RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘gay’

  1. Relief

    July 19, 2013 by superlative

    My Grandad’s funeral was on Wednesday this week, and after my three weeks of apprehensiveness about it, it ended up being fine. I suspected that might happen – more than once I’ve anticipated things being worse than they actually turn out to be.

    It was boiling hot in London, pushing 90 degrees apparently, which didn’t feel right for a funeral somehow. I drove my Mum and Dad to the ceremony in our (Chris’) car, and thank GOD it has air conditioning because it would have been awful otherwise. It already was not a good day to be wearing a shirt and tie and a black suit, so having to be enclosed in a metal box for half an hour as well would have been too much.

    We only got there about 10 minutes before the ceremony was due to start, and by a weird coincidence ended up following my Grandad’s hearse for the last few minutes. There was no official procession or anything, just the hearse to bring the coffin to the crematorium, because my Grandad didn’t want lots of money wasted on what he regarded as the empty shell he’d leave behind after he’d gone. So it felt quite nice in a way that we ended up creating a mini-procession anyway, even if it was just for half a mile (and even if a Tesco van did end up involved for while).

    It meant there wasn’t a lot of hanging around at the crematorium anyway, which is good because it was the idle chitchat that I was nervous about. I did see my cousins, and they came over and said hello to me and my brother and shook hands and it was all perfectly normal. I didn’t really speak to them beyond that, but my brother did just for a few minutes.

    Then we went into the BOILING ceremony room, which wasn’t very nice because the heat was quite distracting from the proceedings. The ceremony was short but fine, but unfortunately the vicar sort of missed out that my brother was meant to be reading a poem he’d spent ages choosing. So we were a bit confused when suddenly the curtain started closing around the coffin and it was all over, because we were waiting for him to do his bit. In the end she retrieved it when we told her she’d missed my brother (retrieved the situation, I mean; she didn’t go and get the coffin back), and gathered everyone together by the flowers outside and Dave read it there. It was really nice and very fitting for the kind of man my Grandad was, and I was really pleased he did it. It was the only contribution from family, and I don’t think it would have felt very nice if no one had said anything at all.

    Then after a little bit of milling about I escaped with Mum, who was suffering from the heat, and took her home. She was a convenient excuse for me not to have to go back to the wake thing really. I took her back, and my Dad, brother and sister-in-law went off with the other guests for tea and sandwiches or some such thing. I’ve not spoken to my brother yet, but he texted me later and said the afternoon was all fine, so it sounds like there were no arguments or pointed comments or anything like that.  I’m going to try to speak to him later to find out if there was any gossip from it all. So I’m glad anyway, because if it had turned difficult it wouldn’t have been very nice for him or my Dad, or very respectful to my Grandad.

    So that’s it really. All over now. It’s entirely likely I won’t see my cousins or uncle again (I did see my uncle and aunt from a distance, but didn’t pass close enough to them to say hello, so just didn’t end up doing so). We’ve got no real reason to meet up with them now. I suppose there might be another funeral for a family member at some point. But that won’t be for a while (hopefully), and it won’t be the first time I’ve seen them since the ‘outing’ any more so I don’t think I’ll feel so tense about it.

    All the apprehension was pretty much for nothing, but, y’know, I’m a worrier and that’s just what I do…


  2. Apprehension

    July 4, 2013 by superlative

    My Grandad died about a week and a half ago. He was my Dad’s dad, and he died the night before my Dad’s 65th birthday, so it wasn’t the best timing in the world. Saying that though, there probably never is a particularly well timed moment to die.

    He was very old, in his 90s, and not a very well or happy man any more, so it wasn’t unexpected. He’d been in and out of hospital a lot this year and his health was generally failing. He was no longer really well enough to be living in his retirement flat on his own, and I know he would have hated it if he’d been forced to go into a nursing home, so in some ways I’m glad he was spared that. He would also say quite openly that he was fed up and ready to go – that his body ‘just doesn’t work any more’ – so it’s hard to feel sad in that regard. What would the alternative be? To wish him to keep on living while unhappy? He wasn’t going to miraculously become fit and well again. He’d also had to live for something like 18 years without my Gran, who died when I was about 13, and that can’t be very nice. I think he’d wanted to go as soon as she did, and I imagine another 18 years of missing someone was really very difficult.

