haggis: (Celtic)
Tim Hunt has resigned following his stupid and sexist remarks about women working in labs.

One of the defences I am seeing is that he's a different generation and it's hard for him to adjust.

No no no no.

His 'generation' is in charge of labs across the world, deciding funding, encouraging and discouraging researchers, making and destroying careers careers.

His generation are responsible for the leaks in the 'leaky pipeline' (where women leave STEM at faster rates than men) and the fact that rates of women in STEM at high levels have stalled in many fields.

His generation is responsible for a system where a woman's name reduces the value of identical work (http://gender.stanford.edu/news/2014/why-does-john-get-stem-job-rather-jennifer).
His generation is responsible for a system where women are ordered to negotiate like a man to increase their salaries to the rate of male colleagues but ignoring the fact they are disproportionately punished for it (http://www.doublexeconomy.com/2015/04/14/why-women-cant-negotiate-for-equal-pay/).

His generation is responsible for a system where women are blamed for wrecking their careers when they choose to have children. (http://mediarelations.cornell.edu/2013/10/07/gender-barriers-not-families-to-blame-for-shortage-of-women-in-stem-careers/)

Before anyone squeaks that I am being unfair, I know that Tim Hunt and men like him did not create the problem of socially embedded sexism. However, they are in charge and therefore responsible for working to fix it, not entrench it.

His generation have achieved great things in their fields and mistaken that for confidence that their every word is golden.  (Clearest example - Richard Dawkins).  They have reached the positions of power at work where people stop criticising them to their face and start nodding in agreement with every inane thing they say.  That's why it was such a shock for him to hear the reaction from outside his bubble of 'people like him' and 'people paid to agree with him'.

His generation grew up with feminism all around them.  They watched the world transform as the formal barriers against women in these fields were removed and saw firsthand the difference it makes.  His wife is a Professor of Immunology.

He has no excuse whatsoever for his damaging ignorance and unexamined sexism.


In addition, women facing sexism have been told to wait for this generation to die off for almost as long as Tim Hunt has been working.  It has not happened yet and it is not going to happen by waiting passively for it.

I read a review (and now I can't find it, to my deep frustration) which highlighted the barriers to women in STEM fields and noted that the sexism they were forced to fight against came from colleagues and junior staff AS WELL as from senior management.  The pressures also come from other women because when you are powerless to change a system which is fundamentally sexist, then one or two women can make their careers by joining in and becoming sexism's enforcers.
Gender is not the only issue here.  White scientists, including women take advantage of racism against non-white scientists, just as male scientists take advantage of sexism against women.  The combined impact of sexism and racism hits female scientists of colour even harder that white women.

These problems are structural, entrenched and endemic.  These are big, hard problems to fight.  It is not FAIR to expect the group who are already struggling under an unfair burden to also take responsibility for changing that system.  It is also not POSSIBLE because the system protects itself, sheltering and promoting male sexism and punishing those who speak out.  We need men to actively work at this too.


The other reason we cannot just wait for this generation to die off is that we are still actively training their replacements.  Another story I have seen this week is about girls at a Florida school who were sent home from their final exam for wearing skirts.  Another generation of boys and girls has just been taught what I will call Tim's Law

"There is no cost to women's careers or education that is too high to demand in order to protect men from their own sexual feelings."


haggis: (Celtic)
The Chemical Engineer magazine has an article in it this month about diversity in engineering, titled "The Hidden Engineers"  It looks at the experience of LGBT engineers, female engineers, BME engineers, disabled engineers, engineers from poor backgrounds.  It includes the result of a survey that shows that 6% of Chemical Engineers are LGBT but less than half are out at work and 40% have witnessed discrimination and 20% have experienced it.  It also talks about other experiences of discrimination and puts a strong case for companies taking action.
I am really pleased that this discussion is happening and really pleased that it is the cover story of the Institution's magazine.
The title on the cover is "Spot the difference. Your disaffected colleagues hidden in plain view".  That's a really bloody weird interpretation of the article which doesn't use the word disaffected.  The cartoon is even weirder - identikit, smiling, pale, male figures with one exception who has a red tie and a sad expression.
The headline and cartoon shows white, straight, male engineers as the standard and mutates "discriminated against" into "disaffected" - a neat bit of victim blaming.  For an extra bonus, it insinuates that engineers who are not straight, white and male are misleading and need to be 'outed' by our 'normal' colleagues.
haggis: (Celtic)
Warning - this post contains discussion of my feeling of shame and frustration with my body around exercise.  Take care of yourself if this is something you struggle with. I have made this post public so I can share it via Twitter.  I will lock it down if it gets spammed.  I reserve the right to delete comments and I would ask people who are thinking of posting something argumentative to consider the following rule, borrowed from a  friend.

