Archive | June 2013

Same-sex Marriage Bill published in Scottish Parliament

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It’s official dears.  The Scottish National Party (SNP) administration in the devolved Scottish Government promised they would publish their same-sex marriage bill in June. True to their word, the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Bill was published in the parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh, on Thursday 27th June 2013.

The Bill makes provision for same-sex marriage while protecting rights of religious groups not to carry out ceremonies.  However, it also for the first time allows Humanist celebrants the ability to officiate marriages for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

Some in the opposition parties, Labour, Conservative and Liberal-Democrat, in the Scottish Parliament accused the SNP of dragging their heels on the issue.  Untrue dears, the simple fact is that the administration were so determined to get this right that they were tweaking and fine-tuning the legislation, so as to include trans people.  The Bill thus fully makes provision for transgender people, including allowing transgender people to stay married when obtaining the full Gender Recognition Certificate.

There is of course some opposition to the Bill but this is mostly from the pressure group Scotland for Marriage, who state they will encourage constituents to picket the offices of Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs).  In reality this will probably just be a handful of their own supporters doing so.  Oh I really do hope they do so dears.  We have hate crime laws in Scotland and it would give me the greatest of pleasure to see a bunch of ignorant homophobes being carted off by the police.

The Westminster government meanwhile is still working out their Bill for England and Wales, including having problems over trans people.   Unless they can catch up, there may be a period, perhaps a year or more, where same-sex marriage is legal in Scotland but not England and Wales.

As terrible as that would be dears, it does throw open one possibility; that of English or Welsh people running off to Scotland to marry, possibly at Gretna Green, just as eloping teenagers used to do.  Now, just how romantic would that be Loves?

On 24th June 2013 a video was released of Scottish celebrities and politicians supporting same-sex marriage, to the the lovely Amy Macdonald’s wonderful love song for Scotland, “Pride”.

Pride indeed dears.  I’m not just welling up here, I am crying freely and the tears are streaming down my face as I type this.

I am so very, VERY proud to be Scottish today.   Well done and thank you to Alex Salmond and the SNP administration in the Scottish Parliament.

Video message from the Scottish Health Minister, Alex Neil MSP:

Announcement on the Scottish Parliament website:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/65468.aspx

Scottish Parliament page for the Bill and explanatory notes:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/64983.aspx

On

allowing transgender people to stay married when obtaining the full Gender Recognition Certificate. – See more at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/65468.aspx#sthash.Ws5x6Tsm.dpuf

Crossdressing Social Network

Hello dears, any UK-based crossdressers out there?

I have found a wonderful social networking site for crossdressers.  I have been looking for a friendly and serious site of this kind for a while now and I believe I have found it in this one.

http://www.crossdressers.co.uk

This is a place where everyone can relax and be all girls together without being hassled by perverts and bigots.  I really think I’m going to be at home here.

What’s love got to do with it? Some after Midnight thoughts.

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When I look at my life, my sexuality and my gender identity, then I look at others in the same boat as me, I frankly cannot believe how lucky I am.

I am a crossdresser, who has the luck to have a girlfriend who knows all about who I am.  More than that however, she understands me and she not only accepts me for who I am but openly encourages me to be so.

I know that a great many crossdressers and those in the trans community are not so lucky.

I have read of tales that would touch the stoniest heart.  I have seen stories from crossdressers and trans women with female partners who have become complete bitches to them. I have read women lashing out at them, the entire LGBT community and even all men.  I have seen people humiliated by having private photos plastered all over public forums on the internet.  I have even heard of women seeking, and receiving, exclusion orders to keep their partners away from their own children.

At the other end of the spectrum, I have also seen strained relationships, due to the wants and needs of not just the CD/Trans woman, but of both partners.  And I have also seen relationships which are over, but neither party is willing to let go.

Before I met S, I was never lucky in love, and once had my heart truly broken. For those who have been there, you will know that ‘heartbreak’ is more than just a phrase; it is unbearable, torturous, genuine physical pain, and deeply psychologically scarring to boot. Although a life experience, it is not something I could survive again, and neither is it anything I would honestly ever wish on even my worst enemy – and I can be pretty damned cruel if crossed.