    So there are lots of things that I’m not sad about.

    There are some other things that do make me sad though, and that make me now feel apprehensive.

    People who have read this blog for a while may have seen me refer to this particular grandad as my ‘Horrible Grandad’. That’s what I used to call him, to differentiate him from my Nice Grandad. Nice Grandad is always warm and pleased to see or speak to me, and never demanding or judgemental or entitled. He’s just pleased if and when you go to see him. Horrible Grandad used to demand people went to see him because it was their duty, and would then proceed to tell you what he didn’t approve of about you and question what you were doing with your life. It didn’t make me want to go and see him, because he wasn’t very nice company.

    He’s also the grandad who I felt didn’t deserve to know me. I wrote a long post about it last year, but basically he hurt me when I was young. He had a long conversation with my uncle in front of me about how proud he was that they’d ‘never had one in the family’, meaning a homosexual, and it was very difficult for me to listen to that as a child who already knew he was gay. From that point on I distanced myself from him emotionally. I decided to punish him by not being close to him and not really caring about him, because I felt that if he knew me properly, if he knew what I was, he wouldn’t care about me.

    That seemed fine to me at the time, but now he’s dead it seems… petty. It began to seem petty last year when my uncle and cousins maliciously outed me to him (see the same previously long post) in order presumably to cause trouble for me or my Dad. I had resolved never to tell him I was gay, and could justify it because I thought he would just react badly and it wasn’t worth it. It was also part of my attempt to punish him for hurting me. When it actually came to it though and I was outed, he reacted more badly to not having been told than to my homosexuality. He said the main thing was that I was happy. And that rather kicked the legs out from underneath my years of secretly punishing him, because it all seemed rather pointless.

    I still know why I did what I did. I’m still angry that he hurt me and made me feel like an outcast from the family, like I was only still there because I could hide what I was. But the fucktard that is hindsight made me think I could have done better by him, and he probably could have done better by me.

    And now I’ve got the funeral coming up in the middle of July, and I’m apprehensive about it. I’ll have to see my uncle and my cousins again, I’ve not spoken to them for years, and there will be the tension of knowing they told Grandad to fuck me over, or used me and who I am to fuck my Dad over. And I don’t know how it’s going to go.

    As I’ve said before, they didn’t actually damage me. In some ways they did me a favour – they removed the need for me to go on lying, and Grandad was very kind to me about it. So I adopted the position that if their intent was to annoy or upset me, they failed, and I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of me being annoyed or upset. Aside from an awkward phone call to my Grandad, my life carried on exactly as before. So they can’t touch me, they didn’t touch me then, and they can’t touch me now.

    I know however that my brother is very annoyed, in reaction to seeing someone try to hurt his brother and his Dad. I think my Dad is annoyed too, but has bitten his tongue on the occasions when he’s had to speak to my uncle since then. Ultimately I don’t want to be the cause of a row at a funeral, and I don’t want to be drawn into one myself.

    It might be fine. I might see them and say hello and not really talk to them. Or I might talk to them and it will be normal and we just won’t mention what happened. I don’t know them any more – I’ve not seen them for 10 years – and I’m only assuming their intent was to cause trouble rather than some bizarre sense of Grandad ‘having a right to know’ or something equally pointless.

    Or it might go badly. They might make a snide comment or ask where Chris is (I’ve asked Chris not to come). Or they might piss my brother or Dad off. It would be a rotten thing to do – it’s a funeral for my Grandad, and it’s not about them or me or anyone else. But I just can’t tell.

    So anyway. The funeral I’ve slightly dreaded for years has finally arrived. It’s on the 17th. I’ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully it will be more BBC and less Jeremy Kyle.


  3. The joys of a harmonious family

    January 30, 2012 by superlative

    I had an interesting evening yesterday.

    Chris and I were away over the weekend at some engagements with his family, so I hadn’t spoken to my Mum for a couple of days (sweet relief). I got home last night and she rang me almost immediately, and I knew as soon as I saw her number on the caller display that it wasn’t going to be because something nice had happened.

    Regular readers of this blog may know who my Horrible Grandad is. He’s my Dad’s Dad anyway, who I don’t see very often, and who I don’t regard as a particularly nice person. He also doesn’t know that I am gay and happily married to a boy. Or rather, he didn’t.

