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JILLIAN

MICHAELS

I'm not ashamed


to be gay

JANUARY 2015

26

THINGS TO LOOK
FORWARD TO IN 2015

GREAT
EXPECTATIONS

Older lesbians
look to the future

EXCLUSIVE

YouTube stars

Rose&Rosie
Our fans help keep our
relationship strong

ALL CHANGE!
5 INSPIRING
READERS
SHARE
THEIR PLANS

ARIEL SCHRAG

On her controversial
new queer novel

CONDRAGULATIONS!

The drag queens we love

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| WELCOME |

Contents
On the cover

36
40
44
50
54

FACING THE FUTURE

Older lesbians and bi women


are still changing the world

14
18
26
28

DIATRIBE

Why do women undermine each


other asks Catherine Murray

WHY WE LOVE...

Performer Jade PollardCrowe is one to watch

ARIEL SCHRAG

The cult cartoonist on


her debut novel, Adam

JILLIAN MICHAELS

Its not easy but I dont hide,


says Americas fittest lesbian

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Queer pioneers share their hopes,


fears and plans for the future

58
42
46
58
66
70

PORTFOLIO

War artist Felicia


Browne is remembered

CONDRAGULATIONS!

Jane Czyzselska celebrates


the fiercest ladies around

ROSE AND ROSIE

The YouTube stars, as youve


never seen them before

MAPP AND LUCIA

On set for the making of


the new BBC miniseries

MAKEOVER

See DIVA reader Vanessa


transformed into a vintage vixen

HOW TO SURVIVE

Bad stuff happens its how we


get through it that matters

ALL CHANGE!

Five inspiring readers are all set


to change their lives in 2015

A TO Z OF 2015

Twenty-six predictions
for the year ahead

46

18

26

28

31

40

46

53

4 JANUARY 2015

004 content.indd 4

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ON THE
COVER

HUMOUR & COMMENT LIFESTYLE

12-22
23
24-25

COLUMNISTS

DIVA regulars Jay Bernard,


Susan Calman, Charlotte
Cooper and Sarah Westwood

COMIC

Kate Charlesworths
Put A Ring On It

PICK N MIX

Including
Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt

Throughout the issue you will see


this symbol, which indicates that
there is digital content available
related to that particular feature.
You will be able to access this complementary
content when you purchase our digital edition
from divadigital.co.uk or directly through the DIVA
branded app, available on the App Store, Google
Play, Kindle Newsstand and Windows Store.
(Please note that additional content may not be
available via all of our third-part digital suppliers.
However, buying the issue using one of the methods
above will give you access to this content.)

72
74
75
76
85
86
89
91
93
95
96

Photography
LEZLI+ROSE

BARCELONA

Liz Carr explores the Spanish


city in her wheelchair

CITY GUIDE: BRUSSELS

The Belgian capital has


loads to lure lady-lovers

FIRST CLASS

Travel tips to help you


plan your holidays

SCENE: DIVE, EDINBURGH

Dress up and let go at Dive,


plus My Scene: Nottingham

THE QUICKIE

REVIEWS

30-35

Sexy short stories


by DIVA readers

SEX/LIFE

Anna Sansom raids the archives for


sexy personal ads of yesteryear

GROOMING

Get the low-down on


the upkeep front

WELLBEING

Need to talk? The Samaritans


are here to listen

NO PROBLEM

Troubled mind? Let DIVA ed


Jane salve your sorrows

TECHNOLOGY

Is this the year well


all be wearing tech?

DIARY

More lez/bi listings than


you can shake a stick at

MAGAZINE

06
08
10
78
88
98

11
53

66

70

REVIEWS

Books, film, music,


online and TV

76

EDITORS LETTER

Plus, how to
get in touch

YOUR SHOUT

You tell us what you


think of DIVA

SUBSCRIBE

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door before it hits the
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businesses

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Looking for love? Why not


check out our personals?

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Coming soon...

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96
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 5

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| WELCOME |

EDITORS LETTER

DICTUM

This month Ive been thinking a lot about lesbian and


bisexual visibility. After one reader reported via Twitter
that staff at a national store told her they dont stock
DIVA because they get a lot of families in fellow readers
were rightly annoyed. Then another told how she and
her partner were asked to separate and stop kissing
in a London restaurant because it was a family venue.
These comments come from those who see us as alien
and unacceptable (and, bizarrely, not from families!) and
thats why its so important when people like this months
cover stars, YouTube vloggers Rose and Rosie (p58), dont hide who they are. Where are
we from if not from families of all sorts? (With many of us going on to make families of
our own...) Others who are not afraid to live their lives openly include fitness guru Jillian
Michaels (p28), author Ariel Schrag (p26) and the pioneering lesbian and bi elders such as
biographer Diana Souhami and former politician Linda Bellos (p40), who helped pave the
way for the relative freedoms we can enjoy today. Looking ahead to the New Year with
our fun A-Z of 2015 (p54) and the inspiring readers who are changing their lives this year
(p50), we wish you all the best in 2015, and the courage to live out loud.
You might have noticed that weve had a design makeover this month. We hope you like
it. Tweet us @DIVAmagazine to tell us what you think.
Finally, thanks to all who voted me onto the Independent on Sundays Rainbow List. Its an
honour to be in the company of Vicky Beeching, Paris Lees, Baroness Barker, Beatrix Campbell, Suran Dickson, Meg John Barker and other lesbian, bisexual and trans trailblazers.
Jane Czyzselska
DIVAMAG.CO.UK

If you need a back issue to complete your set, call 0845


430 9112, UK only. If you have difficulty reading the
printed word, you can get DIVA on audio cassette on
subscription. Contact Feminist Audio Books on 0161 273
8038 or email books@feministaudiobooks.org.uk
THE FEBRUARY ISSUE OF DIVA IS ON SALE
FROM 23 JANUARY 2015

on sale 23 January 2015

Celebrity lesbian couples talk to DIVA about the love in their lives
Trans lesbian Bethany Black on playing straight in Banana
Love and marriage: we ask young lesbian and bi women about getting hitched
Bisexuality: the most radical sexual identity of them all?
Black modernisms: friendship, race and sexuality in London between the wars
Ooh, oooooh, ahhhhhhh, OH! How to give an erotic massage

CONTACT US!
Want to give us some feedback or share
an experience with other readers?
Email letters@divamag.co.uk

Head of Advertising Ash Allibhai


Tel: +44 (0)20 7424 7406 ash@millivres.co.uk
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THE LOVE ISSUE

Email edit@divamag.co.uk and tell us all about it

Music editor Sarah-Jane Roberts


Books editor Eden Carter Wood
Film editor Joanna Benecke
Travel editor Lucy Fry
Diary editor Dora Mortimer
Art editor Anna McNay
Sex/life editor Anna Sansom
Big thanks to: Sarah Westwood, Fran Hayden,
Olympia Zographos, Ella Braidwood, Catherine Murray, Christie Rolley

Design & production manager Alexander Smith


Media copy sales & marketing manager Gavin Murphy
Management accountant Arnaud Seguin

NEXT MONTH

Got an idea for an article?

What do you hope for in 2015?


Editor Jane Czyzselska
Justice
Deputy editor Louise Carolin
Labour to get its act together
Editorial assistant Carrie Lyell
Sunshine
Designer Fernando Safont
A change of direction for humanity

Postal address DIVA, Millivres Prowler Group,


Spectrum House, Unit M, 32-34 Gordon House Road,
London NW5 1LP
Email edit@divamag.co.uk
Website divamag.co.uk
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Ltd. The mention or appearance or likeness of any person
or organisation in articles or advertising in DIVA is not to be
taken as any indication of sexual, social or political orientation of such persons or organisations. No responsibility
can be assumed for unsolicited materials and submission is
construed as permission to publish without further correspondence at the fee payable at our usual rates. Advertisers
are advised that all copy is their sole responsibility under
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be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior
permission of the publishers.

6 JANUARY 2015

006 dictum.indd 6

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04/12/2014 12:50

| MAIL | YOUR SHOUT |

I didnt mind being 40. I didnt


mind being 50. Youre still 20
inside your head, though the
ever-increasing effects of gravity
are harder and harder to ignore.
But 60! Age 60 and one day
you curl up your toes and die,
I thought. So I also thought Id
better do something about it.
While I still could. I hit Waterstones. The biography section. A
rich seam. Tony Blair went into
science fiction, Cherie into horror
and Susan Boyle into erotica. Job
done. What a giggle. They were
still there a fortnight later. When
they eventually found their way
back home I did it again with
the same results. The third time
the counter assistant nodded to
me and then at the CCTV. Game
over. But you know the saying,
Not problems and difficulties,
but challenges and opportunities. So Tesco was the next target. Shelves groaning with lads
wank mags and never a DIVA in
sight. My subscriber copy was
placed very carefully between
Spirit And Destiny and Good
Housekeeping! That, too, worked
twice. The third time I was met
at the door by a store detective
and a security guard and frogmarched round the store. Eek,
lesbophobia! Do I feel a campaign
coming on, young uns, of all
ages? Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Asda?
Finally I hit the doctors surgery,
twice again with DIVA tucked
under Motor Caravanning (yawn)
and Yachting Monthly (do they
really think we can afford that
on the NHS?).
Now my dishy young doctors
first question is not, How are
you? but always, Are you
behaving yourself? The moral
of this tale is forget the navelgazing, girls. Do try being bad.
Its good for the soul.

MARGARET ARGYLL

LETTERS

Star Letter

GETTING OLD
DISGRACEFULLY

Star Letter
prize

This months
Star Letter writer
has won herself
a copy of Jack
Monroes new
cookbook,
A Year in
120 Recipes
(Penguin, 18.99).
Making the most
of seasonal
produce, yet with
her trademark
budget approach,
Jacks second
book is just as
creative and fresh
as her first.
Whether
youre
cooking for a
summertime
party or a
warming
weekday meal,
Jack gives us
affordable recipes for
every occasion.

WRITE TO US
letters@divamag.co.uk

or use the old-fashioned


method and drop us a line at

DIVA MAGAZINE
Spectrum House, Unit M
32-34 Gordon House Road
London NW5 1LP
United Kingdom

ANITA DOESNT SPEAK FOR


ALL FEMALE GAMERS
Im a female gamer, I have been for
many, many years now, and was quite
enjoying your article on women in
gaming (December)... until you praised
Anita Sarkeesian. While I do believe
she doesnt deserve the personal
harassment she receives, she does
deserve to be called out. She blamed a
recent high school shooting on toxic
masculinity, basically using a tragedy
to up her own agenda, she cherrypicks her arguments and takes every
scenario out of context. She hasnt
played most of the games she talks
about, the best example of this being
her Bayonetta video where she gets
every single bit of information about
the games plot wrong. There is actual
footage of her claiming she doesnt
like video games, even though she has
constantly stated she was a gamer
since childhood.
There are so many other feminist
gamers out there, Felicia Day being a
fantastic example, but we keep giving
the spotlight to Anita, and I honestly believe that that is wrong. I just
thought hearing the other side of the
argument from a fellow lesbian might
make you maybe pay more attention. I will finish this letter with

WIN!

agirlcalledjack.
com

one simple sentence: I am a female


gamer, and Anita Sarkeesian doesnt
speak for me.

NAOMI MOWATT, Southampton


PERIOD POWER
Thank you for your magazine, which
seems to be improving monthly! The
Body Issue (November) promoted
some great values so rarely done in
womens magazines. I was also delighted to see your womens yoga contribution from Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. This
month, however, I was upset to find an
advert from HealthExpress promoting
the stifling of periods. Why is DIVA supporting this? Financial reasons?
There is some incredible work going on
at the moment by women researching
and developing knowledge about our
natural menstrual cycles, fertility and
menopause. The overriding approach
is that with menstrual awareness
through each cycle we can harness the
potential of every part of the cycle
even the inconvenient bits.
I would urge you to take a look at the
work of Alexandra Pope at womens
quest.org. Alexandra is an inspirational
woman who has dedicated her life to
this work. Having attended Womens
Quest workshops myself I can report
back that they work I was able to
banish my period pains, and gain control over the emotional difficulties that
plagued me when pre-menstrual. The
work has been a valuable insight when
I started dating my girlfriend, and has
brought us closer together.
If you really do have to take on these
advertisers for financial reasons then
at least the balance could be addressed so that women are informed
about the choices they have with their
own bodies.

ADELE

8 JANUARY 2015

008 letters.indd 8

04/12/2014 13:16

Pleased to
meet you!
NAME & AGE:

MARY FAWCETT, 29
LIVES IN: JERSEY,
CHANNEL ISLANDS
OCCUPATION:

Every issue, we invite


one of our readers
to tell us about her
relationship with DIVA.

NURSE
IDENTITY: LESBIAN (DUE TO MARRY MY

BEAUTIFUL FIANCE, SOPHIE, IN 2015)

WHAT MADE YOU START READING DIVA?


I was in university, near Liverpool (where Im originally
from) and I saw it on the shelf. I think Ellen DeGeneres
was on the front cover. Ive loved it ever since.

East End girls: last months


cover stars, Luisa BradshawWhite and Rebecca Scroggs

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A READER?

TWITTER
@DIVAmagazine

@KymmieHPeace
Oh my days @DIVAmagazine came and the
cover is STUNNING thats my weekend sorted
#lesbian #ToshandTina
@poison10985
Not having much luck finding DIVA this month.
Either theres been an increase in lesbian activity
or old ladies saw EastEnders and swarmed.
@BecksTheTealady
I better purchase one tomorrow. @BLuisaW
and @rebscrog look absolutely stunning!
@laynathompson
@BLuisaW in @DIVAmagazine. It felt very
important to not come out because straight
people dont need to come in. Could not
agree more!

JOIN US TODAY!
twitter.com/divamagazine

@SCG66
Looking forward to getting home to my copy
of @DIVAmagazine later. Read Susan Calmans
article last night superb. Now cant wait for
the rest.
@RosemaryRLE
@SusanCalman has written a very heartfelt
and honest column in @DIVAmagazine this
month. Go buy it and read it and share it.
@reveggleston
Great article about the Salvation Army. Lovely
to read a mag that speaks to all of me. @
SusanCalman article powerful too.
@nicolajayne100
Great Christmas issue, love article on Les
Kershaw @Leskercomic.

PHOTO LEZLI+ROSE

OBITUARY: RABBI SHEILA SHULMAN


The child of Ukrainian Jews, Sheila Shulman grew up in post-war Brooklyn, where the worst thing
you could do was be a lesbian. It wasnt until Sheila became involved in the feminist movement
of the early 1970s that she felt compelled to come out. Moving to London, she quickly became a
radical lesbian feminist. The Jewish lesbian feminist groups with which she worked encountered
anti-Semitism in the Womens Liberation Movement and spent much energy fighting for
legitimacy. Sheila began to think about Judaism rather than being Jewish, and started reading.
To her great surprise this path led to rabbinical school. As one of the first out rabbinical students,
she pushed boundaries and paved the way for LGBTQ rabbis throughout Britain today. Unable
to find a full-time position after ordination, Sheila was advised to start her own congregation.
Bet Klal Yisrael House of All Israel was founded in the early 1990s, and continues to welcome
those who feel marginalised. Having retired from synagogue life, Sheila turned her attention to
the next generation of rabbis, teaching at the Leo Baeck College. A beloved professor, she will be
remembered for challenging her students and her peers to push themselves beyond what they
thought possible. Rabbi Ariel J Friedlander
RABBI SHEILA SHULMAN. BORN: BRONX NY, 1936 | DIED: LONDON, 25 OCTOBER 2014

Ive enjoyed DIVA on and off for the past few years. Since
moving to Jersey its ridiculously hard to get hold of so
Ive set up a subscription. My partner and I like to keep up
to date with whats going on in the world of gay, since we
dont even have access to a gay-friendly bar over here.

PRINT OR DIGITAL?

Print; it arrives in the post every month.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT DIVA?

I like how informative it is, in regards to not just lesbians,


but women in general. I like how it suggests hotels and
eateries, etc.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE OF?


Definitely whos out in the celeb world. Love to read a little shocker of a coming out story. Also, whatever happens
in Jersey? I would like this researched, please!

WHO ELSE READS YOUR COPY?


My fiance, shes also a lesbian...

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR COPY


WHEN YOUVE READ IT?

I keep them if I like a certain article or cover. Sometimes


just tear out significant pages, like book reviews etc (Im
a big fan of historical fiction).

WANT
TO INTRODUCE
YOURSELF?
Send a photo and
your answers to the
questions above to
letters@divamag.
co.uk

WHO WOULD YOU PUT ON


THE COVER AND WHY?
Definitely my lovely fiance. She
does a hell of a lot for people and
deserves some recognition. She
is also super hot and would look
fabulous on the cover of a glossy
mag. If that didnt happen then
Davina McCall. That would be one
of the copies I would keep.

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 9

008 letters.indd 9

04/12/2014 13:16

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| COLUMNIST | JAY BERNARD |

Setting things straight


I am suspicious of
people who say
they have no enemies. A conflictfree life implies a
risk-adverse life,
a sheltered and
quiet life, without action or integrity. These were not
words I would have used to describe
a friend who once made this claim:
smart, thoughtful and public-spirited
was more like it, and that, as anyone
knows, draws friends and enemies.
Not too long ago, Charlotte Cooper
wrote for DIVA about the beef we
queers have between ourselves and
its alienating aroma: because of it we
avoid certain clubs, lose friends and
find ourselves losing credibility among
people we dont even know. Oh, the
number of times I have sat in a circle
and a member of the ring has pointed
a crooked finger at the suspect. Rarely
do they have the haunted face and
gimlet eyes of a villain. Usually theyre
kind of hot and I regret that my associations and etiquette, and the fact
that there are probably less than two
degrees of separation between us
prevent me from investigating further.
We say hi, pretend that nothing is
weird, but show none of the geniality
we show to others.
Then I have a moment of crisis.
When I go to the toilet to ponder
this dilemma, my A-level philosophy
teacher rises from the bowl, in a whirl

of painful student essays. Are you really going to shun someone based on
anecdotal evidence? he asks.
But sir, I say, I have no grounds
to disbelieve my friend! His ghostly
eyebrow arches. It is true that youre
caught in the middle, but it is not true
that you cant do anything about it.
But what? I cry. One person
says one thing, another person says
another thing, and when they meet at
the party of a mutual friend shit hits
the fan. Its easier to keep quiet. He
knows I am bullshitting. I know that
he knows.
As the forces of underpaid tertiary
labour tug on his raiments, he takes
my hand and I follow him down the
U-bend to another world. We land in
Hackney Wick, but there are no people
only the bitter and bent silhouettes
of hipsters past. We go to a warehouse,
where everyone wears headphones
and sways to their own rhythm. It is
like a morbid childrens party, except
everyone is 30 and scowls into their
whiskey. I tap a hooded woman on
the shoulder and ask why this is
happening. When she turns around,
she has no face, and out of that void
comes a voice full of fear and hate:
Because I can only listen to this band
since theyre the only ones on earth
who I have not alienated, who do not
offend me and whose gig no-one else
goes to. Terrified, I can barely speak.
And everyone else is doing the same
thing? I ask. She nods slowly. This is

THIS JANUARY,
LETS HOLD A
QUEER TRUTH
AND RECONCILIATION
MONTH, SAYS
JAY BERNARD

What is
really
happening
when we
de-friend,
unfollow
and delete?

what it has come to. I turn to my philosophy teacher and fall to my knees.
He looks at me gravely. Unless you act
now, he says, these are the ghosts of
Lesbian Future.
What to do? My journey into the
world-to-come left me with one answer: Queer Truth and Reconciliation
Month. A step up from lesbian processing, this would be a kind of interventional LadyFest in which concerned
friends and family could confront
destructive friends about their issues.
It might be a relief for people who feel
their efforts to make up have gone
unappreciated, or for those who still
seethe though they pretend not to.
Those of us in the position of
innocent bystander might feel qualified to ask some deeper questions:
what is really happening when we
de-friend, unfollow and delete? How
proportional are your actions to their
bad behaviour? What does it mean
that you will completely ice someone
because they werent up to speed on
their politics? Why not investigate
the secret exhilaration of that thirdbreak-up-in-two-months enacted on a
packed dance floor?
Volunteers would be equipped with
modified tool-belts, full of Kleenex for
the hard times and bottle openers for
the small triumphs. While some will be
dragged kicking and screaming, others,
I imagine, will breathe a sigh of relief:
thank god we dont have to pretend
anymore.

12 JANUARY 2015

012 columnist - jay bernard.indd 12

04/12/2014 13:18

DV223-DISPLAY.indd 13

04/12/2014 12:50

| COLUMNIST | DIATRIBE |

MISOGYNIST
WOMEN,
HOMOPHOBIC
LESBIANS...
WHY DO
WOMEN
CONTINUE
TO SELFSABOTAGE?

WORDS CATHERINE
MURRAY

Women
can turn
out to be
a womans
harshest
critics

When an Australian TV presenter


recently admitted
that he had worn
the same suit to
work for a year
as part of an experiment on sexist attitudes to women,
social media blew up. Karl Stefanovics
test was designed as a show of solidarity for Lisa Wilkinson, his co-presenter
on the Today Show, Australias longestrunning breakfast news programme.
Stefanovic was inspired when
Wilkinson, delivering the prestigious
Andrew Olle Media Lecture last year,
lamented attitudes towards women,
saying that even in preparing for her
lecture, the most common question
she was asked was not What are you
going to say? but What are you going
to wear?
In her inspiring speech (tinyurl.com/
LisaWilkinson), she gave the example of
a female viewer who had written to the
producer, Lisas interviews are very
biased and I think she should just stay
at home with her husband. Wilkinson, on entering into an entertaining
correspondence with the woman, was
shocked to discover that she was a
former executive at an organisation
entirely dedicated to empowering
women.
It is women who can turn out to be
a womans harshest critics, lamented
Wilkinson.
Can sexism be mainly women judging other women? she postulated on
her show. When Stefanovic asked her
what it all might mean, Wilkinson was

at a loss to explain the phenomenon.


Professor Jennifer Saul, head of
the Department of Philosophy at the
University of Sheffield, thinks she has
an answer. She attributes this kind of
behaviour to unconscious biases that
pretty much all humans are prone to
against groups that are stigmatised in
our societies.
Saul doesnt blame people for
those reactions, but says that genuinely good-willed people often fail to
notice the way that their judgments
are influenced by factors like race and
gender, and fail to see the patterns in
their behaviour.
Shockingly, this is true even of
members of the stigmatised groups.
So both men and women will be
more likely to write better letters of
reference for men than women, rate
mens (identical) CVs as stronger than
womens or positively interpret something that they say.
Stigmatised groups self-sabotage.
On something called an Implicit
Association Test, only 50% of black
Americans show automatic black
preference (matching black faces with
good adjectives, for example), while
the remaining half show an automatic
white preference. Harvard psychologists have concluded that members of
stigmatised groups have some combination of an automatic preference
for ones own, moderated by what one
learns is regarded to be good in the
larger culture.
In other words, dominant groups
in society influence the biases of even
the minority (or less powerful) groups.

I know that I am guilty. Even when


I am out with my girlfriend, I admit
that I play more lesbian or straight
according to my environment. And
Im not going to use the easy excuse
that its always out of fear. Even in
safe neighbourhoods, sometimes Im
embarrassed to be perceived as gay,
and it has always been hard to explain
why. I am invariably happy to see other
same-sex couples out and proud in
public, but when it comes to myself,
why am I so excruciatingly conscious of
the perceived gaze of society?
Self-directed prejudice is all the
harder to eradicate because we often
are blind to the fact that it exists. Even
more disturbingly, research seems to
suggest that those who feel objective
are even more likely to act on their
biases.
The theory is that, if we think we
are objective, when our biases arise,
we mistake them for rational opinions.
In other words, our self-congratulatory
nature causes us to drop our guard.
So, if you are convinced this article
doesnt apply to you, it almost certainly does.
What can we do about it? Professor Saul admits that being influenced
unconsciously by this sort of thing is
just an unfortunate part of the human
condition.
Still, the message seems to be, stay
vigilant! The very moment we are
confident that we have overcome our
prejudices is precisely when they are
most likely to rear their heads.

Agree? Disagree? Tweet @DIVAmagazine

ILLUSTRATION FERNANDO SAFONT

Women beware women?

14 JANUARY 2015

014 columnist - diatribe.indd 14

04/12/2014 13:20

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DV223-DISPLAY.indd 15

04/12/2014 12:50

| COLUMNIST | SEEING QUEERLY |

Time travel, queered

If I had
the power
to change
things in
the past,
what would
I change?

It all started
when I met
a bunch of
people over the
summer who
introduced me
to Afrofuturism.
As I understand
it, Afrofuturism uses science fiction
as social justice to reconsider black
histories and imagine black futures. If
youve never read any Octavia E Butler
or Samuel Delany, I suggest you do
so now. Perhaps orientate yourself
by listening to Sun Ra, Janelle Mone,
a little Afrika Bambaataa. Watch the
films Pumzi or Born in Flames on YouTube. Steampunk looks depressingly
colonial when compared to these
beauties.
In Philadelphia there is a group
called Metropolarity who are part
of a wider community of people of
colour and queers busy hosting gatherings and workshops and making
publications about Afrofuturism. They
were the ones who turned me onto all
of this. Ive been reading Rasheedah
Phillips, who has just published a
time-bending novel called Recurrence
Plot, and Moor Mother Goddess AKA
Camae Defstar, whose zine for The
Afrofuturist Affair containing tips for
time travel has formed the basis of my
own experiments.
At this point I suspect you will be
thinking that I have finally lost my
marbles. Let me make this clear: there

is no Tardis involved and I have yet to


dematerialise. My approach is much
more prosaic, my main method is the
time capsule. I made one about 15
years ago and buried it in my girlfriends back garden. I put floppy disks
in the canister, they seem so ancient
now. I wonder if anyone has ever found
it, or will find it in my lifetime.
In a hot classroom in Detroit a few
months ago, a group of us produced a
collective time capsule, covered in mirrors that had been gazed upon by radical activists and artists. This was a development for me. We sent messages
to people of the future about events
on world and personal timelines that
we would like to alter, and listed ancestors who might want to pull us back in
time. It was very beautiful.
Time capsules take many forms.
There was that time when the Hoover
broke down. I opened it up and found
fragments of Christmas decorations
from when I was young and cat hair
from pets who had died decades ago.
Clearly, Im not someone who buys
vacuum cleaners very often. The thing
had sucked its last bit of fluff but I felt
catapulted back to another time, sitting in the present with a screwdriver
in my hand.
For me, time travel is an act of imagination and memory. It takes place in
those moments when you are neither
asleep nor fully awake, its when your
mind drifts to moments and allows you
to fully inhabit and sense them. Its a

bit like meditation. Sometimes I travel


to regrettable moments and imagine
them turning out differently. This act is
bound with politics. If I had the power
to change things in the past, what
would I change? How would I change
it? How would I disrupt slavery, for example? How would I help prevent war
or foster revolution? These questions
are relevant for now too.
Through these endeavours Ive
been learning about cyclical time. This
challenges the prevailing notion in the
West that things are always moving
forwards progressively, and that the
present is better than the past. Its a
way of recognising how things come
and go repeatedly, and that there are
valuable things to be found when
people overcome historical amnesia,
or stop patronising the past as worse
off. I am not one for woo, but I love
ideas that make life more bearable for
people on the margins, especially
those which enable people to reflect,
connect with each other and engender
hope. For example, when I think of the
shits who make up the current
government, I find the idea of cyclical
time very soothing. They are here now,
but they wont be forever. Other
possibilities are on their way.

