Three Years

It’s been a strange journey of ups and downs in health and oddities, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Its been three years since myr s accepted a collar from me, and cemented a place in our collective lives.

Despite the best efforts of covid-19, lockdown, and the general vagaries of life we’ve kept a strong if sometimes frustrated bond – the joys of living in separate cities and all that.

The collar is a mark of trust and partnership, not unlike a wedding band, but a little less subtle in its symbolism. Since the first chain mail one, I’ve since bought a more masculine one for them as their gender identity has evolved. There have so been some more casual ones for comfort or blending in.

I was vaccinated yesterday, another sign that we seem collectively to be moving towards all being able to see each other again. I love myr s deeply, and cannot wait.

The DDC Game Design Theme

We had a great session today, bringing to a head the mystery of where Coal had disappeared to and what had happened to his former compatriots. Last week had brought the group to a war damaged slum, and the zombified remnants of the gang, and a wight that controlled them.

And then this week, as they thinned the waves of zombies out, the wall next to them came down revealing a roughly rebuilt Warforged Titan – a towering engine of destruction from the Last War – which had Coal patched and embedded in it as a jury-rigged power source.

And they fought among the ruins, fighting their fears for Coal, and were triumphant. The wight escaped, but they were able to rescue their companion. A huge victory, all the better for the emotional investment for everyone.

And it’s those connections I’ve been watching build, and encouraging as we go that rises to the queer experience of this set of adventures. There’s an underlying theme of the consciously built family in place of their various fractured backgrounds.

All the characters are outsiders and have bonded together in mutual support and love, but they are adventurers first and foremost. The characters original backgrounds are now being developed with new connections, and I’m enjoying weaving those into the story and hearing my players reactions.

Hearing my description of Coal being literally forcibly enfolded and assimilated into this relic of the military and wars he had fought so hard to reinvent himself away from, there were gasps around the table. There may also have been joking threats from myr s of what might happen if Coal died.

Music to my ears. Passion and determination fought fear and desperation this evening for stakes that felt important to everyone around the table. The discovered family fought the clutches of the abusive past, and won.

Well, Not Technically Wrong

I was rather pleased with being able to get a simple but effective display up in one of my libraries marking LGBT+ History Month. I was even more pleased at the positive feedback from staff and public. Even more so that it has inspired at least one more colleague to start their own.

Today I was informed by a member of staff that we had received congratulations and thanks from a member of the public for our support of the NHS.

With a waved hand towards the display.

Not pictured, any NHS logo

My colleague resorted to the tried and tested nod and smile technique. We do indeed support the NHS. The multiple LGBT+ History Month signs and logos might as well have been invisible.

Life’s too short to be anything other than amused, but I may have quietly rolled my eyes at the confirmation that people just don’t read signs.

Decorating with Rainbows

February is LGBT+ History Month, so I’ve spent a portion of today decorating a library’s windows with flags and logos. As we’re largely closed to the public we can’t do our usual approach of book displays and historical posters, so I’ve improvised.

There are some nice packs of flags and bunting available on Amazon for reasonable prices so I grabbed one to provide the base elements for display.

The subject theme for this year is Mind, Body, and Spirit – a focus on mental health and support – so a raid on the shelves is imminent to build it properly.

South Coast Sauntering

Its been a good day today, albeit one with a lot of driving. myr s invited me down for breakfast, and this coincided with Lady B having arranged to pick up a vanity table from a friend, so we thought we’d make a day out of it, kidnap Lady J too, and bustle over to Eastleigh for the morning.

My sat available decided that with all the local roadworks on the motorways that it would try and ratrun us cross country, so we had an enjoyable bought of trying to work out where it was trying to take us and then willfully ignoring it based on my passengers’ local knowledge.

If nothing else it made for cheery conversations as people recalled past jobs, workplaces, or relatives in places we passed. We duly picked up the vanity table, tetris’d it into the car with only one seat needing displacement, and went on search of food before myr s could turn into the hangry hulk.

The last time I was there was for Pride a couple of years ago, so bits of the street layout started to come back to me, enhanced by Lady Best memories of working at a now defunct club that seems to now be an empty space. We allowed the mental stretch of imagining reworking it as a split use site with an LGBTQ+ coffee/bookshop space during the day and club/bar space for the evening. Maybe when the best sellers and/or lottery wins roll in…

Oh, and we hit Poundland, partly for sugary drinks, and partly to raid the Halloween supplies. We’re all cosplayers, it’s what we do…

I also got told that the cub had explicitly demanded I not leave until we’d picked him up from school, so we did that and treated him to McDonald’s for his supper before I headed home. The grins and hugs were well worth it.

