I don’t like labels – LGBTQ+, my sexuality/gender and J Rowling.

Hello my little demons,

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the LGBTQ+ community and my own sexuality/gender , I have always had a “it’s your life, your business” kind of attitude towards everyone.

If you want kids. If you don’t want kids. If you don’t want to get married. If you’re happy being single. You like to watch cartoons. If you’re a model. If you’re a stripper. Have a weird fettish. If you’re a stay at home mum. If you like to collect Pokemon cards (ahem). Want to live on a boat. Want to move country. If you are gay. If you were born in the wrong body/gender. If you prefer the pronouns ‘they/them’.

I have no say over how someone wants to live their lives. I have no say over someone’s gender or sexual orientation. I have no say over the individual’s struggles. I personally do not understand why there is such a big deal over it (and that wasn’t an open invitation to tell me, so please, keep your negative comments to yourselves!). As far as I am concerned, if you are happy – then I am happy. As long as you’re not being violent, racist, sexist or otherwise shaming someone else, for what EVER reason. And, yes, I also am aware of the biological side of things, but this isn’t a post about explaining how it IS possible! I just want everyone to live their most authentic/true/happy life!

Okay, I will admit, there was a time when I was a teen that I hated gay people. Mostly gay men. Why? I have no idea. It was a social norm, I guess. Everyone else around me either hated, disliked or would avoid gay men, so I learnt to do the same, I looked up to the adults in my life and learnt it from them. It was expected of me to be a woman, get married, get a house, have kids (I want to point out my mum was never like that, this is more of a ‘community’ or social norm – my mum has always been interested in me just being happy and healthy). Until, one day, I found out a very good friend of mine at college was gay. I was immediately ashamed. Not because he was gay. But I was ashamed that I had EVER hated gay men. This guy was the NICEST person you would ever meet, he was funny, smart, and was an absolutely joy to be around.

It got me thinking about gay men and lesbians, and I realise now that I had never had an issue with lesbians (I have heard they don’t like being called gay, as the word ‘lesbian’ was shunned in media/films and they’d be referred to as ‘gay’ instead – so, if I ever say ‘gay’ and refer to a lesbian, I apologise!) and I realise how bad that was. I hated gay men, but never thought negatively towards lesbians. Why? Media. Gay men were always seen as ‘wrong’ yet lesbians were okay because they were seen as a sexual item, for men’s entertainment. And, don’t get me started on my thoughts on how women are perceived as objects! That’s a rant for another day!

My own sexuality/gender

Fast forward a few years and I started to question my own sexuality. Not because I knew something was wrong, not in the conventional “having to hide in the closet” sort of deal that most people have had to go through. But I started to realise that I wasn’t just attracted to men, I was also attracted to women. And started to think I was bisexual. I have never really felt the need to officially come out though (hi, mum and dad!)

Now, over the years I have had this in mind and started to educate myself in the LGBTQ+ community, watching as the letters in the acronym grew (I will refer to it as LGBT+ or LGBTQ+ periodically in my blogs, posts and other ramblings, but please be aware that I mean no disrespect if I miss a letter!) and attempting to learn along the way. Not only learn about the community, but also question my own sexuality and gender.

I then started to educate myself in what ‘demisexual’ and ‘pansexual’ was. If you don’t know, demisexuality is a branch of asexuality where a person only feels sexually attracted to a person when they have a deep connection with them on an emotional/intelligent level. Pansexuality is basically similar to bisexuality but openly agrees that there are more than two genders (hi, to my gender-fluid and non-binary friends!) And, when I heard someone refer to themselves as demi-pansexual, and learnt what it meant… I immediately went… THAT’S ME! (I never understood why people can have one-night stands).

Recently, however, I had to further educate myself in what it means to be pansexual. I have in the past told people that I am pansexual (or part of my sexuality) because I openly didn’t mind if I became involved with someone in the trans community. BUT, I recently found out that THAT isn’t what it means to be pan, in fact, that is extremely offensive to a trans person because that is implying that they are NOT that gender. For example, if I were to meet a trans man and say to him I would date him because I am pansexual, I am implying they are NOT a man. Because, whether they have transitioned or not THEY ARE A MAN. For me, my pansexuality means that I recognise there are more than two genders; that I also include gender-fluid and non-binary people.

