Yes I’ve been away for a few weeks.
I’m just posting this one, because at least there’s some gay stuff in it. Then I will possibly post every other week, if I even have the time. I’m working full-time teaching English for Academic Purposes at Heriot-Watt university. I hope to do some work in Scotland in late August, too, for Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh University Press.
I Have Become That Person
On Saturday, my partner and I wanted to be queer in public, so we decided, after my Saturday morning teaching hours were done, to go to Bristol Pride. I am including the complaint I sent to First Western Bus company. Because that’s what I do now.
“I hope this message finds you well.
We’re just sending you this message as a complaint about one of your bus drivers, who was being deliberately difficult, as well as unpleasant to others who went to visit Pride.
The bus was number 8, we left at 15:20 from Bristol Temple Meads. The bus driver left at 15:32, at Bond Street S8.
I asked for two return tickets to Clifton Park, which was on the number 8 timetable. The bus driver said he didn’t know where that was. “I’ve been driving this line for 30 years, I’ve never heard of Clifton Park.” As I showed him, Clifton Park is on the line. I am including the photo below.
He then got annoyed with me when he finally could see the image on my phone, that Clifton park is one of the stops. I tried to pay for the tickets as soon as I could, because I didn’t want to upset him more. I’m autistic, so I looked anxious as i realised he wasn’t genuine and had tried to prevent me and my partner to enter the bus. Instead he got more annoyed, as he now had to cancel the payment I’d just made. I tried to apologise, but instead he got more and more annoyed at me saying I’d been trying to help him.
My partner, who’s also autistic, was genuinely upset. However, other passengers were genuinely lovely – they said “he was horrible to us too,” they were also going to Pride. When the bus got far too full, we got off because we needed to breathe. We never ended up going to Pride. It’s a shame, we’d been looking forward to this.
I still felt like the arsehole when sending this. I’d be a terrible poster on Mumsnet.
Lesson here, kids, is that even in a supposedly queer-friendly city like Bristol, homophobes still are able and willing to use their power against us. Not even in ways that are outwardly aggressive, just by using whatever power they have to make our lives slightly more difficult. Like a current instagrammer says: “A fascist trained today. What did you do?”
I, people of the internet, went for a swim and wrote a blog. That’s what I did. Here’s the news.
On Monday the 27th, I did a closed training session on neurodiversity and HR with Julian House, a local housing charity. This was really fun and I will be doing training to all staff in the autumn.
On Thursday the 30th, I would have been discussing creating gender and sexuality trainings for staff who work with autistic young people – and for those young people themselves. That got cancelled due to one of the people present falling ill and not being able to be there.
On Thursday 7th July, I gave a talk for SENNIES, a London-based organisations that matches parents of children with special educational needs to personal carers, nannies and au pairs to work with their children. That was very fun and I look forward to working with them more often.
This piece, the start of a series on the autism “epidemic,” is absolutely brilliant. I cannot wait to read them all:
This interview with JJ Green is excellent and underlines why conversion therapy for autistic people (and for anyone else) needs to end.
If anyone is up for seeing this with me in London, I’d be well up for going together. Harry? Roísín?
Follow JJ on instagram at: A-Typical Rainbow (@atrainbowldn) • Instagram photos and videos
I have been working with the director of this show – but that doesn’t mean I can’t see quality when it’s there. Anna is taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, written, directed and performed by #ActuallyAutistic creatives. It’s high time. They’ve just hit their target in funding the show, but a bit of extra cash never hurts:
Hopefully, if I get funding for travel and accommodation to train HW and EUP, I will be able to go and see Anna’s show at the Fringe this year. I cannot wait. <3
Again, I know this particular artist, but still, that doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about. Linkoln is a wonderful artist and he needs the cash for gender surgery (hopefully!) later this year. If you can’t afford to throw him a few quid for beautiful illustrations of a variety of creatures/humans/filth, then share the link across your socials.
Yes, the recent political news has been very satisfying. My partner and I definitely had several nights of schadenfreude. But that does mean the NHS remains starved of resources. I am not a fan of the Guardian (they’re TERFs), though this article is pretty important reading:
This petition wears its heart on its sleeve and it’s vitally important that people’s voices are heard. However, under current legislation, Lauren’s death was already criminal and broke the law in several places. The government has been passing legislation to this effect for a few years, including after the death of Oliver McGowan. The problem is not the laws – they’re good on paper. It’s just that no-one is following them. Lauren’s mother’s proposals are already legally mandated.
Another new law won’t do more than allow the government plausible deniability. They can pretend that the problem was to do with absent legal mandates. Well, it was already there.
There’s also no legal precedent for autistic people winning in civil court. Even parents of autistic people are not winning any structural improvements. The only thing that happened after Connor Sparrowhawk’s death was fines for the trust. No-one went to jail. That case should have caused the laws that were there to actually be implemented. They were not. The Oliver McGowan case should have changed the conversation. It has not. The NAS has training materials aplenty on Autism in women and girls. They are providing those materials. They are just not being followed, especially if those materials need purchasing by companies or Foundation Trusts.
Until there is deep structural change at the top, nothing will be done. These deaths are an insult to our whole community and what happened to Lauren should never have happened, and that’s under current legislation. No laws will make a difference at this point. We need to change our strategy and fight for implementation. I did still add my name to the petition, because the conversation needs to continue to be happening. Thanks to Yo Dunn’s excellent 2020 talk on autistic activism to help me move in the right direction on this.
Yes, this is from Havana times – but the point is clear: neurodiversity is an equality issue.
This podcast is excellent on the continuing criminalisation of UK people seeking abortions. This needs changing. It’s vital that we are all aware of how the legal system limits our human rights, rather than feel smug that we don’t live in America.
My next blog will be less of a mess – I’ll have an important announcement to make! That’ll happen after next week, since I’ll have an article to write on English for Academic Purposes by the 24th. What a time to be alive. BYE!
Lots of love,