celebrating and creating our own LGBTQ+ history in honour of Sheila McWattie

Archive for February, 2014

day twenty eight


  Musing my Memories {a slice of herstory}

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Carpentry, karate and motorbikes

Discos, bars and clubs

Squats and co-ops

Lesbos, Greenham and Womansland

Marches, demos and protests

Celebrations and condemnations

Pride, lots of it

Girlfriends, lovers and friends

Making culture, art and love…


Bronwen, 59, USA

day twenty seven

Matters of Love and Death



You know you’ve reached middle age

when you just don’t come like you did in your twenties.


Younger friends bustle through their thirty something’s with kids and houses and friendships, solid with time and sharing, or so I dream for them.


I’m racing ahead uphill empty handed,

No treasures or ties to carry proudly along

Careful cache in the dresser drawers and jeans pocket of my world.


Books of poetry sometimes call – you can’t read your own – timeless teller of your story – but I hear it well enough from the page.


If you had a daughter would it be me?

Wizened word-smith, speaking wisdom from the tree stumps of your water retentive thighs.


My body like a bomb damaged building

water main pulsing gently into disfigured ground,


Back stairway to basements no longer passable,

no chance to leap the broken step,

too far-gone, a route I’ll never scramble down again.


I’m in the old girls club at last, fitting in, knowing the language, something that means something to say, my own fractured concrete that was and counts for something.


The route romantic pathways traversed, you can’t get through, it would take a bulldozer to move the fallen tree and no point anyway, nothing down there to see, no need for that old line, a new bypass carved up the edges.


Freezing to death in the snow, lie still long enough not to know you can’t move that leg any more.


Sometimes I do that in bed in the morning, 2 or 3 seconds of no sensation but warmth, before consciousness wades in.







Janet Jones, 49, Brighton

day twenty six

It was hard enough getting them to understand, hard enough to explain the situation, without other people muddying the waters, casting aspersions. That, however, was the unfortunate state of affairs she always found herself in.  She didn’t ever get the chance to start from scratch. There was always some other influence. Just once, she screamed at the wall in her head, just once I want to be able to have a blank canvas.

It wasn’t that they were ganging up on her, far from it. She was offered support and counsel continuously. It was just that the support and counsel either came from an uninformed corner, or it was tainted by ignorance. Mostly, though, they meant well.

Unfortunately, once in a while, the intention was more than naïve ignorance, or blind stupidity. Once in a while, there was malice in the words and sentiment. That was when it hurt the most. That could, and often did cause her to want to shut the world out, curl into a ball under the duvet and cry for days. Far too often, she had wished she had a button to end it all. Just push the button and it would all go away. But that wouldn’t do. That couldn’t happen. That was weakness, selfish, cowardly. No. She must front it.




Kelly Tonks, 40 , Folkestone

day twenty six

The heart caught in the heart - Dori Kirchmair-2       Dori Kirchmair, 52, Nottingham


day twenty six

The heart caught in the heart - Dori Kirchmair-2

day twenty five

I had always wanted to have a baby. To be a mother, right from when I was a young girl myself.

The years went by. Then I met my partner.   My future wife.

She had never considered being a mother herself.

But I had.

Always had done.

So, I started to think, if that’s what I wanted.

I needed to go after it. So that’s what I did.

I got creative and wrote, ’20 ways I could have a baby.’

Some of those ideas were pretty obscure. But, one

of them was just the ticket.

Everything seemed to fall into place.

But what if. What if.

But nothing.

I knew with every fibre of my being that it would work.

And it did. First time.

Boom! 9 months later – Our Beautiful Amazing baby girl was born.


Amanda Thomas, 43, Whitstable, Kent

day twenty five

I follow the path

and pause to smell the lilacs,

recalling childhood.

But next day they have vanished:

two men are wielding chainsaws.



Andrew Derbyshire, 66, Southend-on-Sea

day twenty four

Oldest Silence



She calls me up she says she needs to stay in my house

she poses questions I don’t seem to need to think about

She said you know that if we do this we do this good

I smiled and passed the cigarette

I was too scared to look

And although I’ve been drinking this is serious

And although I’ve been drinking it’s not why I’m delirious

And I’ve been drinking but you’ve always been delicious

In your heart and soul

In your mind and your goals

I’ve always known

That’s you’re my oldest silence

My oldest secret here

And all I ask is that all the pieces fit

It’s the biggest ask I’ve ever asked myself

Joanna do this well

And so the stars align hold hands and form a path

I find myself dancing any dance you ask

I know I’ve danced into spaces of two

I promise ill do my best do both of you

You’re my oldest silence

My oldest secret here

And all I ask is that all the pieces fit

It’s the biggest ask I could ever ask myself

Joanna do this well





Jo Hook, 39, Canterbury

day twenty three

part one

The white garden

“So does that mean I won’t be a granny?”

