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

Archive for February, 2015

day twenty eight



The sky is blue, the wind rushes past me, my legs are trembling, my arms ache


The sky is grey, the rain falls on my face, my legs are trembling, my arms ache


It is cold, so cold, movement keeps me warm, shivering legs, aching arms


The forest smells of spice, he looks back and catches my eye.


My horse talks to me, my heart sings.





Chrissie Snell, France


day twenty seven



As we walk across the field,

the low winter sun shines slantwise

cutting flashes and sparkles off the flat white snow.

It creaks beneath my feet but beyond that is a deep silence.

I realise I can’t hear the river and as we approach, I see that it has frozen over.

In the shallows every ripple and eddy has been etched in ice, a fantasy of Winter.

My heart is warm with wonder.

Whilst behind  me, the dog kangaroos in and out of the soft drifted snow,

snorting with joy.





Megan Williams, Mid Wales

day twenty six

I want people to admire me with gasps

By Majikle

I want people to admire me with gasps

I want to have a feminine woman who dotes on my every word

I want to give her a hard time that she doesn’t give me enough attention even when she does I want a bed on wheels and a driver and unlimited petrol I want people to gather round the bed and encourage me when I’m having sex to relax and get into it

I want, I want, I want, I want it, I want whatever I want, I want, I want, I want to be a writer of stories that women take to bed with them deep under the covers unable to put the book down because they are so anxious to find out what is going to happen next

I want the picture on the back of the book to make people pass it around and say “have you ever seen a better looking woman” I want to smoke and never get asthma to get stoned every day and have a crowd of women sat outside my truck waiting for me to wake up so they can get me whatever I need.

I want the most beautiful forest to grow just outside my truck overnight so that I can wake up and go walking in it and get lost in the twists and turns of trees and find a little pool where I can swim naked. I want to impress I want to be acclaimed and arse licked. I want to have my friends talking about me when I’m not there and saying how worried or concerned they are over me or how lucid and cleverly I explained something to them that they now understand after years of wanting to. I want to I want to I want to be the centre of attention all the time until I get bored and then for it to all go away I want to be a celebrated I want a helicopter. I bet you think this song is about you But it isn’t its about MEEEEE


day twenty five

Does the heart sing or hum

Stutter or stun

Was it the moment before the kiss

Or that moment when I looked in the mirror

And I was Moving with you


Does the heart sing or sting

Leap and lurch

When your arm was my pillow

And your son brought me Lego


Does the heart sing or shout

When you asked me

While drunk

And sealed it with plastic rings

And you lost yours

But I kept mine on


Does the heart climb out of the dark

To sing again?


For you? No


For whom ?


Indeed ?




Anon, Kent

day twenty four

Hallowe’en 1987


the tartan flash of your scarf as you appeared at the top of the platform at Euston


the beam of your smile as you ran towards me hurtling a trolley to scoop up all my worldy possessions crammed in cardboard boxes


the look of sheer delight across your face as you held my face and we kissed, a long deep kiss, and a warm knowing glow hummed between us as we took the first steps to setting up home together sharing the weight of the wobbly trolley up the sloping platform.


Fiona Thomson, 54, Margate

day twenty three


Because we do not differentiate between friends and lovers by gender, so we are free to love each other in whatever way we both think we can…and I am proud to call old lovers, friends. Prouder still to call their new loves, wives, and even boyfriends, friends.
And because we have not yet perfected time travel, so the past will always be a place we cannot visit but can hold complete in our hearts… and because the perfect whole of that imperfect past cannot be unravelled, so we do not need to take it out of its box to check, we just know it is a place we have lived together, with joy….

When I got your text,

The one about the accident,

I suddenly thought that you might actually die

and I might lose you

And then I realized – you’re not mine to lose

Not any more

All the people Ive ever truly loved,

and there haven’t been many

I can’t stop loving them…It’s like a genetic fault.

300 miles, 15 years and 100lbs away

We were young, gorgeous, and stupid

now we are old and wise enough to be disgraceful,

still wading out into that river of life

still jumping from stone to stone

still falling in

All the people Ive ever truly loved

I will love them for ever

And when I got your text,

The one about the accident,

Just for a moment I forgot what decade it was,

And what happened to those leather trousers.



Fin McMorran

day twenty two



Your Christmas stocking bursting bulging with anticipation hanging beside you, lying sleeping, snuggling up to Alien Dolly, at the foot of our bed on the wee grey mattress.


Your thrill to discover on Christmas morning, the stump of a chewed carrot and crumbs from the brownie outside our front door, telling me “that’s a real test Nanny Fiona, isn’t it, because no adult is going to eat a whole carrot!’



Fiona Thomson, 54, Margate

day twenty one



Dilettante: I was eleven years old and this word changed my life. I am not sure how it even found me. I lived in a house where words such as ‘factory’, ‘liver’ and ‘Mam’ were routinely heard but find me it did and I thought it was the most beautiful word I had ever heard. Looking back I recognise that I was probably mixing it up with ‘debutante’ – another word that wouldn’t routinely be a part of the vocabulary of my childhood. I thought it meant clever, and funny and witty and pretty and alive and of course, I now know it doesn’t mean any of these things but it opened a door to a kind of childish wisdom which was both painful and liberating in equal scary measure.