On top of that, I also started to think about my own gender. Mostly after coming across a few videos about non-binary and gender-fluid. I have always been referred to as ‘she/her’. A woman. Or a girl (although I hate that as it implies I am a child) – I also recently started to refer to myself as ‘Ms’ instead of ‘Miss’. But, most people will know that I have never been girly. I hate having my hair done. I hate wearing dresses. I’ve never been into the same things that girls my age (when I was a child) was into. Everyone called me ‘a tomboy’. That’s still true. I am. But, it’s led me to realise that what does that mean about my gender? Am I female? Who just likes cars, bikes and drinks whisky? Or am I actually a man? Or am I non-binary? Or gender-fluid? I told someone at university once that I was more ‘gender-fluid’ than a woman, and it fits more, so I consider myself that more than anything. I cannot detach myself from womanhood completely, but I also cannot personally identify as a woman as it doesn’t quite ‘feel right’.

HOWEVER, I also recently had a think about all these labels; demi-pansexual, bisexuality, gender-fluid and I’ve come to the realisation that labels are for other people, not for me. I only really worry about these labels because it’s a way of explaining to others who I am. When the conversation of sexuality comes up and people wrongly assume “when you get a boyfriend” I feel the need to explain. When someone wrongly assumes that I must like girly things because I was born female, I feel the need to explain. These labels aren’t for me, they’re for others, because others cannot understand who I am outside of what the stereotypical majority are. And, because the majority of the world doesn’t actually understand what demisexuality or pansexuality is, I am also having to explain what they are, and I don’t really have a connection to the words, only the meaning behind them.

So, for clarification; I am Penny. I go by the pronouns ‘she/her/they/them’, and unless I openly say I am attracted to you, my sexuality isn’t any of your business.

I don’t like labels.

Being an Ally & adding in the LGBTQ+ community into my writing

Supporting the LGBT+ (and yes, that also includes transmen/transwomen too!), doesn’t mean you have to be LGBT+ yourself. You can be an LGBT+ ally! I’m looking at you straight cis men/women!

And, they also need you! Regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation! We need to add to the discourse to educate ourselves and end the stigma. Although, I consider myself part of the LGBTQ+ community, I try to stand up for people, I actively engage in educating myself and I am open to understanding different view-points. I am not going to say that I am 100% right, there is still a lot I need to learn, and there is a lot that I will probably get wrong. Just like my previous view on gay men and what it means to be pansexual, and there are a lot of people out there that have a viewpoint and openly express that opinion. I just want to say to those people; it’s okay having an opinion, but it’s not okay spouting off hate and misinformed ideas at people trying to shove this opinion on them when it can be damaging. Not only is it damaging to those you are talking about (trans, gay, lesbian, etc), but it can enforce ideas in the general public and you are indirectly causing damage. Let’s learn to have healthy conversations, ask questions, don’t enforce your ideas, look up research (real peer-reviewed research, not news reports!) and question your ideologies. Just because the majority of the people, the ‘social norm’, thinks it’s one thing, doesn’t mean it’s true. Heck, the whole world thought everything revolved around the Earth and when Galileo suggested everything revolved around the sun, he was sentenced to life imprisonment! I will just leave that thought with you.

Alongside my self-discovery of both my own gender/sexuality and educating myself on LGBTQ+ topics, I also try to add these elements into my writing. I mean, yes, I try to add topics that revolve around certain issues – such as my book ‘I Fell In Love with a Psychopath’ which talks about psychopathy and trying to bring about the idea that psychopathy as not overtly bad (because not all psychopaths are mass-murders, they can be model citizens and a part of the community!), as well as the idea of adding in topics about being gay, lesbian, trans, gender-fluid, mental health issues, and many more.

I recently decided to write a story about a girl with Selective Mustism, it’s a true story, in a way, although the characters are made up, the experiences in it are very true and what I have both experienced and still experience, it’s going to be called ‘The Girl Who Whispered’.

