In three months time I’ll be heading to the Glastonbury Festival, where I’ll be doing voluntary work with the Oxfam Stewards [n.b. I’m writing in a personal capacity here, not as a representative of the Oxfam Stewards.] As I write there’s an online petition demanding that Saturday headliner Kanye West be cancelled and replaced by a rock band. There’s 123,000 signatures on it. Given that 135,000 tickets have been sold for Glasto, at some point (probably in the next couple of days) more people will have signed the petition than are actually going.
This leaves open two possibilities. One is that in June the population of Worthy Farm will be Kanye, me and some cows. The other is that a lot of the people signing had no intention of going in the first place.
Apologies to those of you who’ve had your Twitter timelines clogged up with me livetweeting the various national selections for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The good news for you is that all the entries have now been announced (with the exception of Montenegro, who for some reason are waiting until next weekend to unveil their act).
Watching all these shows has been at times fun, at times exhausting. I’ve seen some great entertainment, and also some rubbish along the way. Having gone through this process, I’m now going to reveal my top ten acts that you’ll be seeing perform at Vienna in a couple of months. Naturally, these are my own subjective opinions, so feel free to disregard them as worthless.
Following yesterdays blog post about so-called “conversion therapy” which aims to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the UK Council for Psychotherapy have alerted me to a statement on the issue. The UKCP is already a co-signatory to a Memorandum of Understanding which condemns therapies to turn gay people straight as unethical, ineffective and harmful. However, the Memorandum currently makes no mention of similar therapies that aim to convert transgender people back to their birth gender.
I’m happy to hear that the UKCP are looking to expand the memorandum to also include trans conversion therapy.
A number of key bodies in mental health recently signed up to a memorandum of understanding on so-called conversion or reparative therapies, which aim to turn gay people straight. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK Council for Psychotherapy, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Department of Health all (rightly, in my view) condemned such “therapy” as unethical and harmful. They do nothing to “convert” people who don’t need converting, and only serve to deepen human misery and potentially drive people to suicide.
I fully support this memorandum, but it needs to go further. It should be expanded to also condemn therapies aimed at converting transgender people back to their birth gender.
I’m sure some of my regular blog readers are rolling their eyes and skimming past whenever I go off-topic to talk about the Eurovision. It’s something that outside of May tends to be feel (in the UK anyway) like a bit of a niche interest. Which is odd given that it’s the biggest musical event in the world. Personally I enjoy following it because of the way an ostensibly-silly show has a habit of highlighting all kinds of interesting topics.
Last year’s contest highlighted the issue of gender identity, with bearded drag act Conchita Wurst taking the prize. This year, 3 of the acts have physical or intellectual disabilities. This leaves me wondering whether 2015 will do for disability what 2014 did for gender.
I just had a chance to catch up on 4OD today with the Channel 4 documentary Being Bipolar. I wasn’t watching it when it was first screened on Channel 4 earlier this week, but it’s sparked off quite a few reactions on social media, most of them negative. Charlotte Walker and Laurie Hastie have both written negative reviews of the show on the Mind blog. Meanwhile Henrietta Ross has given a more mixed review at Madness Matters. Given these responses, I decided to see for myself and watch the show.