"Your comment should be at least two out of kind, interesting, useful & correct. If you can’t manage that, don’t post it.”

I saw a physiotherapist on Friday about pain in my knee and general health.  She’s referred me to a personal trainer and I am really hopeful that the personal trainer will be able to help me improve my woeful level of fitness, flexibility and strength.  It is a part of my new rule for this year – “Use the resources you have available instead of trying to do it all on your own.”  But it has stirred up a lot of FEELINGS about exercise, bodies, etc etc.
Read more... )
haggis: (Celtic)

This is in response to the thoughtful comment from a Christian minister and good friend on my last post on FB.  My response ended up being a bit big for a comment so I am putting it up as a separate post.  Again, I would genuinely welcome respectful discussion, especially from Christians who believe same-sex relationships are sinful.  I appreciate it is a bit ranty and impassioned but I think it is vital to move the discussion from the sterile, abstract, comfortable debate about what the Bible says and what the church believes, onto the real-life consequences for real people living with this teaching.

In my previous post, I focussed on the pain, cognitive dissonance and epistemic injustice* of Christian responses to same-sex relationships.  However, I think there is also a key category error that Christian teaching on same-sex relationships make, which is also deeply hurtful.

When Christians describe same-sex attraction as sinful and especially when they try to soften that by claiming to "love the sinner, hate the sin" or to accept celibate same-sex relationship (as per the CofE), they minimise and dismiss the depth of the sacrifice they are demanding of LGBT people.  When they claim that we are all sinners and same-sex attraction is no greater sin than any other, they compound this failure and what is intended as a statement of solidarity actually rubs salt in our wounds.

It's not just about sexual acts )
haggis: (Celtic)

This post is in response to Vicky Beeching (an evangelical Christian singer/writer) who came out as a lesbian in an interview with Patrick Strudwick (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/vicky-beeching-star-of-the-christian-rock-scene-im-gay-god-loves-me-just-the-way-i-am-9667566.html) and a particularly poisonous response from a writer called Robert Gagnon (http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-singer-vicky-beeching-appeals-to-gods-love-to-justify-her-lesbianism-125023/).

I was a committed Christian from the age of 11 to 20 when I left the church after much struggle because I believe that its teaching on LGBT people and same-sex relationships was unjust, unloving and therefore utterly ungodly.  I realised I was bisexual when I was 21.  After I left the church, I continued to wrestle with this question and as a result, I have ‘lots of feels’ on the subject as they say.

I am writing here about the Christianity I grew up with which was broadly evangelical, socially conservative but genuinely concerned with reaching out to people who are poor or oppressed in society.  I retain a lot of respect for the individuals there and in other churches, even as my respect for the institutions drains lower and lower.

There are many ways the mainstream church fails and hurts LGBT people.  This post is specifically about the argument that people like Vicky and I are sinful, rebellious and selfish because we reject the mainstream church teaching on same-sex relationships.

It is a bit of a rant but I’d be interested in feedback if anyone has any, especially Christians who feel that same-sex relationships are sinful.  However, I am *not* interested in debating Scriptural talking points on same-sex relationships (been there, done that to death) or in dismissing Christians in general as hypocritical, hateful or stupid.

This is a public post and I’m happy for it to be linked externally as well, although I will lock it down if the conversation gets abusive or nasty.


Contains ranting. )

haggis: (Celtic)
I am experimenting with cross-posting longer posts from FB over here as public posts and link to them on Twitter.  This is because

  • There is a different subset of my friends on LJ/Twitter vs Facebook.

  • I can be more open about polyamory and kink in these posts*,

  • LJ feels like a better place to keep a record of my opinions and rants

  • I like LJ and want to keep it alive as a place to write and think but I find it more intimidating than FB - I feel like I have to have Something To Say before I can post here.

I apologise if reading things twice is annoying but that is what the scroll bar is for :D
haggis: (Celtic)

This was a lovely, chilled, relaxing, introspective BiCon for me. After posting before BiCon about feeling insecure about shoes/performing feminity in a way that's unusual for me, I ended up wearing skirts a lot and uncomfortable but pretty boots for only a short time :). The conversations that post sparked resonated through BiCon for me.

