Hampshire Pride (& What I Wore)

Last Saturday, I got the train to Winchester for something other than crying over my dissertation!

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Me, Paige & James (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)

 

It was the second annual Hampshire Pride and this year, it was even bigger and better!

 

Hampshire Pride is a festival celebrating LGBTQIAP+ identities and championing equality and diversity in and around Hampshire. It is an event run by Hampshire LGBT Alliance which includes Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, Hampshire Constabulary, Solent NHS Trust and the University of Winchester.

The day kicked off on campus at the University of Winchester with speeches from Co-coordinator Sarah-Louise Collins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Stuart (who is also the university’s senior diversity champion) and renowned teen vlogger and public speaker about trans issues, Hannah Phillips. All shared some really motivational and powerful words with a crowd of very excited and inspired people and there was a short film shown that was made on campus called ‘What is Love?’.

Next we all assembled outside on the steps for a lovely photograph in which you can really see how the Pride parade has grown in a year. Just look at the numbers!

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Hampshire Pride 2015 (Image courtesy of the Hampshire Pride Facebook Page)

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Hampshire Pride 2016 (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)

 

The march left campus and a sea of rainbow flags, hair colours and clothes walked through Winchester singing, chanting and blowing whistles. There were families and pets, partners and friends all in unison and you could sense the love and kindness in everyone’s hearts as they walked. Some of the shops had put colourful displays and Pride flags up in their windows to show their support which was really lovely!

 

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Hampshire Pride 2016 (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)

Here’s what I wore, it was uhh… interesting.

(Note, I am not a fashion blogger. I’ve linked to the product or similar but most is old stuff and out of stock!)

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|Lady Rainicorn hat | lilac Primark vest | crushed velvet New Look skirt | rainbow socks | leopard print Converse shoes |

 

We finished at the Discovery Centre in town where there was a Market with stalls from various local Hampshire groups and charities raising money and awareness of services. After a welcoming speech from Councillor Roy Perry and an entertaining excerpt from How To Love read by author Sally Edwards, everyone had a little boogie and a heartwarming moment as the Southampton Gay Men’s Chorus performed a few tracks. There was also an incredible performance by the Wessex Dance Academy and refreshments outside courtesy of mobile baristas Coffee Cruiser and The Pie Hole, Southampton.

 

That evening, my friends and I went to The Railway Inn for the Afterparty and we were not disappointed! I opted for something a little classier, which you can see here:

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| New Look blanket cardigan sequined crop top | black pencil skirt | lace up heeled boots |

 

Upstairs we watched a Cabaret show compered by the glamourous and funny Spotlight Vocal Duo and we were treated to performances from catty and sparkly Portsmouth drag queen Cherry Liquor, comedian and lip synch maestro Harold and melodic rapper and singer Paul Andreas.

My absolute favourite performance came at the end of the night in the form of London drag king, Adam All. Adam is a metrosexual cheeky chap with a really impressive array of suits, beatboxing skills and some hilarious musical numbers. Oh, and some rather impressive abs. I managed to get a chat to his parents as they were sat next to us and ‘hadn’t been allowed’ to go to show before (its a bit rude) and I was pleased to see them supporting, taking pictures and cheering him on in the front row. He’s definitely a new celeb crush of mine and he was featured in BBC Newsbeat’s documentary ‘Drag Kings of the UK’ which you can watch here.

After the Cabaret finished, we went downstairs where local student DJ George Nott kept us dancing til the early hours with some camp classics and chart toppers. We had so much fun and it was such a great day to celebrate being who you are with other friendly people!

 

Have you been to a Pride event before?
Were you at Hampshire Pride?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

Jenna

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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
Why I Never Really ‘Came Out’ – I talk about being pansexual and my experiences
Queer Bloggers Network – Jess, Zoe and I have started a community to share content and support those with LGBTQIAP+ identities in the creative industry
My Queerness Erased – A piece I wrote for Zusterschap about ‘straight passing’ and my queer identity

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Why I Never Really ‘Came Out’

CWs: LGBTQIAP-phobia, threatening behaviour, verbal abuse

 

I’ll be attending my second ever Pride celebration this weekend and so I thought I’d write about a little something that’s quite close to home for me. I tend not to talk openly about my sexuality unless its asked about and unless those questions are respectful and genuine. However when I saw so many of our #queerbloggers  talk about their experiences for this month’s ‘Coming Out’ theme, I thought it was about time I told my story.

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I knew I wasn’t just interested in boys from quite a young age. I would see women on television and think they were beautiful in a way that I didn’t yet fully understand.

As Katherine Hockley said in her piece, ‘00s Music Videos & Their Role In My Bisexual Awakening’, “… it made me feel guilty and “bad”, because it was ingrained in my head that culturally I should only be getting turned on by men. As a kid who was already unpopular and a bit weird, anything else that could make me different could not be a good thing (or so I thought)…

Growing up surrounded by images of sex and heteronormative relationships as many of us do in the Western world, it became quite apparent to me that I had feelings that weren’t so widely represented in the media.

