Girls Rock School Edinburgh

We went to visit the girls at Edinburgh’s Girls Rock School last month and have finally got around to writing about our time together! It was well worth the wait.

The riot ladies had just finished up their first term and were performing their songs all evening, and we were lucky enough to sit in with them! We had loads of fun cheering, clapping, singing and dancing as each band rocked out. The girls broke into a bit of jamming afterwards and had their awards ceremony at the end, where they each received their very own Girls Rock School Certificate!

Some of the band names on the night ranged from Vagina Wolf to Fistymuffs, to Margaret Thatcher and the Tesco Rebellion!

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Christina from ‘The Diesel Divas’ on the drums said “Women Rock! You rarely see women with instruments, they’re mainly vocalists. I’m gonna try guitar next term!” She was buzzing with energy listening to her fellow rockers rocking out, and killed the drums just after we chatted!

We talked to Sara who is a guitar tutor. She heard about GRS and decided to go along and take up the drums. She said, “It’s amazing how far you come in 6 weeks! It has helped my musical ability in general, with rhythm etc. I’ve really enjoyed it!”. Sara plays in a band outside of the GRS with all male musicians and said: 

Girls Rock School is improving gender diversity within music. There’s such a diverse range of people here. It’s not just about learning something new. It’s about confidence, encouraging each other and meeting new people. There are older and younger folk here and we all just jell really well and enjoy playing together!
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Nikki told us how GRS has a “community feel: everyone helps each other out here.” Nikki learned drums last term and is helping out with teaching this term. She said that GRS is “great for your confidence!”

We spoke to Natasha who received her certificate for being GRS’s door manager. She talked about how amazing the group is and how she wanted to help out in any way she could. She might come back next term and learn an instrument!

We then chatted to Claire about the diversity within Girls Rock School. She said,

Queer folk are generally attracted to GRS, it’s just really open. I like to challenge myself and it’s great to do that with women and see other women doing the same – get over the fear by doing it together. You can fuck up and no one gives a shit. Makes you just want to do it more.

We had an amazing time with the Girls Rock School and were blown away by their warmth, openness, talent and general kick ass attitude.

Their summer showcase gig is coming up really soon, go check them out!                                                                                                                         It’s on Friday the 3rd of June at The Wee Red Bar from 19:30.

The Twistettes are headlining, followed by the accomplished GRS graduates Tongue Trap, Lou Mclean, Fistymuffs and more!

Here’s the link to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/519134851627682/ 

Thanks again for having us GRS, we hope we get to rock out with you next term too!

 

 

 

 

 

A lovely video from Creative Edinburgh

Hello Folks!

Last week we spent some time with David to chat about Equal Folk, what we stand for, how we got started and what we're trying to achieve through this project.

We'll let the video do the talking, but let us know what you think and get in touch if you'd like to collaborate, share your story or just give us some feedback.

A huge thanks to David for making us feel comfortable in front of the camera, we had a laugh while making it!

And a massive thanks to Creative Edinburgh too for featuring us! You can see our full profile here.

Git yer Kilts oon fur a good cause!

Aw right pals, hens, lads, laddies, lassies and bonny wee bairns taae sher why no!!

Off wi yer breeks and on wi yer kilts tae support LGBT Youth Scotland wi a wee wander roond Auld Reekie!

Whether yer fae Glasgae, Auld Reekie, Speyside or furry boots toon, thae'll be a walk tae suit ye.

Let's hope fae a braw day ay! ;)

Translation:

Alright friends, women, men, boys, girls, and beautiful children too shur why not!

Off with your trousers and on with your kilts to support LGBT Youth Scotland with a wee wander around Edinburgh.

Whether you're from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Speyside or Aberdeen, there will be a walk to suit you.

Let's hope for a good day! ;)

Charity Event Details:

The Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk is a unique Scottish charity event where every penny raised goes towards supporting Scotland’s children.

This Spring and Summer you can get on your walking shoes and head out with a touch of tartan to take part in the Kiltwalk for LGBT Youth Scotland!

The dates are as follows: Glasgow April 24th. Aberdeen 5th June. Speyside 14th August. Edinburgh 18th September.