What I did on my holidays... )


Wow, this is all very heavy! I mixed this stuff up at BiCon with the silly and fun Giant Pass The Parcel, a very inspiring workshop on Blackout Poetry and lots of relaxing chatting/hugging/flirting with lovely people.

haggis: (Celtic)

BiCon is a place for experimenting with how you present yourself and behave (within the terms of the Code of Conduct.)  BiCon is a place which explicitly rejects policing people’s appearance whether for being too fat or too slutty or not feminine/masculine enough or overly feminine/masculine or any of the reasons people do that shit.

I am a feminist and I do not believe my clothes or body are anyone else’s business.

And yet, I sometimes struggle to believe these things apply to *me*.

I realised in the car this morning that my BiCon would be significantly improved if I gave up on high heels and wore trainers all week.  I don’t wear heels often and they hurt my feet a lot.  In heels, I hobble around the site, I’m unable to dance at the ball as much as I’d like and generally feel grumpy.  Normally, I wear heels in the office but I’ve been getting lazier about that so I am out of the habit of wearing them at all and I know that means my feet will hurt more, sooner.  I’ve tried those cushion things but they don’t help for long.

As I realised how much better I’d feel if I wore trainers all weekend, my Jerkbrain started up.

Cut for introspection )

haggis: (Default)
I have agreed to run the Fitting & Misfitting workshop at BiCon 2014. From last year's blurb

"Ever looked around BiCon and felt unfashionable or not quite at home? Ever felt like you're "not a proper bisexual", or "not bi enough"? Ever questioned where you fit in the community (including for instance if you are not bi, or as someone wondering whether they might be bi)?  Or, on the other hand, ever thought how much you like it here - even if you're not bi?
These and other interesting questions will be explored in this workshop session, which is open to all."

I am looking for either a facilitator to run it (and I will assist with timing & putting stuff of flipchart) or an assistant to help me run it. It is a very straightforward workshop to run and would suit someone who wants to run a workshop but feels nervous about it. I also think it's a really useful discussion to have which is why I want it to run.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

haggis: (Celtic)
I am not good at poetry for the same reason I am not good at comics - I tend to read fast and miss the details and poetry is all about the subtle details. However, these three are my favourites.

(I found it really hard to write about these without apologising for my choices. I am surprisingly worried about people judging them as uncool or boring.)
Three poems )
haggis: (Celtic)
The Same Sex Marriage Bill going through parliament is a good thing in many ways but there are significant problems with it for trans people. Complicity has some great posts explaining what the problems are here -> http://www.complicity.co.uk/blog/2013/06/trans-rights-house-of-lords/
and here ->http://www.complicity.co.uk/blog/2013/06/trans-marriage-lobby-lords/

Following her lead, I have emailed Baroness Stowell, the government spokesperson in the Lords and I've included the email below. There's also an example email in Zoe's posts.

I've tried to personalise the letter for me and also to praise the government for the work it's done to date. The letter overstates my opinion of the benefits of marriage and of a GRC but while marriage and the GRC process are far from perfect, they should not be denied to people who want them on trivial or unjust grounds.

Please consider emailing her yourself.

"Dear Lady Stowell of Beeston,

I am a bisexual woman in a mixed-sex marriage and I have been following the progress of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill through parliament with excitement and pleasure. As a bisexual woman, I am keenly aware that my marriage has a status and recognition (including internationally) that would not currently be available if my partner was of the same gender as I am. I know many other bisexual people in mixed and same-sex relationships who feel the same and we and the rest of the LGBT community are all pleased that the government is acting to remove this inequality.

However, I am also close friends with several trans people and through them I have learned that this bill will not resolve some of the most painful legal issues around marriage for transgender and transsexual people.

Following the committee stage of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill in the House of Lords, I am pleased to hear that the government is thinking of reintroducing the GRC fast-track procedure. This will be important for married trans people who have previously chosen not to seek legal recognition but now wish to take advantage of the ability to do so without dissolving their marriage. In many cases, the doctors involved in their treatment may no longer be in practice which would make use of the standard procedure unviable. I hope the government can make the reintroduction permanent.

The removal of the requirement for couples to divorce if one partner transitions is a big step forward, particularly as it acknowledges that many relationships continue happily through a gender transition.