It did teach me one important lesson though; that love, true love, is never selfish. 

If you love someone, you must take everything that goes with that, the good and the bad; the things you love about them, and those things which irritate the hell out of you.  I know I am not the easiest person in the world to get along with.  I’m fond of saying my girl has two arseholes – I’m one of them.  And there are things S does which drive me up the wall at times.  I forgive all.  Why?  Because I love her, and that love outweighs all.

When I first came out to S, she told me that even if I were to go over to “the other side” – i.e. suddenly announce that I were wholly gay, and wished to pursue that, she would accept that, and painful as it may be, she would let me go.  By equal measure, I have told her from the start that if she ever wanted to go, even though it may kill me, I would never stand in her way.

That is because we love each other.

When you love each other, you have to be prepared to let go if you must.  I would never attempt to stand in the way of S’s happiness, and I know that neither would she stand in the way of mine.  For the other to be happy is the goal of our love, just as it should be the goal of anyone who loves another.

To be spiteful and vindictive about a partner whose lifestyle does not match yours is not love. If someone lashes out in any way because their partner is not what they want or expect them to be, that is not love.  To ever try to stand in the way of the lifestyle choices of a partner is not love.

It is selfishness in as much as you are thinking of yourself, rather than the one you claim to love.  Understandable to an extent, as it may be born out of fear but selfishness nonetheless. And ultimately it not only harms your partner, but you in the long run.

If one cannot accept that their partner identifies with another gender because they are afraid of losing them, well I’m sorry, but it is too late; they have lost them already.  And if that other partner feels they cannot walk away from that, then both end up living a lie, and that is cowardly. Plus the longer they postpone it, the harder and deeper it is going to hurt when the break does inevitably come, as trust me, it must do.

When the break does come, it will be hard and it will hurt like hell.  But if you at least have respect for each other, if not love, then you will let go sooner rather than later. If you have any modicum of love for the other, you will wish them well and to be happy in their new life. Then it is only once you have let go you can get on with your own life, and seek the happiness and love you also truly deserve.

Loves

Xandra

xxx

Gays won’t have to prove they are married

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I always wondered what the House of Lords got up to in the wee small hours Dears.  It seems sex is on the agenda – literally.

As most people are aware Westminster recently voted to allow same-sex marriages – and good for them.  Not before time considering they were dragging their heels a year behind the devolved Scottish Parliament in doing so.

During the Same-Sex Marriage Debate in the House of Lords in the early hours of 20 June 2013, Baroness Butler-Sloss attempted to table an amendment suggesting definitions of consummation and adultery under the Bill.  In English law, consummation is defined as penetration of the vagina by the penis, whether or not a condom is used.

Baroness Butler-Sloss, a Law Lord and former High Court Judge, who says she is for gay rights but against same-sex marriage, tabled the amendment claiming that it was important for gay men to demonstrate their commitment to their partners, so that they may remain faithful to each other.

Because of course, that works in heterosexual marriage, doesn’t it?

Stating “Penetration only takes it halfway.” (Yes dears, make your own jokes.  I’m thinking it but I’m not saying it.), the Baroness’s amendment was allegedly aimed at making matters equal concerning divorce.  She stated that it is unfair that heterosexual men and women can be sued for divorce, on claims of adultery, whereas the Same Sex Marriage Bill, as it stands, homosexual partners would not be able to be sued on those grounds.  She continued,  “I consider it profoundly unsatisfactory and, more importantly, profoundly unjust that adultery is not the ground for same-sex divorce. It undermines the value of same-sex marriage. I assume that it is because there has not so far been a definition of consummation of a sexual relationship other than between couples of the opposite sex.”

And do you know what Dears, she does have a point.  It was where she sought to change the law – for same-sex and heterosexual couples however that it started to get bizarre.

So how did Baroness Butler-Sloss seek to level the playing field?  She proposed redefining consummation by importing the definition of rape law.  She wanted the definition of penetration to include the vagina, mouth and anus, as it does under the Sexual Offences Act, which would pertain to all marriage.

