Marriage certificate : in the wrong hands two pink triangles. / Certificat de mariage : dans des mauvaises mains, deux triangles roses.

Marriage certificate : in the wrong hands two pink triangles.

Certificat de mariage : dans des mauvaises mains, deux triangles roses.

– Tristan Coleshaw.

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The affair, marked by two stamps on a Caffè Nero loyalty card / La liaison, marquée de deux tampons sur une carte de fidélité de Caffè Nero.

The affair, marked by two stamps on a Caffè Nero loyalty card.

La liaison, marquée de deux tampons sur une carte de fidélité de Caffè Nero.

– Tristan Coleshaw.

Me & Julian 2

Wedding ring mark on his right upper lip, the knuckle end of desire / La marque d’une bague de mariage sur la partie droite de sa lèvre supérieure, le jarret de désir.

Wedding ring mark on his right upper lip, the knuckle end of desire.

La marque d’une bague de mariage sur la partie droite de sa lèvre supérieure, le jarret de désir.

– Tristan Coleshaw.

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The marital bond, held together by lick and spit / Le lien conjugal : maintenu par un coup de langue et du crachat.

The marital bond, held together by lick and spit.

Le lien conjugal : maintenu par un coup de langue et du crachat.

– Tristan Coleshaw.

Kate Buffery on sexism: “Women want to feel that they are above the fight, we’re not.”

Excellent speech by actress Kate Buffery (Trial & RetributionWish Me Luck…) on sexism and the reduction of human beings to stereotypes, on ageing, status and the ongoing need for us ALL to fight the superficial:

 Gender Agenda – speech by Kate Buffery.

 I’ve not suddenly become aware of sexual politics   now that I’m in my fifties and parts have started to dry up. This isn’t a  plea for a job . But I do use my predicament as a starting point in discussing a destructive imbalance when it comes to the portrayal of women in the media. I was aware of sexual politics to an extent as a girl, as  young woman  – as a young actress – and now in middle age.  I’ve spent  a career,  making, as I could, reasonable challenges where reductive  attitudes affected my work,  other actors  will know the score –  asking for line changes, debating design decisions,  trying to ensure three dimensional characterisation  where possible, out of an  awareness that the way  women are portrayed on TV in film, in theatre,   can prescribe behaviour that confuses and diminishes other women .   Its a fight for which the sixties and seventies prepared me though I would never have believed  that there would still be such a gross  imbalance all these years on   regarding the roles of the sexes in drama and portrayal in general  . It is this imbalance that results not just in  the relatively few parts available as I get older but in the pathetic caricatures  on offer when there are parts available. This is  not the problem it is symptomatic of a wider problem, but if drama did really hold a mirror up to nature and these caricatures had an absolute basis , I’d be   reacting to the misfortune of being marginalised  by  either  nagging,  gossiping or twitching curtains. 

 

 My actual  reaction has been  to re- invest . The battles I have fought may have helped to an extent but have not protected my position  I have to try a different tack  –   my priority is to put aside time to study for a law degree . It seemed to me that if my own life is impeded by a systematised inequality, to make any sort of effective challenge  ,I need to strengthen my hand.    I still pay bills largely through acting or acting related work but spend little energy scratching around for  jobs now. Predominantly my energies are  put into studying. 

 

 I am not suggesting that we can only get places by bringing in laws or challenging through the legal system  – it can and has helped enormously in various areas concerning inequality, but so too do ideas, does  debate does awareness , because part of the problem is the head in the sand culture of the moment and a refusal to see how destructive inequality is,  particularly for those on the receiving end but ultimately   for those promoting it as well.

 Why do we, both men and women continue to opt for destructive sexual  stereotyping despite its illogic?

The reasons are many. But perhaps the most simple explanation is that in the face of huge challenges, challenges about life, the meaning of life,  challenges facing our world, we lack ample courage.   When this shakes us, we prefer to reinforce our immediate status, often at the expense of another section of society, or create  superficial challenges that deflect  in the short term, at the expense of our long-term well-being. For example lets look at aging. Its an unavoidable part of life. We age.  Nearly all the burden for addressing age, is given to women , it s deemed to be their problem – but of course this doesn’t take the problem away from men it simply means that women face it first and get stuck with the  distorted idea that we are worthless because we age. And instead of challenging the concept we try not to age or to age more slowly in order to keep status .

Typically we put our energies into disguise even possibly to the point of cutting  swathes of skin off our bodies, in an attempt to hold back the clock. We neither hold it back nor do we stop it, we immerse ourselves in a shallow self defeating process that means for a short while we can be unaware of the aging process. Men for a short time can labour under the misapprehension that the aging process  does not really impact on them – because it seems to  impact on women worse. Much better for us all to look that clock straight in its face.   Put our  energy into engaging with reality,  yes we age, with age we unlike any other animal have the conscience and intelligence to allow us evolve into  something more. We wouldn’t suggest that a sapling should not to mature into a tree but that’s what we ask of ourselves.  We are attempting to disguise ourselves from  reality and reality  from ourselves, thinking we’re doing ourselves a favour – we are so not.