Metropolarity: metropolarity.net
Rasheedah Phillips and The Afrofuturist Affair:
afrofuturistaffair.com
Moor Mother Goddess: mmgzmmgz.tumblr.com
charlotte@divamag.co.uk

PHOTO SARA DAVIDMANN

CHARLOTTE
COOPER HAS
BEEN DOING A
SPOT OF TIME
TRAVELLING
IN HER LUNCH
HOUR

16 JANUARY 2015

016 columnist - seeing queerly.indd 16

03/12/2014 09:38

24 businessmen

6 film makers

14 in security

45 IT managers

30 in admin

7 lawyers

11 pilots

8 models

22 bar tenders

15 in logistics

3 chefs

24 in hospitality

16 actors

9 doctors

36 in finance

9 armed forces

7 builders

19 teachers

36 students

26 engineers

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DV223-DISPLAY.indd 17

26/08/2014 11:57
04/12/2014 12:50

PERFORMER
JADE
POLLARDCROWE
EMBRACES
THE INBETWEEN

It is really important that my work


is from a black gay female, says performer and artist Jade Pollard-Crowe.
Society sees issues such as race, sexuality and gender as separate entities
when, in reality, they combine to build
our identities. I identify as a lesbian (my
sexuality) and queer (my gender). A new
personal word Ive come up with is stag
stud and, well, you work it out!
DIVA first came across Jade at the
RVT 150th birthday celebrations this
summer, where she took part in the
Duckie Summer School and performed
a slick show, playing on her naturally
androgynous physicality.
Many of us inhabit what I would
describe as the in-between, she
says. I naturally feel masculine whilst
claiming my femininity. I have learnt to

embrace both energies. A close friends


boyfriend confessed he feels I suit a
beard better than he does!
Jades performances are highly
political and shes been strongly influenced by queer theory and race politics. She studied Fine Art at Sheffield
Hallam University, where her first performance, Boi-lesque Performance 1,
involved drag, yellow PVC, fierce music
and a strip down to her (breast) binding and packed underwear.
Jade is both an artist and a
performer. The artist is who I am, its
integral to my being and what keeps
me going. The performer is my body as
a medium utilised to express concerns
I have. And since those concerns
affect us all, Jade is certainly a stag to
watch.

WORDS ANNA MCNAY, PHOTO SARAH BOTHA AND AMY COLLINS

stag artist

| WHY WE LOVE | JADE POLLARD-CROWE |

18 JANUARY 2015

018 whywelove.indd 18

03/12/2014 09:37

CM

MY

CY

CMY

DV223-DISPLAY.indd 19

04/12/2014 12:51

| COLUMNIST | OUTSPOKEN |

By the time you


read this Ill have
reached the
milestone age of
40. No big deal,
you say! Forty
is the new 20,
or the new 30,
or whatever life-affirming rubbish the
media tells you. Personally, I think it is
a big deal. Ive entered my fifth decade,
which means I get to tick a different
demographic box in questionnaires,
the cost of life insurance increases and
I understand fewer and fewer adverts
on the television.
But its the psychological impact
that I feel most keenly. The bottom line
is that I dont feel 40. As far as my brain
is concerned, Im still 17, kicking about
Glasgow in a pair of cherry Docs and a
second-hand army coat. When I wake
up in the morning I never fail to be
shocked by the fact that my feet hurt,
that my hip cracks, that I cant hear as
well as I used to. My body is telling me
Im older even if my mind isnt. I went
out the other night and had three pints.
The resulting hangover was sufficiently
painful to almost persuade me never to
drink again. Almost.
My main concern right now is that
I need to get moving on achieving my
dreams. I need to start realising my
ambitions before my hip finally gives
way and my hangovers lead to me

becoming a sober recluse, knitting


jumpers from cat hair. And so, looking
to the future, this is my list of Must
Dos before the next decade passes
me by.
Become the first female Doctor
Who. Im pretty convinced that with
the help of the DIVA readership this
can be achieved by sheer force of
numbers. Imagine a time-travelling
lesbian. Imagine the fun we could
have. For a start, Id be paid to wear
tweed. Feel free to email the BBC
demanding action.
Build a railway in my garden. I know
its a bit left-field but Ive hankered
after it almost all my life. When I was
younger I used to drive past a house
in Glasgow that had a miniature
train track in the garden. I once saw
the owner of the house sitting on a
small train, driving round and round
his garden, and Ive never seen such
joy in my life. I want that joy. I want
a tiny steam train that I can ride
around my garden for hours. Ill buy
an outfit and build stations. Ill have
few friends, but I wont need them.
Ill have my own train.
Get a garden. That probably comes
before the train, to be fair. Actually,
I need to get a house first. Ive lived
in flats for over 25 years now and
Ive never been able to utter the
sentence, Im just nipping upstairs.
I want to have an upstairs that I can

AS SHE
ENTERS HER
FIFTH DECADE,
SUSAN
CALMAN HAS
PLANS AND
THEYRE
BIG ONES

I want a
tiny steam
train that
I can ride
around my
garden

nip to. So I need to buy a house.


With a garden big enough for a train.
This is only possible if I become the
first female Doctor Who.
Meet Helen Mirren. Make Helen Mirren become my best friend. Move to
Hollywood with Helen Mirren. Shell
have a house, fulfilling ambitions
two and three in one go. And with
her contacts she could probably get
me in with the BBC.
Learn to relax. This is probably the
most important of all my ambitions.
I often sit, mulling over past events,
and the one thing Im struck by is
how many times Ive done myself a
disservice by not enjoying the moment Im in. Of not paying attention
to whats happening in front of me
because Im worrying about the next
thing that I have to do. My life as a
touring comedian mostly comprises
catching trains, rushing to venues
and planning travel the next day.
I cant remember the last time I
sat down and just relaxed. When I
wasnt checking my phone for emails
or ticket sales. When I just looked
around and took a breath.
So thats settled. Im going to become
Doctor Who, meet Helen Mirren, move
to Hollywood, build a railway in my
garden and breathe. Come and find me
in 10 years. I think I can do it.

susan@divamag.co.uk

PHOTO STEVE ULLATHORNE, ILLUSTRATION FERNANDO SAFONT

Things to do at 40

20 JANUARY 2015

020 columnist - outspoken.indd 20

03/12/2014 09:37

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DV223-DISPLAY.indd 21

05/12/2014 12:08

| COLUMNIST | THE RUBBISH LESBIAN |

Perhaps youre
reading this
issue in the
dark no-mans
land days of
late December,
one greasy mitt
clasped around a
buttery mince pie, the other cradling a
big glass of port. You gave up wearing
a belt at 3.04pm on Christmas Day,
your partners been nagging you all
morning to take out the recycling (just
a small matter of 18 empty wine bottles) but youre too sozzled and glued
to Christmas Come Dine With Me to
heave yourself from the chair.
Or perhaps youre reading this
in January, in which case its a very
different story. If its January, youre
likely waving a shiny new gym card in
one hand, and a freezer bag filled with
celery sticks in the other. If youre
wondering how I know all this the
answer is simple: I too am a woman of
extremes.
As we enter 2015 Ill have spent
almost 40 years on the fast-spinning
planet, but still the concept of
moderation eludes me. And thats especially true when it comes to alcohol.
A few months back I decided to take a
little break from wine to make space in
my life for the really important things:
work, my health, eBay. First I tried

THERES
NO MIDDLE
GROUND
WHERE SARAH
WESTWOOD IS
CONCERNED

Im not one
of those
people who
can take it
or leave it

limiting myself to one glass a night.


But once the wine was flowing I just
couldnt put a cork in it, or back in the
wine bottle, for that matter.
My next strategy involved the
introduction of teeny-weeny plastic
mini-bottles, one a night, split between
two, to be exact. How very civilised!
I bought seven, to last a week. But in
reality one measly mini-bottle is barely
enough to wet your whistle and Im
used to having my whistle fully submerged, for hours on end. So, reader,
we devoured them all.
If you were to make a scrapbook
of images taken of me throughout my
30s, Id either be pictured kettle bells
above head, flaunting my trampolinetaut abs, and treating my body as a
temple built of kale and buckwheat, or
drunkenly bouncing off the walls of a
karaoke bar in Soho at 2am, warbling
a tearful rendition of Back To Black.
What youd never see is me having a
small wine at a party and then sanctimoniously covering my wine glass and
saying: No more for me, thank you,
I thoroughly enjoyed that but one is
sufficient!
When friends invite me to their
parties they never know who is going
to show up, sporty Jekyll, the antiBacchanalian bore, intent on showing
them the light by banging on about
her latest life-changing colon cleanse.

Or boozy Ms Hyde, the party girl, who


at the end of a long night of drunken
truth-telling can be found slouched
on the kitchen floor, feasting on a
hastily cooked fish-finger, chipped only
moments earlier from the roof of the
freezer compartment.
Maybe its time to face facts. Im
not one of those people, like my mum,
who can take it or leave it. Ive got
the take it part down. I can take it,
one large goblet at a time, until Im in
my cups, abandoning my shoes at the
bus shelter at 2am to shoot barefoot
across the road in pursuit of a kebab.
But leave it? Not so much.
Im starting to think that the everything in moderation modus operandi
to which I have always aspired might
actually be nothing more than a myth
peddled by a small group of self-righteous bastards, sorry Mum, who dont
actually enjoy drinking or Wotsits, or
anything else good in life. Their sole
aim is to make the rest of us feel bad
for not measuring up to their own
levels of self-discipline.
Moderation is a myth, people (see
also: the new vaginal orgasm). So this
new year, for the first time in ages, I
wont be setting myself up to fail by
attempting to live the temperate life.
Therell be times when I give myself free
rein, and other times when Ill abstain
altogether. Ill drink to that!

PHOTO LUCY POPE

The moderation myth

22 JANUARY 2015

022 columnist - the rubbish lesbian.indd 22

04/12/2014 13:22

| COMIC | KATE CHARLESWORTH |

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 23

023 comic.indd 23

03/12/2014 09:35

| UPFRONT |

Vicky Beeching

2014 was a big year for Vicky Beeching. The


religious commentator and musician came
out in August in an interview with Patrick
Strudwick for the Independent and has become
a much-needed role model for people of faith
since. On that decision, she told DIVA: I
feel huge relief that Ive finally shared
my story and really hopeful about
the future. Her courage has since
inspired many religious LGBT
people to speak out about their
own sexuality and in November,
she was rightly recognised in the
Rainbow List the highest new
entry at number three. Well
done, Vicky!

PICKKNMIX

person of the month

What were wearing

Defender of the Faith


Defender of the Faith is a new collection of jewellery created by Emma Basden. The
former PR guru has designed a unique range of simple, strong silver jewellery,
and the results are stunning, reflecting her own androgynous style. Emma began
designing her signature coin rings after discovering a little-known technique which
enables her to transform pre-1969 silver coins which she
sources from all over the world into stunning
one-off pieces. Defender of the Faith also
includes handcrafted pieces to be worn on
chains or leather cord. We particularly like
the daggers. And to celebrate the launch,
Emma is offering DIVA readers 10% off with
discount code DIVA, so theres no excuse
not to treat yourself.
defenderofthefaithjewellery.com

TREAT F!
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YOURSE

10%

A
T FOR DIV
DISCOUNEADERS
R

celebrity tweets
@sueperkins
No idea why folks are getting
so excited about K Kardashian
balancing a champagne glass on
her ass. I can get a row of pint
glasses on mine.
@MsJackMonroe
Just left the Beeb after recording a
comedy panel show. I drank three
beers and said bollocks on Radio 4.
All in a days work!
@ladysov
Cats and
Christmas trees
arent a great
combo tbh

@rubbishles
Gillian
Anderson in
uniform is
giving me
quite warm
feelings
towards the
police force.

@samirawiley
Had chicken
fried bacon for
brunch. Thank
you, Austin.

@marylambertsing
My first favourite hobby is
songwriting. My second favourite
hobby is whiskey.
@suziruffell
I always like to be the last person to
board a plane. Seems me and this
pilot are playing chicken. He seems
pretty confident!

Not for the faint hearte

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we were curious and couldnt resist getting to the bottom of their appeal. There were a few raised eyebrows
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WORDS CARRIE LYELL

Edible Anus chocolates

24 JANUARY 2015

024 pick n mix.indd 24

04/12/2014 13:24

A few words from Ruth


Stonewall update
from CEO Ruth Hunt
In 2014 Stonewall
celebrated its 25th
anniversary. Since
1989, when a small
but dedicated group
of men and women
came together to tackle the pernicious
Section 28, weve achieved remarkable
things.
Since becoming chief executive of Stonewall Ive had a chance to see the incredible work that individuals and organisations are doing right across the country.
Working together, weve repealed the
hated Section 28 as well as the ban on gay
people serving in the military. Same-sex
couples can become parents and, while
not perfect, the Gender Recognition Act
was a huge step forward.
So many people have contributed to our
movement. A whole generation stood in
the face of discrimination and harassment
to fight for their rights and for the dignity
of their brothers and sisters. Their stories
and their work shape who we are today.
We all stand on the shoulders of these
giants. That is why weve taken 25 stories
from our 25 years to celebrate some of
our older LGBT role models. As a young
lesbian growing up in the shadow of
Section 28, it was their stories and their
actions that inspired me.
These individuals from across the country and from many different backgrounds
show us that we all have a role to play
to help make the world a better place.
You can read some of these stories at
stonewall.org.uk/lgbtvoices.
While we celebrate our history we also
look to the future. We know that theres
still much to be done here in Britain and
around the world. At Stonewall well
continue fighting until every person can
love who they want to love, and live the
life they should. To make this world a
reality well need your help now more
than ever. Visit stonewall.org.uk to get
involved.

DIVA CAUGHT UP WITH THE LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX ACTRESS TO TALK SCIENCE, SERIES
THREE AND WORKING WITH SARAH LANCASHIRE

DIVA: What attracted you to Last Tango In Halifax?


NINA SOSANYA: It was the story and the role. The fact
that it was a story about two older people and their
lives. The fact that it was full of characters, and the part
that I was up for was just a really interesting part that
Id not played before, a type that Id not played before,
in terms of personality.
What can we expect from series three?
Gosh. Its everything that you love about Last Tango. Its
unpredictable and its lovely.
Will there be wedding bells for Kate and Caroline?
There might beyes! [Laughs] Trying to remember
what Im allowed to tell you and what Im
not. Well, yes. Theres definitely proposals. I can tell you that there were
some very moving scenes.
How has it been working with
Sarah Lancashire?
Amazing. Just amazing. First series
was great, second series was even
better, third series was even better,
and shes just I mean, shes an
outstanding actress as anyone can see,
but working with her has just been a
complete joy. We really invested a lot in
our relationship and I cant really speak
highly enough of her personality and her work ethic.
Shes great.

and figures are. Theyll be shooting themselves in the


foot if they dont take that up.
Do you get a lot of fan mail, because of this role?
Yeah, I do, and its amazing. Its lovely. A lot of it is
genuinely moving and I feel so privileged to be part of
something that has really affected people, sometimes in
profound ways.
Youre not on Twitter and theres not a lot of info
about you online. Is that a conscious decision?
Yeah. Im quite private. I know thats a bit odd for someone who shows off for a living but its sort of my job,
and my personal opinions, I suppose, I like
to speak to people about in person.
Im not into publishing my own
views about my toenails. I cant
really see why anyone would be
interested.
How do you spend your free
time? What do you do when
youre not working?
Im quite geeky so I like going to
science lectures at the Royal Institution, which I think everybody else
should do as well. I like watching wildlife.
Birds. That sort of thing.

60 Seconds with...

nina sosanya

Why do you think viewers are so invested in Kate and


Carolines relationship?
Because I think its real, because its also flawed, which
makes it real. I think it does something that hasnt been
done before particularly in that its people who are
discovering a new way to love. Not even a new way of
loving, theyre just loving. Theyre not in their 20s, theyre
not even in their 30s. Lets be honest, were all in our 40s!
I just think thats quite a brave thing to show. And hopefully it will reflect reality.
Why do you think that particular story of later life
lesbianism, if you want to call it that, hasnt been
explored before?
I dont know, but I think perhaps theres been a general
feeling that you know what you are. And I think that,
in my view, people can be different things at different
times in their life and I think that there are a lot of
people who, certainly Ive discovered through doing this
show, there are an awful lot of people who later in life
have had children and have genuinely been in love with
a man and then genuinely fall in love with a woman. I
dont know what you call that, or if it needs to be called
something, but its true and its real and its valid. I
dont know why people havent cottoned on to that. I
dont know why the TV industry havent cottoned onto
the stories of women and older people, because the
audience is so obviously there, and if they want to talk
about numbers and figures, thats where the numbers

Very wholesome hobbies!


[Laughs] Is that a way of saying Im boring?
Not at all! What would you be doing if you werent
acting?
Oh gosh, theres lots of things. I wanted to be a palaeontologist. I think Id have done something scientific
because my mum is a scientist, so Id have probably
gone that way.
Do you have any grand ambitions when it comes to
acting or do you just see where the roles take you?
There are definitely people I want to work with and
theatres I want to work at, and Id really like to get involved with film as I havent done much film. Id love to
be in a sci-fi film but I dont think its going to happen. I
can keep my fingers crossed!
Would that be the dream job then?
Yeah. I dont know if Im too old now, but I want to be
Ripley basically! You know where Im coming from!
What does 2015 hold for you, personally and professionally?
Trying to do up the house, personally. Professionally?
I never know whats round the corner, and I like it that
way.
Series 3 of Last Tango In Halifax starts 28 December
on BBC1. See the TV page (p33) for more info.
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 25

024 pick n mix.indd 25

04/12/2014 13:24

I knew it would
be controversial
DIVA: When I first heard the hook
of the story I had a simultaneous
feeling of thats hilarious and
wow, that is really disturbing. Did
you set out to write something that
would create such polarised reactions? You said in another interview
that you were thrilled about
getting yelled at on the internet
about the novel is that still the
case?
ARIEL SCHRAG: I knew the novel
would be controversial, especially
among queer and trans people. Your
reaction to the hook is pretty much
my reaction to the hook when I first
thought of it, which is why I thought:
I need to write this. It felt like a
fascinating prism through which to
view the world of my early 20s: NYCs
hipster lesbian and trans subculture.
As for being thrilled about getting
yelled at on the internet, Ill admit
thats a bit hyperbolic. Im always disappointed if someone doesnt like the
book, but at the same time the types
of conversations around it are exactly
what I hoped. When people take the
book lightly and call it sweet, easy,

NAZMIA
JAMAL TALKS
TO THE CULT
CARTOONIST
AND L WORD
SCRIPTWRITER
ABOUT HER
DEBUT NOVEL,
ADAM

The plot is
not meant
to function
as a moral
lesson or
political
manifesto

YA fare, Im the most disturbed. Im


also disturbed by some reviews that
claim its a good transgender 101 book
for the uninformed. Its not. If you
want to learn about the transgender
experience there are many great
books by trans people out there. If
you want a satirical, nuanced look at
NYC lesbian and trans culture circa
2006 and what would happen if you
threw a straight, cis, teenage boy into
the mix, thats Adam.
You have worked a lot in the area
of lesbian culture your graphic
novels are queer girl gold dust, you
wrote for The L Word, your name is
yelled in between Cecilia Dougherty
and the Need on queer dancefloors
across the globe what has the response been like from this community? And how have trans readers
responded?
I cant speak for the response of any
one community, and a lot of the
time I have no idea how readers identify, but many cis lesbians and trans
people of varying sexualities have
said they love the book and that it authentically captures a time in life they
also experienced. Some people have
responded with outrage to the novels
premise and have told people not to
read it, even though they themselves
havent read it. This is frustrating.
Nobody has to read the book, but I
dont believe someone is qualified to
recommend or not recommend it unless they do. Another type of reaction
Ive seen is that people love the book

until the end, which they are outraged


by. I dont want to give away the end
here, but I will say that the various
reactions to the climactic scene have
been wildly disparate.
I confess, I struggled with the idea
that at the core of this novel there
is a middle-class white boy who
seems to get what he wants. What
kind of diversity were you hoping to
present?
The book promotes the broad message celebrate diversity, but its
plot is not meant to function as a
moral lesson or a political manifesto.
It raises questions without pushing specific answers. Would Adams
deception and appropriation of a
marginalised identity be any more
forgivable if he could claim some
marginalisation himself? The demographics of the characters are meant
to represent the particular NYC LGBT
scene I was part of in my early 20s.
The scene where everyone is watching
the TV report of the murder of Nelly
Chua (which is partially based on the
true story of Gwen Araujo) is meant to
do two things. Adam is realising that
being trans is not all just parties
and making out with hot lesbians,
but also, I wanted to look at the way
affluent, white cis lesbians and trans
men in their early 20s respond to
violence against people they consider
part of their community, but who in
reality are distinctly absent from their
community. Everyone in the room
is watching the horrific footage, not

PHOTO CHLOE AFTEL

dam is the story of a


17-year-old boy who
spends the summer of
2006 with his lesbian
sister in NYC, where he is
mistaken for a trans man
and decides to use this to
his advantage in order to
pull the (gay) girl of his
dreams. Step up, author Ariel Schrag...

26 JANUARY 2015

026 inteview A Schargg.indd 26

04/12/2014 13:25

| Q&A | ARIEL SCHRAG |

More information on p4 | divadigital.co.uk

really thinking about Nelly but about


themselves.
Did you have a particular person in
mind when you started writing from
the perspective of Adam?
This friend of mine used to say to
me: Youre so lucky youre gay, you
have this whole community to tap
into. I found his envy of my queerness intriguing. My friend, who is cis
and straight, is definitely liberal and
socially progressive, but also, mostly
ignorant of queer and trans issues.
I wanted people of all gender and
sexuality identities who consider
themselves open-minded to confront
more subtle prejudices they may have
through Adams character.

And is Gillian based on anyone in


particular? Her back-story is very
specific she is literally a poster
child for young lesbians but she
ends up dating Adam.
Gillians plot line is largely inspired
by Constance McMillen, a high school
student in Mississippi who made
national headlines in 2010 when she
was told she could not attend prom
with her girlfriend a decision she
successfully challenged. The emphasis on McMillen as a proud lesbian
in the media coverage made me wonder: What if she ended up being into
guys? Would she feel shame or like
she was betraying those who looked
up to her? In lesbian communities
biphobia and heterophobia are alive

and well and our society in general is


very attached to labels. I wanted to
address these issues through Gillians
story.

For details about


Ariel Schrags
work, past and
present, see
arielschrag.com.
Adam is published
by Marnier Books
(print and ebook).
Digital readers
can click the icon
to watch the
trailer for the
novel.

The novel is set in 2006 and felt


deeply familiar. Is there anything
that you feel especially nostalgic
about from that time?
I began writing Adam in 2007, so it
wasnt originally intended as a period
piece. Im nostalgic for that time the
way anyone is nostalgic for their 20s,
but not with any desire to go back. In
terms of LGBT awareness and visibility
weve made great strides but we still
have a long way to go. I think the fact
that this book would not ring true set
in 2014 is a very good thing.
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 27

026 inteview A Schargg.indd 27

04/12/2014 13:26

| Q&A | JILLIAN MICHAELS |

Honestly Jillian

DIVA What do you hope people


attending Maximize Your Life will
learn?
JILLIAN MICHAELS A lot! But to
sum it up: how to establish, define,
and achieve goals in every facet of
your life. How to transform your
self-image, dramatically enhancing
self-worth, esteem, and confidence. I
will shift your attitudes and perspectives on the things that paralyse you,
and teach you to use these things
proactively as entry points for learning. I give tools and strategies, so the
actions you take towards your goals
yield powerful and positive results.

You recently opened up about the


difficulties of not being what others
perceive as normal in a recent interview. Were you surprised at how
big the story became and how upset
people were?
Sadly, no. American media tends to
find people to pick on and once they
get you in their sights and find it
profitable to paint you as a bad guy
they dont really let up... ever. In the
past few years Ive been accused of
everything under the sun, just to sell
papers.
What do you think the controversy
was about?
I am always extremely honest. The
question asked in the article was not
are you ashamed about being gay.
The question asked was, Are you
comfortable talking about being gay?
I was asked this having just expressed
concern about doing a reality show
because my family gets a lot of hate
mail from people who believe gays belong in hell. The bottom line for me
is that being gay in a world that is 90%
straight, where 50% of those straight
people wish us harm, is not easy. Do
I hide who I am of course not. Am I
ashamed of who I am of course not.
Do I think it would have been a heck of
a lot easier to have been born straight
of course I do.
Do you wish you had been less honest?
No. I simply wish that the media would
not attempt to destroy lives and
careers by twisting and manipulating
stories for a buck. The Huffington Post
once took a very personal issue regarding my fertility and turned it into a
headline that said, Jillian Michaels
doesnt want to ruin her hard little
body with pregnancy. Apparently
nothing is sacred. This is what I hope
will change. My honesty never will. I

JOANNA
BENECKE
CHATS TO
AMERICAS
FITTEST
LESBIAN
AHEAD OF
HER UK TOUR

dont lie. I believe that one of the keys


to happiness is being comfortable with
who you are and how you feel.
I know you were overweight and
bullied as a kid how did you deal
with that?
I was very fortunate to have a mom
who was very involved. When I was
a teen she got me into martial arts
because she thought it would be a
good outlet for me, a good way to
build my confidence. She couldnt have
been more right. When I began to feel
strong physically it transcended into
all facets of my life.
What advice would you give queer
women who are nervous about going
to the gym?
I would suggest a gradual shift towards
the gym. Start at home doing fitness
DVDs until you feel fitter and more
confident. Get a gym buddy so you
dont feel alone. Join a womens gym
so you feel more comfortable at first.