Yes Loves, I can hear what you are thinking immediately – what then about lesbian marriage?   And this was not lost on Lord Alli opposing the motion either.   He stated that the “definition of the sexual act that defines fidelity for heterosexuals is outdated and, in my view, very cumbersome,”  and added, “Simply importing the definition of penetration—anal, vaginal or oral—into this would leave lesbians at a complete disadvantage regarding fidelity.”

Baroness Stowell of Beeston, also opposing, stated that the Bill made adequate provision for divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour, and emphasised the fact that same-sex couples will be able to make promises and commitments in the form or words they choose.

Baroness Butler-Sloss withdrew her Amendment, stating that she was “sad” (I agree – very) and claimed that straight and gay couples would not be equal according to the law.

This whole thing is bizarre Dears.  The main stumbling block which the Same Sex Marriage Bill faced was opposition from the Christian churches.  To counter this the government made provisions in the Bill whereby no clergy shall be forced to carry out a same-sex marriage (they never would have to have anyway, but that’s another story).  As this is the case, the chances are that most same-sex marriages will be carried out in registry offices, rather than places of worship.  Now we have had an unelected member of the upper house of the Westminster government trying to push terms of consummation of marriage – which is a wholly religious concept.

In early Judiastic society it was common for newlyweds to consummate their marriage with the woman lying on a cloth.  As most girls were virgins when they went to their marriage bed in those days, the bloodied cloth would be passed on to the clergy to prove that consummation had taken place.  In some churches in the early days of Christianity it was common for the newlyweds to copulate on the altar table in full view of the assembled clergy and wedding guests.  Doubt that?  Well that’s why some ancient churches have wide altar tables, and the modern evolution of that act is when groom is told he may kiss the bride.

The Matrimonal Causes Act (1973) states that a marriage may be annulled if either or both partners are incapable of consummating it, or either partner refuses to.   This is silly, archaic nonsense – even for heterosexual couples.

For a start, since sexual liberation few people, male or female, go to their marriage beds virgins nowadays.  Secondly, it is quite common in this day and age for people who are incapable of having sex, either for physical or other reasons, to still get married.

If a man or woman is in the forces and decides to marry their long term partner quickly before a tour of duty, with no time for sex, are they then not married?  Is someone who marries someone who is paraplegic or otherwise not physically able to have sex not married?  Are an elderly couple, as is quite common nowadays, who have decided to tie the knot and one or both cannot perform the sexual act not married?  Are asexuals who wed for companionship not married?  Moreover, how does one prove that consummation of the marriage has or has not taken place.  They cannot as it is impossible to do so.

When civil partnerships were introduced in the UK in 2004, the issue of consummation was avoided completely.  However, in May 2012 government ministers considered taking the issue of sex out of marriage law, for both heterosexual and same-sex couples, altogether.  This was defeated when Conservative MP Edward Leigh claimed that it would reduce actual marriage to the level of civil partnerships, and stated that consummation was still valid for Roman Catholics for whom annulment was still valid but divorce was not.  Please Dears, Catholics divorce every day.  And again, it is impossible to prove consummation, so it is again an irrelevance.

In the final instance, what bothers me about this is that those in government who have been against same-sex marriage, have all too often been the same people who have made homophobic comments about gays and lesbians being sexual perverts.  Now by banging on about consummation, which is an irrelevance nowadays, it is Baroness Butler-Sloss and people like her, including those who refuse to remove sex from marriage law altogether, who seem to be obsessing about sex and losing sight of the fact that marriage is not about sex, it is about love.  It is supposedly a commitment of two people who love each other to bond as one.

Those who go on about the “sanctity of marriage” are the very ones who claim that marriage is about love, and it would serve them better to concentrate upon that love, rather than the sex which is only one of the many aspects of a loving marriage.

It’s either that or (and sorry for being such a bitch Dears) Baroness Butler-Sloss is just bitter for appearing to be the world’s worst drag queen ever.

I consider it profoundly unsatisfactory and, more importantly, profoundly unjust that adultery is not the ground for same-sex divorce. It undermines the value of same-sex marriage,’ Butler-Sloss said.