I also will be adding in MANY topics into my book Rose Garden Sanatorium, which, I cannot say too much as I do not want to give anything away just yet – and also because I haven’t finished writing it, so things might change (again!).

But I don’t want to just add in a character just to make them ‘fit’ in the story to keep everyone happy. I don’t want a story that is supposed to be about demons, supernatural, the underworld, and randomly add in a new character that is a lesbian and she have no real point to the story. I will add in a few, because of course, the real world obviously have them, but not MAKE them fit just because. The story will have gender-fluid, gay, and demi-sexual characters because it fits with the story – with the plot… I feel like I am both contradicting myself and not making sense… Read the book/s (when it’s finally done) and it’ll make sense.

The J Rowling Fiasco

I feel the need to add a small section about this, as this is probably where my recent interest in educating myself in the trans community was really sparked. J Rowling. And, you’ll notice that I say “J Rowling” here and not “J. K. Rowling” because the “K” was added onto her books to make it “look better” – she doesn’t actually have a middle name!

Recently, say in the last year or so, J Rowling has done and said a lot of things that publicly shuns the trans community. I won’t go into detail, as again, it is very long and not the point of this post. If you want to know more, I encourage you to research it and form your own opinion. This section is merely to tell you why I no longer can support J Rowling and the Harry Potter franchise – and believe me… it’s been a VERY difficult decision for me!

You might have come across that I would mention that a lot of my writing work has stemmed from Harry Potter. I have always been interested in reading and writing my own stories, from the age of about eight. But my interest in books came back when I was in my teens and I came across Harry Potter. I had a troubled childhood, as I had Selective Mutism (read more about this here) and Harry Potter was one of my ‘escapisms’ (along with Dragon Ball Z). So, after my mum gave me that first book, I was hooked. I would wait eagerly for the next book to come out. I would wait eagerly for them to come out on film (although, I wasn’t as interested in the films as I was the books). I would write fan-fiction. I would day-dream about being in the world of Harry Potter and away from my horrific life. I went to the Harry Potter studios in London. Dreamed of going to the studios in Orlando, Florida. Collected different editions of the books. Even collected different languages. Got loads of clothes, trinkets, notepads. I even got a damn tattoo of the Hogwarts castle on my left arm!

But when I heard that J Rowling has been publicly supporting transphobes and making her own comments on the community… I was torn. At first I believed that she was just misinformed, that she isn’t educating herself and being as someone with such a public following and power in the community, should. She made some comments that made sense about looking after children’s welfare, but as many in the trans community have explained, are just not accurate. I was torn because I felt like J Rowling was just speaking out wrongly, she wasn’t actively being transphobic, just voicing her (inaccurate and very wrong) opinion, and although she was going about it the wrong way, there wasn’t really much wrong with having an opinion and starting a discourse (although, her ‘research’ was very inaccurate and not actually sourcing credible, reliable and peer-reviewed sources!)

UNTIL I heard that she was writing a story about a ‘man in a dress’ that goes around killing people. And THAT was when I put my foot down and said ‘NOPE!’ to J Rowling and the Harry Potter franchise. I looked this up and true enough, her newest book is based around a ‘man in a dress’, who kills people: here’s the wiki page for it (bare in mind, this book was done under her alias Robert Galbraith). And yes, there is a small bit on the wiki page that says “the transphobia accusations were baseless and slanderous, noting that Dennis Creed is investigated along with a dozen other suspects” and “people who have not read the book were making wrong assumptions based on a single review.” A small bit of research also found her other book ‘The Silkworm’ (under the same alias) also has a transgender character ‘Pippa Midgley’ who tries to attack a character with a knife (here’s the wiki page). And okay, I will have to admit, I haven’t read either of these books, so I cannot comment on the context or the full story on these characters, nor will I be interested in buying these books and letting any more of my money go to support a transphobe, so there may be something I am missing here. I also will note that Wikipedia isn’t the best source, but without actually plagiarizing the books, it was my way of showing you some truth about these books at least. But, add this with everything else she has done to build a picture.