You can walk on your own or you can get a team of friends together, either way a Kiltwalk is a great way to meet people as you get fit, enjoy the scenery and make new friends as you walk!

Visit the Kiltwalk Webiste to register and select LGBT Youth Scotland as your charity. 100% of the money you raise will support vulnerable lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people across Scotland, providing a lifeline for young people ‘coming out’ and ‘staying out’, exchanging fear and isolation for friends, support and a new start in life.

If you want to read more about walking to support LGBT Youth Scotland, click HERE.

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Grooms at The Heart of Midlothian

Those of you who are familiar with Edinburgh will appreciate how hard it was to take this photo without someone spitting on the heart mid snap!

We had to be quick when taking this photo yesterday as we dodged many wandering feet and flying spits from tourists and locals! One Scottish man walked passed and shouted 'rrright in the middle of ay!' as he spat on the heart with passion and precision.

Then along came an American couple. The woman shuffled towards the heart muttering 'wait, wait' as she gathered momentum, before sending a slightly misguided droplet to the side of the cobbled heart (seen to the left of the photo if you look close enough). Her partner seemed satisfied with her delivery however and exclaimed loudly 'theeeere ya go!'

We had lots of laughs :D

You can read about the history of the famous (or infamous) Heart of Midlothian on the Royal Mile here.

 

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Bruce Takes a Stand For Human Rights

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"Some things are more important than a rock show."

We love people like Bruce! He has cancelled his show in North Carolina to take a stand against the hugely discriminatory law that was recently passed there.

The law prohibits transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match the "biological sex" listed on their birth certificate..

Bruce's statement and stance for human rights has brought this into the limelight and people are talking about it. Let's hope this exposure makes for a change very soon!

Read more about it here: http://bit.ly/1qBllBz

We Should All Be Feminists

We read an article recently about changes that are being made in Sweden. The Swedish Women's Lobby are giving every highschool student a gift of the book 'We Should All Be Feminists' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This book is an adaptation of the incredibly popular TED Talk she gave in 2013 - a must watch, shared below this post.

In her TED Talk, she talks about the word 'feminist' and how it often comes with negative baggage. She recalled a time when she was a teenager, debating thoughts and ideas with her good friend, who turned to her and said 'you know you're a feminist?' with a tone that likened her to a supporter of terrorism. She talked about how she and other girls in her country were taught to have ambition, but not too much ambition and to be successful, but not too successful - otherwise you will threaten or 'emasculate' the man.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

She spoke of a novel that she wrote about a man who, among other things beat his wife. When she was promoting her novel in Nigeria, a jounalist - "a nice, well-meaning man" wanted to advise her. He said people were saying that her novel was feminist, and shook his head sadly as he told her she that should never call herself a feminist, because feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands. Of course this is absolutely comical and absurd, but it's also extremeley worrying that this mindset exists. It might seem harmless to some people, mostly to people who are not overly-affected by gender inequality, or for those who are affected but are so blinded by socialisation that they can't see it.

Gender inequality is a fact, and shows itself through pay rates, attitudes towards women, statistics of sexual and domestic violence, the gender and power imbalance in politics and in other 'high up' positions and much more. The late Kenyan, Nobel Peace Laureate, Wangari Maathai put it simply and well when she said, 'the higher you go, the fewer women there are.'

When Chimamanda's friend 'accused' her of being a feminist, she was not sure what this word meant so she looked it up in the dictionary later. It said Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. She proudly confirmed during her TED Talk that "he was right that day when he called me a feminist; I am a feminist."

It's very sad and hard to believe that people, usually those who identify as male or female and have internalised these socially constructed gender norms, expectations and attitudes, are afraid to use the word feminism or identify as feminists. That is to say that people are afraid to stand up and say 'I believe in equality of the sexes'. Chimamanda said that gender is not an easy conversation to have, and to bring up gender is sometimes to encounter an almost immediate resistance. I for one have, and I think all other feminists have experienced this negative reception and resistence!

Chimamanda talked about how a young woman was recently gang raped in a University in Nigeria. The response of many young Nigerians, both male and female was something along the lines of this: “Yes, rape is wrong. But what is a girl doing in a room with four boys?”