    Some kind person has apparently found photographs of my civil partnership ceremony on the internet, printed them out, and given them to my Grandad. Why anyone would want to do that I really cannot fathom – beyond wanting to cause trouble for me, or for my Dad. Either way, it really wasn’t a very nice thing for them to do.

    My Grandad was apparently furious when my Dad went up for one of his regular Saturday night visits and proceeded to have a massive go at him for not having told him. His view is that he is “the head of the family and has a right to know”. Well first of all, fuck off are you the head of the family you cantankerous old goat, and second of all no you don’t have any right at all to know who or what I enjoy doing in my bedroom.

    My poor Dad was obviously taken completely unawares, but couldn’t deny it by that point, and could only say that he hadn’t told him because I’d instructed him not to because I didn’t want to upset him. Not that I give two fucks about upsetting my Grandad, but yes that was probably the right thing to say given the circumstances.

    There really aren’t that many people in the world who could have done this, or who would have wanted to. Hardly anyone knows both me and my Grandad and would have any reason to want maliciously to out me to him. I can only think that it was either one of my cousins, or my aunt (their mother), or my uncle (my Dad’s brother), or some combination of those people.

    We don’t get on hugely well with that side of family, but I haven’t actually seen most of them for years. I don’t think I’ve seen my cousins since my Gran died about 15 years ago, and I’ve only seen my aunt and uncle maybe once or twice in that time. My brother and my Dad have seen them occasionally, but I’ve missed a couple of occasions where I would have seen them, and those have been few and far between. My Dad obviously speaks to his brother sometimes, especially when my Grandad isn’t well.

    Before my Gran died we used to see them quite often, and ostensibly we got on fine. They’ve never done anything bad to me, and I’ve never done anything bad to them – we just weren’t hugely close. But at some point in the past we failed to go to my Aunty Sue’s 50th birthday party (that’s the aunt in question), and this was perceived as a huge slight. That was AGES ago, I can’t even remember if it was before or after my Gran died. But anyway, they took that badly, and I think Sue blamed my Mum for us not going, and we have never been forgiven since. I’ve definitely seen my Aunty Sue more recently than that at a party, and everything was fine and friendly, but without my Gran holding us together the two halves of the family drifted quickly apart.

    It must have been one of them that did this though, it really must have been, because there just isn’t anyone else who would care, and who would risk giving my Grandad a heart attack just to create problems for us.

    I feel very bad for my Dad, because he’s the one who got it in the neck, and that isn’t fair. My parents asked me several times to tell my Grandad about the gayness, because they found it awkward having either to lie or to feign ignorance if he enquired after my love life or anything like that. I always refused, because I don’t like him, and I didn’t want him to know.

    When I was about 12 or so, I had to sit through my Grandad and my uncle having a conversation where my Grandad described how proud he was “never to have had one in the family”. I knew what he was talking about, and I knew what I was at that age. So at that point I resolved I would never tell him, not because I didn’t want to disappoint him, but because I felt that if that was his attitude then he didn’t deserve to know me. And I stuck to that decision for 18 years even though I knew it was unfair on my parents to make them lie.

    After my Gran died he became quite old and quite frail very quickly, and so I suppose I was just waiting for him to die. It was never worth telling him, because he might not have been with us for very long – that was my thinking. He’s hung on though, for 15 long years, and now it’s all come out anyway.

    I spoke to my Dad after I had spoken to my Mum and I apologised for putting him in that position. My Dad is never cross with me anyway, not ever, so he of course said not to worry about it, bless him.

    I had a little bit of a think about it after I had spoken to them, and in the end I decided the only reasonable thing I could do was ring my Grandad and speak to him. He’d expect it (he expects a lot of things), and I had to divert attention away from my Dad and make clear that him not being told was my decision not Dad’s. It also seemed the only adult thing to do – otherwise what was I going to do? Never speak to him again? Pretend nothing had happened next time I saw him? I had no choice really.