Yes, there have been more incidents too, which a few men and women in the trans community (and allies) have explained. But, forgive me for not going into detail about everything! This post isn’t to discuss everything surrounding J Rowling’s transphobia, it’s about why I currently cannot support the woman and the Harry Potter franchise. Like I said, I encourage you to go out there, do your own research on both sides, speak to people, and form your own opinion, but be willing to be open.

Either way, I was hurt. Upset. And extremely disgusted that not only the woman I looked up to, a writer myself wanting to be LIKE HER, but my whole childhood now feels like it has been a lie. My writing has been influenced by her; the realism in my books is taken from Harry Potter. Even the book sizes are deliberately EXACTLY the same size as hers.

Now, the reason why I am writing this, is because I feel the need to OPENLY disagree with her PUBLICALLY. I need to OPENLY support the trans community PUBLICALLY. And I hope this encourages others to do the same! Now you know where I stand. Let’s stand up together for trans rights and LGBTQ+!

Like I said before, this is my own opinion, and just my way to explain why I cannot support J Rowling and the Harry Potter franchise. I haven’t gone into detail about other research I have done – including watching videos of trans YouTubers (I recommend checking Samantha Lux and Jammi Dodger) – and I still have a lot of research to do too. My opinion may change slightly – but either way, I support the trans community!

NB: I have purposefully removed the ability to comment on this blog post to avoid any negative, hateful, hurtful and violent comments.

~~~

I’ve included a few links for help with LGBT+ and mental health and people you should check out:

Mindline Trans+ (part of Mind, the mental health charity) is an emotional and mental health support helpline in the UK for anyone identifying as transgender, non-binary, genderfluid…
mindlinetrans.org.uk

Scottish Trans is an Equality Network project to improve gender identify and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Scotland:
www.scottishtrans.org

Samantha Lux’s YouTube Channel – an (absolutely beautiful) transwoman who talks about her struggles with her transition, being trans and other transgender issues:
www.youtube.com/user/samproductions516

Jammi Dodger’s (Jamie Raines) YouTube Channel – a (yes, he’s pretty handsome too!) transman who talks about his struggles with his transition, being trans and transgender issues: www.youtube.com/user/MrPinocchio17

~~~

As always, don’t forget to like, reblog and share, and/or follow!

thegirlwhowhispered.com

facebook.com/TheGirlWhoWhispered
instagram.com/thegirlwhowhispered/
twitter.com/penny_hoops

Standing up to Bullying – don’t stop the dreamers!

I found out this morning that people in the village have been talking about me (I’m not surprised, it’s what they do best; gossip). But what made me laugh was that someone mentioned I’m writing a book. I am. But I am doing so much more than that. And I don’t mean my university studies either. I mean my scheming. I have ideas. Ideas that I want to turn into plans. I am using my time to not only write (and finish my studies) but to come up with a plan for the future. The future isn’t exactly set in stone. But I have an outline of what I want it to look like.

In the past I have spoken out about my ideas, my dreams, some haven’t worked out (most of them actually), either because I changed my mind or because other things have got in the way (like my studies getting in the way of my plan to travel the world for charity), and I’ve had people ridicule me (including family) and try to push me down, but I haven’t let it deter me. It just makes me stronger. I don’t care what people think of me, think of me what you like, but I know who I am and I’m going to keep pushing to be the best version of me as possible.

Do you think Marie Curie would be in history books if she gave up when she was refused entry to Krakow University because she was a woman? She was later given two nobel prizes. She was the first woman to recieve one. The first person and only woman to win twice. The only person to win in two different science fields.

Do you think Galileo Galilei would be in history books if gave up when the church tried to thwart his ideas that Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe and revolves around a sun?

Do you think Thomas Edison would be in history books now if he gave up when he tried thousands of failed attempts to create the first lightbulb?

I’m not saying I will be in history books, or find the cure to cancer or even do anything worthy at all, that’s a bit pompus, but I am saying that people doubt people who may one day be brilliant all the time. That’s what keeps me going, when it feels like everyone is against me. I’m not interested in getting into a history book, I’m not even interested in being formally recognised for my efforts or possible future accomplishments. But I am interested in proving a point. Proving that people shouldn’t look down upon others, don’t push them down because you think it’s funny, to fit into a crowd, or because you think they’re just ‘talk and no action’, those people, with the dreams and the ones we should be supporting.