‘I assume that it is because there has not so far been a definition of consummation of a sexual relationship other than between couples of the opposite sex.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/married-gay-people-dont-need-have-sex-say-house-lords200613#sthash.7qrDyA4l.dpuf Continue reading

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Penis

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Two little stories from across the pond which are victories for the Trans community in the USA dears.  Anti-Trans Bills defeated in both Arizona and Texas.

In April 2013 an ordnance was approved in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations based on gender identity.  Needless to say this made the hackles raise on a few opponents and Republican Representative John Kavanagh introduced a bill which would make it a crime for any person to use a public restroom or washing facility associated with a sex other than that assigned at birth, as stated on a birth certificate.

Silly boy Mister Kavanagh.  Just what did he expect?  For people to produce their birth certificates along with other proof of identity at the door of a public loo?  Hmmm, seems so.  Read on.

Kavanagh’s Bill caused uproar with claims of government overreach and intrusion into privacy.  Was he deterred?  Not for one moment.  In fact Kavanagh then re-introduced his Bill with an inclusion to enlist citizens and businesses to monitor the gender of those using public restrooms.  Basically he wanted private enterprise spying on people’s privates.

However members in Kavanagh’s own caucus group have voiced concerned about his definitions and he has now shelved his Bill, he says until next year.  Frankly, I can’t see this one getting out of the starting gate (or should that be stalls dears?).

Meanwhile, deep in the heart of Texas (no dears, I’m not singing with a pair of chaps on my knees), it is law that trans people can marry if they can provide proof of a sex change.  The Texas Legislature meets every two years and in April Senator Tommy Williams (Republican – gosh, shock horror, who would have thunk it?) attempted to remove this trans-positive law.

Stating the case of Littleton vs Prange (1999), Senator Williams tried to argue that ones gender is determined by sex at birth and this can never be changed.  Headed up by former Transgender Foundation of America board member (now with Equality Texas) Daniel Williams, Senator Williams’ anti-trans Bill was roundly defeated and the pro-trans Texas legislature stands.

Silly man.  Senator Williams should have learned when he tried to table exactly the same Bill in 2011 – and lost then on exactly the same grounds he lost this year.

The Importance of NOT being Ernest

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Edinburgh, capital city of my beloved Scotland, was a strictly Presbyterian and sabbatarian place in the late 1860s.  No doubt then a lovely young lady walking along the main thorougfare of Princes Street with soft, feminine features, pretty blonde tresses beneath a bonnet, carrying a frilled parasol, wearing a dress which hugged a shapely figure, and sporting a small bustle as was the fashion of the times, would have injected a little light and colour into the otherwise dour lives of the citizens, and not a few raised eyebrows and disapproving tuts to boot.  Not least of these however was one such young lady by the name of Stella Boulton who stayed in Princes Street for six month in 1869.  You see dears, Stella was in fact Ernest Boulton, a female impersonator stage performer, who also openly crossdressed in public, carried on affairs with men, and who went on to scandalise Victorian Edinburgh.

Scots author Neil McKenna has outlayed the story of Ernest / Stella Boulton and his friend Frank “Fanny” Park, in his new book Fanny & Stella of how they came to be charged and how the careers of a Post Office Manager and a United States Consul were destroyed through association with them.

Ernest Boulton came to Edinburgh to recuperate after an operation at the behest of an admirer, Louis Hurt, who met him while the two were working for the Post Office in London.  It was here that Ernest really appears to have fully taken on the persona of Stella.  As such, she found Hurt pretty boring.  He was not into crossdressing at all and wanted Stella to appear more manly, and even grow a moustache.  Nonetheless, whilst Hurt in his position as a manager toured rural post offices, Stella went with him, even up to Thurso and Wick, the two northernmost towns on the Scottish mainland.

Back in Edinburgh it seems Stella, whose features were indeed feminine, could get away with appearing in public as a woman, although some things did give her away.  While most of Scots society refused to believe homosexuality of any kind even existed in the UK, but must have come from the European continent – more of which later – she nevertheless found herself widely accepted as something of a curiosity by some.  She was also to discover a hidden subculture in the Scots capital and soon there was no shortage of “gentleman callers” at Hurt’s lodgings in what was then the most prestigious street in the whole of Scotland.  What Hurt’s landlady, who would not even allow “weekday tunes” to be played on the piano on a Sunday, thought of this one can only wonder.