 And we’re encouraged in this  pursuit  By the – press, film television.  The challenge  is to all of us,   men and women ,  boys and girls who buy into these or related values that defend worthless positions, empty  status,  to challenge these values in ourselves as being brakes on our true potential . And its time the media supported us in that.  I’m not the only parent who  asks Where is the screen  role model for my 12 year old daughter and her friends  if they don’t want to grow into the values that means that they’re likely to be seen as  worthless at 45 ?  Programmes like Americas next top model, extreme makeover ,  10 years younger etc etc.etc.,  are the fodder aimed at and lapped up by contemporary women.  Women’s  momentum towards  improvement, which is an impressive human impetus,  starts to  show itself in terms the number of shoes or handbags in the wardrobe.  We’re  fed  with the notion that we have status if we are young and beautiful.  But is not true. Real status,  is something that increases rather than diminishes over time. I don’t want any one to ban shallow portrayal on TV any more than I would want to ban MacDonalds, but how can the TV companies constantly reinforce these distorted and distorting images without offering an alternative vision . And why don’t they offer an alternative vision as Prime Suspect proved, many moons ago now ,there is demand.

Taking on a point made earlier we may not demand  to be in charge of the remote control when there is so much that is mindless on TV, but if something really good is offered to us, my God we women can be tenacious with the remote.

 

In my -forties I collaborated in creating  a character playing a joint lead in a Lynda L Plante  series,. It was going well by the third series the part I was playing had grown to be equal to that of the leading man. I worked on presenting a character who was less concerned with how she appeared than the  choices she made. A woman who although written as vulnerable  was capable of developing strength, who was unashamedly work in progress  – an impossibility if  all your energies are put into designing  the ‘perfect’ outer shell.  I’m not a puritan about wanting to look good, I wore a bit of make up , and decent clothes, and went to the gym at that time,  but  I very consciously wished to portray a woman to whom that wasn’t  a priority, an obsession, and where appearance certainly wasn’t at the expense of real substance.  After a successful 6th series with the consulted audiences  responding very well to the character, to my huge relief,  production  were so pleased they wanted to reward me or the character,   with ‘a makeover’ and  have her bathed in warm coloured light and  warm coloured make up , wearing expensive Armani suits and  expensive hair so that she resembled a French movie star.  I was appalled. Meetings were called.  I was, at the time, simply not big enough to win that battle. To cut a long story short I was eventually replaced by a woman  half my age – which probably indicates how tough that particular battle was. Its a disappointment but I have no regrets –   every challenge gets us somewhere. But  its not just a chauvinist male attitude that says that women must look good first and foremost, there is a distorted post feminist voice that says the same thing, under the auspices that this somehow celebrates femaleness.  

 A businesswoman, dressed to the nines, was interviewed last week on Channel 4 and when asked why women were not getting through the concrete ceiling  in business  said that she thought  that women should rely more on their’ feminine wiles’. Her business was selling lingerie. There was not a hint of awareness that her attitude doesn’t just diminish the men towards whom these manipulative wiles are aimed, and presumably to some effect,  but it diminishes other women who have every right to get on in life by being straightforward,  and ultimately diminishes herself. She was, I’m sure entirely confident in what is, at the moment, a commonly held distortion, that she was simply  celebrating the  differences between the sexes.

The truth is that there will always be differences, but  the most important qualities in human beings,  those we either have or aspire to having are shared by both sexes – intelligence,  courage,  generosity,  passion a sense of justice – humour,  and more  – qualities that protect the individual ,  but also mean that we can contribute and collaborate fully with others.   And  where are the  women the female characters in Dramas  who aspire to such qualities, to inspire us on TV  – and here I’m talking as viewer not an actor, the women to balance those numbers of  aspirational male leads that promote characters with these qualities. There is a demand.

Contributive  art and drama has also always had an imaginative and  aspirational content.  From    great works  from  Shakespeare to films like Casablanca, we have been presented with  lives or aspects of lives to aspire to inspire us, So few of these lives belong to women.

 

   Its pertinent that the only drama that has really seemed to served older women in recent years in the UK … Cranford, beautifully produced and acted as it was,  was  all about women who had been reduced by life in one way or another.   I would have felt much more comfortable watching them as they gossiped and twitched curtains and indulged in naive girlishness,  if I’d felt that there were  fully formed women, fully engaged in life but capable of intelligent overview,  who were equally being represented   by drama on the BBC and elsewhere.