I am also interested in pushing people to follow their dreams, no matter how silly they feel they are (unless they’re morally wrong, then I have a problem!) and being the best version of themselves.

Yes, I am writing a book. I would love nothing more for it to inspire people. But I’m not building my hopes up that it will. I’ll push really hard for it, but I’m not setting myself up for a fall just in case. I am also studying psychology, and want to push hard to get a PhD one day, contribute in some way in the world of knowledge.

I also still want to do things for charity, it might not be that round the world trip, I did a charity abseil (found my weakness is in lack of support though thus not much fundraising happened, so am finding other avenues to help instead) but I also have the idea to set up a business, a social enterprise to bring people, companies, charities and the community together to make the world a better place.

Feel free to think “She’s all talk and no action”. I might not accomplish everything, but I’m going to still damn well try to do my best! But I don’t care what you say or think about me. I care about helping others. DONT push other people down to make yourself feel better, THEY might be the next Marie Curie or Thomas Edison!

Waiting to hear from The Princes Trust

So, I sent an email to The Princes Trust today. After speaking to a good friend of mine who said my idea was fantastic, it really encouraged me to make my dream a reality.

So, within 5 days, I should get a call from someone at Princes Trust to discuss my business plan. They might be able to help.

If you haven’t read my previous blog post, I will explain briefly. I have this big and very ambitious idea of opening up a hotel chain which has the sole purpose of helping the homeless population.

It saddens me to see people living on the streets, by probably no fault of their own. Yes, I know, some of them are probably drug addicts, but we need to stop pointing the figure of blame and recognise that drug addiction is a mental health issue or at least a form of escapism. I escape reality by diving into a good book or writing my own, but everyone has their way of dealing, and sometimes people turn to drugs and then get themselves stuck!

Anyway, I won’t go into too much detail here, but my aim is to help these people. And if I cannot go straight into the hotel business, then I’ll start off somewhere else and smaller. A hotel is rather ambitious, especially for someone who doesn’t have business knowledge let alone knowing how to run one!

So, for now, I’ll leave that there, I’ll keep you posted with what happens! 🙂

Business/Charity idea

I was reflecting open this social enterprise company in Scotland this morning, they’re mainly based in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but are hoping to expand; they’re called Social Bite.

Click here to go to their website.

For those of you who don’t know, Social Bite is a social enterprise which sole purpose is to change social issues, mainly homelessness in Scotland. They’re a cafe/sandwich chain of shops in these cities, where people can just go to get a bite to eat, but people can also donate money to put aside for homeless people so they can go in and get something to eat. They also stress that 100% of their profits go towards charity, they’re soely driven on making social change!

One of my favourite celebrities gave them a visit once; Leonardo DiCaprio.

I think it’s a fantastic idea, I’m always worrying about our homeless population, and I feel that our government isn’t doing enough to help them, so my heart goes out to the founder of Social Bite.

Other musings I’ve had in the past, in terms of helping our homeless population, usually end up with me saying, “If I get rich, I’ll buy a hotel to home the homeless!”

But I thought this morning, why do I have to be rich to be able to do this? Yeah, I’ll work hard on my book in the hope that it becomes successful and maybe I can use the profits of this to this advantage, but I cannot just assume that I will be a successful author. Besides, I don’t want to be driven to write a book that is soley for making money, it’s for a hobby.

Anyway, back to the point, I know that it’s possible to set up a charity and I could go about it that way to make a change with homelessness (oh, it doesn’t stop with homeless, by the way, I have other areas I’d love to help in, environmental issues, mental health, animals, etc, but I can’t focus on all of them at once, I’ll go mad!) but everyone does this, and in today’s world I see there are too many charities, and some exploit an issue just to pocket a £200k+ yearly wage and then give charities a bad name! So a social enterprise may be a better idea.

So my idea…! Skip right to the point here, what if I were to get a loan (yeah, not a bank loan, I know, they won’t help!) and just buy a hotel business, and turn it into a social enterprise where people can pay to stay at the hotel, and if they want, put money aside for a homeless person for a night. I could offer employment to the homeless people too, work in the kitchens, work in the bar, work in admin, etc, train them up. On the premise that they move on to bigger and better things!