Ive been
accused of
everything
under the
sun, just
to sell
papers

Youre open about the important


role therapy has played in your
life what would you say to people
who are worried about going to a
therapist?
There is such a stigma around therapy.
The very sad misconception is that its
for people who are crazy. This
couldnt be less true. Its for brave
individuals who want to take a journey
of self-exploration that allows them to
understand any self-defeating
attitudes, behaviours and habits they
may have, in order to transform those
things into life-affirming attitudes,
behaviours and habits, so they can live
happier and healthier lives.

Jillians UK Maximize Your Life tour runs


1828 January. Tickets available from 25,
JillianMichaelsLive.com.

PHOTO DON FLOOD

Jillian Michaels has many titles: TVs


toughest trainer, inspirational life
coach, out lesbian parent, former
overweight teen, ex-trainer on
Americas Biggest Loser, and maker
of best-selling fitness DVDs (covering
everything from kickboxing, to cardio
yoga, to her famous Shred). Where
many trainers exhibit false cheeriness, awkward banter or complicated
choreographies, Jillians no-nonsense
chat and straightforward-but-effective techniques just work, pleasing
fitness freaks and refuseniks alike.
Aside from her killer abs and
sculpted biceps, what stands out
most about Jillian is her honesty.
(What other trainer admits thinking,
Mother of God, why do I come back
here every Saturday? at the start of
each yoga class?) Recently, however,
this truthfulness got her into trouble
when she was branded a homophobe
in the press and on Twitter after she
spoke about the difficulties of being
gay in a society where homosexuality
is not perceived as normal. DIVA
caught up with her as she prepares
for her UK tour, Maximize Your
Life, to talk fitness, fame and that
interview.

28 JANUARY 2015

028 Q&A J MIchaels.indd 28

04/12/2014 13:27

WIN!
WEVE
GOT
OF JILLIANS
AWESOME
FITNESS DVDS
TO GIVE AWAY!
FOR YOUR
CHANCE
TO WIN VISIT
DIVAMAG.CO.UK/
COMPETITIONS
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 29

028 Q&A J MIchaels.indd 29

03/12/2014 09:33

| REVIEWS |

MUSIC

Ex-Hex: oozing energy

ESSENTIAL SYNTH-POP:

CLARK

Clark (Warp)

One of the UKs most exciting producers,


Clark follows up 2012s brilliant Iradelphic
with another album of electronic gems.
Unfurla and Slivered Iris marry catchy
techno beats with playful synths and dirty
percussion whilst Sodium, Grit and the
magnificent Winter Linn revolve around
layers of cinematic synths, distorted effects and deep atmospherics.

DAN BODAN
Soft (DFA)

EX-HEX
Rips (Merge)

Remember the first time you heard Sleater-Kinney or the Breeders? Remember the joy you felt discovering their songs were written and performed by
cool, talented women? Well, prepare to meet Ex-Hex a Washington trio
featuring Betsy Wright, Laura Harris and Wild Flags Mary Timony. Taking
their cue from the Runaways, their brilliant debut is packed with two- to
three-minute garage rock anthems that ooze energy. Think punchy melodies,
muscular guitar riffs, hammering drums and handclaps. Add extremely catchy
choruses and you have a blistering rock album. Play loud.

Contemporary torch-singer Bodan


specialises in brooding, electronic love
songs. Romeo, Anonymous and Good
Time Summer feature him crooning over
spacious synths and gently stuttering,
slo-mo beats whilst Reload and Catching
Fire are driven by lush electro melodies.
In short, one of the most talented queer
artists since Perfume Genius.
DOWNLOAD THIS: FLYING LOTUS

YOURE DEAD
Warp

LAs Flying Lotus continues his exploration


of the cosmic and the sublime. Ambitiously, his latest album flows more like
one long score than individual tracks,
gloriously stitching together a dizzying array of beats, loops and riffs from the sonic
universe of free-jazz, funk, prog-rock, dub
and ambient electro.
IF YOU LIKE LEONARD COHEN:

SYLVIE SIMMONS

THE CZARS

The Best of The Czars (Bella Union)

If Lena Dunham made music I imagine shed sound


like Girlpool. An LA duo, they specialise in lo-fi rock
songs driven by fuzzy guitars, bass and shared vocals.
Endearingly, their debut EP features seven catchy
songs that explore fickle relationships, gender politics,
oral sex and empowerment with playful humour.

Fans of John Grant will love this collection by his


former band the Czars. Cherry-picked from their five
albums, the 18 songs swing between baroque-pop,
rock and intimate piano ballads that highlight his
wonderful croon and imaginative lyrics. Extra stars for
the spine-tingling cover of Where The Boys Are.

Best tracks

Girlpool (Wichita)

Sylvie (LITA)

One of musics most respected critics and


biographers, Sylvie Simmons has finally
recorded her own enchanting album of
late night laments. Infused with Americana
imagery, she croons woozily about lonely
cowgirls and jilted lovers over minimal
banjo, ukulele and percussion. Lovely.

LONE LADY
Groove It Out

LORDE
Yellow Flicker Beat

ROSIE LOWE
How Youd Like It

DIVA favourite Lone Lady


returns with an infectious track
that marries Chicago house
with minimal punk-funk.
Pure bliss.

The centre-piece of the new


Hunger Games OST, this moody
pop number features Lorde
crooning over taut beats and
flickering synths.

Another slo-mo bomb, this


captures Lowe crooning
moodily over sultry beats and
atmospheric effects.

WORDS SARAH-JANE ROBERTS, PHOTOS ANDREW WHITTON

GIRLPOOL

30 JANUARY 2015

030 music.indd 30

03/12/2014 09:32

| REVIEWS |

Dir James Kent

There is a major problem with this biopic


about the awesome pacifist feminist
Englishwoman Vera Brittain: for some
unfathomable reason shes played by a
Swede. For 129 mins Alicia Vikander
battles to try and convince us shes from
Buxton. Now, I am not against bold
casting decisions. And if the director had
decided to rewrite history and make
Brittain Scandinavian, I could have got
behind that. Maybe. But, as things are, I
could hardly focus on the WWI plot as I
waited for someone to call Vera on her
dodgy attempt at RP and arrest her for
being a German spy. Miranda Richardson
and Anna Chancellor are brilliant and
underused in supporting roles.

&ONLINE

FILM

TESTAMENT OF YOUTH

WILD

Dir Jean-Marc Valle

Female recovering drug addict decides to undertake arduous 100-day hike


along the Pacific Coast Trail to come to terms with the loss of her mother.
Based on Cheryl Strayeds autobiography, nature is the real star here, though
Laura Dern is incandescent as mother Bobby, and Reese Witherspoon does
her best as Cheryl. There are some well-captured moments, particularly the
constant threat of male attack. Yet theres something missing; I never connect
with Cheryl or am moved by flashbacks to her most difficult times. Possibly
Reese just isnt convincing as a strung-out heroin addict (or an 18-year-old...).
It would have been great to see a less glossy star tackle the role (like Gaby
Hoffman, who appears in a cameo). However, without the Witherspoon name
attached this female-driven story wouldnt have made it to our screens and
that would have been a real shame. The llama scene alone is worth the price
of admission. In cinemas 16 January

In cinemas 16 January

BIRDMAN

Dir Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu

WORDS JOANNA BENECKE (FILM), CHRISTIE ROLLEY (ONLINE), PHOTOS ANNE MARIE FOX, GILES KEYTE, CLAIRE FOLGER

Wild at heart:
Reese Witherspoon
as Cheryl Strayed

NEWS IN BRIEF
An ageing Hollywood star about to birth a
Broadway show is bugged by telekinetic
powers and Birdman (his former
superhero persona) telling him hes
better than this. Do we need more tales
of neurotic middle-aged men worrying
about their legacies? Woody Allen,
Breaking Bad enough already. Watch
the women: the ex-wife (Amy Ryan),
daughter (Emma Stone) and co-actors
(Naomi Watts and Brit Andrea Riseborough, delivering a flawless US accent).
There are some very funny lines and a lez
kiss, but the girls dont get enough screen
time, because ManPanic has to brainwank
his way through some simplistic neuroses
dressed up as deep-but-hilariouslyquirky meditations on the quality of
words over actions. In cinemas 2 January

DVD

LESBIAN ROMCOM

COMING SOON

Leave your prejudice at the door: Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are comedy
geniuses. Sadly, this script isnt worthy
of them. Ill be re-watching Bad Teacher
instead.
On sale 26 December, 17.99

Thanks to crowdfunding, this Katherine


Heigl vehicle about a lesbian wedding
which threatens to tear a conventional
family apart will see the light of day.

Leighton Meester (Blair from Gossip Girl)


plays a lesbian who feels deserted by her
straight BFF in Susanna Fogels directorial
debut. Check out the trailer: tinyurl.com/
DIVALifePartners.

SEX TAPE

FITNESS

THE FAT GIRLS


GUIDE TO RUNNING
Run by Julie Creffield, this is an
incredibly body positive site
which is very welcoming to
beginners and offers a good
contrast to more exclusive
traditional running blogs.
toofattorun.co.uk

JENNYS WEDDING

LIFE PARTNERS

online

CATS

MUSIC

Need a little more cute in your


day? Look no further than this
tiny ball of fluff becoming
confused by her own tail...
Youre welcome.

Nottingham artist Tash Bird


represents what is right about
acoustic music with her first EP
Paper Planes. Expect easylistening melodies, reassuring
Midlands vowels and heaps of
personality.

MESMERISING TAIL

tinyurl.com/DIVAcats

TASH BIRD

soundcloud.com/tash-bird

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 31

031 film&online.indd 31

04/12/2014 13:28

HAMPSTEAD THEATRES
HIT COMEDY TRANSFERS
TO THE WEST END
TAMZIN SAMANTHA JENNA
OUTHWAITE SPIRO
RUSSELL

ITS GOT SUREFIRE


HIT WRITTEN
ALL OVER IT

HHHH
TIME OUT

MADE ME CRY

WITH LAUGHTER

HHHH
DAILY TELEGRAPH

A BIG AND WARM

HEARTED PIECE

HHHH
EVENING STANDARD

Di
viv
rose
and

and

BY

AMELIA BULLMORE
ANNA MACKMIN

DIRECTED BY

22JANUARY - 23 MAY 0844 482 9675


VAUDEVILLE THEATRE diandvivandrose.com

DV223-DISPLAY.indd 32

04/12/2014 12:52

FESTIVE TV HIGHLIGHTS

MAPP AND LUCIA

It is midsummer in 1930s Tilling and Miss


Mapp, the towns resident schemer, is
anticipating a special guest, to whom
shell lease out her house for the summer.
But with the vain, selfish and imperious
Lucia taking up residence in Tilling, has
Mapp bitten off more than she can
chew?
BBC1, 2931 Dec, 9pm.

TELEVISION

| REVIEWS |

LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX

pick

of the month

It was looking like we were going to have to wait until January for the new
series of Sally Wainwrights brilliant BAFTA award-winning drama, and wed
watched that scene at Alan and Celias wedding so many times we knew it off
by heart, so you can imagine our delight when we heard the brand new series
will hit our screens this month. DIVA caught up with the lovely Nina Sosanya
who plays Kate McKenzie (see p25) to try and tease some spoilers out of her,
but she stayed tight-lipped. What she did say, though, is that there might be
wedding bells for her and Caroline (Sarah Lancashire). Excuse us while we go
and lie down in a dark room for a little while.

ALTERNATIVE
CHRISTMAS
MESSAGE

Snowden.

Blooming lovely:
Nina Sosanya and
Sarah Lancashire
prepare for action

Sometimes
funny, sometimes
serious, past alternative messages to the
Queens Speech have
been delivered by Marge
Simpson, Iranian president
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
and whistleblower Edward

BBC1, 28 December.

Channel 4, Christmas Day, 3pm.

PHOTOS BBC/RED PRODUCTIONS, BBC/NICK BRIGGS, BBC

CHARLIE BROOKERS
2014 WIPE

Whether news, film, telly or Twitter,


expect the pointless absurdity of 2014 to
get the full Brooker treatment. Fast becoming TV tradition, this year sees Charlie
look back on a relentlessly grim 365 days
where we threw ice over ourselves for fun.
BBC2, TBC.

A PLACE IN THE SUN

International househunters help lesbian


couple Rena and Donna, and Renas gay
sister Seema, find a Spanish holiday home
in the new series of the property show.
Channel 4, January

WE CANT WAIT FOR

NEW SERIES ALERT!

Fifteen years after Queer as Folk exploded onto our


screens, writer Russell T Davis is back with three interlinked shows. C4s Cucumber follows Henry (Vincent
Franklin) and his long-suffering boyf Lance (Cyril Nri)
whose lives are turned upside down after a disastrous
date night featuring a death, a threesome, two police
cars and Boney M. Over on E4, Banana is a series of
eight witty, charming and unique stories two written by Sue Perkins starring trans lesbian Bethany
Black and Letitia Wright. Online, Tofu is a lighthearted
docu series exploring modern sex in all its manifestations. Channel 4, E4 and online, January.

The BBC are playing their cards close to their chest


about the latest series of the long-running drama
Silent Witness, but what we do know is that its due
back on our TV screens in early January and hits the
ground running as three people are shot dead at a
petrol station in London. Nikki and Jack strive to track
down the sniper at large and stem a public crisis.
Liz Carr also reprises her role as smart and sarcastic
Clarissa Mullery, Jacks personal lab assistant, who has
been shaking things up at at the Lyell Centre since her
arrival. (Liz Carr does Barcelona on wheels, p72.)

CUCUMBER, BANANA AND TOFU

SILENT WITNESS

BBC1, January.

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 33

033 TV.indd 33

04/12/2014 13:35

Men Overboard.

0208 686 2600

KEY W
EST

KE

LA

RG

Actually, between the warm water, endless


sunshine and incredible variety of things to
eat, drink and do, its quite easy for everyone
to go a little overboard in Key West.
fla-keys.com/gaykeywest

ISL

BIG PINE KEY & THE LOWER KEYS

PROVINCETOWN

MCTKW-9773 Diva UK LO1.indd 1

MARA

THO

AM

OR

AD

11/17/14 2:35 PM

your vacation just got sexier

DV223-DISPLAY.indd 34

04/12/2014 12:52

| REVIEWS |
CRIME FICTION

THE LONG
WEEKEND
Clare Lydon

Three lesbian couples


rent a house in Devon
over Easter to toast the
20 years since they met at university.
Relationship cracks and secrets swiftly
emerge. Lydon teases out the comic and
dramatic potential in this enjoyable novel,
which has some steamy moments too.
Custard Books, e 3.57, pb 9.99
POETRY

THE WOMAN
WHO WAS
NOT THERE
Joelle Taylor

All poetry is dangerous, writes Taylor, and


this overtly political collection is certainly
concerned with danger: police sirens,
wars, absent fathers and tower blocks
like gravestones fill its pages. Gender, the
body, poetry itself and the role of the poet
are also central to this intense debut.

FICTION

THE OTHER IDA


Amy Mason

Unwashed and reeking,


smoking and popping
pills, Ida Irons returns to
Bournemouth for her famous playwright mothers funeral. There
she must confront her estranged sister
and her past in order to move on with
her life. This great, grubby debut won the
Dundee International Book Prize in 2014.
Cargo, 8.99

MYSTERY FICTION

BLACKMAIL,
MY LOVE

WORDS EDEN CARTER WOOD

Katie Gilmartin

Cross-dressing butch Joe


heads to the smoky bars
of San Francisco looking for her missing
brother, a gay PI who was investigating a
blackmail case. Gilmartin does a great job
of creating a strong 1950s noir atmosphere
in this sexy, moody mystery.

Mari Hannah

A Polari Prize-winner for her debut


The Murder Wall, Mari Hannah is now
on her fifth novel, which opens with
a visceral burst of violence closely
followed by two gory discoveries:
criminal brothers Terry and John
Allen are dead, and Newcastles finest need to find out who did it. The
case gay workaholic DCI Kate Daniels
duly investigates is engaging and
fast-paced, bringing her into contact
with notorious Glasgow villains the
OKanes, and seeing her bend the
rules to stretching point and face the consequences, before sending her a
world away to sun-drenched Spain in search of resolution.
Every DCI has a personal life, and Kates are-they-or-arent-they relationship
with former partner criminal profiler Jo Soulsby is nicely handled and leaves
you wanting more. But its the (platonic) relationship between increasingly
exhausted Kate and her number two, Hank, thats the real star of the show in
this thoroughly entertaining thriller.
Pan Macmillan, 16.99

Burning Eye Books, 9.99

Cleis Press, 12.99

KILLING FOR KEEPS

BOOKS

ROMANCE

CRIME FICTION

THE KNOWING
Karen Campbell

Lonely psychology lecturer Jen Keith has nightmares and visions of


real deaths and violence in this quirky supernatural crime novel set in
Glasgow. Will the police listen? Will her incredible knowledge make Jen
a target? A relationship with hot but sceptical DI Kate Coutts complicates
matters in this unusual thriller.
Austin Macauley, 8.99

VIRAGO MODERN CLASSICS PUBLISHES PATRICIA HIGHSMITH


If you enjoy noir suspense and
psychological thrillers, youll need to
clear a space on your bedside table,
as Virago have announced that
theyre now the major UK publishers
of Talented Mr Ripley author Patricia
Highsmith. Famous for her first novel

Strangers on a Train, made into a


film by Hitchcock in 1951, Highsmith
was also the author of brilliant
lesbian romance novel The Price Of
Salt, also published as Carol. So we
love her, obviously.
Out now in beautiful new paperback
editions are three novels from High-

smiths extensive back catalogue:


The Glass Cell, A Suspension Of Mercy
and Those Who Walk Away. Theyre
also available as ebooks as are 20
more Highsmith titles under their
imprint so charge that eReader up
now. The best news of all? There are
even more Highsmith print editions
on the way and Virago will continue
releasing more titles through to
2016. We cant wait.
The Glass Cell, The Suspension Of
Mercy and Those Who Walk Away are
available now, 8.99
virago.co.uk

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PHOTOS CARON WATSON, LOUISE KEMP, BARBARA YOUNG. ILLUSTRATION FERNANDO SAFONT

| FEATURE | OLDER LESBIANS |

lder lesbian and bisexual


women today are the first generation
whose youth was marked by womens
liberation and gay liberation: how do
they see the future? Many are organising their own social networks and
attracting attention from service planners. Some researchers see them as resilient, forward-thinking, and resourceful; trail-blazers whove turned lifetime
habits of independence and capability into positive attitudes to ageing,
enabling them to develop innovative
ideas for social change, and friendship
networks for support. This inspiring
theory challenges the dated notion
that being old and gay inevitably
means being sad and lonely. Yet older
lesbians are less likely to have children
or to see their families of origin than
heterosexuals, and more likely to live
alone, so might make more demands
on health and social services. Vulnerability and fear of homophobia from
carers may keep them in the closet or
drive them back there. Which image is
closer to the truth? It varies as much
as women do those in rural areas, or
in poor health, are more often isolated
from the LGBT support networks that
flourish in cities (like the Older Lesbian
Network, Opening Doors London and
Brightons Older and Out). But overall,
can we expect, now we have equal
legal rights, that we will also get equal
treatment as we age?
Dr Jane Traies, with half a centurys
experience of being gay herself, has
recently completed an in-depth PhD
study, The Lives And Experiences Of
Lesbians Over 60 in the UK, in which
almost 400 women shared their views.
A lot of the women I was working
with, Jane said, come from a generation which has already changed the

OLDER
LESBIANS AND
BI WOMEN ARE
STILL UP FOR
CHANGING
THE WORLD,
SAYS
RESEARCHER
JANE TRAIES

WORDS JILL
GARDINER

world several times and many of them


are up for doing it again. But what we
learned from those earlier movements
is that you cant ever be complacent.
Just because a black man can be president doesnt mean there isnt racism.
And just because lesbians can marry
each other does not mean homophobia is dead. All these freedoms are
always fragile and you cant ever take
them for granted.
One issue is to challenge invisibility. When pressed at the 2013 Lesbian
Lives conference in Brighton, a BBC
panel was unable to think of any older
lesbian character in a TV drama. Successful gay dramatist Maureen Chadwick (who brought Bad Girls to our TV
screens) had great difficulty finding a
London theatre prepared to stage her
play about older lesbians, The Speed
Twins (eventually produced at Hammersmiths Riverside Studios). She was
once told that a play about older gay
men would have been easier to place.
Though older gay women, as a group,
are rarely mentioned in the media,
many remain active in public life, from
artist Maggi Hambling to journalist
Bea Campbell. Maureen Duffy, at 80,
recently brought out Paper Wings, a
collection of new love poetry, and VG
Lee has just completed a popular tour
with Polari.
Fighting ageism is the big task
really, Jane Traies suggests. I think
ageism might be a stronger and more
destructive force even than homophobia, because in our society the old are
dismissed, belittled, looked through.
Many people have commented on how
older women are made invisible, like
theyre sacked from being TV newsreaders, but its also to do with the
social expectation that old women just

become other peoples servants, rather


than people; theyre there to mind
peoples babies and make younger
peoples lives possible.
When Jane retired as a comprehensive head teacher and moved home,
she found that from being locally
quite well-known, I had just become
a small white-haired old woman. I
started being called love and dear
and treated as if I had become mentally incompetent and frail. Well, they
treat me like that till I open my mouth.
I have been used to being authoritative
and taken notice of, so when I start to
speak I can see that look on their faces,
Who is this? I think you have to be
quite loud if youre going to be old.
As well as being loud, Janes voice
has been clear on behalf of older lesbians, speaking to the British Society
of Gerontologists and the British Sociological Association, and enthusing
audiences at L Fest and Lesbian Lives.
She sees benefits on both sides from
increased communication between
generations. A large majority of the
women I studied said most of their
friends were within 10 years of their
own age. That possibly applies to most
people. When interviewing women 25
years older than her, Jane experienced
how fascinating it was, they were
coming from a different place, it was
learning about our history and gives
you a fresh perspective, you gain a lot.
Jane was moved to see out students
and teachers together on the NUT
bus at Brighton Pride. I stood on the
pavement crying, because I thought,
How wonderful is that! Then I got
very angry. I thought, All those years
we put up with all that crap!
While heterosexuals learn about
the past and social change from older
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| FEATURE | OLDER LESBIANS |

Older lesbians: still up


for changing the world

Ageism might be a
stronger and more
destructive force even
than homophobia,
because in our society
the old are dismissed,
belittled, looked through

female family members, gay women


dont have an established channel for
this, except through oral history books
like Clare Summerskills Gateway To
Heaven or films like Les Invisibles.
While younger and older women
do mix, as at MeetUp groups, on
the urban LGBT arts scene, at Kenric
discos, or in bars, these contacts
often remain superficial. Some older
women get propositioned by younger
lesbians, particularly in clubs, pubs and
online, but making lasting friendships
across the generations can be easier in
relaxed forums like walking groups or
over a meal with friends.
For older women who are isolated
or housebound, Jane would like to
see more buddying and befriending, which Age UK does very well: a
younger person going to visit an older
person and making a friend of them.
All older people fear the loss of their
independence, but because we have
been much more independent than
straight women, its harder for us. We
fear the loss of our lesbian identity and
community. If youre stuck in a care
home where you dont feel comfortable being out, then youre not going
to have your lesbian friends visit you.
As Marguerite, one interviewee, says: I
dont want to be amongst people who
dont understand. Its this constant
explaining yourself, being an object
of peculiarity, that Im not keen on.
About three-quarters of the older lesbians felt positive about a lesbian-only
or women-only care home; only 17%
felt positive about mixed heterosexual
establishments.
There are people talking about
setting up lesbian and gay retirement
communities, Jane comments. Those
places are a kind of utopia that almost
all the old lesbians I spoke to fantasise
about. They have happened in other
countries, though not very much. I
think those plans will only be achieved
in the private sector. Sandy, who lives
in sheltered housing that she finds
very good, would nevertheless like
that option. All the people here know
Im gay, I make no secret of it, but its
still not the same as having people living around you who are gay, is it?

Jane met in my research middleclass feminist women who were


organising to support each other when
they get very old, maybe to arrange cohousing or develop support networks.
But I also met women who were multiply disadvantaged, living on benefits
and in social housing, who, as they get
older, will have very little choice about
what happens to them. These are the
people we need to be thinking about
more, because they will depend largely
on public services which are not at the
moment uniformly LGBT-friendly.
Achieving this, Jane sees as a huge
challenge. Its a matter of education.
The British government currently
has no plans to imitate policy in the
Australian state of Victoria, where old
peoples residential homes have been
told they will only receive public funding if they have implemented LGBTI
awareness training. Some older gay
people in Britain are organising such
training themselves for care home
staff, from the Highland Rainbow
Folk in Scotland, to Opening Doors
in London. If an older lesbian or gay
man lives in a right-minded community
setting then that place would welcome
their community in, as it does other
peoples families and communities.
And LGBT people who work in such
services are sometimes a lone voice
in this campaign and they need to be
supported as well.
Jane also points to the importance
of older women bringing their blood
family and chosen family together;
landmark birthday parties are a better
time for everyone to meet than at your
funeral! I have a lovely chosen family,
as most old dykes do, but Ive also got
a very loving and supportive family of
origin, whove forgiven me for the
closet years. The next bit for me is to
make sure that all the people I love
know each other. In spreading
acceptance of diversity lies the best
hope for the future for all of us.

Read on: older lesbians share their hopes, fears and


plans for the future on p40.
Find Janes PhD at tinyurl.com/Lesbians60.
Jill Gardiner is author of From The Closet To The
Screen: Women At The Gateways Club 194585.

