SO the continuing battle to stop debating, and instead recognise and respect all non-binary people is making headlines.
What does non-binary mean? The same as Genderqueer (GQ). What does Genderqueer mean? It’s a catch-all name for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine.What does that mean? It means identities outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity.
What is cisnormativity? Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. What does that mean? It means if you remained the sex you were described (boy/girl) as you were plucked from your mother. (If your mother wanted to be known as ‘mother’ that is.)
It’s complicated, and some may say ridiculous, but in a world where the impossible is becoming possible, why not accept gender fluidity?
Film maker, trans campaigner and artist Fox Fisher, called people to be accepted for who they are in his speech after being made an honorary Doctor of Arts by the University of Brighton. He said: “I feel we are still struggling with the same issues. Trans people’s identities aren’t respected as much as they should be and we constantly have to prove, explain and justify our experience. We are constantly being put down and humiliated and a lot of trans people experience stigma, discrimination and even violence. I hope that in the future, trans people will be respected and recognised for who they are. I hope that non-binary people will receive legal and social recognition – that’s the X on the passport – and the right to marry as well. I want us all to be celebrated for being who we are and I want there to be a day when no one has to justify their experience or debate it with anyone because identities are not up for debate and never should be.”
Wonderful words, but it would be easier if we could get to a point where we no longer need to justify who we are to anyone other than ourselves.
Paul Sheppard, The Life Doctor, Hove – anxiety coach/therapist based in Brighton and Hove says “We all have our own version of reality and we fit everything into it. Accepting what we don’t understand is difficult, but we have a responsibility to try. To remain closed minded is to limit our world.
Another important thing to remember is that the way people treat us is often more about what is going on inside themselves. People transfer their feelings outwards, but we have a choice whether to engage with it, believe it, and wear it. We are never powerless.
Acceptance comes in understanding our versions of reality are simply that, our versions; they are not right or real. They are based on our perceptions and our experiences of life. Learning to develop empathy rather than understanding would be a better goal than universal acceptance. Empathy explores the possibility of understanding what others are going through, without needed to agree. This requires empathy, curiosity and the willingness to learn and educate from both sides.”
So Lewes football club are the first to pay its female players the same as its males ones. Part of me is saying ‘Go Lewes’ but another part of me is thinking ‘This should not be a big deal, it’s 2017, but us women are still fighting for fairness.”
Lewes FC director Jacquie Agnew said: “We believe that there should be a level playing field for women in football… we hope to spark a change across the UK that will help put an end to the excuses for why such a deep pay disparity has persisted in our sport. Together with our owners, donors and sponsors, Lewes FC can show that equal pay can be implemented to the benefit of both women and men in sport and beyond.”
Let’s hope Lewes FC inspire other businesses to pull up their (football) socks. The BBC’s ridiculous gender pay gap has recently been revealed, revealing Chris Evans earned a cool £2.2 million in the last financial year whilst top female earner Claudia Winkelman took home a fifth of his earnings, collecting “just” £450,000.
I don’t think anyone should earn £450,000 for commenting on other people dancing. I don’t think people should earn £450,000 for dancing, not when nurses, doctors and fireman are earning pennies for saving lives.
As for Chris Evans earning £2.2million for telling us about his Ferrari collection or what his son had for breakfast? (did you know/care, he once bought a Ferrari once belonging to Steve McQueen for £million!) I’m staggered that people can earn so much for offering so little to our society.
Gary Lineker kicked his toys out his pram when he found out he’s the BBC’s second-best paid star; moaning: "This whole BBC salary exposure business is an absolute outrage...I mean how can @achrisevans be on more than me?"
All Gary does is eat crisps and monopolise dull talks about a match that already happened.
During the recent election, he attempted to turn political and commented; ‘Lunatics running the world and a choice between May, Corbyn and Farron….How joyous.’
With the kind of salary he is taking home, it won’t make a difference who runs the government. He might as well comment on what it’s like to visit a food bank, having never been and will never need to.
Jeremy Vine, who earns £750,000 a year simpered about The Telegraph's Matt cartoon which showed two newsreaders with the comment ‘And now my male colleague will read the Autocue more expensively’ – saying “As the father of two young girls, I hope they won't understand this cartoon by the time they start work.”
Worthy words Vine, but why not be the change yourself, by sacrificing your salary to take home the same wage as your female colleagues, or give the excess to women’s charities?
Am I the only one whose sick of men getting paid so much money to spout drivel?
A series of unpleasant people are mentioned in the news this week. Chris Gargan, The former president of Whitehawk’s Football Club, has been jailed for five months for racially abusing a pregnant woman. They were in the Fiveways pub when he told her “They don’t let ******* in here.”
Obviously the tough guy denied every word. Sadly for him, steadfast evidence from the victim and family, together with CCTV from the pub proved him guilty.