    So I rang him, and to my shame he was very good about it with me. I told him I was ringing to apologise for not having told him sooner (although I’m not actually sorry, but whatever) and that it was because I hadn’t wanted to upset him (also untrue). He said that it was good of me to ring, and that the most important thing for him was that I am happy. That’s obviously a really nice thing for him to say, and is not at all the reaction I had expected from him, and it made me feel that yes I could have told him before and it would probably have been OK. But that’s the hard thing – you never KNOW how someone will react until it’s too late, and then it’s too late to take it back. So I know why I didn’t tell him, even if it now transpires that I probably could have done.

    He didn’t seem to want to talk for long, but he often doesn’t on the phone and he’ll just say OK bye and hang up when he’s had enough. Which is what he did more or less, but he was generally very kind to me and not mean at all. I suppose I knew that if he had been horrible to me I could just never have spoken to him again, and that emboldened me to make the phone call, but he wasn’t and it was fine. I hope he’ll now leave off my Dad a bit about it.

    My brother is apparently furious that someone has been so malicious, but personally I really don’t feel that bothered about it now. I hardly see my Grandad, and I never see my cousins. That they know I’m gay now doesn’t affect my life directly. My Grandad seems to be OK about it more or less (aside from not being told), and so in some ways they’ve done me a favour. If I get all irate about it, all I’m doing is letting them win by upsetting me. So no, I don’t really care all that much.

    It may be awkward if and when my Grandad dies and I have to see that side of the family again at the funeral. Part of the reason I didn’t want them to know was that I couldn’t stand the thought of them looking down on me for being gay when really they have nothing, NOTHING they can look down on me about. Their family is a mess, my uncle has run my Grandad’s business into the ground, and my cousins are fuck ups. They really shouldn’t be looking down on me for anything, but they might for this, and I find that prospect annoying. I’m not going to worry about that too much though – my Grandad is apparently immortal, so I’ll only concern myself with seeing them once it happens.

    And even though they may try, they can’t actually make me feel bad about being gay – no more than they can about me being male, or being white. I know what I am, I love what I am, I have a great life and I enjoy myself living it. So they can try to stir up trouble all they want, but in the end they can’t touch me.


  4. I can’t agree with David Starkey

    March 4, 2011 by superlative

    I’ve just watched this clip from a recent episode of Question Time in which David Starkey warns against creating a ‘new tyranny’ against Christians.

    Although I think he is quite a bright man, I can’t agree with his point of view.

    He seems to be confusing the issue of allowing Christians (or any other group) to hold personal beliefs with the matter of services that are provided by the state and businesses that are open to the public. I don’t think that they are a single issue.

    Yes, a religious person can hold whatever belief they wish, and can live their life according to that belief if they choose to, as long as they aren’t harming anyone else.

    But the state shouldn’t have to endorse that opinion, or make provision for it.

    In the case of the foster couple that he mentions, they would be free (unfortunately) to tell their own children that a gay lifestyle is not a good lifestyle. But the state has a duty to a child placed in their care – a child who may be gay themselves – and it has been accepted by the state that being gay is not harmful, nor is it a choice. What damage would be done to a gay child placed with that foster couple, to be told that the way they are is wrong? We may not be able to stop people harming their own children in that way, but the state has a duty to protect the children it places into foster care. It is rather hackneyed now to compare homophobia to racism, but for the sake of argument: if the couple had stated that they believe Asians are not to be trusted, would we consider them to be fit foster carers? No, probably not. Backing your argument up with religious doctrine doesn’t make it true.

    The second example of the Christian B&B owners is slightly more difficult, but the court’s ruling was based on the assertion that if you are going to provide a paid service to someone, you cannot discriminate over who you provide it to on the basis of sex, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. I believe this is right and proper. It doesn’t prevent the B&B owners from believing what they want to believe; but if they don’t want to accommodate people on an equal basis, they shouldn’t run a B&B. If they had said “we believe disabled people are being punished by God for their sins in a past life, so we won’t have them in our home”, would we find that acceptable? No. If it were just their house, that’s up to them, but it is a place of business, and is therefore subject to regulation by the law.

    So I cannot agree with David Starkey, I think he is wrong. And to end his speech by saying being “nice and sweet about gays isn’t wholly a good thing” just seems absurd. It is good to be harassed and discriminated against, is it? He makes it sound like it is harmless character-building. People who argue for gay rights aren’t asking everyone to be “nice and sweet” about them; rather just for them to be treated on an equal footing as everyone else, with all the hardships, annoyances and stress that life entails, but without a whole load of extra difficulties heaped upon them simply because they are gay and some people don’t think that’s OK.

