Sunday, 28 June 2009

Stonewall 40 years on

History has a way of miscasting what actually happened, some get marginalised, erased, misrepresented and so on. Especially when the revolution was not televised.

It was not the first riot and police harassment continues to this day if perhaps not in such a blatant manner.

Some comments around this event state it was the birth of the gay rights (sic) movement but there were groups and campaigners before perhaps rather unfairly criticised. They were portrayed as older and conservative homosexual groupings.

Understandably there was an element of frustration yet the work of activists like Harry Hay, to name but one are ignored or dismissed. It was just a case of right place (the centre of the major US news media and influential fringe publications), right time. That placed it above other notable events like the Gene Compton's Cafeteria riot, a few years before.

The riots do seem in the following years to have been spun. The ethnicity whitened which possibly makes the attempt to link the campaign for gay marriage with the civil rights movement look even more disingenuous as well as offending black allies and alienating minority lgbt. Trans elements were marginalised as were lesbians it seems. There was no radical movement for trans peoples in the aftermath and things have been slightly touchy with some in the US ever since. As for lesbians I have great sympathy for the suggestion that it was the gender equality movement which provided the impetus.

Then again it probably does not matter whether it was a "drag queen", lesbian or green eyed reptile who cast the first stone it is the symbolic nature and the name which resonates throughout the world.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The End Of Blogger Anonymity

In my opinion a worrying precedent has been set by the decision of the High Court to allow The Times to 'out' the previously anonymous police blogger known as NightJack.

According to the judgement in The Author of a Blog v Times Newspapers Ltd (BAILII link), "because blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity" no anonymity can be given to NightJack and by extension the true identity of many a pseudonymous blogger can be revealed in England and Wales.

In the case in point The Times took it upon itself to try and find the identity of the revealing and award-winning blogger, ostensibly it seems by following the many trails left online (although it would be interesting to know all the methods used).

Although their lawyers advanced public interest for disclosure it is little more than a trashy expose, He took great care not to mention live cases and has not to my knowledge broken the Contempt of Court Act 1981 or any other law in his writing. There is also little glory or financial reward, he did not accept his Orwell Prize and donated the prize money to the Police Benevolent Fund.

Defenders of his unmasking will point to freedom of information and accountability. As this Gawker article does, splendidly missing the point that it will have the opposite effect in, as this case shows, stopping someone from writing openly about the inner workings of public institutions and further discouraging whistle-blowers already put off by recent stories. There is also an element of hypocrisy given the use of anonymous police sources in several stories within the Times. Should they be subject to the Times' new high minded approach?

Thankfully although his career may be ruined, he will be free. Given the situation in Iran it is important to state that many writers are risking their lives, which is why in many cases, anonymity is vitally important, sadly it would be possible for people to cite this ruling as justification to reveal their identity.

Whether it is a matter of life and death I would defend the rights of those who wish to preserve their anonymity or privacy from scuzzy acts of so-called journalism.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Boobs, Bum, Hips or Curves

Quietly reading with the window open I could hear my neighbour say "...he wears women's clothes..." My ears were immediately pricked up, bothersomely at the exact time they moved out of earshot.

I have added to my collection of women's clothes the problem is creating the space in my increasingly filling rails but I can't resist a dress that's reduced and is slightly flattering to my lack of boobs, bum, hips or curves. No surprise, that I don't have 1, 2, or 3, obviously but as I increasingly identify toward the female end of the gender binary its not what I hope for.

That said, I don't wear any padding on the hips and bum, while giving a satisfactory silhouette it is tough enough to use the loo, popping things away and securely (you get the idea) without aligning pads. Hence despite my eye constantly being drawn to figure hugging outfits worn by curvy women I know after hard and expensive experience that I'd just look like a sack of spuds.

One style that attracts me is the andro grunge style. What attracted me was the elements of gender fluidity boys with long hair, girls with short hair, for a start. Although at that age, musically, I was more into Kylie and the Pet Shop Boys twenty years later I'm still in to Kylie Minogue and the Pet Shop Boys although I went through a pretentious 'indie kid' period in the mid to late 1990's, though I was just a teenager and thought I could write poetry (it was probably worse than a Vogon poem to be honest).