All I want for Christmas – are the same rights as you.December 14th, 2011
I’m not one to make a fuss about things.
Actually. That’s a lie. And as President Nixon always told me when we were sailing in New England, never start a blog with a lie.
To be honest I have been known to make a fuss about SOME things, about CERTAIN things, about IMPORTANT things that make me nervous. Let me explain. If you’ve ever watched the classic TV series “Lost in Space” or the 1998 remake starring Matt Le Blanc (less successful but still a good sci fi romp) you’ll know that there was a robot in it. To be specific, according to Wikipedia, it is a Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot. Mind you, Wikipedia also insists that the Lib Dems are still a political party of note so what do they know. Anyway whenever there’s a sniff of trouble the Robot shouts, if a Robot can shout, “Danger Will Robinson”. If you don’t know, Will Robinson was one the of the characters on the show. I know I’m over explaining what is, in essence, simply the set up to a blog but I don’t want anyone to get annoyed with my lack of detail. My point is this, sometimes things happen which make my spidey sense tingle, which makes a voice in my head say “Danger, Susan Calman”. When that happens I like to make a fuss.
On this occasion it’s the monumental fuss about gay marriage in Scotland. Now you might not know what’s been happening if you live in Englandshire or beyond, so a summary of the recent high profile coverage in the press is “straight marriage good, gay marriage bad”.
That is of course a flippant remark considering the vitriolic and horrific things said about people like myself (no not short people!) by certain sections of society, and I could get angry about it all. But I won’t. So instead I’ve done what any self respecting lesbian would do, and I’ve written a fairytale about it all.
It’s based on the untold story of Snow White and Cinderella and it’s all entirely fictional apart from the people who I’ve called by their real names. Oh and Snow White is based a little bit on me. You’ll be able to tell that quite quickly.
The tale of Snow White and Cinderella
Once upon a time in a magical kingdom called “Scotia” (which comprised mostly of haggis, whisky and religious intolerance) there lived two young women, Snow White and Cinderella. Everyone said that Snow White looked just like Angelina Jolie. The two princesses met over the interweb, because it was difficult to meet likeminded people in the gay tavernas which popped up in the magic kingdom. They lived together in a beautiful cottage surrounded by bluebells and singing penguins and loved each other more than anything. Every day they listened to K.D Lang and dressed up their 97 cats.
Neither were particularly butch but both loved sensible shoes and Sophie Grabol. One of them had a tool belt but that was just because the cottage required extensive renovation. They both had jobs, paid taxes and contributed to society in positive ways. They’d even agreed not to have children thus reducing the deficit and sparing society from more young people who can’t pronounce things properly. Life was good.
But things weren’t always so sunny in the land of Scotia. The beautiful Snow White and Cinderella had both grown up in a time of darkness in the kingdom. A time when the Wicked Witch Thatcher ruled over all, casting a spell with her magic handbag which pricked the thumbs of gay people, silencing them for over 12 years. And silent they were. For 12 long years years young gays were told that it wasn’t normal to love someone. There was no joy in the kingdom and as the gays were silent, so were other minorities. Even the elves (the campest of all the fairytale creatures) lost their sparkle. Some in Scotia said that it didn’t matter and it was all to protect the “normal” people in the fairytale kingdom. But the people that said that hadn’t seen the Minotaurs crying at night. Watched the despair of the goblins who thought they might lose their jobs in the mines if anyone found out that they were gay, and known how many pixies ended their lives early rather than live a lie.
Only many years later, after the Wicked Witch Thatcher’s exile to the land of after dinner speaking was the spell finally lifted. And the gays and all right minded people rejoiced. Not that everyone wanted it the spell lifted. There was a coven of dark wizards who tried to keep the dark magic in place. One wizard in particular cast a shadow on the horizon. A dark wizard called Souter, who lived in a magic bus over the Mountain of Deregulation, and battled against the forces of good. After his counter spell failed everyone thought he had disappeared forever, but all he’d done was hide in a mountain cavern planning his next move.