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28/11/2014 14:46
04/12/2014 12:53

| FEATURE | OLDER LESBIANS |

Linda Bellos OBE, 64

DIVA ASKED EIGHT GROUND-BREAKING OLDER LESBIANS TO


SHARE THEIR HOPES, FEARS AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

ACTIVIST, EQUALITY CONSULTANT


AND FORMER POLITICIAN

I am delighted to see the progress we have


made since I came out in the late 1970s. For
me, civil partnerships are everything I need
legal recognition with my partner Caroline
Jones. As a feminist I continue to have my concerns about marriage. For the last four years
I have been a full-time carer and I am pleased
to note how our hospital and doctors respect
our relationship; the same is true of both our
families, including our grandchildren.

Hopes for 2015 that more women


fall in love with women (and they
will); that more homophobic states
are challenged by other countries,
showing how to take the side of gay
people; that xenophobia, racism,
sexism and general nastiness will be
defeated in the 2015 General Election
by a coalition of green, gay, feminist,
progressive parties; that Amy Poehler
rises from Pawnee to the US Presidential campaign.
Fears: more war; more gay people will
die of prejudice and persecution;
more poverty; more Russell
Brand.
Plans: love my beloved
more and more and more
and more; love all the
littlens in our little world;
love my apricot and olive
trees, write more another book, play, novel;
make more time for lifes
pleasures, more time for
politics.

Beatrix Campbell OBE, 67

Jackie Malton, 63

WRITER AND ACTIVIST

TV SCRIPT CONSULTANT AND, AS A FORMER


SENIOR POLICE OFFICER, THE INSPIRATION
FOR PRIME SUSPECTS DS JANE TENNISON

My hopes: to remain interested in others


through continual empathic curiosity,
which means wriggling around in other
peoples skin to see life from their point
of view. To keep on working on projects I
enjoy as a writer, story consultant, being
part of the YES+ charity and as a volunteer
running addiction groups in a male prison.
I look forward to being with friends having
fun, and maintaining mind, body, spirit and
authenticity.
My fears: Loss of my mind through illness.
Losing my sister before me. Losing my
dog Stanley. Dying alone. And, for LGBT
people, that we will no longer be different
(because we are and thats a good thing).

PHOTOS VERA JANEV (DIANA SOUHAMI), JUSTIN DAVID (VG LEE), CARRIE LYELL (BEATRIX CAMPBELL), DIANE BARRY (KATE CHARLESWORTH), DAVID E WATERS (SUE SANDERS)

My plan?
To stick
around

40 JANUARY 2015

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04/12/2014 13:48

AUTHOR AND
STAND-UP
COMEDIAN

VG Lee, 65

Im looking
forward to having a new novel
out and then
Ill be working
on a performance project.
For myself,
Im aware of a
need for a more
sociable life. I
want to continue to make
people laugh,
to support and
promote LGBT
writing and
comedy and
for my brain to
stay sharp and
focused.

Monica Beadle, 60
MATRIARCH, MAVERICK, SOCIOPOLITICAL ACTIVIST, SPORTS-LOVER

Sue Sanders, 67

FORMER TEACHER AND


CHAIR OF LGBT HISTORY
MONTH/SCHOOLS OUT

The LGBT community is still not


as visible as we need to be; Black,
Asian, disabled and older LGBT
people are rare in the media.
Education is neglecting us we
need to educate out prejudice
which means normalising us,
in all our diversity. In 2015 Id
like to see LGBT History Month
celebrated in every school.

WRITER AND BIOGRAPHER

Hopes? To write my best book yet,


enjoy the days, manage
the stairs, keep the light
alive for absent friends,
crack this love malarkey,
curb the booze and second helpings. Fears? That
passengers on the bus
will be too absorbed
in their own
bespoke digital
world to notice
whos sitting
next to them
and will
view drone
attack as
a digital
game.

Diana Souhami, 74

The older I get, the happier I am with myself


and the more concerned I become with the
state of our planet. I wonder how the constant conflicts that revolve around the globe
will resolve themselves and how that will affect my children and their childrens children.
I taught them to claim their freedom. What
will freedom even look like in the world to
come? I wonder how theyre going to engage
with climate change. I wonder whos going
to join forces with and help alleviate the suffering of our sisters and brothers around the
world struggling to express themselves under
increasingly oppressive regimes. And I wonder
whos going to fight for the older LGBTI people here when all us 1960s warriors are gone. I
trust my children. I know they
have good strong hearts and political passions. But still, just in case they have trouble,
I plan to stick around for a good long while
to help them out! Hopefully, I will see that
healthier, kinder, freer world for myself! Hopefully, I will help build it. Yeah, thats the plan.
To stick around.

CARTOONIST AND
ILLUSTRATOR

We should never become


complacent about progress
towards equality. I worry
about the global swing to the
right and I loathe UKIP, but
the Yes campaign in Scotland
showed how creative and
inclusive politics can still be.
In terms of work, Im working
on a graphic memoir, and a
shedload of other ideas I
think the bests still to come.
(See Kates comic, p23.)

Kate Charlesworth, 64

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| PORTFOLIO | FELICIA BROWNE |

Above: Pencil on paper drawings of Spanish peasant women. Opposite: Self Portrait (oil on canvas). All three from private collection The Estate of Felicia Browne

artist and fighter


I am a member of the London Communists and can fight as well as any
man. It was with these words that
Felicia Browne (19041936) demanded
to be enlisted to fight on the Saragossa
front after witnessing violence and the
outbreak of war while in Spain in 1936
for the Peoples Olympiad. The only
British woman to play a combatant role
in the conflict and, tragically, the first
of more than 500 British volunteers
to die in battle when she was killed by
Fascists during a mission to blow up a

FELICIA
BROWNE, A
HEROINE OF
THE SPANISH
CIVIL WAR, IS
REMEMBERED

WORDS ANNA McNAY

rebel munitions train, Browne went on


to become a potent symbol of the fight
against Fascism, for which she had paid
the ultimate sacrifice.
After her death, comrades found on
her body a sketchbook full of
drawings. These went on to be
exhibited in London, raising funds for
Spanish relief campaigns thus
Brownes involvement in the battle
against Fascism continued even after
her death. Her efforts especially
resonated with other women artists of

her generation, encouraging them to


stand up for what they believed in,
create poster campaigns and
independent artworks against Fascism,
and even to enlist to fight on the
ground in the years leading up to the
Second World War.

Some of Brownes sketches are on display in the


exhibition Conscience And Conflict: British Artists
And The Spanish Civil War, which runs at Pallant
House Gallery, Chichester, until 15 February 2015.
pallant.org.uk

42 JANUARY 2015

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CREDITS

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Were all
surviving
something
S

tuff happens. No matter who


you are or what your background is, stuff has happened
and stuff is going to happen.
Its not all bad stuff, lets not
forget that, but there will be
some bad stuff thrown in from time
to time. The bad stuff finds us all to
varying degrees and at various times.
Were all surviving something. How we
navigate our way through the voyage it
brings is up to us. What appears to be
the end could well mark the dawn of a
new beginning.
Its unfeasible to think that way
when youre in the midst of a traumatic experience. Losing a loved one,
a relationship ending, experiencing
abuse: the list goes on, and sadly it
will never be exhaustive. Any situation
that results in you feeling alone and
overwhelmed can be traumatic. Its
not always about the hard facts of
what happened; if the result was
that you felt afraid and helpless,
nobody can tell you how you
should or shouldnt be feeling
or responding.
There are physical
responses to trauma as
the body literally shuts
down and protects itself
by running on basics.

There can also be a significant loss in


brain capacity. Thats why people are
advised not to make big decisions at
times of trauma. Sarah* offers a perfect
example of how the brain can really let
you down at a time when you need it
the most: I was in my mid-20s and in a
pretty disastrous relationship when my
best friend died unexpectedly. I have
absolutely no recollection of making
any of these decisions but found myself
buying a house with my girlfriend,
taking on her child and three months
later wondering how my rational self
had completely failed me. Needless to
say, the house was back on the market
quicker than you could say lesbian bed
death and despite the monumental
debt the escape was
worth it.

There are no hard and fast rules


about how long it will take to reach
each stage of the recovery process but
there are plenty of ways you can help
yourself. These are also good to keep in
mind when youre supporting someone
else through a difficult time.
Gradually the numbness starts to
diminish. At first time can be spent
wishing the numbness would return as
the subsequent surge of feelings can be
overwhelming. Theres absolutely no
point fighting it and all of that energy
is better spent concentrating on selfcare. Riding the wave of emotions is
something that just has to happen. This
is a chance to get back to basics. Your
body and brain are slowly returning to
full working order. Its like when youve
been sat cross-legged for too long. To
start with you cant feel a thing; your
legs just arent working. Then as
the blood starts to
flow theres

BAD STUFF
HAPPENS TO
EVERYONE
HOW WE
CHOOSE TO
SURVIVE IT
IS UP TO US,
SAYS MARIE
YATES

The brain
can really
let you
down at a
time when
you need it
the most

44 JANUARY 2015

044 surviving something.indd 44

03/12/2014 09:25

| FEATURE | SURVIVING TRAUMA |


pain, discomfort and sensations that
you really werent expecting before
everything goes back to its natural
state. The body has an incredible way
of returning to its status quo, it is
designed to heal itself and to recover.
All we have to do is be patient while
it works its magic and give it what it
needs. Keep it simple; good nutrition
and enough sleep.
Thats easier said than done though,
right? You cant really compare chronic
pins and needles with a traumatic experience so great that it would test the
resilience of the most hardened heart.
Its all very well to roll out an old clich
like time is a healer but that doesnt
really help. What are you supposed to
do with all that time anyway? Theres
no deadline; theres no countdown to
when the pain will end.
If were all surviving something then
surely there should be a tried
and tested method for

recovery. Even though it feels like were


the first person to experience such
pain and devastation, unfortunately
were not! If we break a bone, we go for
our X-ray, someone pokes and prods
around the brokenness until we cry and
then theres a set time for that part of
us to remain still until it heals. Easy! If
only it were that easy to survive all the
other trials and tribulations we face.
We know that there isnt one answer
but there are definitely things that we
can do to start reclaiming control. As a
survivor of sexual violence, reclaiming
control has been central to my doing
just that: surviving. Its not about being
a victim or about allowing the actions
of someone else to define who I am.
What is absolutely, 100% mine is the
way I choose to survive. Thats not
unique to survivors of sexual violence!
Thats available to absolutely everybody.
How you choose to survive is yours.
Claim it and define yourself in whatever
way you choose. Just make sure it
serves you.
Start by taking action. This doesnt
have to be elaborate. It shouldnt be
elaborate! Remember the advice about
not making big decisions? Start small.
When Tonis* mum passed away she
said her overriding memory of the
days before the funeral was of people
making her tea. Her wife would lovingly bring her a cuppa, quite often
accompanied with her favourite
biscuit, and tell her that she only
had to say if there was anything
she wanted. She wanted
coffee! Her friends came
around in shifts and would
put the kettle on without
a second thought. She
didnt have the energy to
ask for anything else
and was incredibly
grateful for their
support; she just

ADVICE
AND
SUPPORT
RAPE CRISIS
(England & Wales)
rapecrisis.org.uk
VICTIM SUPPORT
victimsupport.
org.uk
WOMENS AID
information
for lesbian and
bisexual women
tinyurl.com/
DIVAWomensAid
BROKEN RAINBOW
(LGBT domestic
abuse)
brokenrainbow.
org.uk

wanted coffee. Two weeks later, as her


wife was heading for the kitchen, Toni
whispered, Would you mind if I had a
coffee? That was the first decision she
had made since experiencing the sudden loss of her mum and it marked the
first step in her choosing how she was
going to survive. Its those small steps
that provide a catalyst for healing. The
brain and body start to wake up; not
simply due to the caffeine!
As you emerge back into your life,
there are inevitable realisations that
things are no longer the same. There
is a mark in time and your perspective
will have shifted. It has also given you
an opportunity to rethink where youre
going. When Caz* returned from her
tour of duty in Afghanistan she realised
how short life really is, she had seen the
best and the worst of human behaviour
and wanted to squeeze every last drop
out of her life while she could. Before
her tour she was happy to spend her
leave out with her friends squeezing
every last drop out of the local public
house. Now, Caz has decided to retrain
and utilise her skills back at home;
shes becoming a personal trainer and
is leading by example. Shes looking
after herself so that she can better
serve others and help them to see their
potential. A change in perspective can
be a good thing once you have allowed
yourself to settle into your new reality.
Nobody can predict what you will
experience and what you will be faced
with. I dont believe that there is a way
to prepare even though we know that
some fates will bestow themselves on
us all. We will all experience grief, it
is likely that we have all been hurt by
a partner and we will all have unique
challenges to face that words fail to
express.
Learning about what youre capable
of in times of despair can transform
your thinking. As your choices open up
and life unfolds in ways you had never
expected, congratulate yourself on
being stronger than you ever thought
possible. As you look around and see
life through your reconditioned
perspective, just remember that were
all surviving something.

Names have been changed*


Marie is an author, speaker & coach.
Her first novel, Reggie & Me, a teen
survivors story, is out now and
available to buy on Amazon.
indigo-turtle.co.uk
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 45

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04/12/2014 13:51

RUPAUL,
PANDORA
BOXX, PANTI
BLISS, ASIFA
LAHORE. JANE
CZYZSELSKA
CELEBRATES
SOME OF THE
DRAG QUEENS
SHE LOVES

for everyone. Whether its that Drag


Race a TV show gayer than a Christmas window display is a glittering
alternative to the endless drip of TV
heteronormativity, the hilarious and
repeated cheap-as-chips competition
prize product placements or RuPauls
genial hosting, in and out of drag, the
show is a joy to watch. At a time when
takedown culture is ubiquitous, the
camaraderie and support encouraged
by Ru contrasts with the ritualised
shaming of wannabe contestants on
shows such as The X-Factor. Yes, there
are drama queen tears and tantrums
but these sisters are devoted to supporting each other and the greater
good of high camp drag.
Now would be a good time to mention reading or the fine and playful
art of insulting, as popularised by the
1990 documentary Paris Is Burning.
Reading is not to be confused with its
low rent cousin sarcasm or plain old

meanness. And whats great about the


ethos of Rus show is the importance
of family: drag family, that is.
Remembering the legendary 1960s
Stonewall drag queens, right through
to the the late 80s and early 90s
underground house culture ball
scene in New York City, Ru reminds the
younger contestants and those watching that drag is political. As documented in Paris Is Burning, gay black
performers like Pepper LaBeija, Willi
Ninja and Venus Xtravaganza were
socially shunned in mainstream and
largely white popular culture so they
created their own fierce party scene.
Unlike the tales told on most
scripted reality TV shows, Drag Race
organically reveals the contestants
backstories some come from poor,
one-parent families, some have
experienced the double whammy of
racism and homophobia, some have
been mocked for being too girly. All

PHOTOS AUSTIN YOUNG (RAJA), AARON MCGRATH (PANTI BLISS), MATHU ANDERSEN (RUPAUL)

ello. My name is Jane


Czyzselska and Im a
dragaholic. There are
no 12 step groups for
this particular addiction but judging by the
posts on my Facebook
timeline I know there
are hundreds of
lesbians who share my obsession. Im
not talking about any old drag queens,
mind. Im referring to drag royalty such
as RuPaul and his eponymous Drag
Race alumni, and over on this side of
the Atlantic, Irelands Panti Bliss, and
here in the UK, our very own Eurovision hopeful, Asifa Lahore.
For the benefit of those in the UK
without Netflix, allow me to explain.
RuPauls Drag Race in its seventh season on Americas LGBT Logo TV channel from January 2015 has, to coin
a phrase as hackneyed as a pageant
queens facial contouring, something

46 JANUARY 2015

046 drag queens.indd 46

04/12/2014 13:52

| FEATURE | DRAG QUEENS |

Drag-tastic: (left to right)


Raja, Panti Bliss and RuPaul

without exception have used drag as


a way to counter the corrosive impact
of prejudice and gender expectations
and their drag personae are, with a few
exceptions, dynamite.
Memorable for their blending of
male peacockery and feminine styling
are Ongina (Drag Race S1), Nina Flowers (Drag Race S1), Raja (Drag Race S3)
and Milk (Drag Race S6). The latter
are just two examples of the more
avant-garde contestants of the drag
spectrum. Of note also is the way the
show embraces plus-size drag queens,
Delta Work (Drag Race S3) and Latrice
Royale (Drag Race S4) being two of my
particular favourites.
Here in the UK, Asifa Lahore, the
drag persona of Londoner Asif Quraishi, says his alter-ego invention allows
him the opportunity to be as feminine
as he wants while sometimes keeping
within and sometimes breaking the
limits of his cultural boundaries. Rory

Panti Bliss
speaks
from
between
the lines
of gender
conformity
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 47

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03/12/2014 09:25

Photos of Raja,
Roxxxy, Nina
and Ongina
feature in Drag
by Christopher
Logan, designed
by Mamio Marais,
and published by
Bookthefilm.com

wanted to take a simple message and


deliver it in a celebratory way but yet
with a strength behind it, an anthem if
you will. On his website (pandoraboxx.
com), a photo of a seven-year-old boy
named Desmond sits next to a post
from his mum thanking Boxx for being brave enough to put your personal
emotions about being different out
there in the world for others to relate
to. It really helps.
Boxx and the creative and politically-aware gay men like him show us
that good drag not the bitchy, often
misogynist kind can teach us that
an open mind, a sense of humour and
social awareness can change worlds.
Several Drag Race contestants have
been reunited with formerly estranged
family members and the shows appeal
and audience grows with every season.
As both drag mother and sharp-suited
host, RuPaul pays homage to the older
gay men who paved the way for the
relative freedoms enjoyed by younger
gays today.
In an interview with The Gay UK,
the original drag superstar RuPaul tells
how it wasnt a drag mother but an
older gay man named Dick Merchant,
whom Ru met when he was 21, who
taught him about Tennessee Williams,
Tallulah Bankhead and social politics.
You know drag wasnt really about
the drag, it was more about being
bohemian. Drag calls out, its always

been there to remind us not to take


life so seriously.
Younger and more recent alumni of
the Drag Race such as Adore Delano,
Alaska 5000 and his real-life boyfriend
Sharon Needles show us that the gay
boys who were told they were freaks
can avenge their detractors with kooky
club-kid drag, asymmetric haircuts, a
hit record, sell-out international shows
(Adore recently hit Londons infamous
drag revue bar, the Black Cap) and a
contract with Starbucks. Asifa adds:
Drag queens can teach us that you
can be whoever you want to be in this
world and be accepted for it. In some
circles that may be true, but from London to Dublin or RuPauls hometown
of Atlanta there are many who still
find a gay man, in or out of make-up
and a dress, too hard to handle.
In an interview with the Guardian
Asifa told how his parents, conservative Muslims, felt that they had done
something wrong when he told them
he was gay. Explaining to his imam
that on the day of judgment he wants
to tell Allah hes lived an honest life,
true to himself, he told journalist Vivek
Chaudhary something must have
clicked because the imam told me live
how you want but just dont promote
it (homosexuality).
Aware that hes not exactly following the imams advice not to promote
it, Asifa has recently released a song

PHOTOS KRISTOFER REYNOLDS (ROXXXY), NORMAN DILLON (NINA FLOWERS AND ONGINA), AMIT GHELANI (ASIFA LAHORE)

ONeill (aka Panti Bliss) describes Panti


as a feminist who uses make-up and
female finery to create a non-gendered theatrical presence who speaks
from between the lines of gender
conformity.
Of course the hyper-feminine personae on Drag Race created by pageant
queens such as Roxxxy Andrews, or
Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio, are
not permitted by the shows judges
to present the boyish look typified in
Paris Is Burnings competition category,
Banjee Girl. The Drag Race alumni are
high camp parodies of a constructed
beauty-queen femininity or, as with Del
Rio and the brilliant Pandora Boxx, a
pan-stick tribute to gay icons such as
Bette Davis and Carol Channing.
And, thanks to social media and
the power of celebrity, almost every
contestant, winner or not, leaves the
show with a chance of getting an agent
and a boost to their performance
paychecks. Since appearing on Drag
Race in Season 2, Pandora Boxx has
released a single called Different,
about which the man behind the Boxx,
performer Michael Steck, says: It was
the dream of a shy, effeminate boy
dancing around his room belting out
Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner
and Cher. I imagined if only there was a
song that really said, Im different and
thats the way Ill stay, I would have
played it repeatedly. [With Different] I
48 JANUARY 2015

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| FEATURE | DRAG QUEENS |


all-too-short appearance from model
Jenny Shimizu in Season 1.
Transgressive though it can be,
drag will always have its conservative
quirks. Several facepalm moments
occurred during Season 5, when house
judge Michelle Visage virtually bullied
barrel-chested wunderkind Adore
Delano into wearing a corset or belt to
cinch in his waist and create a more
feminine silhouette.
But for all this, I remain unashamedly a fan. I cant wait for Season 7 and
I dream of a drag king spin-off that will
change lesbian lives and perceptions in
the way that Drag Race has done for
gay men. Not that Ru seems too
bothered about that, as he told Kris
Searle from The Gay UK. I think if
other people get something out of [the
show], thats great, but thats never
been my reason for doing what I do. Its
really a selfish reason, its really to
have fun whilst Im here on this planet.
I mean, it all starts with you. Self-preservation is love and nature. Even as a
performer on stage, if you have fun,
the audience will have fun.

Dragaliscious: (left to right)


Roxxxy Andrews, Nina Flowers,
Asifa Lahore. Below: Ongina

about his relationship with his husband, You and I (tinyurl.com/DIVAAsifa),


and is hoping to enter it in the Eurovision song contest. Among Asifas many
fans is human rights campaigner Peter
Tatchell, who says of the drag queen:
Asifa is a trailblazer Britains first
Muslim drag queen and one of the UKs
most high-profile, openly gay Muslims.
Plus, he has a great voice and song.
Hes also a terrific, articulate spokesperson for the LGBTI community and
especially for LGBTI Muslims.
Irelands Panti Bliss is another
political drag performer and feminist
who rose to international fame this
year after homophobes blasted him for
calling them out on an Irish TV show.
When the phobes threatened legal action, complaining they felt oppressed
by his comments, RTE effectively paid
them off. Panti was furious and gave
a rousing speech at Dublins Abbey
Theatre, cleverly walking the audience through his experiences as an
oppressed gay man. The speech immediately went viral on YouTube, clocking
up over half a million views. The man
behind the drag persona, Rory ONeill,
told Out.coms Michael Musto that the
experience simply proved to him how
powerful an act putting on a dress
[as a man] can still be. It still really
riles some people up. I think most of
my favorite drag performers are very
aware of the political ramifications

(even if they sometimes try to hide it


in sequins and gags) like Lady Bunny,
Taylor Mac, or on this side of the pond,
people like David Hoyle, Jonny Woo
and Scottee.
Drag Race may be gay TV gold but
there are some old-school drag traditions that could do with an overhaul.
Like the use of fishy in reference
to men who appear to be women,
rather than men who look like men
dressed as women. Season 2 contestant Jujubee (and others) have used the
term thus: Im serving fish, honey. And
this aint trout! We know why some
men use the word fish when speaking
of our lady parts and er, its not funny.
I may not get out as much as I did but
Ive yet to come across drag kings making similarly disrespectful comments
about the phallus. Come to think of it,
can you imagine the lesbian equivalent
of Drag Race? I see a black stud or
masculine-of-centre woman like the US
YouTube sensation Carter The Body,
dressed in a sports bra, military boots
and tight boxers, butch-twerking her
way down the catwalk. Cant imagine
it? Well apparently neither can most
TV producers because butch (and particularly non-white) female glamour
and drag king sexual energy seems to
be too much of a threat for conventional tastes. Another small gripe is
that there are no lesbian judges on
the show. Well, that is apart from an

RuPauls Drag Race Season 7 airs on Logo TV in


January 2015.
Rory ONeills book, Woman In The Making, is on
sale now from Gays The Word and Amazon.
Find out how Panti Bliss feels about challenging
misogyny at tinyurl.com/DIVAPanti

Asifa is a
trailblazer
one of
the UKs
most highprofile,
openly gay
Muslims
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 49

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| FEATURE | LIFE CHANGING |

Lets make it
a big one
FIVE INSPIRING DIVA READERS ARE ALL SET TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES IN THE NEW YEAR

Were going vegan!


EMMA AND SARAH LIVE IN
CHESHIRE WITH THEIR DOG,
LUCA. THEY PLAN TO GIVE UP ALL
ANIMAL PRODUCTS FOR A MONTH
EMMA: My partner Sarah and I are going vegan (giving up animal products) in
January for Veganuary 2015. My sister
is a coeliac which has made me reflect
on my diet. I suspect that I dont digest

dairy well, so it seems like an intelligent


test that I hope will reap some health
benefits.
It will take a lot of planning, but
once we get used to it I think itll come
naturally. Tea isnt an animal product, is it? Liverpool is quite blessed
with vegan-friendly places, so fingers
crossed.
SARAH: I am very conscious of where
I source animal products, but I am still
not comfortable with my dependence
on these.I was veggie as a teen, but it

didnt feel quite right. This is take two!


I dont expect it to be easy Im a
stilton and flat white kind of girl. I
imagine that there will be parts of this
diet that feel right and elements that
dont work for me. Im curious to see
how I go its a learning curve.

Veganuary 2015 explains the benefits of veganism,


from helping the animals and environment to
improving your health. Visit the website for a
comprehensive nutrition guide, product directory,
eating out guides and an array of fantastic recipes.
veganuary.com

50 JANUARY 2015

050 readers changing lives.indd 50

03/12/2014 09:23

CARRIE BECKWITH AND SKY CROFT WILL WED IN


APRIL, BUT THIS IS NO ORDINARY WEDDING
CARRIE: Im a visual artist and have exhibited at Liverpool Academy of Arts. Recently I produced work for
Diverse Church, which supports young LGBT Christians.
I also help run GIFTuk, a charity raising awareness of
gastroparesis/intestinal failure. Its a life-threatening
condition I have, caused by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and
means I rely on a feeding tube 24 hours a day.
I am marrying my partner Sky in April 2015. Due to
my health, theres even more need for the legalities to
be in place. When Im on the operating table, I want the
woman I love to be able to make quick decisions that
will affect both of our lives. I want her to be allowed to
live in our home once Im gone, and not have to fight
for her right to keep what was ours once I die. I dont
want her to have to spend her grieving period reminding
the funeral directors that she was more than my close
friend.
I love Sky so much. I know Ill be a blubbering wreck
when I have to say my vows. As soon as I see her walking
down the aisle Ill start crying.
On paper our wedding looks pretty easy we have

Were getting married!


everything organised and have kept it small and relaxed.
However, my health complicates matters considerably
and theres no guarantee I will be well. That scares us
both very much, that we cant control the one thing that
could affect our big day the most.
SKY: Im an author of lesbian fiction, with five books
published. Mountain Rescue: The Ascent won this
years Goldie Award for Lesbian Fiction, which was very
exciting. Its sequel, published in December, has been
nominated for the 2015 awards. When we arent working
we spend a lot of time in the hospital and hospice due
to Carries condition, so life can be quite hectic.
Getting married means everything to us. Ive never
wanted anything more in my life than to say I do to this
woman. I want people to know how committed I am to
Carrie.
No one knows how long they are here for. For us, just
being together is our happily-ever-after.

