Category Archives: Religious issues

Just Staying Alive

Some of you may already know this, to others it might be news, but this is seemingly Transgender Awareness Week. Yes, I’m aware, shock surprise! 😛 I know, there are too many of these days, or weeks nowadays, seems to be at least a day for almost everything now, doesnt there? Sadly, it needs to culminate, next Monday, with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, for those less fortunate than others, who have met their death, for one reason or another.

In truth the main thing that amused me yesterday, was the hypocrisy of a small number of so called Christians, after an announcement yesterday by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. Clearly for some at least, and I suspect maybe a few more, they only accept his views when they coincide with their own. Yes, what happened yesterday was that he didnt support their ‘perfect’ view of events when he stated that he believed that children should be allowed to dress as they wish to, not necessarily to match their physical gender. To quote:

The CofE advised: “Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing up box).

“A child may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels and/or the fireman’s helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak without expectation or comment.

“Children should be afforded freedom from the expectation of permanence. They are in a ‘trying on’ stage of life, and not yet adult and so no labels need to be fixed.
“It may be best to avoid labels and assumptions which deem children’s behaviour irregular, abnormal or problematic just because it does not conform to gender stereotypes or today’s play preferences.”

So if a young boy wants to dress up as a princess, or if a young girl wants to dress up as a fireman, then let them do so. They need to be able to experiment, and see what is right, or wrong for them. Lets be fair, at that age, it might just be a ‘dress up’ thing, and nothing more than that. 98% or more of those children will discover that it was fun, but they do have the right physical body to match their needs, and it will go no further. Perfect, you might think? Oh, I wish!

I know, its the ones with the loudest voices that you hear, and they tend to be the more militant ones, and as so often, this is the case with his statement. I’ve seen every comment verging from

‘He should resign his position immediately, for suggesting this abomination’ through to ‘So is he going to do service on Sunday in a dress?’, and other crazy comments. The frightening thing is, these people really believe what they’re saying is right! And then people wonder why so many, of all LGBT groups are nervous about coming out!

I heard recently on Around The Horn (US sports panel show) that with the recent retirement of a football/soccer player in the US, that there is now not a single out, gay sportsman in any major sport in the US. Yes, we all know thats unlikely to be the case, especially in some of the less macho sports, like golf, for example. But, in the light of peoples attitudes, no one wants to come out as such. Yes, there are a number of lesbians in sport over there, but no men. Not that I suspect its any better over here, I believe there is one gay cricketer, is that seriously it?

I hope that in a decades time, anyone famous ‘coming out’ as LGBT will be about as sensational news as the weather forecast, but sadly I doubt that will be the case. But yes, the hope is there.

The video, sadly, what too many transgender people just have to focus on doing, and not just being able to live life as they should be able too. No, not the Bee Gees lol!

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Choosing My Religion

Well, if anyone was expecting something Halloween related today, you’re going to be disappointed. Thats because today, thanks to a friend telling me, its the 500th anniversary of the day when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Well supposedly is, there is some feeling that it didnt actually happen, but 500 years on, proving it, or disproving it is nigh impossible, so lets just accept it for now. But yes, regardless of how it was done, it happened, and the Roman Catholic Church, which had reigned supreme in Europe until then, got a nasty surprise! Yes, the Reformation era had begun.

I’m not going to go through the whole history of everything, my knowledge isnt all that great, and Wikipedia can tell you all you need to know in truth, far better than I can. Equally, lets just say he wasnt perfect. He was anti Semitic, no fans of Muslim people either, but of course, 500 years on, trying to define on what led to those feelings, who knows?

My religious upbringing was a complex one. My Father was of Irish, Roman Catholic ancestry, my Mother came from Irish, Protestant ancestry! How they got together, who knows? All I know is that my Mother had to become Catholic to allow them to be married, but whether matters have changed in the 70 years (nearly) since then, I have no idea. All it meant was that for the first 10 years of my life, I went to a Catholic Church, and indeed, as I was trying to be a boy back then, I even served as an altar boy. Then my father left my mother, and I stopped going to a Catholic Church, and ‘changed teams’ lol. Then somewhere around 16, I left school, and slowly, but steadily, I stopped going to church every week. For a few years, I still went from time to time, but by the time I moved to Somerset in 1983, I’d stopped altogether. I was still Christian, you understand, just not a church going one!

