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August 22nd, 2016

12:21 pm: I keep wanting more bi stuff to happen near me.

I keep not wanting to organise it all myself because:

  • I want to do other things in life

  • Other people's ideas are important too, particularly those lesser heard. I am over-represented

  • I don't want to pretend a thing is important to me when it is really aimed at others - such as people newly coming out, or resent the time looking after something I don't benefit from directly

  • It may be better for some things not to happen right now

  • Other things than what I think of may be better, other people may do this better, groups (e.g. youth) might be better self-organised

I spend too much of my life annoyed and frustrated.

I'm wondering:

  • If it's just me not being good enough or having the wrong personality or skillset for this stuff: should I get some queer mentoring to be a more effective activist or get out of the way?

  • Much of what I want is for others. It is based on thinking there is a need, but I could be wrong about the need, it might already be being met, or others might be better to address the need

  • Other umbrellas may be better - our local Queer Together group is great for example without being bi specific

Still, the wellbeing stats for bisexuals are worrying. I continue to believe some form of communication, community building or knowing others like you are out there is important. If it is happening near me I'd feel reassured if I knew about it and thought it was accessible to others.

I think perhaps I just worry too much. Also, there is more to life than this.

This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/427573.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

August 3rd, 2016

11:24 am: Initial thoughts on trans at work
I'm looking at some internal policy work on trans at work and thought it might be productive to think where I personally start on this. I'm not a policy advisor and while I have an amount of knowledge of trans and I think a pretty good ally position I'm not an expert and don't have personal experience of being trans. I want and expect to improve my knowledge. I know some people are more personally touched by trans issues so if my noodling would be uncomfortable please feel free to skip this; I will be suggesting we get specialised advice. This is a first draft and I may edit and add.

Here's where I start:

- I want all people to have good lives regardless of their gender

- Human gender including trans issues is complex and diverse and simplistic views can be ignorant and harmful

- Sex and gender and trans issues intersect and we support anti-sexism

- Our workplace should be a good place for all to work and study regardless of gender

- Gender issues and transition can be difficult for administration to handle, but they have a responsibility towards the individual staff and students to ensure their details are correct. As well as legal responsibility and expectations of administrative competence, the use of incorrect names or gender markers can be particularly distressing.

- Our top level university ethos includes diversity and we understand this to mean the university will lead on trans issues and will aim to be the best in this area

- We should have a positive impact on the world through our research and teaching to work towards all people doing well regardless of gender

- Due to transphobia and other problems I should be able to specify, trans people often face violence, hostility and various stressors, discrimination and prejudice and have worse well-being outcomes on various measures

- Other problems exist in the world and by focussing here on trans we do not forget them or make claims of greater importance. Trans issues are important and other issues should not minimise their importance.

- As well as their gender, people have other aspects such as their class, race / ethnicity, age etc. These integrate for each individual and so there is diversity amongst trans people and they occupy different postions of power in society

- As an employer and as caring collegues we should listen to any problems trans people report and help fix them. We should also monitor for problems we can discern statistically such as whether trans people are disadvantaged in pay for example.

- Humans are known to have biases which are out of our awareness and we should learn about and correct for unconscious biases

- Trans issues are offically included under our LGBT+ umbrellas such as the staff LGBT+ forum. We must check this is in fact reflected in our work, listen to what trans people inside and outside want, amplify their voices and fix our own mistakes and biases. If trans people choose to organise separately as well as or instead of under a wider LGBT+ umbrella then we supprt that.

- There are legal and procedural protections for some aspects of trans life and also support and campaigning organisations which we should know about

- We note some groups and individuals are critical of some trans issues and people and some are actively hostile

- We are aware of our support for and responsibilities to trans people and also to academic freedom and open exchange of ideas and that conflicts between safety and debate may occur

- We note as a teaching and learning institution there may be teachable moments in our work where we can learn and teach better practice

- We should keep our knowledge of trans issues up to date and disseminate it within our organisation and beyond. We as a university should always support people in increasing our knowledge and changing our prejudices or discomforts. Trans allies are responsible for their own lives and should not expect trans people to support their emotional processing or factual learning unless trans people choose to take such roles. It is OK to internally struggle with trans issues or be critical of them - however please work on these issues in appropriate ways and places so as not to hurt trans people while doing so.

- We operate in a multicultural and multinational context and this includes gender and trans issues

- We listen to trans people but do not expect them to act as unpaid researchers, teachers or support staff

- Trans issues might include but are not limited to changes of name and/or pronoun, as a current thing or a historical thing that may still be relevant, medical intervention, non-medical physical changes, changes in gender presentation, legal changes, intersex issues, non-binary genders, genderqueer people, gender fluidity, people who wish to share their gender position and journey and people who wish to keep this private

- As a starting point in the workplace: Treat people as the gender they present at in a professional manner

- Other people's gender is often none your business in the workplace unless we are dealing with combatting prejudices or that person wishes to share some parts of that aspect of their life

- Curiousity is fine but be aware that there are teaching resources available and collegues may not wish to be asked personal questions inappropriate to the workplace. Listen for consent to any conversations touching on gender and be aware of where you might cause stress, discomfort or cross lines into harassment.