 

So as I said, the challenge is  to us all. As a previous speaker said, National debate is important but so too is individual responsibility.  Executives, writers, producers, directors, casting directors    and of course performers of both sexes , have a responsibility to do whatever we  personally can to redress this imbalance. Most of us are aware of the shallowness of sexist stereotypes, and each of us are able to promote in some way, to some extent, more substantial values within the boundaries of our own particular jobs and lives.  Its time for concerted conscience resulting in a concerted effort. If we address sexism in the whole of the media – the stereotypes being offered up to young girls,  the limited portrayal of genuinely inspirational women – , related  problems,  for instance the problem specifically facing me at the moment, as to why older actresses are marginalised to the point of invisibility, will take care of themselves.  For a while its  not been trendy to address sexism –  women want to feel that they are above the fight, we’re not.  Men feel that as a debate it becomes an excuse to level  criticism at them –  its not. The debate about sexism should be brought back into fashion. Its one of the most vital to our society. Because only through fighting for and indeed achieving equality do we have the possibility of arriving at a place where we each have the chance to fulfil our individual potentials. And we need to release that potential if we’re going to sort out any of the other problems our world faces at the moment.

 

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“Sitting in a park in Paris, France, reading the news and it sure looks bad, they won’t give peace a chance, that was just a dream some of us had…” – Joni Mitchell, ‘California’.

12246911_510560599106872_5706256806779572307_nTaken from ‘California’, Blue, Joni Mitchell.

LA FRANCE (de toutes les croyances): IL FAUT RESTER MOTIVÉ #Paris #ParisAttacks #AttaquesParis

LE CHANT DES PARTISANS…

Spécialement dédicacé à ceux qui sont motivés
Spécialement dédicacé à tous ceux qui ont résistés par le passé

Ami,entends-tu le vol noir des corbeaux sur nos plaines?
Ami,entends-tu les cris sourds du pays qu’on enchaîne?
Hohé partisans,ouvriers et paysans c’est l’alarme
Ce soir l’ennemi connaîtra le prix du sang et des larmes

Motivés motivés,il faut rester motivé
Motivés motivés,il faut se motiver
Motivés motivés, soyons motivés
Motivés motivés, motivés motivés

C’est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons pour nos frères
La haine à nos trousses et la faim qui nous pousse,la misère
Les pays ou les gens au creux des lits font des rêves
Chantez compagnons,dans la nuit la liberté vous écoute

Motivés motivés,il faut rester motivé
Motivés motivés,il faut se motiver
Motivés motivés, soyons motivés
Motivés motivés, motivés motivés

Ici chacun sait ce qu’il veut, ce qu’il fait quand il passe
Ami, si tu tombes, un ami sort de l’ombre à ta place
Hohé partisans ouvriers et paysans c’est l’alarme
Ce soir l’ennemi connaîtra le prix du sang et des larmes

Motivés motivés,il faut rester motivé
Motivés motivés,il faut se motiver
Motivés motivés, soyons motivés
Motivés motivés, motivés motivés

On va rester motivés pour le face à face
On va rester motivés quand on les aura en face
On va rester motivés on veut que ça se sache
On va rester motivés pour la lutte des classes

Motivés motivés,il faut rester motivé
Motivés motivés,il faut se motiver
Motivés motivés, soyons motivés
Motivés motivés, motivés motivés