I nodded as I lowered my head, heavy head, heavy-heartful of what-might-have-beens

Mum shook her head and looked away

and our sad streaming tears found home in the cracks of the park bench we clung to.


Self – insemination was not in my pack of cards, not then.

“It’s a difficult path you’ve chosen for yourself”,

mum dabbed her eyes and dabbed her eyes again with a tissue now soggy

her voice now shaken

“an’ I worry for you”.


Coming out to my mum in the walled white garden, in the company of peony, pansy and

gerbera daisy, I’d planned to sing joyfully, leave her with at least a tingle of my hopes and


Instead loss was beating on the walls of the cord that joined us.


I stared in to skies of blue and saw the grey green flash of a chaffinch. 


part two

Big boy

Our granddaughter laughs, “no, you’re a big boy!”

Three years old, there’s no arguing with that.

And arguments I’ve had a few

“Do you need help packing, sir?” in the supermarket queue

Altercations there’ve been some

“You look so much nicer in a skirt!”, that’s my mum

Washing dishes on the beach hut wall

“Good to see a man working”, chuckles the old gal

Motorway toilets –  they’ve got to be the best

“You’re in the wrong toilet!” so I bare my breast

Depositing money in to my own bank account

Teller says, “That’s lovely Mr Thomson, tell your wife that’s the right amount

To avoid going in to overdraft

You have to laugh

Now I’m a husband, married to myself

Fantastico, not been left on the shelf

I’m starting to have fun in the world today

Apply the odd ‘tache, darken eyebrows and play

at being cowboy, soldier, giving bristly kisses

the ladies seem to like it, with the exception of me missis

who knows better than most……….

that I’m all woman,  her handsome woman

But our granddaughter’s wise

Big worldly eyes

What’s she picking up?

I prefer a mug to a cup?

Lego to dolly?

Hood up, not brolly?

Is it my stance?

The way I dance?

We’ve climbed an apple tree together

My belt is chunky leather

Our granddaughter laughs, “no, you’re a big boy!”

Then, “you’re a woman”

And before she nods off, she strokes my face, “you’re Nanny Fiona”

Three years old, there’s no arguing with that.


Fiona Thomson, 53, Margate

day twenty two



We met in an Allergies Anon chatroom, the latest online dating site for Dykes that Don’t. It was love at first latte (a soy low fat, of course). I loved the way her glasses steamed up over the mug, and she loved the way my jugs stood up inside my top!


We agreed to cohabit at mine, what with it being above the organic foodstore. She was living a few doors up from a kebab shop, the smell of hot grease played havoc with her sinuses.


She kept her place on for a bit, a last ditch grasp at feigned independence. But after 3 months, she put it on the market, where it was snapped up almost immediately by a well known coffee chain. She made a killing. So, that was it, we were stuck together like 2 peas in a pod, and that’s when it all started.


Despite meeting on Dykes That Don’t, I hadn’t quite appreciated how much ‘don’t’ there was going to be in our relationship.


“Don’t put your goat’s cheese by my tofu burger … Shine your shoes outside, the animal products …” and so on.


To be fair, I have my idiosyncrasies, but I’m sure that soya marg, asthma inhalers and veggie sausages can’t be that intrusive?


And then came the day when it really did get all too much.


“And what exactly is this doing here?” she pointed in disgust at the dish I’d prepared as a surprise for our nine month anniversary.


How was I supposed to know they’d braised the tofu steak in pine nuts? She went blue in the lips, became short of breath, went white as a sheet and then crumpled to her knees. She gasped and gestured towards the medic alert box on the side.


Momentarily shocked out of my usual diatribe when faced with a conflict, I handed her the case. She proceeded to unwrap and inject herself with the adrenalin pen. She didn’t need an ambulance. Not that time.


So, I’m sitting here in a café with my soy decaf sugar-free low-fat low-GI cappuccino, and she’s over half an hour late, with no sign of an explanatory or apologetic text.


I guess she must have found the nice bowl of pecan muesli I left her out for breakfast.



Annabel Pribelszki, Brighton