- Some people find their gender problematic and we wish them good support

- Some people find other people's reaction to their gender problematic and we wish to help improve society to change this

- Some people indentify with a trans status or history and may not want or need to focus on that aspect of their life at this time and we would do well to respect that

- Gender diversity improves all of our lives when accepted and celebrated including our research, teaching and workplace and student experience

- Some people who do not identify to others as trans would benefit from a supportive, understanding environment, but maybe not so much from labels or groups. Access to information in a sensitive, discrete manner might be useful.

[edited to add [personal profile] yoyoangel comment, thank you]
[edited to add point based on [personal profile] sparrowsion, thank you]
[edited to add point from [personal profile] ellemir, thank you]

This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/427268.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

June 29th, 2016

03:58 pm: Multiple hat working noodling
[Work in progress noodling, not a completed and checked article. Extra noodles welcome.]

I've been thinking about the tech I use and how I use it when owning multiple "hats" where by hats I mean work personas, voluntary roles and personal ones.

For simplicity I won't talk here about shared hats and I'm not concentrating much here on teams and groups.

I'm talking about me and tools. Am am willing to consider using different tools and even using tools differently and yes I do get unreasonably annoyed if the world doesn't provide tools that fit me and I'm probably missing a bunch of knowledge.

An example:

I have email. In fact I have multiple email accounts, sometimes several for one workplace and some personal ones.
When I'm out and about with a tablet I'd like to be able to check my mail for all or just some accounts.
I'd like filtering to help me organise my email. I'd like to be able to respond wearing different hats so have the correct servers, addresses and signatures depending on which hat I'm wearing. I don't want organisation A to be able to easily see email I'm doing for organisation B.
This seems pretty easy to do with standard tools. My phone can do this for quite a few of my accounts though a virtual mailbox would be handy to read e.g. just email lists, just unread mail, just personal and not work email accounts.
I'm pleased with email.

Other tools are harder to do that with. Web browsers can be set up with different profiles for different hats, thanks [personal profile] yoyoangel I'd like my web browser to tab between multiple hats and combine and uncombine histories, bookmarks etc.

How to save progress and be clear which hat or hats are being worn can be difficult to do and to display and control in a sensible fashion. Ideally I'd like to tell my current device which hat or hats I'm working with in any moment and have all of the tools tabbed into that hat or those hats rather than doing it for each tool.

Mainly I want to use tools that work on any device I'm using, including web versions if I can't or don't want to install software on a box. Tools will have different capabilities on different devices.

I get a bit more stuck with other tools. Lots of tools online connect to an email address. Fewer let you swap between addresses rather than logging out and back in again each time. Google are better at this.

I'm wondering what wording to use to look for tools that are multi-platform and multi hat.

This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/427190.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

June 27th, 2016

09:35 am: Exit strategy
Following the disastrous vote last Friday I'm seriously considering moving away from England. This isn't a firm decision yet and would be in at least a year.

I mainly speak English and am looking at developing a second language.

Wikipedia: List of territorial entities where English is an official language

Within Europe English is used officially in Malta and Ireland and I'll include Scotland if they leave U.K.

CountryStarting point for immigrationNotes
MaltaMoving to MaltaHave visited, country is closely connected with England, Maltese is hard
IrelandIrish Naturalisation & Immigration Service (INIS)I have been there lots and like it. Rather rainy

Other places I've considered so far:

CountryStarting point for immigrationNotes
AustraliaMigration to Australia 
New ZealandImmigration New Zealand 
CanadaCanadian Immigration and citizenshipLearn French
South AfricaImmigrating to South Africa (under review) 
SingaporeSingapore Immigration and Checkpoints AuthorityCheck human rights and politics carefully

I should read some overviews of the various countries, including their civil and human rights situations and diversity situations including LGBT.
Also check where I can convert to working as a psychotherapist and what other transferable skills I could use from my day job and other interests.

This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/426973.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

May 8th, 2016

07:53 pm: He for She references (TW)
I was at a He for She discussion on Friday at work at University of Leicester which included a few references I thought I'd find and note (some of which are about sexual violence)
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This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/426706.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

May 1st, 2016

03:26 pm: London
Have a couple of pictures from Golden Square

Then the Gherkin and train related.
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This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/426268.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

March 30th, 2016

10:11 pm: Spring walk
Had a day off and a walk today and took some pictures

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This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/426204.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

February 28th, 2016

04:12 pm: Making plans with E for my favourite event, EuroScience Open Forum http://www.esof.eu/ in Manchester July 23-27th
Any local friends fancy hosting us or other attendees fancy sharing an apartment?

This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/425869.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

February 25th, 2016

07:21 pm: LGBT/Queer polyday thoughts
Wrote a piece on how I came to help get LGBT/queer polyday organised recently which will be excerpted elsewhere and so I thought I'd share the full draft:

Sexuality or relationships can be complicated, particularly where there is opposition from "normal" society. I often want to gather with others under an umbrella for reasons I haven't fully articulated: I sometimes want to converse with other involved folks about whatever seems important to us. Other times, I want to create what I would have liked when I was younger so others can benefit rather than wanting to be there for myself. Often, I hope some form of community will emerge: not the sort you are born into and might not fit and not the excuse for amateur activities unfit for the elite. I don't have a clear vision of the sort of communities I do want to be in but I know when I feel included and open and caring and also willing to continue to share life with a few people I wouldn't choose as friends.

I value various size umbrellas: Larger ones can be more diverse and bring strengths together. Larger groups can also mean we don't have so much in common and may be in conflict. Smaller groups can mean we share more with each other from the start and have space to speak. They can also become exclusive in ways I don't want.

Since starting polyamory I've wanted to focus sometimes and talk about relationships with others with some similarity of practice or worldview. Sometimes I've just wanted to hang out with people where I can mention one lover or another without having to educate or defend. I've been motivated enough and well enough resourced to sometimes JFDI [Just Fucking Do It] and set up events such as Polyday: a one day get-together in Leicester for non-monogamous people which has now happened in London and Bristol run by different teams.

Much of the discussion I've had around polyamory has been within the bisexual movement. The book "Breaking the Barriers to Desire" came from there and we've had workshop sessions on poly at many of the national multi-day bi get-togethers called BiCon. I'm also aware of a large strand of non-monogamies in gay male relationships and read books on Lesbian Polyamory and ongoing conversations about queer relationships challenging monogamy. We had a queer meetup at Bristol Polyday which I really liked and I thought an LGBT / Queer poly event would both attract enough people to be worthwhile and have enough queer specific content to be worth holding separately from a general poly event.

I'm trying to cut down on organising so I put out a few feelers for people to help and we decided an un-conference format might work where participants would form the agenda together. I asked Leicester LGBT Centre for space and they were happy to let us use their building. I'd previously worked with and directed the Centre at various times so we had an existing relationship and it worked well for the first Polyday I held there. We thought some ground rules and initial facilitating would help avoid the fastest loudest people setting the agenda and we wanted to assert our intention to have an anti-oppressive event.
We started with:

"What are the groundrules?
As facilitators, we’re suggesting the following groundrules to try to cultivate as safe and respectful a space as possible. There’ll also be time at the start of the event to add to these if you want to.

Please respect the privacy of everyone else at the event and don’t name anybody to people who aren’t attending, or on social media. Some of us are very open about our relationships and identities. Some of us prefer to keep them private from the wider world.

Please treat people respectfully. People at the event will have diverse genders, sexualities, relationship styles, nationalities, ages, disabilities, class and cultural backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs. Please try not to make assumptions about these, and to take somebody’s self-identity at face value.

Please treat yourself, and others, kindly. Events like this can be quite intense. It’s worth remembering to ensure that you get enough food, drink and rest times in the day. When you have a comment to make, think first about whether it might feel too personally exposing for you afterwards, or triggering for others, and also whether it leaves space for other people to express different points of view.

Please treat people consensually: check in before touching somebody in any way or taking their photograph, and unless you get an enthusiastically positive response, don’t do it. Try not to put people under any pressure to do anything whether they are people you know or new people."

Several of us are part of a poly-counselling peer group and with permission used the website for that for a queer polyday. We planned to offer separate space for any subgroup who wanted it, such as Black and Minority Ethnic people.

We didn't do a whole lot of advertising, just social media and word of mouth. We ran the event for free, asking for donations towards the Leicester LGBT Centre from those who could afford them. We had little idea how many would come or where from.

We got over 20 people from between Brighton and Newcastle. We had plenty of tea and several people dived into collating and clustering ideas for discussion said in the room or written down during the initial discussion. We then split between multiple discussion sessions with larger groups talking about:

Legalities, next of kin and poly relationships - alongside marriage and poly
Designing a Dream Poly House
Poly Queer Community, labels, differences, similarities and identity.
Poly, mental health and autism
Queer poly relationships, asexuality, celibacy and dealing with cis/het people in your relationship network
Inclusion and exclusion - diversity, ethnicity and queering gendered norms

and smaller ones on

Poly in the Media
Community support and spaces
Rules and Poly

It seemed to go well, though I see all of this with my own privileges and biases so would welcome more voices.

This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/425660.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

February 11th, 2016

10:27 pm: I visited the Science Museum to see the Cosmonauts exhibition - pic below
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This entry was originally posted at http://skibbley.dreamwidth.org/425264.html. You can comment there if you have a Dreamwidth account or using OpenID or you can comment here instead as you wish.

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