However, the bill still contains the spousal veto, which would allow the partners of trans people to prevent them from being granted a Gender Recognition Certificate. If their spouse chooses, this can be delayed for years, causing distress and mental suffering for the trans person and leaving them vulnerable to discrimination and abuse without the legal protections that a GRC provides.

I have witnessed several friends transitioning and seen for myself how much happier and healthier their lives are when they can live openly in their chosen gender. In some cases (but not all) this process leads to the breakdown of current relationships. While this is unfortunate, it is not a malicious act by the trans person and it is unfair to give their partners such power to control or obstruct their transition. It is surely far better to allow such situations to be resolved quickly and allow all parties to move on with their lives.

I understand that an amendment on this issue was raised by Baronesses Barker, Gould and Butler-Sloss and I hope you will consider their amendment with care and considerations for the individuals (both trans people and their ex-partners) during a very difficult period of their lives. The proposed amendment, itself a compromise from earlier amendments, granted the barest minimum protections to trans people from spouses engaged in delay tactics. You committed to writing to Baroness Thornton addressing many of the points raised and I would be grateful if you could, if possible, also include me in that reply.

As I said above, I am pleased and proud to see this legislation come to parliament. It is an opportunity to make it a Bill that benefits everyone, allowing same-sex couples and couples where one person is transgender to have the right to marry, previously restricted to mixed sex couples only. Treating transgender people equitably at this stage will make a huge difference for years to come.

Yours sincerely,"
haggis: (Default)
I've been using my sewing machine to fix the hems on my work trousers (the original hems came undone grr) and taken up the hems on one leg of my new jeans (only sold medium height in my size so the hems were about 3" too long).  However, I ran out of thread on the bobbin and had to stop to refill it.

Since then, I can't get started again without it causing knots.  It looks ok on the top, I sew a few stitches and then it stops and refuses to move forward.  When I try to remove the fabric from the machine, there are lots of loops into the bottom of the machine.

What am I doing wrong?  It seems to be something to do with the bobbin but I've taken it apart and rethreaded it several times and it ties the same knots every time?

I've only used my sewing machine about 3 times so it's still a bit mysterious :(  It's done this before once or twice but this time it's doing it every time I try.

ETA - Thanks for your help!  I hadn't threaded it properly at the top.  Once I fixed that, it started behaving itself.
haggis: (Default)
I am v proud of myself - I went out running for the first time this year today.  It was bloody cold and getting dark but I did it!
haggis: (Default)
Knitting/crafty people, I have a conundrum. I have a lovely skein of blue and purple sock wool which I have attempted to knit into socks. The first time worked well but the repeat on the pattern means that there was a clear line of dark blue down the back of the sock. It appears my ankle diameter is approximately the same length as the colour repeat.

The second time I deliberately knitted it larger and the colours mixed nicely but the sock was slouchy and fell of my foot so I didn't bother wearing them and have now frogged the socks for a final try.

I am assuming that cables or some sort of clever stitch pattern ought to give a sock that feels comfortable on my ankle but takes slightly more yarn than st st so the colour repeat doesn't line up. (I'd prefer not to use a lace pattern as I want warm feet). I'd like one where the pattern of the sock continues into the foot part, not just the ankle part. I don't mind how difficult the pattern is as long as it requires minimal sewing up.

Any recommendations?
haggis: (Default)
Emily Cummins invents an electricity-free fridge for medicine storage in hot countries

Explanation of how it works here.

I assumed it was a version of the gas-fired fridge which is deeply cool in it's own way but still needs a power source to work but this design is wonderfully simple.  (Finally understanding the thermodynamics equations that explain that was a deeply satisfying moment at university.)

H/T to Shakesville.

haggis: (Default)
Feeling proud of myself.  I've managed to sort out the bits for my Pride costume (blue and white camo Trousers and T-shirt, pink fabric dye, hopefully combining to a blue/purple/pink effect) and savagely attacked the front lawn with Sabiha's strimmer.  The results look fairly drastic but hopefully it will recover.  :)

Next mission - cut down and re-sew the Bisexual Recruitment Army banner into a more manageable size!
haggis: (Default)
Last night I dreamed I was at Manderley BiCon.Happy, if odd, dream. )

Which is all to say that I am really looking forward to BiCon :)

Noob query

May. 3rd, 2009 10:59 am
haggis: (Default)
Is there any way to make it a little less pink?


haggis: (Default)

June 2017

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