Tag Archives: Ireland

SFF and Diversity

This post is brought to you after I read this on facebook https://www.facebook.com/joch.mcarthur/posts/10103074134267273

The diversity in SFF (Science Fiction & Fantasy), what ever the medium comics, film, Tv, books and video games is why I am a fan. I have had people wonder how my feminism, parses with my interest in SSF, what I have read, watched, played and loved as frankly fed my feminism.

Helped me dream of the world being a better place and of people dealing with each other with compassion. Helped me figure out what I would do in horrid situations, let me explore possibilities.

SFF has never been prefect, it won’t ever be, it is created by flawed humans, but it has never been the preserve of cis white hetro men not from the very beginning.

Yes as it has become mainstream and those looking to target the biggest section of the market for profit have started to present it as being of and for cis white hetro men, but that is spin.

SSF has always been diverse, women and girls have always created, organised, wrote, drawn, been the back bone of fandoms.
Yes Fandom and conventions are not perfect either, but they are a hell of a lot better then they were 20 years ago in my experience.

Which is why I am proud of the conventions I have been involved with, Shamrokon and Octocon and the work done to try and reflect that diversity and the joy SSF brings.

Hope to see many of you this weekend in the Camden Court Hotel for Octocon.

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Ireland’s 1st Trans Youth Forum

I got asked to come and help facilitate Ireland’s 1st Trans Youth Forum. It took place Wednesday the 15th July 2015. The same day the Gender recognition bill was to pass through the houses of the Seanad. I was helping out with the 18 to 25 year old section and BelongTo were doing the 14 to 18 section separately to comply with child protection policies. The forum was put together by BelongTo, TENi and ITSA; with funding from the TCD Equality Soc.

What I got asked to do was to take notes on the sessions I was assigned and the feedback would be then taken and compiled into a core document which would then become part of a report. There was a facilitator for each session and I just had to sit, shut up, take notes and emote quiet acceptance, support and solidarity.

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I was taking notes for the Healthcare sessions. It was lovely to be working with a group of over 30 young people. Some of whom I had meet before but most of them I had not. I was privileged to listen to them share their experiences, opinions and hopes for a better healthcare system.

Over my last year in my activism & volunteering, I have noticed a common thread about the Healthcare system in Ireland, that there are not enough services, not enough communication, that waiting times are absurd, that there is not a basic level of information which it can be assumed that GPs have and that many things boil down to a lack of bodily autonomy and resources. If you don’t have the money to get services outside of the state then you are at a huge disadvantage.

All of those who were the core team who put the day together should be very proud of the work done and so should all the young people who took part. I really hope that there will be more sessions like this and that the report which is produced will be used to create real lasting positive change. When we wrapped up for the day I was to my surprise given a thank you card and a box of chocolates. But it was an honor to have been asked to take part.

 

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Yes the passing of the gender recognition bill is a wonderful thing but it’s not enough. The bill does not allow for recognition of non binary people and it does nothing for those who are under 16. The recognition needs to be widened and then backed up by local services nationwide for people, children and their families.FB_IMG_1437052606931(1)

 

 

Féile Draíochta 2014

Féile Draíochta 2014 was awesome and even more so that my brats were there and helping out as minions and raffle ticket sellers. It was awesome to have them hanging out with other kids of pagan parents and for them to see that there is a community of people who are pagan, that while they are personally agnostic I think its important they seem community other then that of the local parish as their only model of community. They saw people all all ages, and several babes. Everyone who they encountered had time for them and didn’t speak down to them.

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I would very much recommend coming along to this, if you get the chance it’s always the first weekend in October.

I got my face painted, which is one of my own traditions and  the Dice Lady was lovely to deal with.

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Who is most at risk due to ‘Care’ in our Maternity services?

We know that our maternity services are dangerously under staffed, we know there are no national polices for screening and there are other national policies which are also  lacking. It is not just a case of doctors differ and patients die, it is that depending on where you are in the country, the level of ‘Care’ and the consistency of ‘Care’ varies greatly, even in the same units but from week day to weekend.

But it varies even more so if you are woman who is from a minority in Ireland, this has been born out by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Severe Maternal Morbidity Report 2011


As Sinéad Redmond   a maternity rights activist and an AIMS Ireland committee member said

“This is a link to the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Severe Maternal Morbidity Report 2011. Page 10 points out that maternal morbidity (severe maternal medical complications occurring during pregnancy, delivery and the post-natal period) occurred disproportionately among Traveller women and women of colour.

These women also die during pregnancy, delivery and the post-natal period in disproportionate amounts to their representation in the Irish population.

There appears to be no work in progress or completed (or suggested, that I’m aware of) to investigate the causes of this (institutional racism is of course an obvious one, as was apparent in the ‘care’ given to Bimbo Onanuga), and thus no attempts underway to tackle this. ” 

Bimbo Onanuga,

Dhara Kivlehan,

Nora Hyland,

Savita Halappanavar  

All of these women died in a 3 year period, while in the ‘Care’ of our ‘world class’ Maternity services. Their deaths have caused by medical mis adventure, or failure in basic care. I do not think they are the only ones, but these are 4 which we have heard about due to their loved ones insisting on an inquest and investigation.