     


  5. Abominate this, you stupid tart

    June 28, 2010 by superlative

    ————
    I’m updating this post, because quite rightly Laura Schlessinger has pointed out that it is completely wrong. Not to me personally of course, but in general, and presumably because she’s been getting a lot of this.

    She has also suggested that people are sometimes too quick to react in angry self defence to a perceived slight, when really they should research the facts a little better first. Of this I am guilty; it was too easy to believe that an American radio commentator would be homophobic.

    So I apologise to Dr Laura. I’m not going to remove the post, I’ll leave it up so people who do find it can also read this update. I might just edit it a little so my phrasing is not so mean.
    ————

    Some stupid wench not-stupid not-wench called Dr Laura Schlessinger decided didn’t decide to call homosexuals an abomination in her radio show, giving and didn’t give the often-quoted Leviticus 18:22 as her justification. A professor emeritus at the University of Virginia decided to take her to task with the following open letter either didn’t write the following open letter and it’s just made up or wrote it based on a false rumour, and although much of it is lifted from the West Wing it makes an entertaining read nonetheless.

    Dear Dr. Laura,

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations.  A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify?  Why can’t I own Canadians?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.  In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24.  The problem is how do I tell?  I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9.  The problem is my neighbors.  They claim the odor is not pleasing to them.  Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.  Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.  I don’t agree.  Can you settle this?  Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight.  I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27.  How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm.  He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend).  He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.  Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    Your adoring fan.
    James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

    Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

    University of Virginia


  6. The BBC have disgusted me today

    December 16, 2009 by superlative

    The BBC are really scraping the barrel today, which their repulsive Have Your Say ‘discussion’ entitled ‘Should homosexuals face execution?’

    Even the question is abhorrent, and I don’t know how they can justify posting it. Would it be right to have a discussion, under the banner of freedom of speech, on ‘Should black people be killed for being black?’, or ‘Should goats be executed for having four legs?’. NO. Of course not. Because the question in itself is ridiculous and stupid. All they’ve done is invite lots of horrible little bigots to submit their putrid little brain farts, typed out with their misshapen club hands, while they furrow their monobrows under the strain of trying to spell a word as long as homosexuality. It’s the kind of thing I’d expect from the Daily Mail, not from the BBC.
    The ‘Most recommended’ tab of the debate (sic) is particularly horrifying, both for the stupidity and the bile that it contains. And these are posts that have been RECOMMENDED as good by other readers. It’s truly terrifying.
    Chris the vile little toad from Guildford treats us to this awesome piece of widsom:
    “I suggest all gays are put on a remote island somewhere and left for a generation – afterwhich, theoretically there shoild be none left !”
    First of all, WOO HOO gay party island! We’ll take Mustique, thanks very much, and YOU’RE not invited because only people who can tie their own shoelaces and don’t clasp their pencils with their whole fist are allowed.
    Second of all, SHUT UP. Where do you think gay people come from? Not from breeding with each other obviously, you seem to have grasped that much. So what, you think we just swish past people in our fabulous outfits and somehow they get turned gay? You worthless little moron. I’ve known I was gay since I was in infant school. INFANT SCHOOL. Do you think I should have been put to death for it then? Or was it only when I started tonguing boys that I crossed the line? If the world ever has the misfortune of you breeding, I hope all your children ARE gay and I hope they hate you. Also, learn to spell ‘should’, you vacuous pustule.
    Rob D from Northampton is no better:
    “Homosexuality is not natural. It makes me very uncomfortable when you consider what it involves.”

    Homosexuality does not equal anal sex. Lots of straight people have anal sex. For FUCK’S sake. Do you think that’s all we do all day? Even if your problem is with anal sex, that’s completely different to homosexuality. That’s an act, not a gender. And you’ve got no reason to feel uncomfortable, who do you think is going to want to fuck you, you lard arse? Gay people have GOOD taste, haven’t you heard?
    It goes on and on. Anglobert from Surrey makes an attempt at being understanding, but can’t get past the ‘I’m a complete and utter DICKWAD with no right to be alive’ stage:
    “Let’s face it. Homosexuals are not wilful criminals but unfortunate disabled people who cannot enjoy Nature’s gift of attraction to and union with the opposite sex, and unable to treasure the family memories most of us take to the grave.

    Feel sympathy but do not regard their relationships as normal alternatives to marriage and procreation. Hopefully, medical science will find a remedy to normalise their disability. Meanwhile, they should not be regarded as criminals. They are born that way.”

    I’ll wait for my blue badge in the post shall I? It’ll make it much easier when I nip up to Tescos. You better be careful though, those bays are right next to the Mother And Baby ones, I might try to fiddle with some kiddies while I’m there.
    In case you hadn’t noticed, Anglobert, most gay people think gay sex is HOT. I for one do not feel a huge void in my life simply because I am unable to fancy Anglobettina, or whatever your snub-nosed dwarf of a wife is called. And lots of us also have FAMILIES. I know! Shocking isn’t it?
    So forgive me if I don’t rush myself down to the electroshock clinic in order to get my disability rectified. I’m far too busy spending my disposal income, wearing great shoes, and holidaying three times a year.
    The BBC should be ashamed of itself.

  7. I don’t like the Blood Service

    November 6, 2009 by superlative

    I don’t like the Blood Service because it is discriminatory and unfair. I’ve read through all their arguments, and I’ve read why the Terrence Higgins Trust supports their view (albeit accepting that it is discriminatory), but I still don’t like it because it makes me feel like I am inferior because of who I am.

    For those of you who don’t know, the Blood Service doesn’t allow gay men to give blood. Ever. We’re banned for life. They don’t phrase it specifically like that, in fact they deliberately make it not about being gay but about sexual behaviour. Otherwise I suspect it would be illegal under equalities legislation. The question they ask you is:
    ‘Are you a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man (even if you used a condom)?’
    And if the answer is yes, then you’re out.
    You can, however, be a woman who has had oral sex with a man without using a condom, and that’s fine. You can also be a man who has had sex with 300 women in the last year. Even if it was in a back alley after 14 shots of vodka. Not if she gave you a tenner in payment for it though, that makes a whole world of difference.
    Their argument, based on their scientific advice, is that by allowing any men who have any kind of sex with men to donate blood, they would greatly increase (by 60% they say) the chance of blood-borne viruses entering the supply. They can’t take that risk, nor can they jeopardise public confidence in the Blood Service.
    I can understand why they have to keep patient safety rather than my feelings as an overriding concern. But as a gay man it feels HORRIBLE. They’d rather take blood from a tramp on the street than from me.
    Even worse, without wanting to bore you (or enthrall you) with too much detail, the kind of sexual activities I have enjoyed during my life to date could not be classed, in my opinion, as being in any way risky. In fact I’d go as far to say that I’m at less risk than the average person of having contracted HIV. On top of that, I actually know my HIV status, which is more than lots of people can say. I doubt many of my straight friends have ever had an HIV test. But none of that matters. They don’t have the “resources”, they say, to obtain detailed sexual histories from every potential donor, so the kind of sex you’ve had or how recent it was doesn’t matter.
    But what of that feeling you have, and that is implied in the adverts, that they always need to people to give blood, they’re crying out for it, and that people would die if you didn’t? Well they don’t care about that either. In fact if pressed, they say “there has been a safe and sufficient blood supply in this country for many years”. Oh, so I don’t need to feel guilt-tripped into giving blood by your adverts after all? Well I wish you’d said, there was me hoping to be a good citizen and “do something amazing today”.
    I’m not arguing particularly for a change in policy, although I do note that other European countries take a different view. If I were to argue for it, I suppose it would be that they should consider each person’s individual history, and not impose a fairly arbitrary and harshly-phrased lifetime ban. But I would like them to acknowledge that their policy sucks ass (which would presumably preclude you from giving blood if it’s a man’s ass), and for them to show a bit more sensitivity as they trample over my feelings.

  8. Aren’t weddings supposed to be fun?

    April 16, 2009 by superlative

    Sigh, OK so here is the latest on my brother’s wedding, that I couldn’t be bothered to write about yesterday because it was too depressing.