And so home, with a bag of goodies for Lady M from myr s, for a curry, mindless nonsense on the TV, and more tinkering with scenario details for the next game.

Can’t complain really…

Happy Birthday myr s

Its grey and overcast here, but it’s myr s’ 29th birthday so our support bubble/polycule chat is full of good wishes and positivity, so that’s no bad thing.

They’ve chosen today to launch a GoFundMe to try and raise money to begin transitioning under private medical care and support. NHS wait times are around three years before even starting support, so anything that can be done to help is worth a go. If you’re feeling so inclined, here’s a link to the campaign:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/morganrileytransition?utm_medium=email&utm_source=product&utm_campaign=p_email%2B2300-co-team-welcome

myr s is still mostly using they/them pronouns at the moment but we’re starting to use he/him as well in general conversation. It’s an interesting journey for all of us.

So here’s to myr s – Happy Birthday and long may the soppiness continue.

Sleepy Day

My body decided that today was not going to be a productive day. I was up late chatting with mre S while I painted and streamed a couple of new images to go up on the store. Waking up while Lady M dived in to Staines to see the optician was therefore not an option my body wanted to contemplate.

That said it hasn’t been a totally unproductive day. There’s been hoovering and cleaning, the flying of Pride flags from the balcony, and the breaking of a second mirror in as many days.

So that happened. Oh, and I slept pretty much all afternoon as my muscles decided that hurting all the time was getting old and I needed to just stop and lie down for a while.

So that’s my Saturday…

Working Pride

Sadly with lockdown still wreaking havoc there’s absolutely no chance of getting to a Pride event this year, but at least through work there is an opportunity to celebrate a little.

I’m working as part of the LGBTQ+ Pride Network where I am, and this week has seen an invitation go up on the staff Jive network to post rainbows either as flags, themes, filters or whatever for Pride.

Cue one virtual Pride picture

Its only a little thing, but seeing everyone putting up posts is heartening. The rainbow Funko has been produced by them in support of Pride and the It Gets Better Project with part of the proceeds going to that charity.

So there’s a positive thing.

Rings and Things

Being separated is hard, but we’re doing our best to keep as chipper as possible. The DDC is helping lift our spirits and support all round, but its still no substitute for when we can get our polycule back together.

In theory, we can after relaxation of restrictions were announced, but given how high infections and deaths are – exceeding what they were when we went into lockdown – there’s a wariness of believing the UK government’s competence and motives. In some ways this makes it even harder, but we’ll get through and it’ll be all the better for it when we do.

In the meantime, I finally had delivery of a set of rings that the core triad of myself, Lady M and mre S wanted to adopt to signify our link. We had some issues with a lost shipment and needing to reorder among the chaos of lockdown, but we finally have three simple matching rings that are staying in their boxes until we can all get together. They’re enamelled steel with the polyam symbol etched and painted on them – simple, discrete, and one more reason to hope for better times to come.

I was talking to a colleague yesterday after an LGBTQ+ staff network Teams meeting about the DDC and our gaming group.

On describing the mix of characters and their quirks I was told that it was a group they’d love to read a novel about. I think thats a wonderful tribute to the invention and warmth of the players and their alter egos. My little writeups here barely scratch the surface of what a joy they are to DM and game with.

Corporate Queerness

Well, that was an interesting meeting. I signed up a few months ago to the fledgling LGBTQ+ Network at my workplace, and have since stepped up and got more involved with helping shape and run it. To that end we had a quick virtual meeting via Teams to start to thrash out the basic Values and Aims of the group.

This is based partly on the corporate aims and values for diversity and equality held in common working here, and looks at promoting wider sharing of information and practice among other things.

Along the way, people started dropping their ages into conversation around how different age ranges seem to prefer making social contacts. This ranges from apps, activities, social spaces, and the more traditional clubs and bars; and really emphasises again just how easy it can be to apply a wide brush to expectations that are then immediately subverted by individual experiences and expectations. It also revealed that I was the oldest person present, so to speak.

To quote Lady W as I recounted this later, this meant I was the oldest queer in the village. This amuses me, as I would in no way hold myself up as any kind of exemplar of queer experience in any community.

But there you have it – if need be I’ll be a voice for those who don’t feel they have the confidence to speak. There are worse roles I could take on.