Ireland is more diverse then it was 15 years ago, but it seems that institutional racism is happening in our health services. I had hoped that we would do better when it came to dealing with people of a range of backgrounds who are here to be part of our society and to raise to have their families.

Aims Ireland has been doing it’s best to point out where our maternity services falls short but it seems that again this is a story which the media is not interested in covering.

 

Survivors for Symphysiotomy address the UN #ICCPR

Yesterday I attended the Irish Council for Civil Liberties media green room for the appearance of Ireland in front of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

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In the room were a number of groups which had sent in submissions to the Human Rights committees and who had people over in Geneva. Atheist Ireland, Pavee point, Irish Traveler Movement, Irish Family Planning Association I was there to support the spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Campaign and to live tweet from the room.

And what a room it was I found myself talking to several ladies who were there with the Sourvivors for Symphysiotomy. They were easy to spot, ladies of a certain age, turn out smartly for the day, all walking with that slow waddling gait which denotes what the barbaric procedure of symphysiotomy did to their bodies and which they live with every day. They were polite, cheery, hopeful and most of all determined.

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Over the course of the day, given where I was sitting several of the ladies asked were the toilets were, one of the issues they have to live with is that they have to make many trips to the loo, due to the damage done to their bodies. Given the room we were in the nearest toilets were either down stairs or a walk to the other side of the hotel. Both of which were a less then a 3 min stroll for me but for the survivors for symphysiotomy it is a much long trip. Also many of the survivors for symphysiotomy also can’t sit for very long due to the pain and constant discomfort they are in, most of them were not up to stay for the second half of the session.

As I was there to represent the Abortion Rights Campaign I was wearing my badge and when people were introducing themselves they said with org they were with. While I didn’t flinch I found myself worrying that some of the ladies would take it badly that I was there with ARC. But none of them turned a hair and a few of them were very supportive. It was lovely to chat with them, to have them say they are not giving up and we should not give up and to keep fighting; that for too long the Irish state and successive government have done wrong to generations of women in Ireland via the health services and lack there of.

I hope that these brave, brave women get the reparations and justice they are entitled to soon, before we loose more of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I am Voting Prochoice!

 

This week I will be voting in the Eu elections, local elections and a by election in Dublin West.
So why am I asking Candidates to the EU parliament, if they are pro choice?
Policies set in the EU parliament effect us here in Ireland and it is to the EU court of human rights Irish women have to go again and again to try and get access to the health care we need in our own country. Currently there is report, called the Estrela, which sought to make clear that reproductive rights are human rights and

the importance of making contraception widely available, comprehensive sex education and quality family planning services. It also says that women have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, timing and spacing of their children and underlines the importance of safe abortions.

http://reproductiverights.org/en/press-room/EU-parliament-fails-to-back-women-rights

It was rejected by an anti-choice alliance, will the candidate you are voting for join that anti choice alliance or will they work in Europe on your behalf to ensure that Ireland moves to give women the health care we the need here?

 

So why am I asking Candidates in the local elections if they are pro choice?

The majority of candidates who are running the local elections to be members of the County Council are members of political parties. They get to have input to party policy and to the debates and discussion which happen before a party adopts a stance on any issue. Often those who get elected to the County Council go on to seek election to the Dáíl, so it’s good to know what their stance is.

Also over the last 12 months we have seen County Councils passing motions in support of a referendum on the issue of Marriage Equality, hopefully we will see County Councils passing motions in support of a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

 

So why am I asking Candidates in the by elections if they are pro choice?

The Dáil is one of our legislative bodies, we have seen the how important it is when we have has several bills come to be voted upon in the Dáil chamber that our elected representatives be willing to vote in accordance with the wishes of the people who elected them. We need to let them know we are pro choice, that we will not wait 20 more years for the next abortion legislation and we do not want them to wait either.

So why I am Voting Prochoice ?

Because I don’t ever want to give any preference to someone who thinks women like me who have had abortions are murders, who think that they can be the gate keeper to the abortion rights which the majority of people in Ireland agree we should have. I do not want any one who thinks it is ok for women to have to travel to get the health care they need to be voted in to a position of any significance via my vote.

 

“A Practical guide to Irish Spirituality” Book Release.

So I have a friend who was writing their second book, on a topic I have an avid interest in and they asked for input from people and then all of a sudden, the input I gave manifested it’s self as the front cover and forward of the book.

The book is “A Practical guide to Irish Spirituality Slí Aon Dhraoí” by Lora O’Brien, it is published by Wolfpack and is available now. http://www.wolfpackpublishers.com/spiritual.html

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It bills it’s self thusly “You don’t have to be Pagan, or New Age, or Magical, or Spiritual, to read this book. You don’t even have to be Irish. To get the full benefit, you do have to be open minded, willing to learn something about yourself, about Ireland, and maybe even about your place in this land.”

It is packed full of thinking points and questions, many of which you will answer about yourself, offering many personal unexpected and wonderful insights as well as the ones provided in the book by the Author.