Tag Archives: gay and lesbian

I never wanted to be a Bishop anyway ….

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Well it’s a good job, isn’t it? Although I did have a few weeks of considering being a) a Missionary and b) a Nun in my teenage religious phase. And I do think I would make quite a good vicar. I would probably be more in the mould of ‘A Vicar of Dibley’ than the Anthony Trollope variety, but in my book that is no bad thing.

Dawn French as The Vicar of Dibley

Dawn French as The Vicar of Dibley

This week the Church of England decided that it would be ok for gay male clerics to become Bishops. The proviso is that they must be celibate. In this country the law of the land allows gay and lesbian people to have civil partnerships and legislation may soon be in force allowing us to marry. However the Church is prepared to state that even gay clerics already in Civil Partnerships must be willing to state they are both celibate AND willing to repent of any ‘homosexual acts’. This week comments have been made that the church is obsessed with sex.

As a woman the door clanged firmly shut on the possibility of becoming a Bishop within said church some months ago.

I don’t know where to start but I have to start somewhere and for now what I am going to do is write about it.

My partner and I had our Civil Partnership celebration almost 4 years ago surrounded by over 100 of our closest family and friends. We had the most wonderful day of poetry, promises and music. Singing and dancing, food and friends. Yes it was a civil ceremony. But it was as deep and meaningful as it is possible to be. If you stand up in front of your friends and family and make promises and declare your love to another human being and you have an ounce of soul I defy you to experience that without a spiritual connection. Love itself is a spiritual connection. Sex is a spiritual connection, or should be.Why would anyone want to limit that and insist it be celibate?

I don’t care for myself whether we can be ‘married’ or not. I couldn’t be more married, and another ceremony or piece of paper won’t change the feelings, the committment, the ‘for better or worse-ness’ of our relationship. But I will defend your right to that and honour your wish for it whoever you are. Together we have supported each other through life and death situations, illness and recovery, we are proud of our complex extended family. On Christmas Day this year 13 of us sat down to dinner together. The missus and I, my 4 sons and 2 partners, their Dad ( Mr W) and his wife, her son, daughter ( with bump)and partner and his ( Mr W) mother. And 2 dogs. We alternate who hosts Christmas and have done for years. In previous years my mother, his mother and my mother’s gentleman friend have all also been there. I don’t tell you this to make you gasp, although many do. We have worked this out between us with a lot of love, tolerance and good will. And the success of it all is a tribute to everyone involved. Today we all sat round the table to have a birthday tea for son 3. It works. It’s love.

Most of all it sums up to me that of the two emotions Love and Fear, Love will always drive out Fear. Right now it seems to me that the Church is caught up in Fear. And they are not the only one. It is the Church I know. The one I was baptised and confirmed into. The church my parents were both buried through. I love that church in some ways. I love the language and the music and many of the people. I am not a member of that church any longer and that is for more than one reason. But from time to time I go back, or I have done. On Christmas Eve we went to a Carols by Candlelight service and it was beautiful and festive and yes, spiritual.

But I am not going again. I’m sorry. I love you, bless you and let you go. I will no longer behave as if it is ok by me that you dismiss, disrespect or just ignore the heartbreak you cause. It is not love. It may be religion but it is not even Christianity as I understand it.

One day maybe this will change. But not until you are willing to listen to love.

For me personally I have another spiritual home. I haven’t made a formal committment to it yet, although I probably will. But it is a home that is willing to listen to the voice of love. I am not there just because I am welcome as I am, but it helps. I am not there just because I can be there with my missus and be acknowledged as a couple, but it helps.

Me and My Girl

Me and My Girl

 

Peveril of the Peaks and Singing in the Rain(bow)

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Manchester, England on a wet Monday August Bank Holiday. We dropped son 4 at the airport for a trip to meet his dad and other family in France for a weeks holiday. After a brunch there ( gasp at prices) we waved him off through the departures gate. Looking cool, his main possessions a phone charger and iPod on his first solo flight. I was 40 when I made my first solo flight. Kids nowadays eh? Cue, grumpy old woman music.

The missus and I set off solo together for the bright lights of the city centre. Its Manchester Pride weekend. We had skipped the drama and show of the Parade on Saturday. Clubbing and partying is not our thing either. but its fun to be there and to celebrate everyone’s right to love and be loved. We had a great lunch in Velvet on Canal Street. We waved at the narrowboats ( bit of a theme that this weekend!). We wandered round the stalls, put umbrellas up and down and said ‘Hi” to some of the people on the charity stalls, mental health, Quakers, Metropolitan City Church, Lesbian Community Group to name a few. And then we went and rocked out with the Lesbian and Gay Chorus singing their hearts out in the rain. A great, big, bad sound it made me smile. Proms in the Park was good, it would have been a LOT better on a sunny summer day. I had fantasies of sitting on the grass, the sun on my face music to sing along to. By this time the missus was cold. Well I did ask her if she was taking a jacket, but oh no. Who’s the smarty pants now then? If it had stayed sunny an evening of Toyah Wilcox, 4 Poofs and a Piano and the Original Bucks Fizz beckoned. I think you probably have to be from the UK to understand any of these or even have heard of them at all!