See Carries work at Facebook.com/artofathousandwords.


DIVAMAG.CO.UK 51

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Creating safe homes for


young LGBT people

10 could take an LGBT


young person off the
streets for one night
text
ALBT25 10
to 70070
and show you care

DV223-DISPLAY.indd 52

04/12/2014 12:53

| FEATURE | LIFE CHANGING |

AMY IS LAUNCHING A NEW


CAREER AS A FREELANCE WRITER,
AND CHANGING HER NAME
Im leaving my job at the end of this year
and moving to London so that I can launch
a freelance career as a writer and editor in
January. I am also creating a professional
pseudonym, Amy Fox.
My real name is Amy
Adams, the same as a pretty
famous actress, so its almost
impossible to find me on
Google. Bad news for a freelancer! But
it feels quite strange; I never thought
Id change my surname, not even if I got
married, so creating a completely new one
and learning to identify with it is a very
odd process. Choosing the name was the
hardest part; I consulted so many friends
and family, but in the end I kept coming
back to Fox. I love the sound of Amy Fox,
the rhythm of it, and that it sounds unique
and interesting without obviously being a
made-up name. But it will take a while to
get used to!
I think that becoming self-employed
is difficult for anybody, especially in a
competitive industry. Im certainly not
expecting an easy ride! But Im still young,
my family and friends are all incredibly
supportive, and I have no one depending
on me but myself Ive got no children
to look after, no partner demanding my
attention. So I know that its the right time
for me to do something like this.
Since leaving university it has felt like
Ive been sleepwalking, waiting to feel the
certainty that Im doing the right thing,
that Im where Im supposed to be. Thats
no way to live Ive always believed that if
youre not happy with your life, its up to
you to change it.
Of course Im terrified Ill fail! Im afraid
that I wont be able to make any money,
and that Ill end up having to get a souldestroying job somewhere far, far more
miserable than the comforting office in Essex that Ill be leaving behind. But at least I
wont be left wondering what if.
As for my hopes, theyre the same as
anyones. Im hoping that I will be able to
make ends meet, that I can be surrounded
by the people that I love, and that Ill feel
fulfilled by my work and happy with the
choices Ive made.

Im changing my name!

Inspired?

Tell us how youll be


changing your life
@DIVAmagazine

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 53

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to

The
of

KIM RENFREWS PART SATIRICAL, PART REAL (GUESS WHICH IS


WHICH!) PREVIEW TO 2015 WILL GIVE YOU LOLS APLENTY

BRIGADOON-LIKE
FREQUENCY
ANNIVERSARY

Happy aluminium one, civil partnerships!


Ten on 5 December 2015! If youve got a
CP, dont forget you can trade in until 9
December and get a free upgrade, saving
a whopping 45 plus you get a brandnew handset, 1GB data and 100 free
minutes to any UK network! (Think thats
how it works: Ed, pls check.)

Regularity with which Lesbian Chic


reappears. Not seen since an A/W 1915
spread in Ladies Home Journal (or was
it Vanity Fair 1993? Whevs), sapphic
swagger is officially A Thing again. After
Blanchett, Blunt and Xuns IWC Portofino
ad and Hana Knizovas mannish Olivia
Colman portrait, the next logical step?
The Killings Sofie Grbl dons bow-tie
and tux to oust Daniel Craig from James
Bond, sending us to double-oh heaven.

CERTIFICATE OF CONVERSION
A terrible misunderstanding leads
thousands of same-sex couples to
believe they can exchange their current
civil partners for dream mates simply
by trading in CP certificates at the
Government Equalities Office. Ive come
all the way from Hebden Bridge to swap
my civil partner for Nicole da Silva. Weve
been together seven years, so I could do
with a change, Lesley Lavender is quoted
saying in the Evening Standard. Now
they tell me Im only getting some tedious
piece of paper? Its a national disgrace.

54 JANUARY 2015

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| FEATURE | A-Z OF 2015 |

DYKE
INDEPENDENCE

The government holds


a gay-girl referendum
on self-rule, after a
dog-eared copy of Jill
Johnstons Lesbian Nation is found in the
Home Office librarys recycling bin. We
respond with a landslide YES! The new
state is set to be established by 2017 on
Fanny Shoal, an island off the coast of
San Francisco.

FEMFLIX
EVERYDAY LESBOPHILIA

2015 is the year that banter finally


shrivels up its own arsehole, top lads
turn pro-feminist softies and former
primetime twat #dapperlaughs recants
and allies with lesbian collectives to
fund a non-hierarchical, anti-patriarchal
social media site for sharing pro-sapphic
sentiment. Quality how seeing 2 women
in an equal, loving relationship can put U
in a cracking mood all day!

Shove off Netflix,


theres a new ondemand streaming
service in town! This
library of Lesbiania
has it all, from the first
UK lesbian TV smooch
(Alison Steadman
and Myra Frances in
Girl, since you ask) to
hard-to-trace episodes
of Rhona to stockpiles of superior sapphic
celluloid. Its amazing! (Actually, it *is*
amazing: could someone do this, please?)

HAIR

Its not a new year without a


signature dyke do. This year,
were wearing The Hillary, a
slicked-back, up-flicked, frosted,
Elnett-sculpted Helmet of Power.
You read it here first.

GIRLS ON FILM

Girls on film: a succulent Sapphic year for the silver screen. Weve got drama (see P) and smut (see L).
Next, we need a thriller Cover your eyes as she accidentally chats up a fella! Cower behind your seats
as she drops the L-bomb at an important client meeting! Shiver at the tense and troubled spelunking
trip to the deepest, darkest recesses of mind of the woman who always muffs it! The Rubbish Lesbian:
The Movie. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

IRELANDS YES
CAMPAIGN

The Republics leading singlesex communities ditch their


daft ol religious prejudice
and come out for equal
marriage in the referendum.
Those can-canning conventdwellers and pole-dancing
prelates at polling stations
lead to landslide victory
for marriage equality from
Buncrana to Skibbereen.

JESSIE J

Exclusively reveals her phase


of saying bisexuality was just
a phase was just a phase.

KATIE HOPKINS

We beg we dont see this name


connected with lesbian anything in
2015 (or any year, ever, thank you).

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| FEATURE | A-Z OF 2015 |


LEPIDOPTERY

Following Februarys release


of The Duke of Burgundy,
a mucky movie about
sadomasochistic butterfly
collectors starring Sidse
Babett Knudsen, interest
in pinning and
mounting
skyrockets. Pass
the appendage
relaxing fluid,
please.

MAY 7

(See: voting)

ORGASM

NAUGHTY
NOMENCLATURE

We already have a Lady


Garden in the House of
Lords. The New Years
honours list sees her
joined by a shedload
of further smutty
appointments: Baroness
Babycave and Dame
Doodah of Fingrinhoe,
anyone?

PAYING GUESTS

New Channel 4 reality


television game show based
on Sarah Waters novel.
Contestants at Wrays B&B
compete to boil the softest
egg, polish the sparkliest
front step, get down to
some thoroughly modern
mores with the landlady
and avoid elimination by
grisly murder.

QUIZZES

In 2014, BBC Director Danny


Cohen announced panel shows
must have at least one woman.
This year, committed to increasing
onscreen diversity, he commands
that TV quizzes must be alllesbian. The Daily Mail fulminates
against political correctness gone
MAD but viewers realise those
Toksvig-Perkins-Balding-Calman
line-ups are broadcasting bliss.

Its coming! By which


we mean yet another
bloody report on the
myth of the vaginal
orgasm, after last
Novembers paper
in Clinical Anatomy
and another the year
before that, and the
one before that, and
before that, and etc.
Give it a rest now, fellas.
We know youre just
jealous.

RUSSELL BRAND

Declares himself the New


Messiah in time for Xmas.
The well-known expert
on the lesbian psyche
quote: they like to jump
the fence seeks to
convert 13 Dyke Disciples
to his revolutionary
religion. Oddly, there are
still no takers as the year
ticks over into 2016

SALT, THE PRICE OF

Blanchett (her again) and


Mara lez it up in movie of cult
50s classic Carol, ushering in
adaptations of other niche
novels from the decade: Peggy
Swensons Lesbian Gym is
refashioned for posho Tatler
Lesbians as Lesbian Gymkhana;
also released is Fred Haleys
sensitive paean to love between
women, Satan Was a Lesbian.

56 JANUARY 2015

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04/12/2014 14:00

TURNER PRIZE

Decembers art gong


goes to a pottery
pudendum by a
radical cross-dressing
ceramicist whose
alter ego is a butch
defence lawyer-cumprivate dick, Mason
Perry. (The very first
time its been won by
a transvestite potter
since 2003.)

UPSCALE SODOMITES

VOTING

No jokes. Just do it.

Making Starbucks
ground zero for ebola.
Oopsy, silly me! Dr
James David Manning
actually said this last
October.TheNew
York pastor blamed
fancypants lesbigays
for spreading
the deadly virus
by indulging in
clandestine sexual
activities with their eggnog venti lattes at the coffee
chain and warned his congregation to stay away. You
couldnt make it up. (And we didnt: theres a film of him
saying it on The Manning Report and everything.)

WOMENS PRISON
(LOVE IN A)

Hot on heels of OITNB


(obvs) BBC3 options a
series combining the US
original with a much-loved
UK stalwart. Holloway is
the New Bake Off stars
Sue Perkins as Alex Vase,
a bespectacled lesbian lag
running a prison cakesmuggling cartel. Mel
Giedroyc is her innocent
sidekick, Piping Bag.

ZEDS
XENOPHOBIA

Inescapable this election year, as everyone tried to outUKIP UKIP. NB: Dont do it! (See also: May 7).

YES! YES! YES!


(See: Ireland)

Knackering being a contemporary


dyke, innit? May you knock out
plenty of these in 2015, ideally
alongside the person of your
choice. Sleep tight!

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 57

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It really is just us
being us in front
of a camera...
YOUTUBE STARS ROSE AND ROSIE TALK TO CARRIE LYELL ABOUT
FAME, WEDDING DRESSES AND THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

More information on p4 | divadigital.co.uk

PHOTOS
LEZLI + ROSE
HAIR AND MAKE-UP
BETH ALDERSON
@ CAROL HAYES
LOCATION THANKS TO
CAFE KAIZEN
CAFEKAIZEN.COM
ROSE WEARS
WHITE MESH TOP BY
THE KOOPLES
SPARKLY LEGGINGS
BY TOP SHOP
ROSIE WEARS
ARMY SHIRT &
DISTRESSED DENIM
BOTH BY TOPSHOP

58 JANUARY 2015

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04/12/2014 14:01

| COVER STORY | ROSE AND ROSIE |

f youve spent much time on YouTube, or have teenage children


who do, chances are youve heard
of Rose and Rosie. This enigmatic
young couple have been making
hilarious video blogs (vlogs) for
more than three years now
and in that time theyve made
something of a name for themselves,
particularly amongst young lesbian
and bisexual women, with a following
approaching half a million people. Yes,
you read that right.
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60 JANUARY 2015

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03/12/2014 09:21

| COVER STORY | ROSE AND ROSIE |

Ask a teenager who their favourite


celebrity is and theres a good chance
itll be someone who found fame on
YouTube. These days its big business,
with companies falling over themselves to partner with personalities
like Zoella (who has over five million
subscribers), Tanya Burr (who has her
own makeup range in Superdrug) or
the Slow Mo Guys, whose faces you
may have seen on the side of a bus
recently. A new generation of celebrity,
theyve become almost household
names. Many are signed to talent agencies like Gleam Futures a company
dedicated to representing social media
superstars and are earning more
than you and I will ever dream of. More
people tune in to watch the videos of
Zoella, or her brother Joe Sugg, than
switch on the telly, leading even traditional celebrities like Russell Brand to
ditch the old-fashioned chat show for
their own YouTube channel. His, The
Trews, gives subscribers true news so
you dont have to invest any money
in buying newspapers that charge
you for the privilege of keeping your
consciousness imprisoned in a tiny box
of ignorances and lies. Hope hes not
including DIVA in there...
Tech-savvy consumers no longer
want untouchable stars. These days
its all about accessibility and having
an intimate relationship with the
object of their affection. The ultimate
prize is not an autograph anymore but
a retweet or follow. Away from the
mainstream, YouTube personalities
have perhaps even greater significance
for young queers, who dont see
themselves represented in traditional
media. There might not be many lesbian and bisexual characters on TV but
there are plenty of YouTubers offering
a new kind of entertainment. Across
the Atlantic Hannah Hart is arguably
the most popular lesbian vlogger, and
her cooking comedy series My Drunk
Kitchen saw her become an internet
sensation. Harts channel, My Harto,
has over one and a half million sub-

scribers, shes bagged a book deal and


has worked with people like celebrity
chef Jamie Oliver. She collaborated
with Rose and Rosie in 2013.
Their particular story began when
Rose Dix, a film student, originally
from Ross-on-Wye, was set a project at
university to try and make a video go
viral. Her attempt, a parody of Ke$has
Tick Tock, racked up an impressive
16,000 views in one week. After that I
continued to do YouTube just for fun,
she says. Collaborations with other
popular YouTubers like Grace Helbig
brought new viewers to her channel.
Then I actually used it as an excuse to
see Rosie and have fun together making videos, she smiles. Roses relationship with Rosie Spaughton, 24 who
also has her own YouTube channel
blossomed both on and off screen.
YouTube sort of developed naturally,
says Rose, who still seems slightly
baffled by their success. It really is just
us being us in front of a camera, and
if thats entertaining for people thats
great because we have fun.
It certainly is entertaining, and
viewers were enchanted with Rose and
Rosies romance. Their popularity grew,
with subscriber numbers increasing dramatically following their infamous Superkiss video currently on 1,655,807
views. Three years later theyve become
something of a brand, with companies
regularly asking them to promote their
products. But the girls say they dont
like that term and are simply being
themselves. A brand makes me think
of something Simon Cowells manufactured, Rosie says. Rose agrees that
while it has become more than just a bit
of fun it was never a process that was
contrived. Were literally just riding the
wave, she says. That wave has brought
with it their own range of merchandise,
public appearances, a holiday window
unveiling at US department store
Macys and a dedicated fandom with
legions of super fans affectionately
known as Boobies. Theyre doing so
well that Rose has even been able to

ROSE WEARS
ASYMMETRIC
DRAPE DRESS BY
THE KOOPLES
ROSIE WEARS
STUDDED BOMBER
JACKET BY THE
KOOPLES
DISTRESSED DENIMS
BY TOPSHOP

Our family
didnt
really
understand
what it
meant to
be YouTube
famous
until we
went to
New York

quit her job to focus on YouTube full


time. They dont see it as a job though.
Rose says its a hobby that shes lucky
enough to make a living from.
For many of us, putting everything
online for all to see seems very alien.
But for Rose and Rosie, who are both
in their mid-20s and have grown up
with social media, its second nature.
How has having the cameras rolling
throughout their relationship affected
it? Positively, they say. It definitely
helped us to form a relationship and
helped us to keep it a strong relationship, says Rose. When youre in front
of a camera people naturally follow
your story, and its nice to have that
kind of support, even though you cant
see the faces of the people who watch
the videos. The comments are so
lovely and so supportive. I think if ever
we did have any issues, they were easily rectified because we had this online
fandom that were there for us, and we
could feel it, somehow.
There must be some things, though,
that are off limits. What wont they
talk about? We dont talk about our
sex life really, Rosie says. Well, we do
a little bit, sometimes! Rose laughs. In
the same way they might talk to their
friends? Yeah, exactly, which is always
the way we try and treat YouTube as
friends. Were just ourselves, Rosie
agrees. What do their real-life friends
and family make of it all? Our family
didnt really understand what it meant
to be YouTube famous until we went
to New York last summer. It was then
that they began to understand how
YouTube can reach so many people
walking so many different paths in
life, Rose says. Both of our parents
are incredibly supportive and theyre
right there with us during the highs
and lows, and so are our friends. We
have a very tight network of positive
people who are always great to surround ourselves with.
Is it hard for them to imagine a
relationship without the camera on?
Rosie says: Weve always said that we
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62 JANUARY 2015

058 cover story.indd 62

04/12/2014 14:02

| COVER STORY | ROSE AND ROSIE |

ROSIE WEARS
BLACK DRESS BY
ALICE & OLIVIA
@ SELFRIDGES
ROSE WEARS
EMBELLISHED
SWEATER BY YEAR
ZERO LONDON

We dont
talk about
our sex
life really.
Well, we
do a little
bit, sometimes!

put our relationship over YouTube or


anything else. Our relationship comes
first, so if it ever got in the way for
some reason, wed choose our relationship. Success can and does bring challenges though. Does the fame theyre
enjoying have any downsides? Ive
never had a bad experience, says Rosie. Rose agrees. Nowadays the more
exposure and the more subscribers we
get, obviously we do get recognised,
but its a real pleasure because people
are so sweet. I always enjoy speaking
to them because its interesting to see
when and how they started watching the videos. I dont see it having a
negative side. I mean, Id understand
if we were hugely, hugely popular on
YouTube, like Zoella famous, then we
would get more attention and I can see
how sometimes people could cross the
line, but its never happened to us.
Is the kind of fame enjoyed by Zoella, or Hannah Hart, something that
Rose and Rosie want for themselves? I
dont think its necessarily something
I want, says Rose. The only thing
I want is to continue enjoying what
were doing.
Rosie agrees. Yeah, I want to
enjoy it and other people to enjoy
it and thats the goal. But if fame
and fortune are not on their wishlist,
then what is the dream? People say,
What do you want to do eventually,
Rose? and I dont really know, says
the 26-year-old. Im very easy-going
with this stuff. A lot of people ask me,
like Ive got this game plan, Whats the
goal then? and Im like, I dont know!
Rosie chips in: We just want to
keep creating great content. Yeah,
thats my goal, says Rose. To create
consistently entertaining stuff.
Our main focus is to make sure
that the videos are really funny, really
good, Rosie says. If they started lagging wed take a break and if there was
anything wrong wed stop. I think
either you end on a high or go off into
a different avenue, says Rose.
And for these talented girls, theres
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| COVER STORY | ROSE AND ROSIE |

no shortage of avenues. As well as


working with mental health charity
Safe with Sam, Rosie has a successful
fashion blog thats caught the attention of Macys, leading to a meet and
greet earlier this year and a holiday
window unveiling in November, and
shes considering applying to do a
Masters in English. Shes also writing a
book. Im very, very lucky to have a lot
of people in my life that are involved
in publishing so Ive got a lot of good
advice, she says. I love writing, I used
to write poetry when I was younger.
Ive always wanted to do this, since I
was a little girl. I would have done it,
with or without YouTube. Rose is also
considering her options in front of the
camera and behind it. Ive always
wanted to make a documentary,
she says. Thats one thing Id never
discount because I did documentary
for my graduate project and I really
enjoyed it.
But all of that is on hold for the
moment, as theyve got something
else in their sights: a wedding. Rose
proposed to Rosie earlier this year,
and since then theyve busied themselves with preparation, buying their
dresses in New York this summer.
Rose did not think we would buy anything, says Rosie. But we tried some
on and we just found the perfect
dresses. Rosies eyes light up as she
describes them. Theyre both ivory.

ROSIE WEARS
SEQUIN TOP
BY PINKO
ROSE WEARS
STRIPPED LOVE
CROPPED TOP
BY YEAR ZERO
LONDON

ROSIE WEARS
BLACK LEATHER 3/4
JACKET BY YEAR
ZERO LONDON
BELT BY MAJE
CHAINS SELECTION
BY YEAR ZERO
LONDON

Well
share as
much as
we can, but
were not
going to be
worrying
about
YouTube
on our
wedding
day

Mine is strapless, its got a sweetheart


neckline and then its just a little bit
pouff y. Its not a meringue, its just a
little bit like clouds. Floaty, she says.
What about Roses dress? I cried
when I saw Rose in her wedding dress.
I didnt think I would at all, but it was
so emotional. She looked incredible.
Have they set a date? No, we want to
set a date at Christmas, thats going
to be our present to each other, she
says. But its going to be next year.
We wanted summer but also dont
mind Christmas, so it might be the
end of 2015. Have they got a theme
in mind? Yeah, we wanted a Gatsby
theme, Rosie says. Very twinkly and
gold, 1940s, 50s glam. That was Roses
idea and I loved it. Maybe a bit of red
lipstick and wavy hair. Very classic
looking. I think thats the idea.
Fans have asked whether theyll be
vlogging the day, but while much of
their personal lives are online, Rose
and Rosie say their wedding is something they wont be sharing... not all
of it, anyway. Its the one thing were
not going to share too much of, says
Rosie. Well show all of our photos,
well talk about it and well share as
much as we can with people, but it is
our wedding day. Were not going to be
worrying about YouTube on that day.
And the fans, they say, have been completely respectful. Theyre so nice,
Rosie says. People send us messages

ROSIE WEARS
STRIPPED CROP TOP BY
THE KOOPLES
PRINCE OF WALES
CROPPED TROUSERS &
LEATHER BRACES ALSO BY
THE KOOPLES
HAT FROM SELECTION BY
YEAR ZERO LONDON
ROSE WEARS
ASYMMETRIC DRAPE
DRESS BY THE KOOPLES

and say, Hey guys, I know youre really


busy moving house so dont worry
about a video this week. You guys take
it easy.
And once the wedding is out of
the way, will there be babies? Im. So.
Broody, Rosie says. For the time being,
though, theyre concentrating on their
careers and staving off broodiness
with a dog. Puppy first! Rose says.
Rosie says: I would love the magic
of being like, Oh, Im pregnant, but
obviously its not going to happen by
accident... Unless I try super hard!
Rose laughs.
Back to the present, and for now
theyre just enjoying being young and
in love, and plan to be sharing their
videos with you and me for as long
as theres demand, though they say
theyre unlikely to be making vlogs
when theyre old and grey. So who are
the rising stars of YouTube we should
be looking out for? Shannon and
Cammie are awesome YouTubers,
says Rosie. We love those girls. I like
them because they remind me of us.
I feel like wed get on if we met in
person, Rose says. Theyre American
and theyve recently started a YouTube
channel which has gone nuts. Whats
nice is you can see them naturally
developing their relationship as well as
their channel. Rosie smiles.
Its like how we were three years
ago.

ROSE WEARS
WHITE MESH TOP BY
THE KOOPLES
SPARKLY LEGGINGS
BY TOPSHOP
ROSIE WEARS
BLACK LEATHER 3/4
JACKET BY YEAR
ZERO LONDON
BELT BY MAJE
CHAINS SELECTION
BY YEAR ZERO
LONDON

64 JANUARY 2015

058 cover story.indd 64

04/12/2014 14:03

HAVE YOU
SIGNED UP
TO OUR
SUBSCRIBER
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simply email your
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putting subscriber
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interview.
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04/12/2014 14:09

On the Mapp: (left to right)


Major Benji and Quaint Irene
laugh on set, Lamb House, Steve
Pemberton chats to costume
designer Yves Barrie, Carrie
fangirling with Mapp and Lucia

DATE: 16 JULY 2014


LOCATION: HASTINGS AND RYE
07.42
The day begins bright and early with a
train to Hastings.

09.20
I arrive and call my contact for the day,
Mapp and Lucia publicist Jenny, who,
unbeknownst to me, has been sitting
opposite me on the train since London
St Pancras! We take a taxi from the
station to the old town where well
be filming for the day. Hastings looks
beautiful in the sunshine. We arrive
half-way through filming of the scene
where Miss Mapp, played by Miranda
Richardson, storms out of the art
exhibition which shes trying to get

CARRIE LYELL
JUMPS AT
THE CHANCE
TO SPEND A
DAY BY THE
SEASIDE WITH
EF BENSONS
COMIC
CREATIONS
ON THE SET
OF NEW BBC
MINISERIES,
MAPP AND
LUCIA

Lucias painting excluded from. Its my


first time on a TV set and Im amazed
at the number of people involved. I
make it my mission to find out what it
is exactly that the Best Boy does.

10.00
I hear a horn behind us and notice a
slightly bemused Sainburys delivery
driver trying to navigate his way past
the film crew to a house further down
from us. He looks rather out of place
beside the 1930s period costumes
worn by extras milling around looking
for coffee. The crew move inside the
hall to film the indoor scenes, allowing
him to pass, and were taken down
some narrow steps to the makeshift
green room where we try not to get

in the way of crew members carrying


bulky pieces of equipment up and
down the steep cobbled streets. Its a
gloriously hot day and Im regretting
not bringing any suncream with me.
Jenny tells me theyve been filming
eight hours a day for nine weeks, and
says they only get four minutes of
footage a day. She talks me through
what each crew member does, and
points out the director of photography, whos checking the light with what
looks like a monocle. Ive not seen the
Best Boy yet but I have spotted the gaffer hes the guy with several rolls of
duct tape hanging from his belt!

11.00
Theyve taken a break from filming

PHOTOS CARRIE LYELL, NICK BRIGGS/BBC

On set with Mapp and Lucia

66 JANUARY 2015

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| FEATURE | MAPP AND LUCIA |

11.30
Camping chairs are set up outside for
us to have a chat with Mark Gatiss,
who plays Major Benjy Flint, a Raj army
veteran. The League of Gentlemen,
Doctor Who and Sherlock star is in
costume and looking rather dapper.
Were briefly interrupted by a local
resident who would give Mapp and Lucia a run for their money, telling us off
for not obeying the private parking
sign above our heads! A very charming man, Mark tells us about living up
to the weight of expectation of fans
of the books and the original 1980s
Channel 4 series, and why EF Benson
was ahead of his time. Quaint Irene
is absolutely in love with Lucia and its

prove of her, says Felicity. Gemma


agrees. I think that her quaintness
as its called is far more accepted by
them than her art. Her art is more of
a problem! But theyre not really
upset, deep down, Felicity says. Oh,
no. Theyre very excited by it. Stirred!
laughs Gemma. And what about her
unrequited love for Lucia? Oh, I
know. Its so sad, Gemma says. Also
embarrassing! quips Felicity. I dont
think she finds it embarrassing, says
Gemma. I think shes just very upset
by it, and her reaction is genuine. She
adores Lucia because she represents
an extra boldness I think Irene really
admires. Lucia represents possibility. Felicity nods. In everybody, for
everybody.

just out there, he says. Theres no disguising it. The weird thing about Tilling
is theyre actually very accepting of
strange little foibles and for the time
thats quite a foible. For late 20s, early
30s, its a very interesting world.

