enby Show, a sub-par cabaret act. That’s utopia. Not solving world hunger, promoting world peace or even engaging deprived local families in community activities. Times have changed.

‘Trans Lives in the Seventies’

The event was part of a theme to celebrate the BBC’s birthday and to take retrospective look at how ‘trans people’ were treated in programming in the 1970s. For once, the person doing the presentation, Marcus Collins, a real historian, had done actual proper research into the film archive.

Unfortunately this didn’t extend into researching the background of his guest speaker, Morgan M. Page, of the notorious cotton ceiling workshop fame.

Review of documentary and short feature at Queer Film and Arts Festival

It started ten minutes later than advertised with people still coming in after the second film had started. No one said anything to the person blatantly recording the screen on their mobile phone. I kept falling asleep during but luckily had a bearded woman in the seat next to me, who generously jumped about in her seat about once a minute, so just enough to stop me nodding off completely. The host of the event, apparently an experienced hand at hosting panels, behaved like a shy little girl and urged everybody to leave the screening for a comfort break once Uyra’s nine minute credit sequence started to roll. We also had a BSL interpreter to sign for the panel plus both films had subtitles with sound description too. Annoying.

Including trans people in sport

Simon opened the training by saying that trans people don’t feel comfortable in sport and ‘self-select’ out of it.  However, inclusion was possible, it just required us to reappraise ‘stereotypes’ and change the way we do things.

Simon read a quote from GI’s ‘research’ from a trans person who was relying on sport to keep them going whilst they waited for ‘hormones and surgery’.  A quote from the IOC told us that ‘sport was a human right’.  So why did ‘trans folk’ find it hard to take part?

Review of comedy and poetry show by ALOK

Thank you to the tweep who alerted me to in late May. Luckily I jumped straight on it and was able to secure a ticket before the Saturday night sold out, there were only 3 tickets left. They were expensive too, at £28 a pop, indicating yet again that trans-themed culture is a niche of the wealthy. Alok had a sold out run. I have previously blogged about him here, if you missed it, one of my first pieces after I started this website.

Shon Faye in conversation. *Again*.

Shon began with a reading from his rabidly left wing book – trans people have faced over a century of injustice, and justice for trans people meant justice for all, that sort of thing. A revolution basically. Those who push back against of this are just fearful old bags. Let’s just remind ourselves of Shon’s former self, back when he was just plain old Sean.

Review of play: 52 Monologues for Young Transsexuals

The play was staged at the ADC Theatre, ‘the smallest department of Cambridge University’ and run by students with almost no faculty involvement, according to its website. It’s across the way from the prestigious King’s College. The theatre encourages patrons to wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus. Encouragement rather undermined by Charli collecting spit from audience members into a cup on entry into the theatre space, later to be thrown over him by Jack.

The Tragedy of Heterosexuality: Invitations Forward with Author Jane Ward

The audience of the webinar were mainly therapists, likely with a specialism in couples therapy and began with a land acknowledgement from Jennifer Hollinshead of the counselling service Peak Resilience hosting the session. She encouraged us to visit the land acknowledgement website she was reading from, so that we too can learn tribe names we can’t pronounce. Gender and sex was intricately linked to colonialism, she told us, and these tribes had a much more diverse gender system than ours (I don’t see how though, when we have at least a gazillion). The gender binary had been used to suppress peasant uprisings in Europe. The money raised from the seminar would go to an indigenous women’s group in Vancouver (I note from the blurb the term ‘self-identifying’ is used) and what sounded like a BLM-type justice project in LA. Neither project are registered charities, nor appear to have any governance in place.

What do you get when a Q, two Ts and A meet up?

Imagine my excitement when I saw this oppression olympics event. You can’t?! Well let me tell you the £7 ticket was cheap at half-the-price for Travis alone, but to have three further gender-addled-gerbils thrown into the bargain was a bonanza. Travis was resplendent in a high-neck orange gingham mini-dress. Preferring to sit to the side he was soon asked to sit centre, which makes sense really, being the main man. Fox was almost unrecognisable, I couldn’t quite make it out at first, but finally settled on her eyes being noticeably smaller. Tiredness, perhaps.

Review of Travis’s new play – I’m Tired of Waiting, Pass Me the Duct Tape

So we have one professional actor and two who aren’t. I’m Tired of Waiting is a reference to the NHS waiting list for treatment for gender dysphoria and Pass me the Duct Tape a reference to tucking (or binding for the teen girls in the audience, and believe me there were plenty). I guess this must be Travis’s current work in progress. Predicted crapometer rating 11/10. And thus it came to pass.

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