And in truth, thats pretty much where I’ve stayed from that day, until then. I went a few times at Christmas in the past, but other than that, no. And yes, they were all definitely Church of England, not Roman Catholic. The last time I went to church, for a service, was at a Reformed Church, in Albany, to hear said friend preach, and to enjoy the whole service. Since then…

No, I have no time for those ‘fire and brimstone’, so called Christian Preachers in the US. Not that they would have any time for a bi, trans woman anyway, but thats beside the point. I did actually, when in Seattle in 2003, get invited to a service, not realizing it was going to be one of that type of preacher. I had to stifle several giggles, as he proceeded to say terrible things about Gay people during his sermon, I must say. No, the person who invited me didnt know at the time, nor did I tell him afterwards. The amusing thing was, that this preacher was quite keen to help me find a job over there, and that as far as he was concerned, the immigration issues could soon be got around, by his friends. No, I never did take up that offer, never saw him again. In fact I was offered other jobs while out there, but I said no, thinking I wanted to come back to the UK. What would have happened if I’d accepted, I will now never know.

But yes, October 31st may be famous for being Halloween, but its also Reformation Day, and this year, even more so, its 500 years since that incredible moment, for Luther, and history.

The video, yes, I spent at least 15 seconds choosing this one lol. Though my blog title might be more apt today?

You have the right to be free

Now this could be one of those fun postings tonight, given I’m not meant to make political comments about the UK, because of my job, so if it looks like I’m trying to avoid saying something, I probably am!

So lets start with the Brexit situation. Those who have been around a while will have an idea of my view on the matter, but we arent here to discuss, or mention that. Because for this piece at least, regardless of how it all plays out, my sympathy lies with those people here, who have moved here from the rest of Europe. Oh, and strictly, those British people now living in the rest of the EU. So why do I feel sympathy for them, its just the total feeling they must have, of not knowing how things will play out for them in the future.

No, I now have no plans to work permanently anywhere abroad (unless I get a never ending TV offer, or something, anyway, ha ha), though I still hope that maybe, just for a little while, either in standard work, or in media, that I get the chance to work in North America some day. Doubt it will happen now, especially with my current health, though I guess for some roles, someone who actually uses a wheelchair, some of the time, might be a benefit?

But for those who wish to do so, either here, or in Europe, its a bit of a ‘no mans land’ situation at present. I just hope that sometime, at some point, the whole matter can get settled in a satisfactory manner.

The other matter that has saddened me again is religion. Again, I’m not going to (hopefully) get involved too politically in this, though thankfully this isnt a UK issue anyway.

I may not be the most religious person in the whole wide world, though I always state I’m Christian on those forms you have to fill in, I’m certainly not an ‘every Sunday’ churchgoing type, or anything. In fact, if anything, I’m probably multi-religious (if possible), or for want of another term, I take the best of many religions, and try to live life like that.

Unsurprisingly, given I work in Bradford, I work with a good number of Muslim people. Now, as a Trans person, you might think some might look down on me because of that. In fact, in truth, its just the opposite. To say that they’ve taken me, and my situation to heart, and have supported me, is putting it mildly! Thats not to say that everyone in the office hasnt done the same, but if you believed some of those right wing ‘crazies’, well…Not that they like LGBT folk on the whole, but to their way of thinking, I’d have major issues, nothing of the sort.

In truth, probably inspired by one woman in the office, who may recognize herself, but I’m not naming her, and the example she sets, I’d probably be more at peace as a Muslim woman, than being involved with some of the Christian folk around today. There are a number of lovely Christian people in truth, but in terms of a peaceful religious lifestyle, guess which one wins out for me?

I know, someone is going to shout IS at me, and fair enough. But do you know what percentage of Muslims actually support IS? A tiny fraction, if that many! Bit like saying all the Christians in the world are of the LGBT hating, bible bashing type, so untrue!

Oh fine, I’ll get to the main matter at last. Another Country has banned the Burka, and Niqab, and now a Canadian State is in the process of following suit. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m sad to see this. Let me say that I would say that I would love to see women given the choice of whether to wear it, or not, and I suspect for most, they do get that choice. There may be some that dont get that choice, of course, but I do wish they could have their say. But yes, I feel the ban, thankfully only abroad at present is the wrong way to go.

Me, yes, absolutely, if I was Muslim, I’d happily wear it. But fine, I’m submissive anyway, so I guess the nature of wearing it appeals to me regardless? I’m delighted that most women here only have to wear the Hijab (forgive my spelling on these items, if wrong), if that is all that they, and their family want them to wear! Me, I’d love to experience what wearing a Niqab, or Burka is like, both as a support to Muslim women, and their choice to wear what they want, and also because, as I suspect what counts as ‘Actress curiosity’, I’d be fascinated to know what its like, both my reaction, and others to my wearing of one. If anyone could give me the opportunity, without upsetting Muslim people…?