12.00
Time for a chat with Gemma Whelan
(Quaint Irene) and Felicity Montagu
(Diva Plaistow), both familiar faces
from their roles in Game of Thrones
and Im Alan Partridge respectively. As
Quaint Irene is a lesbian, Im keen to
know more about her. What is she like?
Shes an artist, and she is described as
The Disgrace of Tilling, says Gemma,
who looks strikingly like lesbian writer
Radclyffe Hall in her costume. Hall had
a huge influence on Bensons writing
of the character, as she lived in Rye at
the same time. Irene says exactly what
she thinks and exactly what everyone
else is thinking when theyre not brave
enough to say it, Gemma tells me.
Sounds like my kind of girl! And Tilling
loves her too, despite her provocative
nature. They all pretend to disap-

More information on p4 | divadigital.co.uk

inside so we get to have a look at the


paintings. Its fascinating to see the detail that goes into a period production
like this. Were taken through to watch
the action on screens in an adjoining room while we wait to interview
members of the cast. I grab a seat in
the directors chair when no one is
looking. Action!

12.30
I sit down for a natter with Steve
Pemberton, who adapted the series for
the BBC and who also plays the not
obtrusively masculine Georgie Pillson,
Lucias closest confidant, to find out
what attracted him to EF Bensons
books. Im a huge fan of the original
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 67

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03/12/2014 09:20

Rye smiles: (left to right) Cast


and crew say cheese, Gemma
Whelan takes a break, filming in
the garden at Lamb House, Anna
Chancellor being interviewed

adaptation, says Steve. Its always


really tickled me, the whole premise of
Mapp and Lucia, the fact that theyre
sort of having these huge wars over
the tiniest minutiae. How true do
Steves scripts stay to the book? Well,
because Im a big fan, I try to be very
true to the books, he says. I havent
done anything which hasnt come, in
some way, shape or form, from what
Benson wrote. He does say hes not
slavishly following the plot of Mapp
and Lucia the book but borrowing
stories from some of the other books
and rather cheekily bending them
to my own narrative. Does he think
that might upset the purists? I have
no doubt that it will! he laughs. And
what of his character, Georgie Pillson?
Benson doesnt use the words gay or
lesbian describing Georgie or Irene.
Will their sexuality be more overt in
this version? I wasnt going to impose
anything on it which wasnt there
already, he says. Sex doesnt really
enter their minds, but sexual politics

were something that Benson was writing about ahead of his time. He just
couldnt put the words together. Very
passionate male on male friendships,
very passionate female on female
friendships they were very clearly
love but not given that word, really. It
was the love which could not speak its
name. But the inferences are there,
Steve says. He says that Irene has
a violent schwrm for Lucia. Sort of
like a crush. But even the fact that he
had to use a German word is indicative of how you couldnt actually be
overt writing about sexuality of the
characters in that way. And Georgie,
hes a completely asexual character.
He doesnt want to be talking about
sex. Sex doesnt enter his head at all
with either gender. Hes absolutely
horrified in the book that Lucia thinks
hell want to step up and marry now
that shes widowed. So weve enjoyed
playing with that, Georgies absolute
terror of being one on one with this
rather attractive, voluptuous Lucia. Its

been fun to play, and fun to kind of


up Gemma whos playing Irene so that
all the looks between them, they are
flirtatious. And Lucia flirts back she
loves to be adored.

13.30
Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor, who play Mapp and Lucia, have
finished their scenes and sit down for
a chat. What are the characters like? I
ask. Well, Lucia is dominant, snobbish,
phoney says Anna. Shes a fake.
She enjoys nothing more than playing
the game of one-up-manship. So shes
thrilled when she meets Mapp because
then shes met her opponent and life is
worth living! And what about Mapp?
Legal, decent, honest and truthful,
says Miranda, to eye-rolls from Anna.
With a sense of whats right and
proper. A traditionalist, used to lording
it over Tilling. I think she doesnt know
it but shes probably bored and lonely
but would never admit to that and very
much needs the community. And when

68 JANUARY 2015

066 mapp&lucia.indd 68

04/12/2014 15:26

| FEATURE | MAPP AND LUCIA |

this interloper comes in, Mapp sees it


as her duty to expose her and put her
in her place because, as Anna rightly
said, she is a fraud. They sound ghastly! Would they be the kind of women
youd invite over for tea? It would be
a nightmare to have Mapp and Lucia
around, Anna cackles. Lucia particularly. Shed be going round your house,
picking things up, telling you shes got
a slightly better version. Shes the last
person youd want round! Or shed
just nick things, because she felt it was
her due, laughs Miranda. What does
Lucia think of Quaint Irenes schwrm?
Lucia just accepts adoration completely naturally, Anna says. She
feels its totally natural that somebody
should adore her to the degree that
Irene does and shes very accommodating with it. I think thats nice about
the writing, actually. Its not a great
shock that one woman has a crush on
another woman: so what? Its great
that weve got Quaint Irene. Im thrilled
that she fancies me, of course she

says with a wink. I notice my face flush


and I think I might have something of a
schwrm myself!

wall. She would be the equivalent of


Clerkenwell or Brick Lane today.

14.00

Were driven to Rye to have a look at


the village Tilling was based on and
where much of the series was shot.
There are still remnants of fake snow
from the Christmas scenes! Were given
a tour by the location manager, and
its wonderful to see the houses of the
Tilling residents, the church and Mallards itself.

After lunch, Im lucky enough to grab


five minutes with series costume
designer Yves Barre who talks about
the difficulty of dressing Quaint Irene.
Irene was probably the most difficult,
he says. Having a woman dress in
mens clothes is one thing but casting
is paramount to what we do. You have
to look at a persons demeanour; how
they stand, how they walk, how they
talk. How confident are they in their
clothes? All this psychology comes into
it. Initially we wanted to have some
dresses and some more feminine lines,
but with Gemma they never worked.
She was much more comfortable in real
mans gear. But I still wanted her to look
sexy and attractive. Today shes wearing
what we call the acorn hat. Its a sweet
little leathery cap which is quite quirky
because shes an artist, shes off the

15.00

17.00
Theres just time for a quick beer
before we head back to London tired,
sunburnt and utterly in love with
Tillin I mean Rye.

20.30
My keys are in the front door at home
when I suddenly realise I never did find
out what the Best Boy does!

Mapp and Lucia is on BBC1 on 2931 Dec (see p33).


DIVAMAG.CO.UK 69

066 mapp&lucia.indd 69

04/12/2014 14:13

| STYLE | READER MAKEOVER |

GiVe mE  fAsHiO
UpDaTe, DiV !

DIVAS MAKEOVER TEAM TRANSFORM READER VANESSA INTO A VINTAGE VIXEN

VaNeSsA, bEfOrE

Vintage-lover Vanessa works at the University of


Bradford and at 33 shes been having a hard time
finding clothes that fit both her age and love for
1940s fashion.
I feel like Ive lost my identity a bit. I really
like vintage fashion but Im not sure how to
incorporate it into what Im wearing on a day-today basis," she told us.
"I thought Id apply for the DIVA Makeover to give
me a bit of a lift, to make me feel special and as a
bit of a platform to get my style back. I feel like
this might be the kick-start that I need.
DIVA READER VANESSA
PHOTOGRAPHY KELLY DICKINSON
KELLYDICKINSONPHOTOGRAPHY.CO.UK
More information on p4 | divadigital.co.uk
HAIR & MAKE-UP VICTORIA ROBERTS (FACEBOOK.
COM/VICTORIA.ROBERTS.MAKEUP) USING SMASHBOX PHOTO LIGHT PRIMER,
AVON LID PRIMER, REVLON COLOURSTAY FOUNDATION, SEVENTEEN MATTE
BRONZER, URBAN DECAY NAKED EYE PALETTE, MUA AFTER DARK MATTE SHADOW
PALETTE, MAYBELLINE GEL POT EYELINER, EYEKO CURVY MASCARA, MAC RED
LIP LINER, AVON ORANGE LIPSTICK AND REVLON RED MOISTURISING LIPSTICK,
SUPERDRUG STYLE EXPERTISE TEXTURISING CURL CRME, ROCKAHOLIC TGI
ROCK OUT SHINE BLASTER, SCHWARZKOPF HAIRSPRAY FOAM HAIR PIECE

STYLING, TEXT, VIDEO AND SHOOT DIRECTION BELLA QVIST


CLOTHES VIVIEN OF HOLLOWAY VIVIENOFHOLLOWAY.COM
TO SEE VANESSAS FULL TRANSFORMATION AND VICTORIAS GUIDE TO PERFECT
SKIN CHECK OUT THE VIDEO CONTENT IN THE DIGITAL MAGAZINE.

Do yOu wAnT
a mAkEoVeR?

Email
edit@divamag.co.uk
or tweet Bella @bellaqvist,
explaining why you
want a new look.

70 JANUARY 2015

070 make-over.indd 70

03/12/2014 09:18

ViCtOrIa, hAi

Vanessa struggles with her hair and YouTube tutorials have


been no help to her so shes after some home styling advice.
Going along with the evening look, I create an asymmetric
roll in her hair, and for this I fasten a foam piece under her
natural curl. You can get pieces like this from Superdrug or
Boots and theyre brilliant for creating avant-garde shapes quickly.
I pin it and finish with a texturising curl crme, shine and hairspray. The result is
smooth, vintage-inspired glamour.

ViCtOrIa, mAkE-uP

For Vanessas make-up I match the glamorous dress with coral cheeks,
eyeliner and a little bit of eye shadow to give it an iconic look.
Rather than going for a classic blood-red lip colour, I mix up an
orangey red to complement Vanessas beautiful, warm skin tone
and I reshape her eyebrows in a way that opens up and brings her
eyes forward.
I also contour her face using an eye shadow palette and give her
advice on how to combat oily skin digital readers can watch the
video for details.

BeLlA, sTyLiS

Vanessa is a real vintage connoisseur and her longing


for a glamorous 1940s evening look inspired by her
style icons Teyonah Parris, Grace Jones and Shanghai
Shenhua posed just the kind of challenge we love.
There are plenty of good vintage shops around but many
focus on items from the 50s or later; few do the earlier stuff
well. Thank goodness then for Vivien of Holloway, who do a great range of
vintage-style clothing online and its all made here in the UK.
I get Vanessa to try on a few outfits from their site and theyre all good but
once she puts on the black Jezebel dress I know weve found the winner. It
transforms her silhouette, showing off her stunning figure, and she almost
bursts into tears of joy.
We finish off the outfit with black heels and my grandmothers old brooch,
inexpensive but real vintage this time.

vAnEsSa, aFtE

I love the whole look, especially the lipstick and the


hair, I just cant believe how massive it is! Ive picked
up quite a lot of tips as well so this has been a brilliant
day.
"Personally, I dont see that many women of colour
wearing vintage outfits so I hope that this is going to
inspire some more ladies this is just an example of
something you can create yourself!
I feel amazing. Thank you so much, DIVA!
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 71

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GETTING
GAUDY
WITH
GAUDI
LIZ CARR ACCESSES A NEW SIDE OF BARCELONA
WITH A WHEELCHAIR-FRIENDLY TOUR

m a travel control freak. Perhaps


thats because, as a wheelchair
user, I want to ensure that I and
my partner have the most accessible holiday possible, or maybe
Im just a frustrated travel agent.
Either way, I like to organise it
all. Ill book the flights, choose the hotels, decide on those unmissable restaurants and sights everything. Then,
once at the destination, I prefer to do
my own thing rather than trust some
impersonal, and most likely inaccessible, organised tour. Ten minutes to
visit a wonder of the world? Being

sociable with people youd normally


avoid? Er no thanks.
But then I came across Enable
Holidays short, wheelchair-friendly
break in Barcelona. It sounded relaxed;
theyd organise the hotel, flights and
transfers and all of it would be accessible. It wasnt easy for me to hand
over the travel reins to someone else
but I decided to try it, giving up control
over booking the trip and resigning
from my role as amateur concierge
too. Instead, we would put ourselves
at the mercy of Barcelonas finest tour
guides.

Liz and her partner, Jo, travelled to Barcelona


with Enable Holidays (enableholidays.com)
and enjoyed tours and activities with Arty
Barcelona (artybarcelona.com), Rainbow
Tours (rainbowbarcelona.com/en), Barcelona
Zero Limits (barcelonazerolimits.com) and
Livia Garetta (liviagarreta.com/mosaic/
mosaic-tile.php). For more info on disability
access in Barcelona, visit: barcelona.de/en/
barcelona-disabled-persons.

PHOTOS JO CHURCH

GETTING THERE /
MORE INFORMATION:

72 JANUARY 2015

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| TRAVEL | BARCELONA, SPAIN |


Access all areas:
Liz explores with Julian and
Iris of Barcelona Zero Limits

And so it began. First up was Nicole


Voogt from Arty Barcelona, a company
who appeal to those of us who like
to combine sightseeing with a bit of
hands-on activity.
The receptionist at our hotel told
us, Barcelona is so much more than
Gaud, but undoubtedly the artistry
and architecture of Antoni Gaud dominate the city and Barcelonas tourist
industry. Theres the undulating waves
of the maritime-inspired La Pedrera
building, the remarkable unfinished
cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, and then
theres the fairytale-esque Park Gell,
which is where our first tour began.
Although not specifically advertised
as wheelchair accessible, our guide
Nicole navigated a step-free route
around the park an adventure that
involved a special permit and private
gate access. We wheeled to the highest
heights of the park, with its panoramic
views of the city to the sea, and visited
the famed monumental area below
a mosaic-encrusted playground for
Gauds weird and wonderful imagination.

Go fish!
Liz learns with mosaic
artist Livia Garetta

That was why we had come here


to find inspiration for the next part
of our tour, which took us to the
bohemian Grcia area of town and the
tiny workshop of mosaic artist Livia
Garetta. For the next three hours, Livia
taught us how to take shards of broken pottery and set them in cement
to create the Trencads-style mosaic
made famous by Gaud.
Surrounded by thousands of tiles in
every conceivable colour, before long
we were covered in dust and glue, chitchatting about Francos dictatorship
and the reality of Catalonian independence. As I pressed the final piece
of tile onto my design, I felt sad not a
reflection on the garish rainbow fish Id
just created in mosaic but because our
workshop was almost over.
The next day we headed out with
Rainbow Tours, a company who pride
themselves on being both LGBT- and
disability-friendly. As a wheelchairusing lesbian, was this to be my tour
nirvana, I wondered? We chose their
Girls Night Tour to find out. We met
our guide, Clara, in the hotel lobby
at 10.30pm and headed out on our
customised tour of the citys lesbian
nightlife to Barcelonas main gay area,
the Eixample district, nicknamed the
Gayxample.
Claras English being thankfully better than my GCSE Spanish, we chatted
en route about how homosexuality
was illegal in Spain until 1976 yet the
country is now one of Europes most
liberal. Each year Barcelona hosts its
Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in October, Pride weekend in June, the Circuit
Festival in August and Bear-celona at
Easter, and of course only 40 minutes
away is the gay (male) seaside Mecca,
Sitges.

As a wheelchair using
lesbian,
was this to
be my tour
nirvana?

So what is there in the city for lesbians? On a Thursday night, sadly not
much. There are a handful of lesbian
bars and a number of club nights but
midweek pretty much our only accessible option was La Sue BCN (60 Carrer
de Villarroel, Eixample). Claras advice
to anyone visiting Barcelona for the
lesbian club or party scene is to check
out the listings before you book and
definitely come at the weekend. It was
3am when we finally said adis to Clara
but not before shed safely installed
us on the bus to the hotel all part of
the service.
Later that morning we met
wheelchair-using Julin Montero and
his non-disabled wife Iris, who have
recently set up Barcelona Zero Limits.
Their aim is to provide tours and activities that can be enjoyed by everyone,
whether disabled or not. This possibility excited me. Im sure part of my
reason for disliking typical organised
tours is that on too many occasions
Ive had to sit outside an inaccessible
attraction and wait patiently while the
rest of the group go inside. I always
feel awkward, embarrassed and like a
dog tethered to a lamppost outside a
shop. I was hoping that at last Id found
a tour where I wouldnt have to worry
about being left out or separated from
my partner.
Barcelona is a relatively easy place
to be a wheelchair user, with all buses,
most metro stations and many of the
main tourist attractions having some
form of access and usually a price
concession for disabled people and
their companions. What Barcelona
Zero Limits offered us was the chance
to go up in a hot-air balloon with a
hydraulic seat so wheelchair users like
me can see over the basket. They also
offered scuba diving for all, but we
opted for the more sedate tapas tour
of Barcelonas Old Town. Starting at
the Boquera Market along Las
Ramblas, we sampled the finest
acorn-fed Ibrico hams, before
heading down the medieval streets,
where the citys history was made
even more palatable by regular stops
to sample the regional tapas of
tomato bread, patatas bravas and
other such Catalan delights. And the
most delicious part of it all? I never
once had to wait outside or even think
about access.

Liz Carr stars in Silent Witness, see p33.


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| CITY GUIDE | BRUSSELS |

Brussels: its the capital of Belgium and


the seat of the European Parliament.
Its known for its fantastic architecture, its chocolate and its frites. Until
now it has not been famous for its
lesbians, but it should be because this
city, just two hours from London by
Eurostar, is a hive of queer lady activity, as DIVA discovered at the first ever
Girls Heart Brussels weekend recently.

LOUISE
CAROLIN FINDS
THE BELGIAN
CAPITAL HAS
LOADS TO
LURE LADYLOVERS

STAY
Brussels offers accommodation for
all budgets. DIVA stayed at supermodern Hotel Bloom (hotelbloom.com)
where the huge, comfortable rooms
(from 91) feature unique murals by
young artists. The breakfast buffet is
a treat dont miss DIY waffles from
the camper van! For a more traditional
experience try the Hotel Metropole
(metropolehotel.com), a Belle Epoque
landmark that recalls Belgiums Golden
Age. Room decor ranges from merely
swanky to massively camp. Were talking orange faux-ponyskin walls.

PLAY
Bilingual Brussels (streets have French
and Flemish names) buzzes with arty
activity, from its many museums and
galleries to the comic-strip murals
adorning its walls. Check out Bozar
(bozar.com) or make a trip to the Wiels
contemporary arts centre, housed in a
former brewery with a good cafe (wiels.
org). If shoppings more your style,

WAY

Travel by Eurostar
from London to
Brussels from 69.
eurostar.com
visitbrussels.be

dont miss the elegant covered arcade


at Galeries St-Hubert and the Dansaert
area for contemporary consumer
thrills. Junk fiends, head to the daily
Vossenplein flea-market and vintage
shops along nearby rue Blaes.
The city brims with brilliant buildings, from the gothic splendour of
the Grand Place to Art Nouveau gems
(not to mention the HQ of the EU, if
your tastes run that way). The worldfamous widdling toddler Manneken-Pis
may wear the threads (he has his own
dresser) but nearby his feminist sister,
Jeanneke-Pis, raises money for Aids
and cancer charities. Out of town, the
extraordinary space-age Atomium
towers over the site of the 1958 World
Fair, its gleaming globes housing
exhibitions and a restaurant, linked
by escalators and high-speed elevator
(atomium.be).
All that sight-seeing made you
hungry? Crisp frites and street-corner
waffles are available everywhere, but
when youre tired of them, visit the
lesbian-owned and -run restaurant Les
Connes, for delicious fare that makes
the most of local produce (set lunch
18, set dinner 35, lesconnes.be).

GAY
The citys LGBT hub is Rainbow House
(rainbowhouse.be). A cafe by day, it also
hosts several busy lesbian clubs but if
you yearn for glamour and over a thousand Euro-girls to flirt with, dont miss

Velvet 69 (bi-monthly, next event 10


January, velvet69.be). For cheeky, low-fi
fun check out occasional queer lady
party Mon Cul Ta Praline my bum,
your chocolate; it doesnt really translate (facebook.com/moncultapraline).
Get the local lez/bi lowdown from
Despina Vassiliadou who rounds up
the weekly highlights, recommends
restaurants and reviews cultural happenings at her blog, sillylilly.net.
Aim to hit town when the citys hosting one of its many queer events and
youll find the scene extra-lively. Brussels lez/bi calendar 2015 includes the
European Lesbian Volleyball Tournament (36 April, eulevoto.net), Brussels
Pride (16 May, pride.be), queer film fest
Pink Screens (November, pinkscreens.
org) and womens film fest Elles Tournent (September, ellestournent.be).
Or just let Jessica Gysel do the planning. Her Girls Heart Brussels
weekends, an initiative of Visit
Brussels, are aimed at promoting the
city as a worthy destination for
lesbians and bi women. The weekend
packages offer luxurious accommodation and a winning mix of mainstream
and LGBT fun and culture, enjoyed by a
friendly bunch of women from France,
Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. English (you may be relieved to
learn) is the unifying tongue. The next
weekend takes place 2526 April,
during the Art Brussels fair
(girlsheartbrussels.be).

PHOTOS VISIT BRUSSELS, DESPINA VASSILIADOU

Brussels sprouts

74 JANUARY 2015

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TRAVEL BUZZ

GO ZZZZZEN

New three-day mindfulness and sleep


retreats are launching this winter at The
Alpina in Gstaad. Led by Christian
Kurmann, a former hospitality executive
who learnt ancient meditation techniques
at a Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, the
retreat aims to teach guests to incorporate
these practices into daily life to restore
inner balance and make a positive impact
on their working life. Its not cheap but it
might just be life-changing: from 2,318
for two nights in a single deluxe room,
including meals with non-alcoholic
beverages, daily mindful meditation,
mindful leadership skills and practices,
wellness with crystals, foot acupressure,
floatation therapy, yoga, Six Senses
holistic massage and Tai-chi Chuan.

FIRST CLASS

| TRAVEL |

READERS RECOMMEND

WALKING WOMEN

I recently went on a Walking Women holiday in Turkey which I enjoyed so


much. Anne Bektas and Meridian Travels, who ran it all, were fantastic; it was
a combination of a Turkish gulet cruise and a trek from Fethiye to Marmaris
along the Carian Trail. For me it was the holiday of a lifetime I found myself
becoming, very unexpectedly, a water baby and sleeping on the deck of the
boat during the cruise section. The walking was amazing we saw goats (of
all colours!), donkeys and turtles, and the scenery was varied throughout.
Sarah, 42, Oxfordshire
meridiantravels.com walkingwomen.com

thealpinagstaad.ch
DONT MISS

ICE-COOL FLIGHT DEALS

Snap up Icelandic airline Wow Airs new


tip-top flight prices well in advance of a
trip next spring/summer. Passengers can
travel from London Gatwick to Boston
Logan International Airport from 27 March
next year (starting at 131) and to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood
Marshall Airport from 4 June (starting at
151). The catch? Extras of booking fee and
bag check-in. Plus you have to stop over
in Iceland so swift passage unlikely, but
hey, a night out on the scene in Reykjavik
aint so bad

PHOTO SIMON HARVEY PHOTOGRAPHY

wowair.co.uk

Sea of love:
Join a gulet cruise along the
Turkish coast with Walking Women

HOT TIP

CAFE KAIZEN,
LONDON

If youre visiting central London,


either as native or tourist, make like
Kate Moss did recently and take a trip
to the newly-opened Cafe KaiZen.
Essentially, this Asian Fusion cafe and
cocktail bar mingles Far Eastern-style
decor with an atmosphere inspired
by nearby east London, all placed
moments from Oxford Circus in
swanky Mayfair. Tucking into the
intriguing Spice Route menu youll
be surrounded by gorgeous artwork
and up-cycled furniture in this
glamorous hideaway, the location for
our cover shoot this month. Cocktails
are 8.88, because eights a lucky
number in China. All in all, its rocking. Well see you there.

Get lucky at Londons hip


hangout, Cafe KaiZen, the
location for this months cover

Cafe KaiZen is at 17 Hanover Square,


London W1S 1HU. Thursdays
Saturdays, 10pmlate.
cafekaizen.com

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| SCENE | DIVE |

Dive into delirium


ANNABELZ
AND THE
QUEER FAMILY
DIVE INVITE
YOU TO
LOSE YOUR
INHIBITIONS AT
EDINBURGHS
COOLEST
CAROUSE...

Dive is an eclectic, anything-goes


party for, by and of the people, which
has been making Edinburgh a little
bit more queer since it hit the scene
earlier this year. Recently rehoused
in an abandoned animal hospital, its
the perfect place to be yourself, dress
up and let go. Unique performances,
art installations, music and wonderful people combine when the moon
is high to make Dive a really special
night full of love and joy.
Most likely to see: a latex Minnie
Mouse bumping and grinding with a
seven-foot transgender showgirl. Least
likely to see: anything like it, anywhere
else. Check their website to find out
when the next party will be.

dive-party.org.uk
76 JANUARY 2015

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My Scene

NOTTINGHAM

IM A RECENT GRADUATE
WITH A NETFLIX ADDICTION,
TRYING TO FIND HER FEET IN
THE BIG CITY. NOTTINGHAM
IS MY HOMETOWN

CHRISTIE ROLLEY, 21

BEST PLACE FOR BRUNCH


AND COFFEE WITH FRIENDS

Without a doubt, the gorgeous bistro/fine food


dealers Delilahs. Their breakfasts are the perfect
cure for a weekend hangover and you can do
some food shopping while you wait for your table.
Absolute heaven.
delilahfinefoods.co.uk

BEST PLACE TO PARTY

I rarely feel like a big night out (21 is wasted on me)


but when I do, my friends and I head to Bopp. Now
held at the Bowery Club, Bopp provides some respite from the dubstep of clubland playing mainly
rock n roll and Motown classics.
facebook.com/TheBopp

BEST PLACE FOR A DATE

The Broadway Cinema is one of the most laidback


and cool places in Notts. Showing, as you might
expect, an excellent range of independent cinema,
events and some blockbusters, it also boasts an
excellent mood-lit bar/restaurant. Great drinks and
great food at a good price makes for a great date.

