Boundaries, thresholds and love: why it’s time to take back ‘bi’


Queer, while wonderful, is an umbrella term and a way of creating cultures in opposition to heteronormativity. It’s not a specific orientation or set of imposed experiences. Queer is a word we choose, and that’s gorgeous. But we need something more. And pan, while wonderful, both makes the assumption of attraction to all genders (as opposed to the myriad ways in which non-monosexual people experience attractions), and focuses solely on our individual internal experiences. It’s about attraction- and that is marvellous- but it has nothing to say about how those attractions play out in a heterocentric, monocentric society.

Bi is important because we need a word (or set of words- biromantic is as important as bisexual) that both locates us as nonmonosexual and acknowledges the implications that has for our lives. A word that is specific to who we are within the umbrella groups where we locate ourselves, that acknowledges our nonmonosexuality, and that doesn’t gloss over the fact that this means that we will spend our lives straddling and navigating multiple binaries that refuse to have spaces created between or outside of them.

A word that acknowledges that we constantly, in a myriad of ways both personal and relational, are forced to occupy positions at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold. I don’t know any other word that does that.

And it is only if we can name our experiences, call them out and show them for what they are, that we have a hope in hell of doing anything about them.

For the rest- well, you know the drill. You’ll just have to move on over to CTTC’s new home over at FreethoughtBlogs, won’t ya?

(G’wan, it’s really nice over there. I promise!)

Direct Provision: Sex Work Is Not The Problem


Let’s start at the beginning: nothing shocking has happened here.

 

I’m going to say that again. Even gonna throw in some italics for emphasis. Nothing shocking has happened here. Survival sex work is a thing that economically marginalised people do all the time. It is not exceptional. It is ordinary. It would be shocking if asylum seekers hadn’t been engaging in sex work to get by.

 

Think that doesn’t make sense? Let’s look at it from a practical perspective, shall we? People will almost always do what they can to create liveable circumstances for themselves. They’ll do what they can to get by. For most of us, that means doing things like getting an education, getting a job. If we can, we get a job that satisfies more than just our need for money to survive- but most of us have taken on crappy work to keep a roof over our head when we had to. Again, for most people most of the time, the work we do is above-board. If you can’t get a full-time job, though, you’ll get by as best you can. You’ll take on nixers here and there and see if you can make it add up. Sometimes above-board, sometimes under the table.

 

Now, put yourself in a situation where above-board work is explicitly forbidden.

The rest is, of course, over at the Tea Cosy’s new Freethought Blogs home. If you haven’t updated your bookmarks/follows/RSS/however else you keep track yet, then please do! For one thing, I won’t always be crossposting from here. And for another, I don’t crosspost everything, you know…

Women Excel At Sport, Journalists Talk About Manicures


Ireland’s women’s rugby team are, as I type, having a phenomenal World Cup. A hard-fought win against New Zealand- who’ve won every World Cup since 1998- followed by a decisive 40-5 victory against Kazakhstan has us through to the semi-final this Wednesday evening. And- just like you USians with women’s soccer football this year- Ireland’s finally waking up to the fact that we have a world-class team that we should be paying attention to. In the middle of all of this, the Sunday Independent- one of Ireland’s major broadsheets- published an article today on the growing popularity of rugby among Irish women. The title? “Niamh Horan on women in rugby: ‘I never play a game without my tan‘”. Yep. It starts with this:

….aaand, if you want to find out the rest, you’ll have to follow me over to the Tea Cosy’s new home in FreethoughtBlogs.

But you already knew that, right? Right?

When My Nan Died: Religion, Closets and Love.


There were so many things my nan never knew about me. I couldn’t tell her. She wouldn’t have understood. She would have worried about me endlessly. My meaning and her understandings would have been too different. So I never told her that I was queer, or that I didn’t believe in the religion that she built her life around. My meanings- that here is how my heart is made, that here is where my love of understanding and truth took me- would not have been what she heard. That disconnect, and how much I know it would have hurt her to hear those things, kept me from ever sharing them with her. I couldn’t inflict that worry on someone I love so much. That tears me inside.

The rest is- of course- over at our new FreethoughtBlogs home.

EXCITING NEWS: In Which The Tea Cosy Moves House


We’re moving house!

After FOUR WHOLE YEARS here at wordpress.com, the Tea Cosy just got some shmancy new digs over at Freethought Blogs. I’ll be copying links over to here for a few weeks, but not for forever, so get those bookmarks updated!