There was the rough and ready John Jameson Jim, “Honest” Jack from Musselburgh (a town neighbouring Edinburgh to the east), and a counter assistant from Kensington and Jenners Store (now Jenners; it was and remains the most up-market store in Scotland).  There was also a Mr John Safford Fiske, US consul to Edinburgh and Leith.

Fiske was living at the time in nearby George Street, parallel to and then equally as prestigious as Princes Street, and his life consisted of attending social functions and arranging his marriage to an American heiress whom it was planned would come to Edinburgh to meet him.  It seems however he was marrying purely out of duty and to hide his homosexuality, as many gay men did do right up until it was no longer illegal in the UK.  He had liaisons with two brothers, Donald and Robbie Sinclair, who introduced him to Stella, and from the moment he met her, Fiske was captivated.  The two entered into an affair, apparently highly sexual in nature, and exchanged love letters, telegrams and even photographs (gay porn is nothing new dears), including some of Fiske in female attire.

Stella returned to London to continue her stage career with Fanny Park but she and Fiske kept up their correspondence.  On 28 April 1870 however, Boulton and Park were arrested in London on charges of indecency.  When John Fiske learned of this, he burned all of the correspondence he had received from Stella Boulton.  However, the Metropolitan Police in London had his correspondence to her, including an explicit love letter written 12 days before Boulton’s arrest, in which he stated he still had 11 photographs of Stella and four notes from her.  The long arm of the law was soon to reach all the way up to Edinburgh.

Fiske hoped the US Consulate would protect him and said the letter was “just foolishness”.  His protestations however fell on deaf ears and Inspector James Thompson of the Metropolitan Police wired Detective Officer Roderick Gollan of the Edinburgh City Police, requesting that he search John Fiske’s home.   In the subsequent search Gollan found three letters and two telegrams from Louis Hurt, and a number of photographs of young men in compromising positions.  Gollan asked Fiske if there was anything else and knowing the game was up, he handed over a box full of more such photographs (I’m wondering who the photographer was dears).  He was taken into custody and eventually taken to London to face trial.

Louis Hurt meanwhile, when the story broke, feared the worst and requested leave from the Edinburgh Post Master General. This was granted, although the latter asked for him to provide a full written explanation of “his relations with the young men in women’s clothes”.  Hurt knew that the police must have found compromising letters from him too.  Wanting to know the full extent of the damage, he did the worst thing he could have done; he went to London, where he was promptly arrested.

Had John Fiske and Louis Hurt kept their nerve, then their careers may have been saved.  For in a bizarre twist, all four men were acquitted.  The legal profession simply could not believe that such acts could take place on British soil, and even wondered if this penchant for dressing in womens clothes and committing homosexual acts came from France believe it or not.  This was the Britain of the days of the Empire upon which the sun never set; a Britain of real men and it could not be let known that in such a Britain any man could be seen as effeminate.  And it really was upon that basis apparently that Boulton, Parke, Hurt and Fiske were all set free.

Stella Boulton went back to her stage act, and even toured the United States.  Whether it were with or without Fanny Park is not recorded.  The damage to Hurt and Fiske however could not be healed.  Louis Hurt travelled Europe afterwards, hoping to escape notoriety.  Eventually he settled in Vienna, where he became a teacher of English and where he died in 1836, aged 91.  John Fiske, his diplomatic career completely shattered as well as ambitions for Washington DC (and his gold-digging sham marriage), went to Italy where he lived and spent his time painting and cultivating his garden.  Apparently his photos of Stella became part of the “Linlithgowshire Rogues Gallery” and are now in the hands of Edinburgh City Libraries.  I’ve just got to try to see those dears.

Those are just the bare bones of the story, which I thought would interest you to show you that crossdressing is by no means a new phenomenon, and that the Victorian age was far from as staid and upright (or cisgender and heterosexual) as we have been led to believe.

I have ordered the book Fanny & Stella by Neil McKenna from my local library darlings, and once I’ve read it I shall tell you more.

Loves

Xandra

xxx