Mission Successful

It’s official, boy s and the goblin are both installed at home with us now. All we need to do now is get the unpacking and decluttering coordinated with the blending and shifting. I’ve just settled the goblin with a bedside story from The Graveyard Book and promised to do some sketches of him.

My price for doing so will be for him to do some of the homework set by his school to do while we get him registered with one of the local schools.

We’re going for calm and steady rather than dramatic and panicky. This isn’t exactly difficult – they’re both already so much more relaxed now the move has happened, and that alone is a joy.

Moving Day

Today’s the day that boy s and the goblin move in, and once I’ve finished this cuppa and Lady M has finished her cereal, we’ll be up and out the door to support and transport them while a man with a van carries a selection of odds and ends (like clothing) from there to here.

Busy day, lots of nerves as you might expect, especially for boy s who is leaving home for the first time. All will be well.

A little Change

In my post a few days ago about my Equalities Journey, I talked about the amazing trans man in my life and I realised that for some if you it may not be immediately obvious who I’m talking for about. Given that I’m polyamorous it may even have seemed a possibility that it was announcing someone new.

I was in fact talking about myr s, who has been socially transitioning over the last year. During this time, by his request, I’ve been using gender-neutral terms on the blog to talk about him and this was in part because there were people to whom he had not felt able to talk to about things.

This changed last week, and so while asking if he minded my referring to him in the Equalities blog posts at work and here, we also talked about evolving his title here as well. With his being my sub, we felt that the usual Sir or Lord that I tend to use would not feel right and he wanted to keep the lack of capitalisation as well.

So as of today, may I introduce you to boy s, and what a relief it is to be catching up here with how we talk to him in the real world.

As a cosplayer, there may be a temptation at some point to do a dad-bod Kratos just so I can shout “boy!” across a crowded hall…

My Equalities Journey

I mentioned a few days ago about a blog entry I did at work ahead of Surrey Pride, and thought I would reproduce it here as its a piece of writing I’m proud of – both for its message and for the impact it has had at work:

The summer has been and seemingly gone in a flash, but despite the disruptions to all our lives under the pandemic the spirit of celebration so intrinsic to our wellbeing is alive and well. Pride Month saw colour and life splashed everywhere this year – and yet we were still constrained by the need to look out for each other, so marches and celebrations were delayed until a little later.

Well, that later is now here, and Surrey Pride is being celebrated on Saturday 25 September in glorious Godalming. Representatives of SCC will join charities and local groups in an explosion of positivity and joy, demonstrating the vibrant lives and history in Surrey of the LGBTQIA+ community. Struggles past, present, and future are acknowledged through the day in offers of support, representation, and a celebration of our ability to live freely as our genuine selves. For some it’s a path they’ve trod for years, for others it’s an exploration that is only just beginning.

My journey through various local authorities has always had a focus in some way, shape, or form on equality and diversity. It has been part of the pleasure of working in our environment. It has evolved with different roles and the language of different decades from being a customer-focused approach in libraries; to undertaking impact assessments on projects and policies as a project manager and senior officer, and then back again to different levels of operating back with the library service as I re-joined it nearly nine years ago.

The two streams of my journey, especially in recent years, have been the intertwined demands of the personal and the professional aspects of my life and how EDI has both informed and shone light on the changes and challenges in both areas.

On the personal side has been my own changing self-awareness and the ups and downs of coming out as a bisexual and polyamorous man to friends, family, and co-workers. My life continues to grow and evolve as I meet and talk to an amazing array of people in my widening and changing personal and professional networks in ways that I couldn’t imagine even a handful of years ago. I am in a relationship with an amazing trans man, whose humour, bravery, and frustrations have cast new light on things that I took for granted. He has made me look again at my assumptions and privileges, and that in turn has given me the strength to stand up for and represent the people around me with renewed passion and love.

On the professional side has been the shift from embedding a passion for equality and diversity in delivering customer services – to provide the best possible outcomes for anyone entering the library or using its services – to then providing leadership and promotion within branches as a manager. From there it grew and now I am an exemplar and champion of EDI within my group of libraries both in my own right and as part of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network. As a newly appointed Group Manager, it is even more important to me to uplift and inspire the managers who work for me to lead and promote equalities, diversity, and inclusion in the services that we provide and the staff and public with whom we work.

Some of my greatest joys have come from the recognition that my being out and visible has given other people inspiration and reassurance in their own lives. From staff to customers, partners and friends, there have been quiet affirmations and moments of challenge and reflection – all of which are brought back into conversation and debate and the direction of efforts to be better in how I work to uplift, educate, inform, and celebrate the richness of the lives upon which I have an impact.

