I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill;
Of things unknown but are longed for still,
And her voice is heard on a far-off hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.
I have loved this poem for a long time. As a fellow survivor of child abuse, I can connect with what Maya said in these words. I have many scars on my body as a result of the first 22 violent years of my life, and whenever I saw them I would remember the incident that caused it. I see tattoos as positive scars, and with the bird tattoo I’m especially happy as it’s the first colour tattoo I have. Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting my time as an activist – that I’m shouting into the void. But I shout for freedom – for disabled, survivors of abuse, the ageing, people of colour, and LGBT+ people to be treated better than they currently are. Freedom shouldn’t feel like an impossible dream to me. I hope this tattoo will remind me to keep going; keep on singing.
The tattoo was done by Tracy at Pride Tattoos, http://pridetattoos.webeden.co.uk
P.S – the snowflake above the bird was my first ever tattoo done in 2005.
I was interviewed about my activism on bisexuality, ageing and ethnicity. Listen to the show, and also hear my music choices!
TW: Child abuse
I attended the Older Bisexual Meetup on Monday 17th November. It was held at Age Uk’s Camden Office at Tavistock Square, London. The group meets on a monthly basis from 6-8pm. The venue is very accessible, and the meetup took place in a large airy room on the ground floor. Nickie, the host, said we had to move to that room as the meeting was so well attended that they had run out of space in their usual location! There were eleven people on the night I visited. In a rare event, there were more men present than women, which was a surprise to me. Everyone was friendly, and the attendees came from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. Kate, who works for Opening Doors, and Nickie had provided a range of refreshments which was very welcome, especially as some of the attendees had come to the meeting straight after work.
The group is aimed at any bisexual person who is over 50, or who is interested in life for bisexuals over 50. I am not their target audience for age, but I have worries about how my life will be when I’m older. I’ve heard of too many LGBT people who are forced back in the closet when they enter care homes, and of the way the LGBT scene is often aimed at those who are young. When I include elements such as racism, sexism and biphobia into this, I feel justified to have worries.
The meetup itself was quite easy-going. I spoke a little about my volunteering role at the Terrence Higgin’s Trust project for people over 50 living with HIV. That led to a discussion on safer sex for older people which proved useful to some attendees. Kate Harad was also present; she spoke about the project “Purple Prose” a proposed guide for bisexual people in the U.K. There will be a chapter on bisexuality through our lifetime. Several attendees were excited about the project, and gave some suggestions and comments about how they could get involved.
The night came to an end at 8pm. There was a flurry of people swapping contact details, and a lot of smiles. I had a very pleasant time, and was thankful that groups like this exist.
The next meetup will be on 15th December 2014
Health, Wealth and Happiness http://www.tht.org.uk/myhiv/Staying-healthy/Health-Wealth-and-Happiness
Purple Prose http://loveandzombies.co.uk/purple-prose-a-uk-bisexual-guide/
Age UK http://www.ageuk.org.uk
Opening Doors London http://openingdoorslondon.org.uk
Older Bisexual Meetup http://www.meetup.com/london-bisexuals/events/218775112/