Trans Liberation, Saviour of the Human Race…

The importance of the growing audibility of trans voices is first of all that it is leading to greater legal protection for people with varying gender expressions – essential steps towards giving trans people protection from discrimination and abuse. Also, through this process we are learning more and more that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are not adequate terms to describe human gender in the first place. They are not even adequate to describe the experiences of trans gender people themselves. I’ve previously argued that the best hope we have for the liberation of both women and men, and I extend these definitions to both cis and trans groups, is the eradication of patriarchal structures that pen genders into prescribed roles and behaviours. I would argue now that the trans gender community is in the unique position of being able to take the leading baton of this charge out of the hands of feminism, yet still as part of the same team.
Expansion of gender definitions and the dismantlement of assigned gender behaviours is undeniably in the interest of trans gender people, but it lies dauntingly in the need for the trans community to assert its ‘difference’ as fearlessly as the LGB community has. Difference does not mean inferiority or irrelvance, even if it is a minority experience. And who is to say that it truly is minority? Difference can mean the considered, studied, lived experience of divergence from established ‘norms’, and it has only ever been the expression of difference, of divergence, that has changed human thinking.
Laurie Penny, genderqueer author, in her article ‘How To Be A Genderqueer Feminist’ talks about a ‘perfect world’ where she wouldn’t feel the need to call herself genderqueer because it is a world devoid of sexism and gender oppression, and points out the evident absence of such a world. I would argue that ‘perfect’ worlds populated by humans are not created, they are shaped, they’re fought for. The on-going fight for LGB people to live without fear of abuse and discrimination has not made strides through gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals attempting to justify their sexual preferences, or make them palatable to the wider population, it has experienced ‘wins’ by convincing more and more people that difference, divergence from social ‘norms’ is not just a human right, but that difference is actually OK. It’s OK to be different.
The trans gender community, with the help of the genderqueer community, the LGB community and feminists, and even TERF feminists, needs to make this stand as well. We need to take the experience of dysmorphia, of exclusion, of transition, of difference, and we need to own it. Trans gender people need to own their bodies and push for the inclusion of the recognition of their stories as being every bit as fundamental to human experience as cis gender people, and that their divergence from social ‘norms’ gives it a ‘special’ but equal status. Recognizing its difference is the only way to win the fight for its freedom. It may be more comfortable in our imperfect world to cling to the medical, political and societal definitions of what human beings are, but if trans gender people are to live without fear it can only come from challenging and extending the current accommodation of difference in society, through reinventing those definitions. It must come from the far more radical and perilous position of fearlessly identifying as trans gender, and convincing societies to accept that as a legitimate, separate, gender identity with as much right of protection as any other. It is only through gradually breaking down the stigma of difference that we may create our perfect world, where we are no longer gendered, but simply human.
Challenging the stigma surrounding the term is what will bring about the liberation of trans gender people, far more than demanding assimilation into group to which our bodies have already determined we can never fully belong. The former is revolution, the latter is the ever-conservative aim of equality, a mere demand for the same advantages and disadvantages as those whose oppression has already been endorsed by patriarchal structures. People with experience of gender dysmorphia are in the privileged position of being able to see clearer than any other section of society, the limitations and dogma of those structures. Why encourage the dissipation of that crucial knowledge by forcing the victim to conform to the constructions of their oppressor? Why blunt the weapon that can pierce those structures for us all?
In the last few weeks, the un-nuanced remarks of Germaine Greer (unworthy of her far more nuanced achievements in The Female Eunuch and The Whole Woman), have caused more hurt than I think she intended, but ironically, I believe they do provide a starting block for trans liberation. Greer’s life work has centred on dismantling the construction of gender that has put cis-women at a disadvantage throughout history, and it is arguable that an FTM or MTF trans gender person while experiencing their own distinct disadvantages in society, does not have automatic reference to these disadvantages for the duration of their lives. MTF people can overcome those particular disadvantages through their gender reassignment and assimilation to the dubious status of ‘bloke’, whereas MTF people are born into the privileged position of the male even if they bravely relinquish that in their physical transition. As is the case for genderqueer people, we never fit fully into either, because gender binaries are exclusive and ignore our real experience of there being a spectrum of gender expression. Greer, by stating (albeit more crudely) that surgery does not make gender perhaps gives us a public platform upon which we can first of all agree that it doesn’t, since it is just a surgical imagining of gender (designed mostly by men), and that birth assignment of gender does not either. It opens the debate, but it is first a debate that the trans and genderqueer community need to have ourselves. The outrage expressed at Greer’s statement that ‘a lot of women don’t think [MTF people] look like, sound like or behave like women’, we must admit, confirms one of the deep-seated anxieties of trans people, that they cannot ‘pass’ for their reassigned gender, therefore it is not a simple expression of cis-transphobia, it is the affirmation of the trans community’s own fears. We have to own that. We have to accept that re-assignment surgical procedures do not slot us smoothly into the other gender. We have to come to terms that in and of itself, that might be OK. It might be something we can be proud of.
The only way it is not going to matter to society or to trans people how ‘passable’ they are is if trans people first demand it of themselves that it not matter, and then show others that it needn’t matter too. So what if they don’t ‘pass’? So what if we are not considered authentically male or female? Should it mean they are any less entitled to be treated with dignity? Should we not deserve legal protection from abuse and discrimination if they don’t conform to binary definitions and gendered pageantry? By doing away with the need for being considered a ‘passable’ member of the opposite birth sex in order to be accepted, and instead by embracing our trans identity, by being proud of not fitting neatly into male or female categories, by demanding that our beautiful difference be enfranchised into our culture and doing away with the conservative need to be a member of one or other gender just as Germaine Greer’s feminism has encouraged cis-women to break from the shackles of indentured oppression, perhaps then, people can be free. And I mean all people – trans, cis or other.

Welcome to Tristan Coleshaw, my Bitches!

It’s me!

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I decided that for better or for worse, I’m at my best when I’m just me. And also You’re the best when you’re just You. So let’s Me be Me and You be You, and together we can be the World. THE WORLD, I say.

Love, T xxxxxxx

Friday thoughts…

When straight, white men write confessionally it’s edgy, brave.

When straight, white women write confessionally it’s indulgent.

When non-white men and women, gay or straight write confessionally, it’s illuminating, eye-opening.

When gay men and women write confessionally it’s daring, obscene.

WELL, FUCK THAT!

Listen to Frakknuckle on Soundcloud: