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

Archive for February, 2014

day four

This Is The Day

It’s the day I’ve waited for my whole life

Today is the day I become a wife

Today is the day I get to share

My love and commitment with those that I care

It’s the day for tears, for smiles and memories to keep

It’s the night before I didn’t get any sleep

It’s the morning in the kitchen with my best friend

Having champagne, breakfast, the speeches are penned

It’s the flowers I send to my love in her room

With a note to say I miss her and I’ll see her soon

It’s the dress and the hair, the make up and shoes

The photos, the nerves, and the laughter too

It’s walking down the aisle filled with joy and pride

I freeze frame the moment I turn to my bride

This is the day I will never forget

I’ve loved her the moment our eyes first met

Emma Brand, 29, Hartlip near Sittingbourne.

day three

For Pavlik

If we had discovered this path down to the sea another time:

If we had run laughing, jumping over these white chalk boulders

Sculpted by the waves:

If we had found this sheltered cove and paused

To catch our breath:

Would we have looked towards that shimmering horizon,

Then at each other and, careless of discovery or consequences,

Kissed?

Perhaps?

And would we have contrived, through the days that followed,

To steal moments in hidden corners until,

Inevitably,

We were found out?

Or is it better now,

After forty years,

On this jewel-like day, to walk slowly down the steps

And sit,

Watching the birds swooping low along the shoreline:

To sit,

Hearing nothing but the lapping of the water,

Grateful for the unexpected warmth of a day in March:

Eventually, turning and climbing back to the top:

Two men in middle-age, a friendship rekindled,

Silent and content?

31 March 2003

Andrew Derbyshire, 66, Southend-on-Sea,

Aside

day two

On Tuesdays she went to the bookshop.

It was what she wanted to do, where she wanted to be, where she felt excited, thrilled, perturbed, or where she felt safe. She loved to lose herself among the dusty pages. The smells intoxicated her. The calm and the detachment thrilled her. She could be alone. She could be surrounded by people. She could be a muse, she could be a whore, she could be a duchess, she could be a hunter, she could be a queen, she could fall in love. She could go to a party, she could walk in the wilderness, she could attend Royal court, she could drink in a speakeasy. All she had to do was pick up a book, open the first page and it would begin. Some days she would look for something that suited her mood, some days she would simply pick up the first volume that came to her hand. The freedom invigorated her. She loved the random sense that she never knew where she would end up, never knew what adventure would ensue, what journey she would go on.

It wasn’t a chain bookstore, all clean and sterile. This was Old Man Thomas’ bookshop. He rarely lifted a duster, or ran round a hoover. Sometimes, when you lifted a book, you had to brush or blow the dust off. There were no well-heeled, skinny decaf drinking, schmucks. No life-sized models of children’s book characters. No cheery, sickly sweet, but slightly vacuous sales assistants, that could just as well be working in any other ‘trendy’ shop.

The hardest part was putting the books back. If she found a book that she really liked, she could always come back to it next week, but that didn’t stop her wanting to put it in her bag and take it home. Some days she just didn’t want to leave and would sit, reading, lost in whichever world she found herself, until she was ushered out.

Kelly Tonks, 40, Folkestone

day one

Retro-Sharp

Mini skirts and biker boots, sharp flat top bleached to white, close fit black Basque, lace and leather – passé now but this was way before Madonna flirted with the S/M gender fuck ideas and confessed to snogging Sandra Bernhard just for the publicity.

I knew fuck-all about history, fashion, pop, art or being queer. Dressing up and being gobby was all, the first time I had any real sense of being looked at because of what I wore.

The power of teenage tits and style had passed me by, awkward fashion sense a blessing some may say, but hey I had my own struggles going on. You ain’t supposed to properly fancy yer mate, yeah of course we say we love each other, besties and everything, even that practising kissing thing that made me blush with shame and ache in places I couldn’t even name.

Well I caught up 10 years later, now I’m right there, bleach bottle in hand, buzz of clippers round my ears and who ever thought of the fucking Basque? Was it me, some alter ego struggling to get out? Of course it was me, dressing up, relearning the scary joy of the power to turn heads!

Then the agony of are you a boy or a girl shifts, we’re way before Trans here, and way too rural!

A slightly thrilled (who knows why?) recognition that yeah the guy in the skin tight jeans with the scrubbed crotch and the slightly too colourful shirt really was trying to catch my eye. His turn to blush as I turn the corner in the Ikea lighting department and he realises I’ve got tits and a girlfriend. We both smile, friendly, not an ‘I’m gonna kick shit out of you’ look you get from some straight men if you happen to be outside the wrong pub at the wrong time.

In the 90’s I used to wear a T-shirt with ‘look no bollocks’ and an arrow pointing to my crotch printed on it, ahh radical days! Has it all changed now? Is it easier these days to move through gender and time? I still struggled just for a second, when I heard ‘sorry love, I thought you were a bloke’, sometimes if I was feeling strong I could manage a quick response, ‘that’s OK sonny, so did I for a while, but actually I’m a Dyke!”

 

JJ 08, 49, Brighton