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Me in 2008, out as bisexual and pretty badly bullied…

In my teens (at about fourteen years old) I fell in love with two girls, one after the other. They were close friends of mine but I was completely besotted and wanted more. I still don’t know to this day if they reciprocated those feelings but I remember mine and boy, was I obsessed! When they each told me for different reasons that we would never work out in a relationship, I was so hurt. I couldn’t see the problem with openly expressing my love for them but I think they weren’t quite sure if they could be with me romantically.

My mum knew, but I did affirm her suspicions one day and told her how I felt about those two girls in my life. I was very lucky in that she was really supportive and told me that she loves me no matter who I love, as long as they make me happy.

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Me in 2009

News about my ‘tendencies’ began to spread around the school like wildfire and it wasn’t long before the bullying started. I remember sidling up to the only other ‘out’ person at my school and her and I were in a relationship for about a week but the abuse was just too much.

I was told I was disgusting… I was spat on… I ‘should be shot’… I’m a ‘dyke’… I’m a ‘freak of nature’… 

I was assaulted regularly and there wasn’t a huge amount I felt I could do at the time. A few close friends stuck up for me when they could but often I’d be targeted when I was on my own. Even after being a long term relationship with a cis boy, there was still a lot of homophobia (despite me not identifying as a lesbian) and bi-erasure. I couldn’t understand it – I was comfortable with who I was, why did it bother them? Why did they feel the need to treat me that way and why couldn’t they understand?

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Me in 2010

I still haven’t had an ‘official’ committed relationship with anyone who isn’t a cis man yet but that’s not through any active choices in adulthood. The people that I have developed strong feelings for and stayed in relationships with at this point in my life have been cis men but my feelings for women, non-binary and trans people haven’t gone away. I wrote a piece for Zusterschap a while back about having my queerness erased because I’m in a ‘hetero’ relationship, and how frustrating it is that many people, even those inside the LGBTQIAP community will still deny that I am queer.

They deny me of the support and belonging that I so desperately needed when I was younger.

They deny me of feeling that I can speak or write openly about my identity.

They deny me when they say that I didn’t have to ‘come out’ so I don’t understand the struggle.

 

Many young people are still questioning their sexualities and gender identities and it is so important if you can speak safely and openly about these things to do so. Although it’s improving, accurate media representation for LGBTQIAP people and relationships is still sparse and globally, there are still abuses of people’s basic human rights and freedoms because of their sexuality or gender identity.

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Me now in 2016 – here, queer and not giving a …

A lot of straight people ask me, ‘how can I best be an ally to the LGBTQIAP movement?’  I always say the same thing: ‘being accepting and treating people with fairness and kindness, regardless of their identity’.

It’s also important not to erase someone’s experiences. If they want to tell you about their coming out or any other personal experience then as an ally, you should respectfully listen and try to understand.

 

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Click here to find out more about the Queer Bloggers Network!

 

Finally, amplify queer voices! We have a Queer Bloggers Network now for anyone who makes content in the community or for it. To do more than that you should comment on posts, RT links, share news on Facebook, watch films and vlogs… Get that content out there. The only way that true understanding of one another is reached is through education and respectful discussion.

Hopefully one day, we won’t have to ‘come out’, because we will be seen as people and not for our differences.

 

Do you having a ‘coming out’ story that you’ve shared?
Do consider yourself an ally to the LGBTQIAP community?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
‘You Can’t Be A Feminist If…’ – crushing myths about ‘all modern feminists’
my queerness erased – I talk about being in a ‘hetero’ relationship and why I’m still pansexual
drag on a dime series – I copy looks from your favourite drag queens for cheap!

 

“You Can’t Be A Feminist If…”

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Hi guys!

Your friendly neighbourhood queer feminist here, ready to spill some tea on some common misconceptions about what being a feminist in 2016 actually means. Although there are many sub-sets of feminism, I’ll be discussing genuine advice I’ve been given with regards to my beliefs and my behaviour and boy is it something!

 

Please note that this piece is for entertainment purposes and so should be taken with a pinch of salt!

 

#1. “You can’t be a feminist if you wear make-up.”

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So some people believe that makeup is a tool that amplifies ‘beauty ideals’ and that by wearing makeup, you are not only compliant with but promoting a patriarchal standard of beauty. I say that this is bullshit. Make-up is a way in which many people choose to express their creativity. The colours, shades, shapes and techniques can be considered an art form and many choose to study these and/or take makeup as a profession. Make-up (like many things) is not solely a ‘woman’s product’ – people of all genders can enjoy makeup and when this assumption is made, you are ignoring a rich, queer history of drag artists and gender-fluidity.

My makeup makes me feel confident and powerful, ready to take on the world. It is a choice I make for myself that emphasises what I consider to be my best assets and it allows me to be artistic in ways that I can’t normally. If you don’t wear makeup then that’s cool but don’t tell me that I shouldn’t wear mine!

 

#2. “You can’t be a feminist if you’re in a relationship with a cis man.”

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This one is ridiculous. Not only does it further encourage the myth that feminism = misandry but it automatically assumes that you couldn’t love a man simply based on his gender. See something wrong there?

