Saturday, 13 March 2021

#EveryWomanYouKnow: some advice for the nice men

A message projected onto the Houses of Parliament: "Never feeling safe alone".
Photo from the Women's Equality Party.

I don't want to be inspiring. I just want to be safe.

On Monday this week, it was International Women’s Day and social media, as usual, was full of people going on about “inspirational women”. They failed to notice that the theme this year was #ChooseToChallenge. And we all are now.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Fragments of time: art for lockdown

A one-storey wooden house, with yellow window frames and a poem written on the side which you can't quite read. In the foreground, a shingle garden.
Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, Derek Jarman's old home.

There’s a research thing about Covid that I take part in and every month they ask you to fill in a questionnaire about how you’re feeling. I like doing it because there’s a question about how much you trust the government to manage Covid and I can put the biggest tick ever next to “not at all” (or as big as you can when it’s an online check box).

Anyway, this month there was a question about what things you are missing. And I wanted to put the biggest tick ever next to “everything”. People. Travel. Going for a coffee or a drink. And the one that said “art and culture”. I wanted to put a big tick on that, because I grieve for it

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Reasons to be cheerful, part 2: creative consolation

A still from the film "More Than Time" showing a deserted scene at the Liverpool waterfront: a museum building, boats, docks, a blue sky, and no people.

Last year – well, last month – I saw a thread on Twitter of “ten things that have brought a smile to my face in 2020”. I was going to copy the idea, but I didn’t get round to it, and now it’s January.
But there is never a bad time to say thank you for creative consolation. 

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Autism and gender: a personal perspective

I’m autistic and I don’t believe in identity politics. There’s a nice paradox to start off with. And there’s plenty more to come.

There’s been a lot of talk this year about autistic people being more likely to be trans. I’m writing this from a different perspective.

There’s also been talk that autistic people are more likely to THINK they are trans. There’s a lot of “poor little autistic girls who don’t know their own minds” in discussions about the Tavistock court case, J K Rowling’s controversial article etc.  There’s a lot of othering of autistic females.

I don’t like othering, and I try not to do it. 

Sunday, 6 December 2020

A not-normal year, and what to put in your Christmas cards

A blue summer sky, with fluffy white clouds. And no contrails.

I’ve started writing my Christmas cards and some of them normally have letters in them. And I’m wondering: what can you say about this not-normal year that we are almost (and glad to be) finished with? For most of the recipients, I don’t even know whether 2020 has been relatively kind to them, as it has to me, or whether they have been more closely touched by the pandemic.

Looking back on 2020, there are a lot of things that made me anxious, depressed and angry. (Very angry. A lot.) I’m not going to write about them. You know what they are. You probably felt (and feel) much the same as I do.

So I am going to focus on the reasons to be cheerful (and a few ways to give back). I know I’ve been lucky so far. If you haven’t, I hope this isn’t too hard to read.