WORDS CARRIE LYELL. PHOTOS KEVIN MURRAY, NATALIE DEWINTER

broadway.org.uk

WHERE
DO YOU
GO TO
PARTY,
PULL,
RELAX,
ESCAPE?
Email louise@
divamag.co.uk for
our My Scene
questionnaire

BEST PLACE FOR


LIVE MUSIC

One of the centrepieces


of the ever-growing and
increasingly successful
Notts music scene, the Dot
to Dot festival is a two-day
event not to be missed.
Move around the city and
see the widest range of live
music and events you can
imagine.
dottodotfestival.co.uk

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 77

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| DIRECTORY |

DIRECTORY
TO ADVERTISE CALL MAGGIE TRAVERS
TEL 020 7424 7434
EMAIL MAGGIE@DIVAMAG.CO.UK

CLASSIFIED FEATURE - THE PLEASURE PEOPLE


TOO BUSY FOR SEX? LETS TALK...
Did you know that lesbians and gay men
enjoy a statistically higher discretionary
income? We are busier than ever and
reaping the rewards. But have our sex lives
suffered as a consequence?
If the phrase not tonight babe, Im too
busy rings a bell then read on. It would
seem that busy is the new headache. So
how do we overcome a busy lifestyle and
maintain a healthy sex life?
The Pleasure People are here to assist.
Whether you can spare a full evening to
dedicate to sex, or just a quick 10 minutes,
we have the toy to help you take your sex
life to new heights.

Why not take the time to share a hot bath,


give her a massage and venture into some
kinky anal play or light bondage. Thanks
to our Pipedream Bondage Kit you can
get everything you need in one handy
holdall. Bondage accessories are a great
way to ease you into light domination and
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Our UK-based online sex store caters
to all, from the novice to the expert.
From vibrators to strap-ons, lubricants
to bondage accessories, we have a wide
rangeof products to meet all of your sexual
desires. So put down the laptop and pull
back the covers.

Can you spare 10 minutes in between jobs?


Surprise your significant other as soon as
she gets home from work. The unexpected
time of day will feel exciting and a small
vibrator such as the Lelo Lyla 2 will make
sure you get the most out of this short time.
Even if you have to cut it short dont be
surprised if bedtime turns into round two.

Remember that a truly great sex life comes


from a shared connection. So make 2015 the
year to improve your sex life, relationship
and wellbeing.

An hour away from your laptop may sound


daunting, but trust us. Take a quality night
off with your girl and try something new!

10% off voucher code: DIVA10

And with our 10% off special offer for DIVA


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www.thepleasurepeople.co.uk

78 JANUARY 2015

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Counsellin
!

| DIRECTORY |

A-Z CLASSIFIEDS
BESPOKE TAILORing

ARE YOU A
COUNsellor?

Bespoke Tailoring
with a twist

visit our friendly studio at:


Shop 10, Bush Walk, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 1AT
(1hour from London, 15mins from Reading)

ADVERTISE YOUR
SERVICES HERE
Reach gay women
internationally ON
DIVAMAG.CO.UK

Like Us

0118 979 3880


www.goodrichbespoke.co.uk

Follow Us!

kerry@goodrichbespoke.co.uk

Call maggie travers on:

020 7424 7434

Civil Partnership

Counselling

Jennifer Coles

Counsellor Central London & Surrey

I am a fully-qualified member of the Foundation for Counselling and


Psychotherapy, and have substantial experience working with women who
identify as lesbian and bisexual.
My areas of expertise include: civil partnerships, same-sex parenting, separation,
cultural conflicts, homophobia, harassment, abusive relationships, loneliness,
eating disorders and self-harm.
I offer long and short-term contracts, depending on your personal circumstances
and specific needs.
Contact me to arrange an initial meeting, where we can discuss
your concerns and decide together what might best suit you.
Tel. 020 8399 5580
Email: mail@jennifercolespsychotherapy.co.uk
For full details visit: www.jennifercolespsychotherapy.co.uk

Group Therapy for

Depression
and Anxiety
Small, contained

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Groups for 8-10 wks


London area
alena.dierickx@gmail.com
Individual counselling
also available

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 79

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| DIRECTORY |

A-Z CLASSIFIEDS
Jewellery

Motoring

Removals

SHIRLEYS
removals
Shopping

We have been moving...


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For lesbians and gay men
for 25 years.

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shirleys.removals@yahoo.co.uk

ADVERTISE
YOUR
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HERE !
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Call Maggie Travers on:

020 7424 7434


Commissions in gold, platinum & silver
As well as working with stones,
award winning Diana Porter will hand etch
customers own choice of words around rings.

brochure & enquiries 0117 909 0225

www.dianaporter.co.uk

Diva_1.2page_2014.indd
1
80 JANUARY 2015

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05/12/2014 16:37

| DIRECTORY |
Shopping

A-Z CLASSIFIEDS

Bath

TRAVEL UK & IRELAND

Clyde Trilogy
by
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*Murder on the Isle of Arran
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Available
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DIVAMAG.CO.UK 81

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| DIRECTORY |

TRAVEL - WORLDWIDE

TRAVEL UK & IRELAND


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Spain

Norfolk

ADVERTISE YOUR
HOLIDAY
DESTINATION HERE
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internationally

DIVAMAG.CO.UK
Call Maggie Travers on:

020 7424 7434

CONDITIONS FOR ADVERTISING


All advertisements are accepted subject to the publishers standard
terms and conditions, copies of which are available on request. In
particular, cancellation of advertising must be received in writing at
least four weeks prior to copy date to stop or suspend insertion.
For a copy please write to: Maggie Travers, Millivres Prowler Group,
Spectrum House, Unit M, 32 - 34 Gordon House Road, London NW5 1LP

82 JANUARY 2015

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| DIRECTORY |

CLASSIFIED FEATURE - LANLAS FARM COTTAGES


HOLIDAYS & RETREATS IN WEST WALES
According to our guests, Lanlas Farm holiday
cottages are a place of deep relaxation, where you
can really re-charge your batteries. Many guests
return throughout the year to stay in the five-star,
fully-equipped yet traditional stone cottages. To
walk into the mountains amongst the buzzards
and kites, taking in the breathtaking vistas and the
glorious sunsets before cosying up by their log fires.
Now visitors to Lanlas can relax even more, by
taking advantage of the Ancient Earth Centre for
Wellbeing which is conveniently situated next to
the farm house. The 16th century longhouse has
been lovingly converted into a beautiful studio
space, with original oak beams and a bamboo wood
floor, where Cathy and Louise offer yoga classes, 1:1
Brennan energy healing, meditation, relaxation and
visualisation sessions, healing massage and private
yoga instruction to meet your personal needs,
whatever your ability. You will be in safe hands,
for Cathy and Louise are fully qualified and have
many years of experience. There is also a private
treatment room and the studio can be booked,
with or without the cottage accommodation, for
workshops/ retreats.
Below the studio we have created a two bedroom
apartment, which has disabled access, complete
with wet room, underfloor heating and wooden
decking, overlooking stunning views down the
valley. The apartment is particularly convenient for
those seeking a holiday that is healing in every way.
For those not wishing to use the centre, nothing
has changed. The cottages are still set amongst
attractive gardens with vegetables and herbs
available in season. Pure, natural mountain water is
available on tap and the friendly animals roam freely.
Lanlas is peaceful and remote, but by no means
isolated, it is only two miles from the pretty
university town of Lampeter, a short drive from the
beaches of Cardigan Bay and many other places of
interest and natural beauty. Ideal for a weekend
break or a family holiday.
Contact Cathy or Louise via email on
enquiries@lanlasfarm.co.uk or find us on
Facebook,TripAdvisor via Holiday Lettings and AirBnB.
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 83

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7 VIBRATOR

SPEED LAVENDER

KEY VELA MASSAGER

KEY.indd 2
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08/07/2014 13:55
04/12/2014 12:53

| THE QUICKIE | EROTIC FICTION |

Taste It
Come and taste this, she calls from
the kitchen.
What? I stand there, glancing
round the empty cafe, wondering if
shes talking to me. Ive only met her
once before when I first came into
this funky eaterie to talk about catering a function for a client.
That afternoon she was taking her
break, eating at one of the orange tables and flicking through a magazine. I
could tell she was the owner from the
proprietorial air that rose off her like
the steam from the giant coffee cup
spray-painted on the wall behind her.
She looked familiar but in my
small town, most people do, because
youve seen them at the supermarket
or the pool. She was sitting with one
leg tucked under her, casual, at home.
Her dirty-blonde, shoulder-length
hair was streaked with electric blue to
match her eyes. In a low-cut black top
with the sleeves rolled up, she was
someone who meant business. The
bold eyeliner, multiple silver earrings
and generous cleavage all added to
the effect.
A look passed between us and she
said, Oh, youre Joss.
And you must be Dahlia. Its a
pleasure to meet you. I tried to smile
in a professional manner but I was
puzzling over her greeting. It was as if
she had noticed me before and wanted
me to know it.
I tried to ignore the buzz in the air.
Dahlia was experienced at catering for

THE HEAT IS
ON IN THIS
KITCHEN

SHORT STORY
HELEN SANDLER

I reach out
for her and
instantly
our mouths
meet

functions and we tied up the menu


and costings in twenty minutes. When
I got back to the office I decided I had
been imagining the flirting. I havent
fancied anyone since my last girlfriend
went off with a traffic warden, so I
put the frisson down to my returning
libido. When I got home I watched two
episodes of Wentworth back to back.
Seeing Franky prowling about I was
reminded of my younger self not
the violent criminality so much as the
swagger and sex drive. The sap was
rising.
And now now Im back in the cafe
and shes calling my name. Come on,
Joss, come and taste it.
My heart is beating faster as I pass
behind the counter and through the
open door to the kitchen. Ive never
been in a restaurant kitchen before;
it feels as if Im breaking a health and
safety regulation just by wearing
outdoor shoes.
Dahlia is standing at the cooker stirring a pot. She gives me a nod as if Ive
risen to a dare and holds out a spoon. I
inhale the spicy aroma.
This is a try-out for your do, she
says. But I may have overdone the
chilli.
I step close to sip from the spoon.
Flavours of coriander, ginger and lime
fire off in my mouth. Its delicious, I
say. I look away, embarrassed to be so
close to her, and thats when the chilli
kicks in. Woah, I gasp, that is hot!
She grins. I guess I spent too long

travelling in Asia. Is it too much for


you? She hands me a glass of water, a
challenge in her eyes.
No, I lie, taking a slug, never too
much for me. The heat in my mouth,
in the kitchen, between us, is overwhelming and I cant pretend to be
professional any longer. Anything else
you wanted me to taste? I reach out
for her and instantly our mouths meet.
One or two things, she manages
to say before were immersed in a kiss
that goes right through me.
I reach under her top and undo her
bra, desperate to taste every part of
her, releasing her full breasts so I can
wrap my mouth round one and then
the other, teasing at the nipples.
She steps backwards towards the
corner of the kitchen; cool tiles behind
her as I drop to the floor and push up
her apron and black skirt. Shes groaning as I lick the inside of her thighs and
play with her pants, then move my
mouth to her wet cunt.
Ohh, she moans, eat me!
Im lapping at her, moving softly on
her delicious pussy and then harder,
licking at her clit, as I slide one finger
inside her and then another.
Its burning, she moans, the chilli
from my tongue roaring through her.
And she comes, thrusting against my
mouth in surges that meet my own
hunger.
Its too much, she groans.
Never too much, I say, my mouth
still full of her.
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 85

085 the quickie.indd 85

03/12/2014 09:14

Up close a
ANNA SANSOM
RAIDS THE
ARCHIVES
FOR SEXY
PERSONAL
ADS OF
YESTERYEAR.
DARE YOU ASK
FOR WHAT
YOU WANT?

Will 2015 be the year you get what


you want in bed? If you could ask
for anything, what would it be? How
about writing your own sexy personal
ad for your eyes only or to share with
your lover to let the New Year know
what you want!
To get you started, heres some retro
inspiration from real-life, sexy personal
ads published in the lesbian sex magazines from the oh-so-naughty 90s.

favours
Femme
g.
for a flin
femme
r
u
aint yo
Let me p
your
clit w ith
lipstick
e
favourit
off !
n lick it
and the
ks
c
a
Ou r B
c/o On
(1992)

Libertine liaisons with intimate


consequences sought by young,
feminine, apparently conventional,
discerning professional who is
blessed with acquiescent tendencies and a predilection for assertive,
erotically articulate, stylish, older,
dominant women. c/o Flirt (1999)

k ing a
mme see
fe
s
u
io
c
li
ent for
Im a de
enforcem
w
.
la
in
p
lationship
butch to
ossible re
p
d
n
a
s
e
hot scen
997)
ttit ude (1
c/o Bad A

86 JANUARY 2015

086 sex feature.indd 86

03/12/2014 09:12

| SEX/LIFE | PERSONAL ADS |

e and Personal
Its never too late to live out your
school fantasy about your dyke PE
teacher. Trainers and sweats provided. c/o Flirt (1997)

Cut the
crap! Sex
your prio
rit y?
Mine too
. A ll
letters a
nswered
with pho
to c/o
Flirt (19
97)
Wanted: Dedicated,
monogamous lesbian
couples for outrageous
erotic pen pal correspondence! Our idea:
Totally anonymous
swinging by mail romance, leather, a little
danger. Lets meet from
afar. c/o On Our Backs
(1991)

Anna Sansom
writes about sex
in DIVA magazine
and online at
divamag.co.uk
every month.
Drop her a line at
anna@divamag.
co.uk, or tweet
@ladygarden69.

eman would
Female gentl
r
squeeze you
be pleased to
eat
,
e your tree
peaches, shak
r tea.
u
ets, drink yo
your cr ump
ght
li
le
, like cand
Im quixotic
vern
co
dancing,
dinners, slow
tic.
le
h
29, 510, at
sation. A m
ur
O
n
ou? c/o O
W here ar t th
)
Backs (1992

Cheerf ul per
vert seeks fuck
friend.
Twisted, sarc
astic, good-h
ea
rted
troublemaker
, 29, seeks kin
d
red
spirits for sexu
al friendship
. I prefer
screwing peo
ple I actually
ca
re
about but Im
happy being si
ngle
and I dont w
ant a wife. I li
k
e
words,
minds, disturb
ing music, SM
(Im a
switch) and la
ughing til m
y
st
omach
hurts. I dislik
e television, m
onogamy, cauliflow
er and the L A
Dodgers. Special w
eaknesses for
women
with grey hai
r, nice asses,
an
d/or
motorcycles;
however thes
e are not
requirements
. And anyone
who
laughed at th
is ad is encou
raged to
respond. c/o
On Our Back
s (1991)

Command me to satisfy you, while


I remain a virgin. I get down on
my knees for flannel shirts, boxer
shorts, construction boots. Your
photo gets my response Maam. c/o
On Our Backs (1992)

Big, fat, out,


lezzie
needs satisfac
tion
can you help
? c/o
Flir t (1998)

Was it easier to hook up for a casual


encounter in the 90s or nowadays? Find out
in Annas article, Hooking Up, on the DIVA
website: tinyurl.com/DIVAHookingUp.

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 87

086 sex feature.indd 87

04/12/2014 14:20

| DATING | DIAL A DIVA |


To browse new ads before they go into print call 0906 753 4404.
Calls to 09067 numbers cost 77p per minute at all times.
PLACE AN AD
BY PHONE - CALL FREE ON 0800 839 158 OR BY SENDING THIS
TEXT DVDATE FOLLOWED BY SPACE , THEN YOUR AD, TO 85010 (50P)
Example DVDATE Sassy, sexy F, 25, seeks F for larks & love. Brighton.

Youll receive a text with instructions & a request to record a voice greeting, this is essential for
your ad to appear in print. Placing an ad will cost 50p per text. Youll also receive alerts to voicemail msgs , 50p per text received. To cancel this service text STOP to 85010.

RESPOND & LISTEN


TO ADS BY PHONE BY CALLING 0906 200 8396

1.02/min. Hear what advertisers say about themselves & reply if you like what you hear.

OR VIA TEXT - SEND DV FOLLOWED BY A SPACE THEN THE BOX


NUMBER AND YOUR MESSAGE , TO 84010 (1.50).
Example DV 227045 Hi, saw your ad, want to talk?

Mobile numbers remain confidential. Advertisers receive replies direct to their mobile.
Replying to an ad will cost 1.50 per text. To cancel this service text STOP to 84010.
THIS IS A PHONE AND TEXT SERVICE ONLY. WRITTEN REPLIES WILL NOT BE ANSWERED.

ADVERTISERS!
COLLECT YOUR MESSAGES ON 0906
SINCERE, LOVING
F, 62, likes animals, quiet evenings
& occasional meals out. Seeks F for
loving r/ship. Herts. Box 405562
DEEP, PASSIONATE
GENUINE, LOVABLE
F, 54, seeks stimulating F with
F, 50, 53, likes the gym, walks &
something to say for conversation &
more. SE Ldn/anywhere. Box 269592 meals out. Seeks fine F for good
r/ship. Mancs. Box 901223
CHRISTMAS IS COMING
GROUNDED, GENUINE
Babyface, lonely F, 37, seeks mixed
F, 38, seeks F who is kind to strangers
race F for good lasting r/ship &
& keen to share their best memories
shared future. Coventry. Box 100798
with someone special. London.
* DV 100798
Box 223704 * DV 223704
SPIRITUAL, SINCERE
HONEST, LOYAL, CARING
F, 38, single mum, likes travel &
F, 62, n/s, large build, enjoys walks,
writing. Seeks F for coffee, chats,
possibly intimacy & more. Co. Down. theatre & film. WLTM F, 60+, for a
forever r/ship. Kent. Box 704273
Box 861404 * DV 861404
CREATIVE, OUTGOING, FUN
GENUINE, FRIENDLY
F, 75, non-drinker, seeks F companion, F, 30s, staffie owner, loves DJing,
clubbing, singing, drawing &
GSOH, with car, for cinema, good
socialising. WLTM loyal, mixed-race
food & more. Devon. Box 828190
gay F for r/ship. Cov. Box 783205
HONEST, BISEXUAL
F, 49, 54, large build, seeks nice lady * DV 783205
POSITIVE, OUTGOING, PROFESS
for f/ship & maybe more. Powys.
F, 51, seeks F for dancing in the
Box 807825
kitchen, dog walks on the beach,
OUTGOING, FRIENDLY
good food, laughter & romance.
F, 57, full figure, bisexual, seeks F,
similar age, for fun times, nights in & Newcastle. Box 436275 * DV 436275
COSY NIGHTS IN
more. Glocs. Box 992306
Sincere F, 62, medium build, likes
* DV 992306
animals, walks & some reading. Seeks
ENTIRELY HONEST
F, 55, 510, has a dog & cat, likes long n/s F f/ship & good r/ship. Warwicks.
walks, a bit disabled, seeks F for good Box 733509 * DV 733509
LOVING, LOYAL, FAITHFUL
r/ship. Darlington. Box 381150
F, 41, n/s, enjoys all the good things,
SENSUAL, HONEST
F, 52, medium build, seeks F for good seeks F, 36-48, for f/ship, fun times &
maybe more. Devon. Box 868555
times, maybe more. Soton.
* DV 868555
Box 499883
LOUD, PROUD, CONFIDENT
TEETOTAL, HONEST
F, 72, n/s, likes holidays, socialising & F, 40, bubbly, likes dance & films.
Seeks F for wild nights out &
conversation. Seeks loving, caring F
passionate nights in. Milton Keynes.
for good r/ship. Lancs. Box 822209
Box 273975 * DV 273975
PROFESS, LIFE-LOVING
FUN, TOMBOY
F, 60s, likes beach walks, golf
F, 36, likes football, cinema & nights
& photography. Seeks kind,
out. Seeks feminine F, 30-40, for r/
affectionate lady, GSOH, for r/ship.
ship. Mancs. Box 798661
Hants. Box 457627
* DV 798661
FEMININE, YOUTHFUL
DARK-HAIRED, SOCIABLE
F, 51, GSOH, thoughtful, n/s, has
F, 45, 51, medium build, likes
ME, likes animals & mystery. Seeks
socialising, travel & motorbikes.
understanding, caring F, 38-55, for
Seeks similar F for r/ship. W Ldn,
laughs+. Lpool. Box 913989
Surrey. Box 187431 * DV 187431
* DV 913989
ATTRACTIVE, FEMININE
FRIENDLY, PLUMP, PRETTY
F, 49, likes the gym, reading &
Bisexual lady, 61, seeks similar F for
holidays. Seeks feminine lady for
fun times. Gloucs. Box 237013
good r/ship. Yorks. Box 999700
OUTGOING, BUBBLY
* DV 999700
F, 49, fun, likes nights in/out &
SINCERE, BLONDE
socialising. Seeks similar F for great
F, 37, single mum, seeks honest,
r/ship. Co. Down. Box 657198
loving F for real r/ship. Kent.
* DV 657198
Box 853359 * DV 853359
SINCERE, HAPPY
KIND, CARING
F, 50s, likes gardens & travel. Seeks
F, 45, likes cats, seeks F for loving
nice F for something intimate.
r/ship. Stockport Box 442022
Belfast. Box 372189
LIPSTICK LESBIAN
BISEXUAL, FIT
Attract, easy-going F, 50s, likes most
F, 64, 56, medium build, n/s, seeks
lady, 50-67, for f/ship & maybe more. things, seeks sim late 40s-50s F. Text
preferred. Gloucs. Box 704295
Lanarks. Box 643132

MAYBE MORE

CARING, LOYAL & HONEST


F, 69, loves good books &
conversation & WLTM a free-thinking
F with a sense of fun for f/ship,
maybe more. Fife. Box 342583
* DV 342583
JUST HAVENT MET YOU YET
Caring, genuine F, 53, 53, likes the
outdoors, holidays & the coast.
Seeks similar F for laughs & r/ship.
Cheshire. Box 220543
BISEXUAL
F, 58, seeks lady, 45-60, for f/ship,
maybe more. Nottingham.
Box 957270 * DV 957270
YOUNG-AT-HEART FEM
F, 51, likes most things, seeks similar F
for f/ship, maybe more. Glocs.
Box 403344
SOFT BUTCH
F, 53, cuddly build, seeks down-toearth, feminine F, 50+, for a quiet,
normal life. Bristol. Box 801751
GENUINE, HONEST & FUN
F, 42, 54, slim build, WLTM random,
nice Fs. Mancs. Box 293527
CREATIVE, SENSITIVE
F, 53, GSOH, seeks adventurous F for
r/ship. Ldn, anywhere. Box 589011
GOOD PHYSIQUE, TONED & SLIM
F, 41, 52, ex army, solvent &
independent, seeks similar F with
GOSH for fun times & r/ship. Lancs.
Box 862660 * DV 862660
FEMININE, HONEST
F, 49, into quiet meals out, cinema &
coffees. Seeks similar F for f/ship &
possibly more. Glocs. Box 260418
WARM, FUN, AFFECTIONATE
F, 53, 53, n/s, not butch, not fem,
likes massage, museums, dancing &
meals out. Seeks similar F for r/ship.
Edinburgh. Box 258653 * DV 258653
BOYISH, CASUAL
F, 48, likes rock music, making
music & learning. Seeks F for r/ship.
Peterborough. Box 428477
* DV 428477
PETITE, BOYISH BLONDE
F, 51, solvent, GSOH, likes the
countryside, the gym & comedy.
Seeks F for something wonderful.
Surrey. Box 357480
LOVING, FAITHFUL, CARING
F, 61, large build, n/s, likes walks,
cinema, theatre, meals out & cosy
nights in. Seeks F, 60+, for loving LTR.
Kent. Box 685813 * DV 685813
SLIM, FEMININE
F, 53, likes walks, shopping, meals out
& pubs. Seeks F for f/ship & more.
Lancs. Box 179437 * DV 179437
HONEST, GAY
F, 57, seeks lady, 30-60, for r/ship.
Glasgow. Box 161325
SOCIABLE, SINCERE
F, 36, seeks feminine F, 30-40, for
theatre, meals out & close times.
Mancs. Box 978625 * DV 978625

753 4404 77p/min

CREATIVE, BLONDE, FEM


F, 39, plus size, n/s, loves cooking,
conversation, countryside & art
history. WLTM F for f/ship+. Cumbria.
Box 370456 * DV 370456
GROUNDED, PROFESS
F, 42, 57, brown hair, blue eyes,
enjoys places of interest & weekend
breaks/travel. WLTM older F for
loving LTR. Shrops, Box 903873
BISEXUAL, FIT
F, 64, 56, medium build, n/s, seeks
lady, 50-67, for f/ship & maybe more.
Lanarks. Box 643132 * DV 903873
LAUGHTER & FUN
F, 44, 51, blue eyes, medium build,
seeks F for f/ship & r/ship. Ldn. Box
832249 * DV 832249
SOFT BUTCH
F, 36, seeks loyal, gay F for good
company & r/ship. Coventry.
Box 968577 * DV 968577
CREATIVE, SENSITIVE
F, 53, genuine & intelligent, seeks F
for f/ship & more. SE Ldn/anywhere.
Box 172274
FEMININE, SINCERE
F, 60, n/s, likes cinema, her dogs &
walks. Seeks similar F for f/ship &
maybe more. Cornwall. Box 289505
* DV 289505
VERY OUTGOING
F, 55, loves travel & the outdoors.
Seeks gentle, feminine F, similar age,
for great, loving r/ship. Devon.
Box 527387 * DV 527387
CHEEKY, LOVING
F, 52, feminine, likes meals out,
football & walks. Seeks F for good
times & r/ship. Lancs. Box 794840
CARING & LOYAL
Gay F, 58, smoker, seeks special
feminine gay lady for a close r/ship.
Mansfield/Notts. Box 132991
* DV 132991
GOOD CONVERSATION
F, 49, seeks F, 40-50, with good
outlook, for good conversation &
plenty of laughs. Mancs. Box 177389
RELATIONSHIP OR FUN
F, 45, likes laughs & tennis & other
sports. Seeks F for fun & r/ship.
Mancs. Box 154893 * DV 154893
KIND-HEARTED, HONEST
F, 33, 58, medium build, likes walks,
cinema & nights in. Seeks lovely F for
r/ship. Co. Antrim. Box 194316
LOVING, CARING, GAY
F, 52, likes meals out, cinema & walks.
Seeks caring, loving F for r/ship.
Lancs. Box 745729 * DV 745729
HONEST, AFFECTIONATE
F, 23, likes walks, films & good wine.
Seeks F for good times & r/ship.
Glasgow. Box 459448
GENUINE, CURVY
F, 36, likes cinema & rollerskating.
Seeks F for good times & more.
E Anglia. Box 538084

DYNAMIC ENTREPRENEUR
F, 40, profess, decent, seeks likeminded F for happiness & a good life.
Ldn. Box 699596 * DV 699596
BUBBLY BRUNETTE
Hi, Im 33, looking for a F, 32+, for
f/ship, maybe more. I like socialising
by going out for a drink. Fancy a
drink with me? Co. Down. Box 927379
* DV 927379
AMOROUS, EASY-GOING
F, 48, likes the coast, cinema &
animals. Seeks similar F for good
r/ship. Glocs. Box 563608
SPECIAL, WARM PERSON
F, 51, likes culture, theatre, socialising,
not a big drinker, seeks F for good
times, socialising & intimacy.
Edinburgh. Box 143401 * DV 143401

NO STRINGS

SENSUAL, FEMININE
F, 43, bisexual, seeks similar F for
sensuality & experimentation. S. Ldn.
Box 591109
LONG BLONDE HAIR
F, 36, genuine, broad-minded, enjoys
swimming, music & horse-riding,
seeks F for fun times. Suffolk.
Box 255518
NEW TO THIS
Inexperienced F, 51, seeks F for fun
times. Soton. Box 467075

JUST FRIENDS

SINCERE, TRUSTING
F, 48, likes the outdoors & learning
Spanish. Seeks Fs for chats & genuine
f/ship. Ldn. Box 359170
LIFE BEGINS...
Animal-loving F, 33, seeks friends
for socialising, laughter, intelligent
conversation & a little bit of mischief.
Somerset. Box 757543 * DV 757543
RELATIVELY NORMAL
F, 52, loves animals, drives, gigs &
travel. Seeks Fs for socialising &
f/ship. Kent. Box 491009
* DV 491009

DOUBLES

PROFESSIONAL COUPLE
Fabulous, 50s, WLTM similar. Enjoy
the good things in life, from wining to
dining, shopping, theatre & dog walks.
Berks. Box 877786 * DV 877786

Customer Services:
Dating FAQs & Advice Line

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CALL CHARGES: Calls to 09062 cost 1.02/min at all times (BT Premium Rate). Calls to 09067 cost 77p/min at all times. Calls to 0800 are free. Payphones & non BT network provider charges may vary, 0800 numbers may be chargeable
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88 JANUARY 2015

DV223-088.indd 88

05/12/2014 16:38

| QUEER GROOMING |

new year, new ewe...