    Mum now has a borrowed dress and a hat to wear, which is good because she was freaking out about finding an outfit. So is she feeling any happier and maybe looking forward to her son getting married? No. She’s now able to turn her attention instead to freaking out about how she’s going to manage the day, and how long she’ll be able to stay for, and how she’ll get home afterwards. I think the root cause is most probably that she went to a dress shop at the weekend for an hour and then it took her two days to recover, so she’s obviously now thinking how is she going to manage a whole wedding.

    Dave isn’t being particularly helpful, but I do understand why. He’s feeling a bit pissed off I think that not only is Mum not doing anything to help for the wedding (because, admittedly, she can’t), she is actually being a hindrance and creating more stress for him, by asking for constant reassurance and checking of things like where she can go for a rest during the day, where she can eat her meal, etc etc. She is quite good at making things about her, even when you think it is something that most certainly is not about her.

    She’s like that though. Take when she found out I was gay – one of the earliest things she said to me was “I don’t think you’ve thought about how this affects me”, and then she bought this stupid book called Stranger In The Family – How to cope when your son is gay. It was all about grief, and the mourning that a parent feels for the life they thought their child was going to have and now won’t.

    Fuck. Off. Mourning?? I wasn’t bloody dead! Just because she chose to make lots of assumptions about my life, it’s not my fault. I never promised to marry a nice girl and have lots of babies. And a parent’s assumptions actually make their gay child’s life rather more difficult, as you then feel like you’re doing something wrong by not conforming to them.

    Anyway, I’m getting off the point. Mum is getting stressy and demanding attention, and Dave is getting pissy and refusing to give it, so I end up getting my ear bent by both of them. I don’t recall signing up to be family conciliator and I’m getting a bit fucked off with it lately. I want to go to my brother’s wedding and enjoy it! But I won’t really, I won’t be able to relax until the evening probably, once Mum and Dad leave, which sounds AWFUL but it’s true.

    So there you are. And we’ve got about five and a half weeks to go. I’m sure someone will go into meltdown at some point before that. I’m slightly concerned that Dave will be short with Mum on the phone, she’ll take offence (partly on purpose, as part of her attention-seeking tactics), and then Mum will say she won’t go at all then if she’s such a trouble and we’ll have a whole family drama.

    But whatever, fuck it, I can’t fix everything for them. I’m getting exasperated, can you tell?


  9. Not feeling ill? Start the clock!

    February 20, 2009 by superlative

    I’m back at work now, and am no longer ill, hooray! Of course, it is only a matter of time before I get some other virus, so I had better enjoy it while it lasts. Maybe I should start a counter, and keep a running total of how many days I succeed in staying healthy. It’ll be like Bridget Jones’s “Cigarettes: 4; Alcohol units: 8” at the start of each entry.

    So here we go:
    Days Healthy – 1

    On the downside, Chris has caught what I had now, so is at home with a raging sore throat during his half term, and probably feeling a bit hard done-by. He normally fends off my illnesses with his superior immune system, but not this time. I hope he gets better soon, I quite want to go dancing at the weekend.

    I’ve just been reading a recent blog post by Jay Brannan where he talks about not liking being labelled as a gay artist. I do agree with him, particularly where he talks about gay people who live in a ghetto-ised environment where being gay seems to be the most important part of their personality. They only read gay books, the only have gay friends, it’s all so insular. I met quite a few people like that at university, and I don’t think it’s healthy.

    And how do you manage only to have gay friends anyway? Most people are straight, surely your group of friends would have to comprise a few?? And lots of gay men are really quite unpleasant…

    Some people have commented in full agreement with him, and have voiced the sentiment I share that if all we focus on is our differences, how will we ever get passed them? Celebrating your differences is fine, but making everything in your life be about them seems wrong to me.

    Other people however have really laid into him about it, which I think is mean. If he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed and have his music shoved into the gay section of a shop, I think that’s up to him.

    Anyway, enough semi-ranting now, I’m off to have my lunch and hopefully not contract any diseases.


  10. It’s a little bit funny

    January 9, 2009 by superlative

    Sometimes I think it’s a bit odd that I live with another boy. I sleep in a bed with another boy, I kiss another boy, but he’s a BOY.

    Obviously, I quite like it, and I wouldn’t change it. But when you grow up being told that one day you’ll get married to a girl and you’ll have children and live in a house with an apple tree next to it and a yellow sun in the sky and smoke coming out of the chimney, it feels weird when you don’t end up doing it.