I didn’t belong there. From the day that word started eating my brain almost every interaction I had made me feel lonelier. My bestest school friend Linda telling me that I had eaten a dictionary after I used another lovely word (I am not sure what it was but it was enough to lead to a mildly chastising tease and a knowledge that I needed to be more careful); my new trainee English teacher pleading with me to read a story I had written out to the class – mortified I refused of course; my Mam telling me that one day I would save for my bottom draw and recognizing that I was patronizing her when I laughed along with her idea of my future involving the gathering of cheap linens and nick-nacks ready for marriage. I knew the word ‘patronising’ though I wouldn’t have used it out loud. I knew even then that if I did get married it wouldn’t be to any of the boys from where I lived. Or indeed any boy at all (yes, I knew the word lesbian but never said it out loud).


From the day I quietly, secretly rolled ‘dilettante’ around my tongue and somehow because of it knew I was different, others treated me differently. Now, as an adult, I know the theory of transactional analysis and self-fulfilling prophesy but I was eleven and didn’t yet have a notion of cause and effect. I just knew that the harder I tried to be ‘normal’, the less I was. Words just kept leaking from me. I felt my parents anxiety and occasionally, embarrassment, and how much they tried to be proud of their weird child.


I would lay in bed, trying to ignore the orange and brown flowered wallpaper my Mam had thought so modern but I thought was dreadful and would play with the word over and over. I saw myself, the dilettante, playing along with other girls who always looked like Enid Blyton girls of course though I had no idea what ginger beer was and had never been on a picnic. In my imagination, whilst we were playing alongside some leafy river, thinking about how to solve the latest mystery, they would allot me the role of wordy, clever gang member and I would have a place. Those few moments before sleep were so precious and the only times I didn’t feel alone.


Granddad always ate fish and then, after wiping the plate clean of red sauce with his white sliced bread, would put his swiss roll and custard on the same plate. He was an ex-trawlerman and in the Dogger Bank in a force 10 gale there was no time for either niceties or washing up. He had never seen reason to change the habits of a working lifetime when he became landlocked and with proper plumbing. “Give us a word our Lel” he would say whilst we were enjoying a bit of fresh cod together sat at his sailcloth covered table, and I would try to find one that he would think interesting. I knew I had succeeded when he slapped his hand down on the table and laughed his guffawing granddad laugh.


I pleaded with the library lady to let me use the grown up section. I wish I knew what her name was now so I could thank her. Would she even be alive now? She seemed very old to me back then but of course, she was under retirement age so probably not old at all. Where I grew up it was usual for kids to play out in the streets. There was no concept of abduction or after school activities then. I am not sure where my parents thought I was but I was at the library. Devouring every book I could get my hands on. I wasn’t supposed to be there without a grown up but having sneaked in behind some for a while the staff team noticed but let me in anyway. The chairs in the childrens library were too low for me and I was cramped up on them but the grown up chairs were to high for m

y legs and caused me to have painful lines along the back of my thighs. Despite my inability to find a comfy spot I read till my head ached and tried to ignore the games of the kids dumped in there while their parents quietly browsed the shelves on the other side of the glass wall. Over time, back-of-legs sore from the edge of the brown bakelite chairs, I would grow twitchy for the shelves on the other side of the wall. It started as a curiosity and became a full blown ache. ‘When you are thirteen you can ask your Mam to sign your card and then you can use the adult section” but thirteen was too far away and I knew I would never ask my Mam. I snuck in and hid behind the nearest shelves which happened to be the Dewy 920 section. The only section the librarians could not see me from when at their desk and I started on the biographies. My first was about Airey Neave and I hid it at the bottom of the shelf so it was still there on my next visit. I had no idea who Airey Neave was but wonder now how the universe helped me find the first book about escaping from impossible situations. I would like to visit Colditz one day. I feel I know it well.


Eventually I was caught. I knew my love affair with the Famous Five and Hardy Boys was long gone but fortunately, so did she – the lovely librarian who made me promise that I would find a little spot and be quiet. She always smiled at me when I came in. I never did get my Mams signature though by the time I reached 13 I had read my way through every biography in the library.


I don’t believe I had seen the word in print since I was a child and it had long gone from my memory. I was shocked to see an old 80’s pop star on the news use it to describe himself in his hay-day and it was obvious he wasn’t being complementary about the man he had once been. It was with a strange sense of dread I opened the dictionary. Although not a part of my conscious being, the word had set the axis of my world for forty years though I didn’t really know what it meant. Could I safely revisit it? I felt a sense of loss that I had so carelessly discarded it through college, and childbirth and relationships. Seeing it there in print made me feel lonely all over again. Amongst references to superficiality – which caused a sharp intake of breath – the word ‘dabbler’ stood out like a small forgiving beacon.   A word of curiosity and with no hint of reprisal. My axis was secure. I could get along with ‘dabbler’. Sometimes you just have to make your own definitions. Strange that although I love words unashamedly now I cannot find the one I was grappling for back then, when I was eleven. I think I will reclaim dilettante, quietly lest my literary friend mock my apparent ignorance. It smells of my bedroom, and libraries and Granddad and feels safe. I will dabble, and be comfortable in me.


Antonia Chain, Brighton


day twenty

My heart has found it hard to sing.

What with death and everything.

Yet it has.


And it will again.




Caf, Brighton




day nineteen