Only, the issue is, I have no experience working in a hotel, let alone running one!

BUT… I am seriously considering this! I can even see potential areas of expansion, a school/university for homeless, hair dressers on site, give a free space to social bite on site too to help them, a joint effort to tackle homelessness.

Although I start thinking up other ways to help other issues, mental health issues, drug addictions, reducing crime, climate change, refuges. But these are all possible ‘expansions’ upon the initial idea.

If there’s anyone out there who know much about running a business, a hotel maybe? Or can offer advice, support or ideas? Feel free to message me! PennyRoseHooper@gmail.com

Off to make this book a worldwide best seller for now…

Is Feminism discriminating?

I have these random thoughts sometimes, I might be sat watching a boring go-compare advert with the sound off like usual (I’m not discriminating go-compare, I hate all adverts equally!) while drinking a cup of tea wondering about the etymology of the word ‘tea’, or I might be staring at a bar of soap in the shower and wondering how they get the colour into it.

So, I had one today, while thinking about discrimination, as that’s something I’m extremely interested in, as I hate any form of discrimination, gender, race, belief, and don’t even get me started on age discrimination! And I had a thought to myself, we focus so much on the discrimination of women, girls, and currently gender-fluid and trans-gender people, but what about men?

I looked up the word ‘feminism’ in the dictionary after this, and this is what my ‘Concise Oxford English Dictionary’ said: “feminism (n.) the advocacy of women’s right on the grounds of sexual equality”.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fantastic that women’s rights are now held in high regard, but shouldn’t we be focusing on all gender rights? Not just women’s? I don’t mean to say that we should focus on men’s right separately, but combine them all and say gender rights.

Of course, there is already ‘gender equality’ and the WHO regard these rights as ‘Gender and human rights’. So I’m not suggesting that we create one already, as it is already a thing! I’m suggesting to move away from the idea of feminism and focus on gender as a whole.

I know Feminism has been shrouded in negative light in some cases, some women go the extreme and suggest that women are ‘better’ than men, and this is wrong. I am a woman, but I do not see myself as ‘better’ than anyone, just because I have breasts and the female reproductive organ! And I also know that not all feminists think like this either and have to fight their way through the negativity given to feminism.

But maybe we ‘should’ focus on all gender equality, and move away from this notion of feminism? So that we do not lose sight of the whole idea of gender equality and how women’s rights came into power. It’s to be seen as equal alongside men.

Yes, there is still discrimination out there for women, I’ve come across it myself, first hand. Working as a fitter at Halfords and men telling me they do not want to talk to me because it’s a ‘man’ thing. Yet I probably knew more than most of the guys who worked there!

Anyway, back onto male discrimination. I’ve heard stories in my time about men’s mental health issues (another topic I’m extremely interested in!) or spousal abuse. Looking mostly at spousal abuse, the first thing that comes to mind, and I hate to admit it but it comes to my mind too (I guess this is the power of social ‘normality’), you immediately imagine a man hitting a woman. But it is KNOWN that women can hit men too, I’ve seen campaigns, been enthused on the idea of raising awareness for men. And yes, it is being tackled, but is it enough? I’ve seen shelters for women who escape domestic abuse, are there any for men?

Of course, there are campaigns to raise awareness for male mental health issues, and spousal abuse, and I know one recently in the UK has been endorsed and that is car insurance for male and female drivers. Originally it was cheaper for a woman to get car insurance because they’re classed as safer drivers (*coughdontmentionmyaccidentcough*) but eventually it was deemed discriminating and they changed the car insurances so that they match regardless of gender. Aside from the idea that they might have only put up the female driver’s costs and not lower the male drivers, nor a mixture of the two, as that’s a whole different subject!

But this is one good example that has shown that male discrimination is being tackled, so well done UK. Hopefully it’ll improve!

My love to all genders, whether your male, female, gender-fluid, trans-gender, or if you are a whole new gender yet to show your beautiful self to this world (alien?) ❤