Snow White and Cinderella had a relationship that was exactly like those of her straight friends. Just because they were both women didn’t mean that they didn’t make each other miserable at times! But they wanted to make their love official, and make the same commitment to each other that their friends and family had to their partners. Suddenly from on high, King Blair stated that all gays could enter a civil partnership! A civil partnership? What was that? Well it turned out it was like getting married but not. Like being an equal citizen of the country but actually being judged for something that they couldn’t help.
Even though everyone knew it wasn’t the same as getting married they were told that they should be damn happy with that thanks very much. In fact if they would just stop complaining then the fairytale kingdom could just get back to normal. The dark Wizards sat in Daily Mail Castle and considered themselves pleased that they didn’t need to deal with the annoyance of equal rights and could instead get back to blaming immigrants for bird flu.
But Snow White and Cinderella were still confused. Why couldn’t they get married? They knew plenty of total wankers who had got married. They heard gossip that it was because of a fictional character called “God” who people seemed to believe had a say in their personal lives. That their lives weren’t “normal” according to “god”. That a family could only be a man and a woman who wanted to have children. But wasn’t that insulting to all of the single mothers, and grandparents who brought up children? What about straight couples who married and didn’t have children? And what about all of the married couples who were horrific to each other and their children, and everyone else? Were they really normal?
As they lived in Scotia, which proclaimed itself the best of all the fairytale lands, they hoped that the Scottish Government would do something about it. And in time their jolly Prince Charming Wee Eck Salmond said that they would definitely think about maybe doing something about it. Oddly unlike other times when they dealt with matters of equality, for example when the Rumplestiltskin demanded the same wages as his female colleagues, the Government decided to ask the people of Scotia what they thought of Snow White and Cinderella getting married instead of just passing a law to ensure equality.
All at once the dark forces of the land joined together. The dark wizard Souter, who coincidentally gave large piles of gold coins to Mr Salmonds party, and the men of “god” from the church said that if gay marriage was allowed the world would end. For as soon as a gay walked into a church and said “I do”, the fairytale kingdom of Scotia would fall into the sea.
The dark forces mounted a campaign. They compared gays to peadophiles, they said that Snow White and Cinderella were a shame upon the kingdom. The villagers who until that point hadn’t cared about the ladies alternative lifestyle choice began to believe what the church leaders told them. They lit pitchforks and surrounded the fairytale cottage shouting and spitting. Meanwhile the church leaders stood and laughed and counted their money. And the Government said absolutely nothing.
Snow White and Cinderella almost gave up. They almost stopped trying. They had fought for so many years to just be seen as people in the fairytale kingdom that they were exhausted. They wanted to shut the door and put on their box set of “Between the Lines” and forget all about fighting. And then there was a knock at the door. When they opened it they were surprised to see a crowd of people outside. The dwarves, and the giants, and the minotaurs and the trolls, and the gingerbread men and the giant talking fish. Every single person from the fairytale land who had ever suffered because they were different were there. They realised that if the gays could be treated in this way they might be next.
So Snow White and Cinderella had the courage to speak up. To say that they weren’t a shame on their country. That all they wanted was the same as everyone else. To have the choice to marry the person that they loved. They hoped against hope that soon their dream would come true, that they could finally feel a true part of the kingdom of Scotia.
And then they split up because Cinderella slept with the Little Mermaid.
I don’t know if the Parliament will pass a law allowing gay marriage in Scotland but I do know this. Growing up as a lesbian in Glasgow was as easy as being a vegan abattoir worker. I came out in 1990. I had hoped 21 years later things would have got better. That people would not be permitted to tell the lies about homosexuality that they still are today.
I can only hope that equality is achieved because if Scotland aren’t willing to accept the concept that homosexuality is acceptable I shudder to think how we will deal with our other issues.
For Scotland (and the whole of the UK) to be great country, it’s citizens should all be treated equally.
All I want for christmas are the same rights that you have.