Yes, the experience I gained of using a wheelchair last month, at airports, was an eye opener, and not in a good way. I’d heard people say that people will try and ignore anyone in a wheelchair, and I’d have to say in 90% of cases, they’d be right! Maybe one day, they will be in that same position, I wonder how they will feel then? Yes, it would be interesting to walk out dressed in Niqab, or Burka, completely covered in that way, and even in Bradford, a multi cultural city, see how many people would actually look me in the eye? Hmm?

OK, video time. Something a bit different tonight. I was 13 when this came out, and it struck a chord with me, even though at that age the sentiments meant little to me. Now they mean a lot more. I actually looked up Les Crane on Wikipedia, and seemingly he was far more than a one hit wonder!

Lets all take a breath, and count to ten, and then…

Yes, let me say I was saddened greatly by the news that came out of Finsbury Park in the last couple of days, in a similar way to how I felt after the London Bridge incident, before anyone points out that I didnt comment on that. Sadly, when I only have time to do 2 blogs a week, and other things do happen in my life, some things get thought about, but not mentioned here, and that was one of them. Add in the Tower block fire last week, and London isnt having a good time of late, lets face it.

Equally, can I say that I wasnt entirely surprised when that horrific incident in Finsbury Park happened, because I wasnt. Such is political, and religious extremism at the far end of the spectrum of late, that no, I wasnt surprised when a white supremacist type decided to take a stand for himself over the matter. Thankfully, both sets of incident are few, and far between (very much so, in fact), but the press, and TV tend to over focus when they do. When parades of thousands of Muslims, protesting against terrorism happen, they have a tendency to ignore, as it just doesnt suit the underlying tendencies of too many in power, trying to scare people nowadays, lets face it.

I only hope that this can be it, that people can see sense, and we have no more retaliation, from either side. I know, as John Lennon said, ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one’, at least I hope I’m not. Unfortunately, the people I’m appealing to with this piece are probably the ones least likely to read this, but I can hope that in some way, the message can get out. Yes, I know, I’m a very liberal type, but I think that most people, with a cool head would be able to see that just continuing the violence isnt a great idea, from either side.

So all I am saying, to quote another Lennon song, is to ‘Give peace a chance’, please. And yes, let me add that if there was a way I could wear a burqa/burka (I’ve seen it spelt both ways) in support of my Muslim friends, without it being religiously offensive, I’d happily do so. I dont deny it, I’ve seen women wearing it in Bradford a number of times, and wondered what it was like. But no, I dont want to offend anyone, all the same. But if the chance arose…?

Right, the video. No John Lennon, no Dusty Springfield, which a few might have thought of, from the blog title. Instead, a live Police classic from 2008!

Keeping the peace

(Never thought I’d have to do this, and probably dont have to now, but given my role, let me just say any comments made here are purely my personal ones, and I would prefer, however hard, to keep all political comments out of any replies, should there be any)

Its fair to say that my Irish ancestry has an interesting background, though given both sides of my family moved to the UK at the start of the 20th Century, its too distant (by 1 generation on both sides) to apply for an Irish passport now, if I wanted to. Interesting? Well, my father was from Irish Catholic ancestry from Kerry, my mother from Irish Protestant roots from Offaly. Yes, somehow or other, a few generations later, in the UK, they got married, and the rest is history! Well, me, anyway! It means that my first 9 years (until my father left my mother) I was brought up as Catholic, before quickly going to Protestant roots once he was gone.

So to say that to me, the Troubles in Ireland was an even more complex issue than for most, would be putting it mildly. Lets not comment too much on that, as a view from either side, as my ancestry was from the South, anyway. By the time I first visited Northern Ireland (I was about 30 by then), my look at it would be from the Protestant side, its fair to say.

Eventually, in the 90’s, the peace process came to Northern Ireland. One of the figures behind that, was Martin McGuinness, of Sinn Fein, and IRA background. To say he had a shady background would be putting it mildly, but fine, some of the Democrats past wasnt a lot cleaner, but anyway… The rest is history, the 2 sides came together, and peace was born out of the troubles. Yes, its had a few less than perfect moments over the years, but we still have peace! Yes, as you’ve probably heard on the news everywhere, Martin McGuinness has just died, at 66.

Thankfully, I have nothing to forgive, or not forgive him for, as the case may be. Others have a less easy choice, and I can understand their views, whichever way they look at it. But lets just remember one thing, without him, the peace process may not have got started as soon, and even more innocent people may have lost their lives.

