A NSFW post

Thought I would give you the heads up on this post – it may contain language, of the Anglo Saxon variety, I’m discussing gender and sexuality. It will also include my favourite insult, which is really, really awful and also needs some thinking about before the depth of how awful it is sinks in. So if you’re not in the mood for language, or for me to get on a soap box, please move along now. I won’t be offended. This probably also should be flagged as a trigger warning because of what I’m writing about too.

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Jack Monroe is a hero of mine, they’ve been through so much in their life already, apparently all brought on themselves if you’d believe the Daily Mail and Richard Littlejohn. Jack’s column ‘Hunger Hurts’ shares an insight into what it is like to live on and below the breadline in the UK, and just how quickly it can happen to people. Getting pregnant and having to give up a night-shift job because affordable child care wasn’t (and isn’t) readily available, put them in the unenviable position of watching income and savings disappear, selling objects to put food on the table.

(For those who aren’t aware of who Richard Littlejohn is, he is a ‘journalist’, writing for the most right-wing of papers. He’s obnoxious, but has a baying audience of people who think he speaks the truth and for them. To give you an idea of what he’s like, he wrote an opinion piece on a trans teacher at a school (“not only are they in the wrong body, they’re in the wrong job” natch); picking this up from a local news story, but outing them to the nation, outing the school and causing so much heartache in an already difficult journey, the teacher, Lucy Meadows, committed suicide).

Jack blogged about recipes and budgeting to feed a family on as little as £10 a week. As the blog went viral, this spiked the ire of people who have lots of money and think people who rely on contributions from the state should either be forced into work; or brushed under the carpet because it can’t be that bad really – just get a job, tsk.

Tax breaks given to people to buy second homes, either to rent or use at weekends, in Australia have pushed the housing market up to the point where Hubs and I are pretty much resigned to renting for the rest of our lives. We can’t get on the ladder, because a two bedroom house (minimum we could move into) is at least $350-400,000 to start with. We’d need to save around $80-90,000 minimum for a deposit. Even though we are both working, our disposable income goes on exciting things like child care, fuel so we can get to work, food and bills. Party on. I’m guessing from what my friends are saying, the UK housing market is about the same. Priced out of reach of people who are trying to get on the housing ladder, with not much affordable housing being built any time soon.

Where I work, we’re trying to get houses and apartments built on a vacant patch of land: specifically so people who are on low incomes can afford to live where they’ve grown up; or so people with special needs can live near their family in supported housing; or people who have houses that are too big to cope with now their children have left home, can downsize and stay in the area. Residents complained and said they did not want a ghetto being built in their town. A ghetto. Is that what people think affordable housing is? People who are just trying to live, get on in life? People who want to stay in the area that they grew up in, to keep money in the community?

Australia has a horrendous saying, ‘Doing it tough’, aside from the piss-poor English, the air of entitlement that independently wealthy politicians bandy it about with infuriates me. The majority of them who claim to be working hard for the working (wo)man have no idea what it is like to stand in a shop wondering to buy pasta or rice, because you can’t afford both.

I’m deliberately choosing pronouns carefully during this post, as although the blog is called ‘A Girl Called Jack’, Jack has recently been sharing pictures of outfits where they’ve been pleased with the results of passing. It is not for me to describe Jack in any specific way, I don’t know them, don’t know what or where they are in their life and aside from anything, it’s none of my sodding business. Like the people interviewing Caitlyn Jenner asking about what her genitals look like now! Excuse me, would you be comfortable answering that question? No, I thought not, so why would she?

For the record, I am female, was a tomboy growing up, I was mistaken for a boy most of my childhood because I had short hair (practical for swimming, but I still do), lived in trousers (still do), I was also tall for my age until my late teens, having stopped growing at 12 at 5’ 10”. Now, I am married, but have had relationships with men and women, if it makes you happier to label me, label me. However, remember that gender and sexuality are fluid, thankfully more and more people are realising this outside the LBGTIQ community.

I subscribe to the Poofcast, “Everything you never wanted to know about our people, and all the things you are too terrified to ask” Really, really, really NSFW, but hilarious, and sadly on an indefinite break. Adam Richard is a favourite of mine, (Outland is so funny, I wish it had been picked up for a second series). In the past two weeks we’ve also watched both a documentary on the making of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and one on Freddie Mercury.

Anyhoo, I had a complete moment of clarity, just as gays and lesbians were beginning to be accepted in general society, (think Stonewall and Mardi Gras getting underway with members of the general public coming out and walking with the LBGTIQ community), the HIV/AIDS crisis leapt up out of nowhere and everything got set back to practically the dark ages. Adam spoke frankly on one Poofcast, that his generation of gay men are some of the oldest gay men, because the generation before them were practically wiped out until medication and technology caught up with the virus.

For someone who connects dots, I simply hadn’t put this altogether and seen the bigger picture. I grew up with jokes about AIDS being made in the playground, Princess Diana meeting patients making headlines, scary adverts on TV and in magazines. Freddie Mercury dying was awful, probably the first one of my childhood icons passing. Queen were a formative part of my childhood, they were always on the radio. Their concert at Wembley we had on video; buying the DVD recently I still knew all the words. Not to the songs, the banter between songs.

I am so blasé about some things that absolutely cripple people with shame and fear. As an example, I really applaud celebrities coming out, but really do not understand why it should be a thing. When a girl I went to school came out to me, she revved herself up to tell me, and I think was a bit disappointed with my nonplussed reaction. Nonplussed as she was still the same person to me, who she fancied, went out with, made love with was none of my business.

Who people love and care about, only matters to them.

Imagine if we turned the same scrutiny on straight people. Devout Christians like Kim Davis who refused to issue marriage licences to gays and lesbians in Kentucky. She has been married four times. Had children through an affair with (who ended up being) her third husband, but the children were adopted by her second husband. I wish, really wish, people who think that going to church on Sundays absolves them from being f*cking sanctimonious idiots the rest of the week, would start looking a bit deeper at themselves first.

Jack is now living their life in the public eye, because they have found a voice and are using it to help others. However, the vitriol that Jack puts up with on social media beggars belief. Last night, Jack retweeted some of the comments received on her timeline. One read If @DrJackMonroe were a real doctor she may have brains to know a child is not a fashion accessory and not have one until she can fund one (sic).

I replied with: If your mother was less drunk, you’d have been a blow job.

And got told: “don’t think you’ve any moral high ground by referencing his ma giving a blow job”

Followed by: “and being a drunk”

Which goes to show, they’d really not reached the depth of understanding that insult implies. But then, if you’ve never been drunk and attempted to perform fellatio, you won’t know how awful and treacherous it can be.

I don’t tend to come out handbags swinging very often, but how the hell do you know when it is the right time for someone to have a child? Most often there never is a right time, AND even if you did plan it, you can’t even be sure you are going to get pregnant – FFS.

I do not claim to have the moral high-ground at all, I’m just fed up with people being attacked for where they are on a gender line or where they are on a sexuality line. If in 1948 Kinsey et al can come up with a six-point scale (now expanded to ten, and with different axis going on) of sexuality, why the hell in 2015 are people still living in utter despair because they’re not being heard? Being bullied, abused, trolled, victimised for being who they are.

Enough.

rainbow

Picture credit

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