I’m a pansexual woman and it just so happens that the person I’ve chosen to be in a relationship with is a cisgender man. He is also a great LGBTQIAP+ ally who is interested in and educated about intersectional feminism and this is part of why we get on so well. On a personal level, he is respectful, kind and listens to my experiences so to tell me that I’m not feminist for being with him makes no sense.

Don’t tar every man with an ‘anti-equality’ brush, it’s hypocritical.

 

#3. “You can’t be a feminist if you shave/epilate your body hair.”

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So the idea of being pro-bodily autonomy is that your body and what you choose do with it is your own. It means that you believe in bodily integrity – that people’s bodies should not be violated in any way by others because of said autonomy. I know that some feminists believe that removing body hair is another patriarchal beauty ideal and I’ve spoken to many who don’t epilate for that reason. I respect that choice completely and I believe that if you want to be fluffy, you should be proud of it!

I personally feel more comfortable with less body hair, especially as I occasionally suffer from hyperhydrosis. The more body hair I have, the more the sweat clings to my body and despite deodorant, it can be quite smelly. It’s easier to stay fresh the less hair I have and when anyone tells me otherwise, I remind them that its my damn body.

 

#4. “You can’t be a feminist if you care about men’s rights.”

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Part of a comic by Rasenth on tumblr.

 

My definition of feminist is close to that used by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in We Should All Be Feminists:

feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

I however would change ‘the sexes’ to ‘genders’ as I don’t believe that all inequalities are from within in the gender binary. In fact, I don’t believe in the gender binary at all!

To acknowledge men’s rights in your feminism isn’t to deprioritise women’s rights, as long as you  give each their own context and don’t derail the conversation. There are plenty of men who suffer as a result of the kyriarchy, be it because of racism, transphobia, homophobia or poverty. The archaic gender roles that put pressure on men and boys to exert power, exploit those more vulnerable,to be big and to use force ….they’re damaging and dangerous instructions. It is important to speak about these issues if feminism is to achieve true equality but not necessarily to shove them into the same conversation as womens issues.

 

#5. “You can’t be a feminist if you support sex work.”

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Image from qnotes.

This one tends to divide a lot of people so I’m just going to explain why I personally have sex-positive attitudes.

It is incredibly important to promote safe sexual practice. Not just in terms of sexual health but for personal wellbeing and education about consent. Not discussing these topics keeps them taboo and could make it harder for someone who has experienced sexual abuse or violence to speak out about their experiences.

While I do not support a huge portion of the sex industry that globally exploits and traffics women and abuses and violates performers, I am in support of sex workers and pornography and believe firmly in regulation and protection of the related professions. This goes back to the bodily integrity/ bodily autonomy thing because I think that  if someone has chosen sex work despite having alternatives and they are kept safe during their work then you don’t have the right to tell them that they shouldn’t be doing it.

In an interview in Elle magazine camgirl and filmmaker Ashley Vex spoke about making about safe, consensual porn with her studio Four Chambers go and check it out!

 

I appreciate comments, links and questions on this post but any hateful or discriminatory speech will not be approved.
Discussion and debate are welcomed provided it is structured, respectful and does not target individuals.

 

Have you ever been told “you’re not a feminist”?
What does your feminism look like?

 

Jenna
X

 

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

 

If you liked this post, you should check out:

queer bloggers network Jess, Zoe and I are starting a network for bloggers with LGBTQIAP+ identities!
empowerment playlistsMusic to make you feel like you can conquer anything…
my queerness erased
– A personal account of pansexual erasure.
why selfies are inherently feminist – I talk about Lindsay Bottos’ art project about self love and selfies.

Queer Bloggers Network

So the lovely Jess, Zoe and I decided that Twitter needs a space for bloggers and creatives with queer (non-hetero/non-cisgender) identities. A space where we could share and promote content but also offer support and advice to those who may be questioning or having problems with their sexuality or being treated differently because of it.

So we present to you…

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Huzzah! This network will primarily be running through a Twitter page that Jess and I will co-manage but we are of course open to others getting involved if they want to. Please get in touch if you would want to help with the admin side of things.

The aim is, once we’re up and running, to have a weekly chat with different topics or themes and a monthly newsletter that compiles lots of great content from within the community or about LGBTQIAP+ issues.

We will have DMs on and have an email should you wish to contact us privately and we will never breach something said in confidence.

If you’d like to sign up to our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter, please complete the form below!

 

 

Jenna

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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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my queerness erased

Content warnings: threatening behaviour, LGBTQIAP-phobia, bi-erasure, pan-erasure

I came out as bisexual at fourteen years old. At home, it was as if nothing had changed. My mum always has and always will be like a best friend. I tell her everything and she has always supported me in what, or who, makes me happy.

At school, however, I experienced the real, bitter tastes of phobia and hatred. Name-calling, physical assaults and threats became an everyday part of my life for a while. I was lucky enough to have friends who were always quick to defend me, but the words still stung and the bullies still managed to find me when I was alone.

As I’ve gotten older, not only have society’s views about the LGBTQIAP community developed, but of course I have become a young woman and as a result now find myself… Continue reading this post at Zusterschap.