Its funny, I remember back in the ‘bad old days’ being whisked around the edge of Belfast, on the ring road, as no one wanted to go into the city. Now, several times, I’ve been to Belfast for cricket, and not seen any trouble. That, at least is something. The irony, the ground is at Stormont, not a long way from the parliament building!

Having said I wont get political, there is one song that relates strongly to the events of the troubles, so it was hard to ignore.

Anyone want to buy me a Burkini?

So fine, lets start September with a moment of political/religious controversy! I hope no followers disown me because of this, but hey, its my feelings, not forcing them on anyone else, so…

One item of clothing of late, that seems to be causing plenty of controversy, is the Burkini. I have no idea if that is the official title of this piece of swimwear, or just one that the ghastly press has jumped on to describe it, so forgive me, if needed.

To be truthful, I do wonder if the fuss being created about it is more about the religious side of things, than strictly the look, because in truth, it looks a lot like a wetsuit, and as far as I know, no one has made a fuss about any woman wearing one of those. Just the opposite in fact, but that could be a material issue? No, surely not, just because a wetsuit is really tight, and shows off your figure, whereas a burkini just covers a similar amount of flesh, in a less sexy way, surely not?

To be honest, and this may be an age thing, or it might be a trans thing, but I love the look of the burkini, and would far rather wear that than most modern swimwear, which is far too revealing for an old lady like me. Even swimsuits tend to be high cut, and everything, so when your figure isnt perfect? Yes, hopefully you get my drift?

Yes, I admit, the cut, and design is perfect for hiding my one last, err, imperfection, and I could get around my boob issues too, with a design like that. So, in other words, for me at least, perfect! In truth, my only concern about buying one, is not the look, but the religious connotation behind it, and how some people might react to it. There is also the thing I would wonder, how would Muslim people feel about, and react to, a good Christian woman wearing it? I know, unless someone (by some miracle) started chatting me up, because I was wearing it, then the issue probably wouldnt arise.

So fine, I’m asking, would other non Muslim women ever consider wearing a Burkini, or is it just me? I always wanted a wetsuit, but would never have the courage to wear one, because of physical issues, they are just too revealing. But the burkini, gives the look of a wetsuit, without the material issues, which may be why I love it so much. And yes, the other thing is, I’ve virtually given up on swimsuits, and swimming, because of one (very little) thing, and how hard it would be to hide it, in a normal swimsuit. But in this?

So yes, I love it, but just wondering what the repercussions, both political (right wing idiots), and religious (Muslim attitude) would be to doing so? I know, not going to do it, but just saying, for us older ladies with ‘issues’, the burkini is swimwear I could happily wear! But if anyone wants to offer to buy me one? 😉

The video really is one of those You Tube search moments, I know nothing about the group. But the resemblance between burkinis, and wetsuits, well…

What we need, is a great big melting pot

Yes, a few brief comments on the awful news from Paris today. I’ve never really been one for buying satirical magazines, but I might have watched much satire on TV, over the years. From the early days as a child (when I probably didnt have a clue what they were on about) of That Was The Week That Was (or TW3 to its friends), right through to Mock The Week, they are the sort of biting comedy that appeals to me.

But no, I never really got into Private Eye, or anything like that, I suppose I was always more of a TV addict, I guess?

Equally, despite my Irish ancestry (and my father was from Catholic stock, my mother from Protestant), I’ve never been a big one for religious attitudes, as to the less than peaceful side of things at least. And yes, I did get to Northern Ireland during the troubles, too. But I gather that some get far too fanatical about these matters, especially when combined together.

And look what it produces, 12 people tragically dead, and I suspect more to follow, when they catch up with the people who carried out this atrocity. So yes, as you might have gathered, I’m not a religious extremist of any shade. But I’ve met a few, some Christian, some of other beliefs, and, lets just say, they wont be Facebook friends!

Of those I’ve met, the most ironic has to be the Baptist preacher in Seattle, whose service I was invited to on a Sunday. There he was preaching, pretty homophobic stuff (maybe, I’m being diplomatic there?), and yet, after the service, being as nice as pie to me, and offering to help me to find work if I wanted to stay there. No, as you have worked out, he didnt know I was trans, or anything else. I suspect I might have got a slightly different reaction if he had lol!

But as I say, I’ve met some, err, interesting folk of other religions too, for whom I would have equally little time in life now.

So yes, what I am saying, is give peace a chance…I wish! But I just wish we could all get along together, and even if we cant get to agree on everything, not feel the need to take countless lives, for our beliefs.

No, I dont expect things to change for the better, but I can hope.

The video pick also has a certain irony to it. In the sense that most of the PC brigade would have a fit about it now, even if it is suggesting racial harmony, and the like, something I’m not sure we had entirely back in 1969!