BEAUTY

You might be wondering what suffering


can possibly go into a skincream containing a drop of cows milk or a smear of
sheeps lanolin.
Fact: some pretty grim stuff goes
down on the farm. Cows are forcefully
impregnated, often drugged and chained;
their calves are removed the day after
birth (the mothers cry for their children
for days), the males slaughtered, the
females forced to produce milk asap. Conventionally farmed animals are pumped
full of antibiotics and hormones, whether
they need them or not, whereas organic
farmers wont give out antibiotics, so the
sick animals suffer untreated agonies.
Skincare and cosmetics really dont
need the addition of animal products
GOT
to work so why not make 2015 the
A GROOMING
?
year your bathroom goes green?
QUESTION
EMAIL EDIT@
Here are some great ways to kick
DIVAMAG.CO.UK OR
off the New Year in cruelty-free
TWEET JOANNA
style
Joanna Benecke is a
writer with a green tea
addiction who believes
grooming doesnt have
to be a dirty word.
@joannabenecke

JOANNA BENECKE SELECTS THE BEST


CRUELTY-FREE COSMETICS

dr bronner

HELP FARM ANIMALS

ORGANIC LIQUID SOAP

This family-run, ethical, organic, fair trade,


vegan business has been making soaps for over 150 years. And now the
company has launched its Wash Up For Animal Welfare campaign! Buy
any labelled bottle of its 18-in-1 liquid soap before June 2015 and 20p will
be donated to support Compassion in World Farming, which fights factory
farms. Use the soap on face, body, hair, laundry its got 18 uses! (My current favourite is the Almond version because it smells like cake.)
FROM 1.99
drbronner.co.uk

the vegan kind


BEAUTY BOX

Keen to share her favourite vegan cosmetic discoveries, Karris McCulloch has launched her
TVK Beauty Box delivery service (joining TVKs awesome vegan Lifestyle Box, which I heartily
recommend). Sign up and youll receive five to eight quality
make-up and skincare products every quarter, all tried
and tested by Karris herself. A brilliant way to revitalise
(and re-veganise) your sponge bag! Subscription can be
cancelled at any time. Oh, and it makes a brilliant bday
pressie for that special vegan in your life (my birthdays
coming up, FYI).
EACH BOX COSTS 15 + 3.15 P&P
thevegankind.com

TREAT YOURSELF

BRAND OF THE MONTH:

MYCHELLE

This ethical US brand is dedicated


to finding the worlds most potent
natural ingredients and turning them
into skin-saving formulas to help all
skin types. They also make a point of
giving back to community foundations and organizations we believe in,
and wholeheartedly supporting our
staff and their personal passions.
Sounds good! And so are the products. The Daily Defense Cream (19.50)
nourishes and provides SPF17; and
the Apple Brightening
Serum (38) uses apple
stem cells to protect
against sunspots and
discolouration. Vegilicious.
mychelleuk.com

whats that on my face?!


INGREDIENTS LIST ALL GREEK TO YOU?
HERES A QUICK TRANSLATION

COLLAGEN & ELASTIN

HYALURONIC ACID

SQUALANE

Proteins found in
the connective
tissue of animals.

Cocks comb. Yup,


that red flappy bit
on a roosters head.

Carbon-containing
compound found
in shark liver oil.

INFANT FORESKIN

KERATIN

Yes, really. The foreskin, obtained from circumcisions,


promotes new skin growth, says Tim Schmidt,
CEO of cosmeceutical company SkinPro.

Protein from
ground animal
horns, hooves
and hair.

STEARIC ACID

EMU OIL

Fatty acid usually derived from lard


(rendered fat from pigs stomachs)
or tallow (fat from beef or mutton).

Oil from
emu
carcasses.

NB There are synthetic/vegan versions of most of these ingredients available


(though not the infant foreskin)

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 89

089 grooming.indd 89

04/12/2014 14:20

whatever is keeping you up at night, we can help


.......................................................................................................................

free, confidential help for young people under 25


getconnected.org.uk / 0808 808 4994 / text 80849
.......................................................................................................................

DV223-DISPLAY.indd 90

04/12/2014 12:53

| WELLBEING | SAMARITANS |

Need a Good Samaritan?


This Friday, rather than heading out for
the evening with my friends, Ill be travelling into the bustle of Soho for a very
different reason. Im one of the 400 or
so volunteers with the Central London
Samaritans and will be turning up for
my nightshift on the phones.
Samaritans is a listening support
service for people who feel that they
cannot cope with what life is throwing at them. For example, they may
be depressed, lonely, or be having
financial or personal worries. Some are
struggling with thoughts about suicide
or hurting themselves. Samaritans is
a safe place to share these thoughts,
confidentially and without judgement.
Samaritans is not religious and has no
political bias. It is LGBT-friendly and
here to support you.
The build-up to the festive period
and the culmination of the year can be
a particularly difficult time for many
people, but for the LGBT community
there is often our own set of challenges. Not everyone will find themselves
welcomed home to the family with
open arms. Not everyone has a family
or a group of friends with whom to
spend the time. Homophobia, pressure, exclusion and resentment can
be part of the LGBT Christmas, just as
much as tinsel and holly. Winter can be
a lonely, dark place.
If this sounds familiar, the Samaritans website gives some advice
for signs that you might not be coping
with life. If youre feeling like youre
lacking energy or are tired, feeling
restless, agitated or tearful, or if you
dont want to talk or be with people,
these might be indicators that you

need some help. Or perhaps youve


lost enjoyment for things you usually
enjoy doing or are using alcohol or
drugs to cope with your feelings.
If these are aspects you recognise
in yourself, or you see in someone else
close to you, help is out there. The
Samaritans phone lines are available
24/7, so even in the smallest hours
of the night you can reach a friendly
voice. Amazingly, in the 60 years
that Samaritans has been running,
the phone lines have never closed.
Volunteers dedicate their time to listen
to you and to give you their sole attention. They never talk about themselves
or give advice, perhaps unlike even
your most sympathetic friends. They
are there to listen empathically, but
also to help you explore your feelings.
You will never be judged for what you
say or for anything you have done.
Although many people associate
Samaritans with suicide, you dont
have to be feeling suicidal to call up. If
you feel youre in a situation where you
cant talk to anyone else and you want
to share your feelings, then its ok for
you to call. If you have concerns about
someone elses emotional welfare
you can also ask Samaritans to call
this person directly, or if youve been
affected by someone elses depression
or suicide, you can call to discuss your
feelings about this.
However, if you prefer not to talk,
or your situation does not allow you
the time or safe space to talk over the
phone, there are other useful methods
of contacting Samaritans. There is an
email and text service and your local
branch may also offer a drop-in facility.

SUPPORT
SERVICE THE
SAMARITANS
IS ON CALL
ALL YEAR
ROUND, EVEN
AT CHRISTMAS

WORDS ROSIE OWENS

In the 60
years that
Samaritans
has been
running,
the phone
lines have
never
closed

For example, Central London Samaritans, located in the heart of Soho, is


open for personal visits without
appointments between 9am and 9pm.
During these visits you can talk faceto-face in confidence with a volunteer
about whatever is on your mind. For
those who spend much of their time
on their own, or do not have family
or friends to talk to, for whatever the
reason, this is a fantastic opportunity
for warm, human contact.
When I tell people that Im a
Samaritans volunteer people often
comment on the challenging side of
the role, and yes, it can be difficult at
times. However, I can honestly say that
it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. The
support between the volunteers also
creates a fantastic team experience. If
you think you might be interested in
volunteering, there is more information available on the website.
If you think Samaritans could help
you please call us on 08457 909 090
(call charges apply). Phone lines are
open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
You can text us on 07725 909 090 or
email us at jo@samaritans.org.
For information about your local
branch or to find out about volunteering opportunities please visit
samaritans.org. The Central London
Samaritans branch can be found at 46
Marshall Street, London, W1F 9BF and
is open for visitors between 9am and
9pm.

Rosie is a listening volunteer and leader of


the LGBT Outreach Team at the Central London
Samaritans.
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 91

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03/12/2014 09:11

CALM WORDS

WHEN YOU NEED THEM MOST...

FROM COMING OUT TO GOING OUT, THROUGH FALLING IN (& OUT OF) LOVE, TO MAKING NEW
FRIENDS. FROM SEXUAL HEALTH TO MENTAL HEALTH, & EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN.
WHATEVER THE CALL, FOR CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION & SUPPORT YOU CAN TALK TO US.
CALM WORDS WHEN YOU NEED THEM MOST.

0300 330 0630


email support: chris@llgs.org.uk

Help us continue to support the community by donating or joining our team of award winning volunteers.
To find out more visit LLGS.org.uk

London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard is a registered charity. Charity Reg. No. 296193 Registered in England.

DV223-DISPLAY.indd 92

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| ADVICE | ASK JANE |

NO PROBLEM

DIVA editor Jane Czyzselska is a qualified


integrative counsellor, registered with the
BACP. Jane cannot offer individual responses
or answer every single question. Please note
that by submitting your question to Jane,
you are giving your permission for her to use
your question as the basis of her next column,
and your story will be shared on Facebook for
advice from readers. Jane may not be able to
tell you that she is using your question, but
will try to email you the reply if she does. All
questions will be kept anonymous and key
details and facts may change to protect your
identity. You can find out more about Janes
counselling services at shoreditchtherapy.com

IF YOUVE
GOT ISSUES,
WE CAN HELP

MY EX AND I KISSED BEHIND


HER BOYFRIENDS BACK
Dear Jane
When I was 16 I had a relationship
with a girl, X. This relationship
lasted nearly eight years, and it
was somewhat difficult. During
those eight years there were many
separations. Almost three years
ago our relationship finally ended,
or so I thought. She then began a
relationship with a guy and soon she
became pregnant. Now her child is
almost two. Learning that she was a
mum was painful. She was the only
woman I ever loved and it has been
very difficult for me to move on.
My problem started a couple of
months ago, when she started looking for me to have a friendship, but I
still remember all that time we were
together. A week ago we met at a
party, and we had a few drinks and
ended up kissing, hugging, touching
etc.
I regret this now because I feel
like its back to the past and I do not
want that. It was so difficult to stay
well after the end of the relationship
and Im afraid the same thing will
happen again. I do not know what
to do. Should I try to have her as a
friend? She is still with the boy she
lives with him. I feel confused but I
know that if this ends badly, I will be
the hardest hit, as she has a family.
Help !

Anxious
Dear Anxious
You say X is the only woman youve
ever loved, and that this relationship
has been a profoundly important

PHOTO HOLLY FALCONER

READERS REPLIES
Leave it. Never back-pedal no
matter how swept up in a moment
you feel. Please try and draw a
line under the past and move
along with your own life. Its best
all around. Sometimes its just too
difficult to maintain any bond or
friendship with someone we have
such feelings about. Give yourself

the chance to meet someone new


without all the complications and
potential pain added to them. She
remains with her male partner;
despite her reasons, this remains
the fact. Leave it, walk away, its
best for you. Good luck.
Victoria Smith

First of all, dont get drunk around


each other again. A friendship is
only gonna work in the sober light
of day.
Alice Ishbel Watson

one. Now, after separating and reconnecting recently with X in a very


physical way, 11 years after you first
met, it sounds like you are still yearning for her.
You say X approached you about
friendship but her behaviour is sending
a mixed message, so Id suggest asking
about her intentions, otherwise you
risk being hurt again.
Perhaps you could find out why she
has made contact with you (and why
now)? You say she is still with her boyfriend but given that she kissed and
touched you when you met, perhaps
shes after a friends with benefits
situation with you. Could you manage
such a set-up? It sounds as if that
wouldnt work for you.
Whatever the situation, in order to
arrive at an answer to your question
about keeping her as a friend, Im going
to pose a few more questions for you
to think through. You say you broke
up many times during your eight years
together. What made you (or her) pull
away? Was there a pattern to this
process? How did these ruptures leave
the two of you? What was it that drew
you back together?
Establishing, in retrospect, a little
clarity about the nature of your past
relationship might help you to see if
you can remain friends with X today.
Ask yourself honestly what it is that
you want from her: is it friendship (and
what does that mean for you if it is?) or
do you still desire her? If the answer to
this last question is yes, you might find
it hard to maintain a platonic friendship as indeed it seems she does too
and youll need further clarity from
her before you can make a decision.
If she really does simply want to
retain your friendship, and you feel
you still share enough in common, and
you can accept her life as it is now
child, partner and all then perhaps
it will be possible for you to have a
friendship.

DIVAMAG.CO.UK 93

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03/12/2014 09:10

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ARIEL SCHRAG VIDEO TRAILER FOR HER
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04/12/2014 16:53
16:43

| THE GEEK |

TECHNOLOGY

I predicted last January that 2014 would


be the year of the wearable tech. I was
right, to an extent. We have seen more
new smart watches this year than I have
had hot dinners (mainly because looking
after myself is not my fort).
At the risk of repeating myself, I reckon
2015 is the year that more than just us
hardcore geeks will be decking ourselves
out in digital fashion.
So, what is the well-dressed dyke with
an eye for cutting-edge technology going
to treat herself to this year?
Rhoda Meek is an IT
consultant and designer
with a social media addiction, a crochet habit,
a RaspberryPi and two
left feet.
wodieskodie.com
@wodieskodie

WHATS
YOUR CURRENT
GEEKY OBSESSION?
LET ME KNOW!
GEEK@DIVAMAG.
CO.UK

DOING SOCIAL
MEDIA RIGHT...
is rising Facebook star Naomi
MacIver, a 28-year-old cook in the
merchant navy who shares the ups
and downs of life in a series of frankly
hilarious videos and updates.
She says: Its not about being
Facebook famous, its about being
able to make people laugh. I keep it
all on my own personal page. I share
my whole life with the world, the ups
and downs, good times and bad. I
want people to know its ok to be gay,
to be whatever they want to be.
Shes engaged though, ladies.
Sorry about that.
facebook.com/naomi.maciver

Smart is what
you wear
RHODA MEEK GETS HER TECHY GLAD-RAGS
ON WITH THE MEMI BRACELET AND MORE

If you dont like the in-your-face


ugly of some digital wearables,
what about a sophisticated MEMI?
How many times have you missed
a call because you dont have a convenient
place to store your phone? MEMI (pronounced
MEM-ee) set out to solve this problem by
creating a chic iPhone-compatible smart
bracelet that discretely vibrates when you
receive an important phone call, text message or calendar alert. The best
part is that you can customise which people like your boss, babysitter, parents, or
partner break through to your bracelet via an app, so you can put your phone
away without worrying youre going to miss something important.
hellomemi.com

SPARKLY!

For the fitness fiend, keeping track of those


all-important miles, calories and workouts
is very important. Enter Fitbit. Dedicated to
helping people lead healthier, more active
lives, Fitbit has a product range to suit all

FITNESS FANATIC

GEEKY

budgets, in a range of colours and styles.


Apparently people wearing a Fitbit actually
take 43% more steps than those who dont.
They even sell a wifi enabled scale Fitbit
will also track your sleep patterns, making it
an all-round solution for those who
want to know what their body is up
to at all times.
fitbit.com

For sheer geek delight, I cannot ignore the Pebble watch. This was one
of the first digital watches to break through to public consciousness. It started life on Kickstarter and is now trading with
a variety of watches and styles. Pebble has a fun,
friendly style and even cares about climate
change. This is not a flashy, in-your-face watch;
it is functional and powerful. See who is
calling, texting, or emailing without having to
find your phone. The Pebble watch has up to
seven days battery life. It is water resistant up
to 50 meters, tracks your fitness, and you can
read it in the daytime, even in bright sunlight.
getpebble.com
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 95

095 geek.indd 95

04/12/2014 14:21

DIARY

December /
January

TIS THE
SEASON TO
BE JOLLY, SO
DON YOUR
GLADRAGS
AND HEAD
FOR THE
BRIGHT
LIGHTS!

until 30.12

FLICK YR MAGIC BEANS


RVT, London

Wannabe YouTube sensation Jack Trotts


craves riches and fame but thwarting his
quest is the villainous Count Fleshcreep.
Will Jack triumph? Find out at this campas-Christmas pantomime. NSFW (or kids).
rvt.org.uk

Until 4.01
TAKE THE STAGE

Soho Theatre, London

Radical Belgian theatre company Ontroerend


Goed give you their feminist commandments
for RIGHT NOW. Shrieking soundscapes,
groovy imagery and zero compromises.
sohotheatre.com

20.12

LAST TANGO IN SHOREDITCH


Old Truman Brewery, London

Last Dance promises 1000 lesbians under


one roof (dont know how they can guarantee that or if you get a shiny sash for being
number 1000). Femme, Hannah Holland
and Izzy Trixx perform at this huuuge girls
night in Londons gay East End.
lastdanceparty.com

26.12

BOXING CLEVER

Vanilla Bar, Manchester

CREASED

Bloomsbury Theatre, London

Jen Bristerand a glorious gaggle of mates are teaming up with


Stonewall to bring you a fantastic night of oestrogen-charged comedy.
Proceeds go towards great work supporting the gay community at
home and overseas.
tinyurl.com/DIVAgirlsnight

Send your listings to


dora@divamag.co.uk
For weekly listings,
visit divamag.co.uk

27.12

HAPPY XMAS, DUCK!


RVT, London

Post-gay performance and events crew


Duckie have the good night out well and
truly patented. They deal in audience
interactive experiences that blur the
boundaries between theatre, nightclubs
and arty show business. Live comedy
from the delectable Jayde Adams.
duckie.co.uk

WORDS DORA MORTIMER, PHOTO ELFIE SEMOTAN (L BOURGEOIS)

19.01

WHATS
HAPPENING
WHERE
YOU
ARE?

Vanilla stalwart DJ Furey is here to keep


that Christmas party going and shes only
got mince pies for you. Cockle-warming
beats and festive treats till late.
vanillagirls.co.uk

96 JANUARY 2015

096 diary.indd 96

04/12/2014 14:23

| LISTINGS |
the plain great! FemRock Brighton present
a seasonal edition of their screw-you punk
night with an all female DJ line-up playing
the cream of female-fronted riot grrrl,
rock, punk, hip-hop, R&B and pop!
thegreendoorstore.co.uk

16.01-18.04
BOURGEOIS
FANTASY

Southampton City Art


Gallery, Southampton

Louise Bourgeois explored


the mystery and beauty
of human emotions and
the pressures and insights
of womanhood. Witness
a choice selection of her
needling and gaze-holding
stuff.
southampton.gov.uk

27.12

SHAKE IT!

Electric Brixton, London

Dancehall, house, reggae, hip-hop and R&B


for homos + friends. Bootylicious started life
in Vauxhall and now resides in Brixton where
the night spreads itself over two floors and
invites a friendly, attitude free crowd.
bootylicious-club.co.uk

27.12

EXTRA SALSA
Exilio, London

Want some deep Latin heat in the bleak

20.12

CHRISTMAS MARKET
Stereo, Glasgow

Those Scottish lasses TYCI have got


a wonderful Xmas surprise for you:
theyve invited their favourite females
over for a whole DAY of art, performance and live music, including a
makers market filled with local talent
where you can bag all your Xmas
shopping! Expect tinsel.
tinyurl.com/DIVAtyci

10.01

UNPRETTY
The Admiral,
Glasgow

midwinter? Shed some layers at this LGBT


Latin affair. Spanish vibes and flamegrilled dance. Because Christmas is over,
which means it must be time for our
summer hols right?
facebook.com/Exilio.Latino

31.12

ADAM AND
NEW YEARS STEVE
RVT, London

Taking pop deadly seriously since 2010,


Push the Button is giving NYE the full
treatment. Expect Robyn and Gaga, Aqua
and Schlager and possibly the Brookside
theme. Because sometimes you just want
to dance to Rachel Stevens and lip-sync to
Billie Piper.
rvt.org.uk

31.12

THE NORTH POLE


Tribeca, Manchester

Party magnates Dulcet Sounds present a


very lesbian New Years Eve. All-female
DJ line up, appearances from DJ Hazel
(Rapture) and Screw the DJ (Vanilla). If
you werent gay in 2014, you will be by
tomorrow.
dulcetsounds.co.uk

08.01

JINGLE BELL ROCK


Green Door Store,
Brighton

Aint nothin but a grrrl thing. Club night


dedicated to the queer, the feminist and

Drape that tinsel, iron that paper crown,


mount that fairy, Pretty Ugly are doing a
do for Christs sake! (Literally.) A venerable
soundtrack of faintly jingly numbers featuring Saint Etienne, Hole, Sleater Kinney,
Haim and similar.
theadmiralbar.com

14.01

SING IT OUT!

Dyke Road, Brighton

Friendly, expert-led GLOW choir welcomes


all levels of singer and deals in a cappella
songs of passion, protest and celebration
from around the world. Tea provided in
exchange for willing vocal chords.
glowchoir.weebly.com

22.01
GAY 4 J

02 Academy, Newcastle

Jessie J broke a lot of hearts when she


got back in the closet last year. I guess
our gaydar must need an MOT then see
the big-mouthed beaut do it like a dude
this Jan.
Jessiejofficial.com

06.02

BOOK NOW!

Contact Theatre,
Manchester

DIVA opens up a lively and arousing


debate about lesbian and bisexual desire,
with filmmaker/curator Campbell X, addiction expert Sarah Graham, Cosmopolitans Dr Rachel Morris, The University of
Manchesters Dr Monica Pearl and Kathy
McGuirk of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. Hosted by Jane Czyzselska.
contactmcr.com
DIVAMAG.CO.UK 97

096 diary.indd 97

04/12/2014 14:23

NEXT ISSUE

SUBSCRIBE NOW AT DIVASUB.CO.UK TO RECEIVE AN EXCLUSIVE COVER!


For additional exclusive video content every month, why not buy the digital issue at DIVADIGITAL.CO.UK?

ILLUSTRATION FERNAND OSAFONT

DOWNLOAD IT ON 23 JANUARY
IN SHOPS ON 29 JANUARY

98 JANUARY 2015

098 next issue.indd 98

04/12/2014 16:59

DIVADATE
FREE TO JOIN
LOGIN WITH FACEBOOK
GOLD MEMBERSHIP FOR JUST 5.95
WWW.DIVADATE.CO.UK

TESTIMONIALS
I joined, met the love
of my life within a week
and 3 years on were
getting married. All
thanks to DIVA Date!
Just a little
message to say
thank you, you put
me in touch with
one of the most
amazing women
Ive ever met

DV223-COVERS.indd
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DATE 4.indd 2 99

02/12/2014
09/04/2014 17:09
11:11

actionforcharity

Cycle Vietnam
to Cambodia

women V cancer

24 Nov5 Dec 2016

Ekabhishek

Join the next Women V Cancer cycle challenge from Ho Chi Minh City to
Angkor Wat and raise funds to fight breast, cervical and ovarian cancers

For information and to register online:

www.actionforcharity.co.uk
events@actionforcharity.co.uk 01590 677854

Raising
funds
for these
charities:

Registered Charity Nos: Breast Cancer Care: 1017658/SC038104, Jos Cervical Cancer Trust: 1133542/SC041236, Ovarian Cancer Action: 1109743/ SC043478. Women V Cancer
is established under the Charities Aid Foundation Charity No. 268369. To take part you need to pay a registration fee of 299 and raise minimum sponsorship funds of 3,200.

Viet
Camb DIVA 285x210.indd
1
DV223-COVERS.indd
100

ction
for charity
lifechangingevents

24/11/2014 17:09
13:58
02/12/2014