Times are tough, but things can always improve. Things will get better. Nobody has all the answers, but if we keep talking and listening – and challenging – we can keep moving towards making things better – not just for ourselves but with and for everyone.

Pride is about support and visibility, and here at Surrey County Council we are as much part of that as anyone else. Our diverse staff is drawn from all the communities who live and work here. The SCC LGBTQ+ Staff Network will be attending the march, representing our staff and families, and will have stalls in the event itself.

If you have any questions around the event – or indeed anything else – then please get in touch. Whether it’s a personal issue, or advice for yourself or your staff, we’ll listen and answer. Together we are all stronger.

Changes A-Coming

For a variety of reasons, including providing stability and better job hunting potential, myr s and the cub will be moving in with myself and Lady M in a little over a week or so.

Exciting times, a little bit stressy, and that’s not even counting the window replacements this week or the challenges of work at the moment.

Well, what’s the worst that could happen?

So, myr s is currently downsizing and rationalising their possessions, looking at new school places, and sorting all the rest of the paperwork required. They also had a long-overdue conversation with their father about a number of things, and we’re so proud of them.

Well That Was A Day

From the beginning of the day, where a flatbed lorry full of scaffolding pulled up outside, to the discussion of health issues with someone who blacked out at work last week, to dataset organisation, job advertising, and myr s coming out to their father it’s all been a bit non stop.

I may have given a gentle cheer when I got the text from myr s that they’d done that at the same time as announcing they were moving out. I then had to explain that cheer and its context to a co-worker who was looking very confused.

Myr s and the cub will be moving in with us temporarily while they sort out work and accommodation of their own up in our neck of the woods. This is simultaneously exciting and terrifying and means we need to move getting a bigger bed far further up the agenda than previously planned.

First though, this week sees our windows being replaced, so let’s get that mayhem out the way over the next two days

Explorations

We went to Bletchley Park today, despite the best efforts of the Bank Holiday traffic. We picked it partly our of interest in its history, and partly so we could return our niece to her aunt as it was a little over halfway there.

I’m not entirely sure where the afternoon went as five hours sped by and there was still a lot we didn’t see. What we did find was fascinating and heartbreaking in turn, especially when it came to the areas devoted to Alan Turing. Going from a case containing his Teddy bear Porgy to a recreation of his office was surprisingly affecting as it brought forward the human behind the stories.

We had conversations with the kids around LGBTQIA+ history and in particular around Alan Turing’s treatment – which in turn led to conversations over lunch about our relationships and the polycule. And now Lady H is friends on Facebook with myr s, and the kids want to meet the cub.

Not really what I foresaw for the day, but a positive turn amid the strangeness all the same.

Polycule Weekend

We’re all together this weekend, filling the flat with laughter, food, quiet companionship, and snoring – sometimes in that order.

It’s been lovely. I picked myr s and Lady J up on Thursday evening after another day of interviewing and dragged them back up to sunny Sunbury for a few days.

Today we wandered in to Staines, visited the Talking Tree cafe, and pottered around bookshops and charities and its been good to have a break.

One of the real joys, if I’m being selfish, is to not have to do all the cooking – we’re taking turns at that, and of all the other household chores as they need doing. Many hands are indeed making light work amid the silliness and quiet.

Almost Domesticated

A quiet Saturday wandering round Kingston with myr s and the cub, and we’ve stopped in Bushy Park to give the swings a good work out. We’ll, so the cub can give the swings a good work out while we’re between weather fronts.

We’ve left Lady M behind to regain some spoons and make some mousses for tonight, and this is part of the gentle wonder of us all being a household again. We can take turns being part of and taking space from the general chaos of our mingled space.

I’ve missed this

Brunch and Shopping

It’s been wonderful to just stop today and let the day happen. Admittedly that took a while to start as my day started before 7am with a text from one of my branch managers informing me they were waiting for an ambulance. That was a good start to get the adrenaline pumping.

They are, I hasten to add, okay now though won’t be working at least until next week. Then there were another flurry of calls and texts that had to happen to sort out cover and some other things, but after that I could enjoy the day. I consciously closed down all work-related tech, which helped.

And so we wandered into Staines, did shopping of both the window and real variety, and had brunch in a Costa before seeking books and some nice things before retiring back to the flat – where the cub and I played several games of chess and Chinese checkers and myr s and Lady M collapsed to recover their spoon levels.

All in all, it’s been lovely. Other highlights included the cub realising we’d set up the old xbox in the room he was sleeping in; the look on Lady M’s face when the cub called her ‘mum’, and acknowledging a burgeoning friendship with someone I’ve been chatting to on a Discord server.

Tomorrow? Well that depends on the weather, so who knows?