See ya on the other side 😀

Sometimes I Think I’m Ugly: Body image and making better feminisms.


I do feminism.

I do feminism. I really do believe that the personal and political are inextricably linked, and I try to live in a way that takes that into account.

I believe in body positivity. I believe- I know– that all different kinds of bodies can be beautiful. I mean, there’s people of many shapes and sizes who I’ve found hot as hell in my time, and I’m just one person with one reasonably-narrow set of preferences. Bung in the rest of the world, and you’ve got a hell of a lot of people appreciating just about any kind of physique you can imagine.

I believe in appreciating our bodies for what they can do, not just what they look like. I know that this can be problematic in its own way- especially given our ableist views on what that means- but one of the things I’ve grown to love in the last year and a half is seeing my body as a tool for learning, developing and doing. Bodies aren’t just for looking at. They’re how we interact with the world around us, and that is incredible.

I believe in the understanding that even though health, abilities, competition and joy are far more positive reasons to exercise than looks, they still don’t apply to everyone. Nobody owes anyone else prettiness or fitness. We get to set our own priorities based on our own circumstances, abilities and desires, and they’re nobody’s business but our own.

I think that the very idea of “everyone’s beautiful” has its own problems, because so fucking what if you’re not beautiful? So what if you’re not symmetrical and skinny and young and whatever the hell beautiful is supposed to be these days. It doesn’t make you less important. Or less interesting. I want to get the hell away from the idea that there’s one thing- one anything– that everyone needs to be. Unless that one thing is just plain respectful and kind.

I believe that the ways society tears us down are toxic. We live in a constant state of negative marking- not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not fit enough, not rich enough. We can never be enough, and that destroys our enjoyment of all the things that we are. I want to be part of a different discourse to that.

And yet..

The rest lives over at the Tea Cosy’s new home!

To The Guy On OKC Who Messaged Me About The Friend Zone


It’s one of the worst-kept not-a-secrets in the world that I keep an account on OK Cupid. Sometimes I even reply to messages on the thing.

As a Woman On The Internet, of course, I’ve had to come up with a few guidelines for people who want to contact me. Not that I think that any of the internet’s asshats are going to take the tiniest bit of notice, natch. The guidelines do two things: weed out the people who actually bothered to read my profile before sending me a message, and provide me with ammunition in case someone decides to get asshatty all over my inbox. (Fortunately, as someone over 30 who has had an account for a while, this only happens a couple of times a week at the moment. Win!)

One of the things on the list? If you think the ‘friendzone’ is a legit concept, then we shouldn’t be talking. Which is relevant, because I just had this (thankfully brief) interaction over there:

 

OKC FriendZone

 

Since when am I capable of not replying to something like that? Never, is when. I even drew a comic about it once, and since when do I draw comics? Hardly ever, is when.

First, for the snark: This is a white dude who would strongly prefer to date within his race and who thinks burning flags should be illegal. There’s not much risk of him ending up in my friend zone, if ya know what I’m sayin’.

But I’m feeling pretty generous today. It’s a gorgeous, sunny day. I’m sitting out on my balcony with my plants. I’m feeling happy with myself. It’s the kind of day where I can summon up a bit- just a bit- of empathy even for the overtly racist misogynists among us.

Just in case they’re reading*? Here’s what I’m saying to that guy on OKC, and the thousands-upon-fucking-thousands like him:

I sincerely hope that some day you look back on your current perspective with a wry sense of mortification. I hope that you learn to treat the people you are attracted to with no less consideration for their own agency than your own. I hope that you grow to have full, rich and varied friendships with people of all genders, regardless of whether you’re capable of being attracted to them. And I hope that you learn that no matter how heartbreaking unrequited love is, it’s nothing in comparison to a culture that treats you as worth nothing outside of your appeal to others.

Because what the ‘friendzone’ teaches us is that you don’t see the people you’re attracted to as fully human. You can’t see that they have motivations that have absolutely nothing to do with yours. That your attraction to them- that stomach-churning, gut-wrenching feeling you can’t but have around them- doesn’t oblige others to feel a particular way, or to act in the way that you’d like them. And someday I hope you understand that, right in your guts. I really, really do.

In the meantime, though? Get the hell out of my inbox, thanks.

 

 

*If they are, I’m here all week, and don’t forget the tip jar on the sidebar!