She contiunes "Now, if we can forget the horrible inhumanity of that response, these Nigerians have been raised to think of women as inherently guilty. And they’ve been raised to expect so little of men that the idea of men as savage beings without any control is somehow acceptable."

She speaks about how she has chosen to no longer feel apologetic for her femaleness or femininity. How young girls and women should not have to feel guilty or vulnerable because of their gender. How they should not have to stifle their sexuality because they are not seen to be sexual beings in their own right. And in the same way, she talks about how we do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them; we stifle the humanity of boys. Men should not have to be strong, tough, masculine, afraid of weakness or 'inherently' more sexual than women.

This is why we need to raise our children differently. We need to teach our sons and daughters that they are equal and that all people are equal and deserving of the same respect. We need to stop focusing on gender as a defining characteristic and stop internalising and abiding by unfair and outdated gender norms and expectations. We need to focus on character, interests and ability. We need to focus on people.

Auld Reekie Roller Girls boot up for LGBT Equality in sport

Equal Folk chatted to Kate from the Auld Reekie Roller Girls yesterday about their upcoming match tomorrow, April 2nd with Dublin Roller Derby!

The Auld Reekie Roller Girls (ARRG) will be booting up with their rainbow laces in support of Stonewall Scotland’s #rainbowlaces campaign for LGBT equality in sport. Kate talked about how Roller Derby is miles ahead of any sport in terms of equal opportunities, with diversity and inclusivity being an integral part of the sport.

ARRG is a grassroots, volunteer run, non-profit organisation run by a passionate team of people who are committed to sport and equality. On behalf of their Equalities Team, Caroline Gibb who plays for ARRG as Mallory Powers says:

Inclusivity has been at the heart of ARRG since its inception in 2008. We believe that anyone who wants to get involved in our sport should have the opportunity to do so with the confidence that we provide a safe(r) space for all identities.

We wholeheartedly support Stonewall’s campaign and on Saturday, alongside Dublin Roller Derby, we will proudly wear our rainbow laces to celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of our sport, and call on other sports to follow suit.
— Caroline Gibb, ARRG Equalities Team
The Auld Reekie Roller Girls with #rainbowlaces

The Auld Reekie Roller Girls with #rainbowlaces

Support Stonewall Scotland's #rainbowlaces campaign for LGBT equality in sport - donate here

Support Stonewall Scotland's #rainbowlaces campaign for LGBT equality in sport - donate here

We think that what the ARRG are doing for equality in sport is amazing and we wish them the best of luck on Saturday!

Doors open at 17:10 at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh and both teams will stand united shortly after.

Skaters, officials and fans will be able to buy laces on the day and are encouraged to share their support on social media by using the hashtag #rainbowlaces

Keep in touch with Auld Reekie Roller Girls on Facebook, Twitter and visit their site for more information on the next games or to join!

A Short Trans Film

This is a lovely, real, non-sensationalised depiction of a transgender young person's experience at home and in school. Luckily for this young person, their parents are understanding and supportive of who they are. This solid foundation of support at home is incredibly important for any child to be able to flourish and face difficulties in life; especially children who don't fit with the societal 'norm'. Thanks to films like this, transgender young people can feel heard and understood, while parents can become more educated and feel better equipped to support their children.

Thanks to Siri Rodnes and the British Council of Arts for this production :)

 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnm0dJDj3M...

World Poetry Day

In honour of World Poetry Day, here's a wee poem I wrote in 2008 when I was 18 and coming to terms with being gay. Writing is always something that I turn to as a creative outlet. We hope you enjoy it and maybe find some inspiration :)

Sandra

 

These leaves,

Shapeless, unrestrained,

How I would love to take their form,

Formless.

 

One is golden, some amber, another red,

They are indifferent,

Their liberal movements astonish me,

Their nonchalance is a pleasure to observe,

But I can only contemplate.

 

As they glide smoothly and effortlessly I stand and watch.

I am stiff, subdued,

My movements are limited,

They do not conform.

 

I am not an apostle

Nor am I a disciple,

I am a leader, 

I refuse to be constrained.

 

I am a leaf

Free

No correct conduct to echo

I am a manifestation of myself.