On the way home we passed a pub that I had spotted on the way in. It sits like a little beacon of old town in the middle of sky-scraper buildings. Coming from Stoke-on-Trent the home of The Potteries I can’t pass a Minton tile without oohing and aaahhhing in admiration. This little gem has been beautifully preserved. It’s also For Sale. Brief moment of landlady bubble comes out of my head. Nah. But someone please keep this little treasure alive.

Of course I had to Google it when I got home. This place seems to have stood still in time. One of Manchester’s oldest and certainly most distinctive pubs, here is a little review I found which sort of sums it up

Look at it!

Not only is it distanced architecturally from its surroundings, but it also happens to sit quite proudly on its own little concrete island. Aw, bless it. And look at it! Appears to be made out of ceramic, with a lovely green little roof garden awash with foliage.

I bet it’s haunted. I just hope it’s haunted. Truly they are missing a trick in not offering candelit all-nighters round Hallowe’en time. I cannot think of anything better.

As it stands, though, it stands proud. It feels like the city – and the world – has grown up around it; ol’ Peveril standing resilient, defiant. You can imagine the place emerging from the fog after hours of hostile travelling on foot or horseback – a glowing, warming, welcoming beacon for the weariest of souls.

Well, it still glows. When the sun shines, Peveril reflects it right back. Now it offers respite from the pace of the modern world. It feels like the heart of Manchester and, at times – when you’re surrounded by friends and cold drinks – it feels as though it beats for you.

http://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/peveril-of-the-peak-manchester

Pride 2011

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We don’t live in a big city. No great metropolis round here. Our city is a collection of six towns, literally. Each town still has its own separate and distinct identity and compared to London or Manchester or Birmingham we are pretty small potatoes. So Stoke Pride today in a local park was something that even a few years ago was the source of huge controversy in the local papers and started as a very tame and feeble event with a few stalls behind the only Gay Club in the area.      

Today the sun shone and the people turned out to celebrate in all our glorious diversity. Young and old, gay, lesbian, bi, trans and straight. Big and small, kids, families, black and white. We ran into old friends and drank beer or coffee whilst sitting sedately on a picnic blanket. We danced to Lady Gaga, admired drag in all its gorgeousness and realised that tutus and fairy wings, like rainbows, are alive and well in the lesbian community. I quite fancied a rainbow bandana for the dog but the boys think he is feminine enough as a poodle pooch without any extra adornment.

The usual array of stalls representing community action groups, Health, Police and the City Council were running stalls and giving away freebies. Between us we have postcards, pens, a can opener and an ice scraper for the car. Oh and we won a bottle of sports drink and a beer with a glass both of which I am happy to pass on.

It is fun to sit and watch the community go by. High heels and glam frocks, butch shirts and short hair, boys in angel wings, girls in tutus. Small people in big wigs and lotsa lippy, boys with posing dogs on bling leads looking for a cute companion. There was free face painting, clay to play with, balloons galore and sparkly colourful wind socks and flags flying above the crowds. An afternoon of fantasy and fun. A safe, friendly atmosphere. Raucous sing a long to “I am What I Am”, and like Pride the world over, a moment of joy that this is ‘My’ town, my tribe and I am proud to have been there. My friend T. took this photo because she said we looked like something out of ‘Little Britain”, I see where she was coming from! If you don’t know the series the reference will pass you by but it sort of sums up the ironic humour of the event too.

Uganda could pass ‘Kill the Gays’ Law

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              http://www.allout.org/petition/uganda/

I can’t just let this pass me by. And although I rarely use this blog to make a political statement today I will.

Love is what matters. Love is all. If we don’t have love we are nothing. Love doesn’t judge. It is kind and compassionate. Love means appreciating the light in each human being. Recognising the divine within us all. Love is a meeting of minds, a connection of spirit, a hand held in the dark. Love is the tenderness for a child, the hug of a friend, the bittersweet of an aging parent. Love may mean being able to share your life with one special person or with many. Love is about intimacy and sharing the spiritual, physical and emotional magic that comes from committment. Love is for all of us. Spirit does not count whether we are gay, lesbian, transsexual or straight, black or white, disabled or not, religious or not.

You may have friends, parents, children, lovers who are gay. If they were in Uganda they could be killed for their sexuality.

I am very lucky. My girl and I were able to celebrate our civil partnership with all our friends and family there. It was a joyous, wonderful, love-filled occasion and spirit was there. What would be lost if that hadn’t happened? Too much to count.

                                                                                                                           Signing the Register and dancing the night away