A former music teacher has been jailed for indecently assaulting three young boys while their parents paid him to give them private tuition. Neil Turner, 63, met his victims while he was head of music and a maths teacher at Shoreham College between 1986 and 1999. He took them to his flat for private music tuition where he assaulted them.
What is it with people in power abusing their position?
In the news last week Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes who was jailed for 32 months at the Old Bailey in 2015 after pleading guilty to a string of historical offenses, including two counts of indecent assault.
Ball hand-picked 18 vulnerable victims to commit acts of “debasement” in the name of religion, such as praying naked at the altar and encouraging them to submit to beatings, his trial heard.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said; “The Church of England “colluded” with and helped to hide the long-term sexual abuse of young men by one its bishops rather than help his victims.”
A review discovered that out of six letters of allegation only one which was of “least concern” went to the police. Ball is not the only abuser here. The Church also abused the victims, but defending and concealing Ball’s atrocities.
So Kirsty Allsopp has declared it unhygienic to have a washing machine in one’s kitchen. ‘It is disgusting, my life’s work is in part dedicated to getting washing machines out of the kitchen,’ she said.
I say she should get an actual life, but what do I know? I love laundry. The children know not to speak when we go down the detergent and fabric softener aisle in ASDA. It is my happy place, and if given long enough to sniff and scratch and sample, I’ll reward them with sweets at the till. Yes, I am a terrible mother, but by golly my washing smells nice.
Newspaper columnist Jan Moir says it’s a class issue. I don’t find it an issue, because I am pretty sure I’m not classy. This was confirmed when Allsopp went on to give tips about what else should and should not appear in your kitchen - no to a TV, yes to Maldon salt on the table, but only if in a salt-pig (not a real pig). No to any gadgets like coffee makers or blenders being on display, yes to white plates only. No to funny fridge magnet or wacky aprons, yes to the current wicker fad.
My kitchen currently lacks a proper floor, so I’ve laid down the husband’s Spurs rug from when they were FA Cup Winners in 1961 (smells like 1961 pub carpet) and my fridge is adorned with the worst fridge magnets I can find when I travel.
In other news, Peacehaven may have to change its name since their police station shut down. It has since become a haven of hostility and debauchery.
June Burgess’ heavy plant pots have been stolen from her garden, in a seemingly planned attack, “Whoever stole my plant pots must have had transport and been working with other people. One was made of flint and was really heavy – you couldn’t do it on your own” she said.
The newly opened Saltdean Lido was vandalised by a 16-year-old from Peacehaven. The windows of the Meridian Centre were smashed in the early hours of Sunday morning, as it becomes a hub of trouble, according to local residents.
Mr Duncan, 62, from Coastway Cabs, which has its office in the Centre said “This year has been the worst I have ever seen it here. You get kids doing wheelies on their bikes inside – there is absolutely no control over them.”
A furious mother from Hove actually wants foxes put on the pill after one killed her daughter’s beloved pet rabbit. “My suggestion would be to try and get some sort of birth control measures put in place because they are obviously breeding in numbers. There are just too many foxes about. Something needs to be done because they are always getting in to gardens – they can climb over our fence.”
The suggestion had received mixed responses. Some think it’s an awful idea, but others are pro-the-pill “Urban foxes are NOT part of nature, they are attracted to towns nowadays because too many people put food into bins which attracts foxes or else they (like my ex-wife) actually put out food at night for foxes.” Did she become an ex-wife because of the fox feeding I wonder?
The foxes go through my bins and screech and poo all over the place, but I still prefer them to Seagulls. I have a flock of them, and their babies on my conservatory roof. Various seagull relatives keep coming to visit the new additions. Going outside is dangerous. I feel like I’m in an Alfred Hitchcock film when I sit in the garden. They glare at me with their beady yellow eyes and swoop down low to intimidate me. My miniature Daushund hides for fear it will be eaten.
The park at the Level is Park is being given a security upgrade to stop 'people with bad intentions' using it. The park underwent a £2.2million makeover in 2013 but is still being used as “a haven for crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour”.
The park will receive more CCTV cameras, bigger bins and reinforced windows as part of the upgrade.
While I understand the frustration and concerns of the parents, and the heartbreak of the daughter who lost her rabbit to a fox, and I am annoyed at the Seagulls who have taken over my house, the ‘unwanted’ need somewhere to be as well. Putting foxes on the pill, shooting Seagulls, banning people from public places… none of these things are dealing with the root of the problem, or helping those that need it. If stopped from using the Level park, these people will only find somewhere else to go and do drugs, smash windows and have all night parties.
Maybe we could cordon off a space for ‘people and animals with bad intentions’ to frequent? Until we actually help the homeless, the drug addicts, alcoholics and angry youths, they are going to carry on. This ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach is not going to cut the mustard. Maybe they could have some land that is theirs to do what they want with? Rather than keep moving them on and thinking the problem has gone, perhaps they could have a safe place to be.