There are International Emmys. Who knew? Not me. It is starting to seem like every time I look at social media a new set of Emmys is being announced. I don’t mind, because the results keep getting better.
Why? Well to understand my excitement we need to travel back in time to June 1998. I am in Wellington, New Zealand for a convention. I’m there partly to promote the (as it was then) San Francisco in 2002 Worldcon bid, partly to see my old friend Neil Gaiman, and partly to meet the other Guest of Honor at the event, a chap called George R.R. Martin whose new novel, A Game of Thrones, I had got quite excited about. (Foolishly, at the end of my review of the book, I had written, “Get on with it, George, there are a large number of people out here who are on tenterhooks”.)
Anyway, there I am in an Indian restaurant in Wellington with George & Parris, Neil, and a lovely Australian couple called Medge & Bean. Also with us is a friend from Melbourne, Sean McMullen, whose writing I had been championing, and his daughter. Of the young lady I wrote:
Catherine is very sweet, but boy can she be hard work at times. For a nine-year-old, she is exceptionally bright, and she holds her own in fandom with ridiculous ease. The trouble is, we just don’t have her energy. How Sean copes I do not know.
Fast forward now to August 1999. I was doing an Australian special edition of Emerald City in honor of the Melbourne Worldcon. I wasn’t the only editor thinking that way, because one of the things I reviewed was an all-Australian edition of Interzone. Sean had a story in it, and so did Catherine. She might just have turned 11 by then, and she went on to charm the whole Bay Area crew that came to Melbourne where our Worldcon bid was being voted on. (It was a three-year cycle back then.) I commented:
If Sean’s daughter isn’t famous by the end of the next decade I’ll eat my keyboard.
Ten years later Catherine was at Melbourne University studying for a joint degree in Film Studies and Law. She’d won something called the Melbourne National Scholarship which is a university study grant (all tuition fees paid) for student of outstanding academic achievement. I wasn’t surprised. I did not eat a keyboard.
Since graduating Catherine has racked up a host of credits on TV shows in a variety of roles, including Production Secretary on the SyFy mini-series of Childhood’s End. And now, drum roll please…
The 2016 Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award Winner is C.S. McMullen for her script, “Living Metal”.
The Emmys website says:
Each year, The Foundation administers the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award. The competition is designed to motivate non-American novice writers under the age of 30, and offer them the recognition and encouragement that might lead to a successful career in television scriptwriting. Entrants are asked to create a completed half-hour to one-hour English-language television drama script.
The award winner receives $2,500, a trip to New York City, and an invitation to the International Emmy® Awards Gala in November.
I am well impressed. Congratulations on the award, Catherine. I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Typically studios queue up to produce the Ustinov-winning script, so I’m sure we’ll see “Living Metal” on our screens in the near future.
By happy coincidence, Bi Visibility Day happened to fall in the week of Trans Pride South West. Therefore we are having a joint flag raising in Bristol today. I believe it is the first time that the Bi flag has ever been raised at City Hall. (And if it isn’t that shows you how visible the event has been in the past.)
Anyway, I’ll be off to the flag raising ceremony shortly. After that I’ll be attending the launch of a book called Purple Prose at Hydra Books. I expect to see a few people I know there. (Jacq Applebee did a launch event for the book at Parliament earlier in the week. Hydra is a similar venue, right?)
Many trans people do identify as bisexual, of course. Or pansexual, but let’s not get into that. It is also true that many trans people, including me, had sexual relationships with people of one gender before transition, and people of another gender after transition. Whether that makes them bi, I do not know. Given how much transphobia there is in gay and lesbian communities, I don’t want to go there. I’m happy to do my bit to support people who do identify as bi (or pan).
County cricket and nail-biting excitement are not terms that are generally used together. The County Championship is old-fashioned cricket played the way God intended before she realized that T20 games could be a whole lot of fun. Matches are played over four days and often end in draws. It is enough to send your average American sports fan into a coma.
This year, however, is different. As we entered the final week of matches, three teams were in with a shot at the title. Excitingly the top two teams, Middlesex and Yorkshire, were due to play each other at the “Home of Cricket”, Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. Lord’s is the home ground of Middlesex, and Yorkshire are the defending champions. It was a perfect set up.
Except that there was a joker in the pack. Way out in Taunton, tiny Somerset had a game against a hapless and already relegated Nottinghamshire side. It looked like an easy win for the cider boys, and if the two titans of the game slugging it out in London fought each other to a draw, then the cheeky West Country lads could sneak off with the title.
Today was day 3 of the matches. There was much excitement during the day regarding matters of bonus points, but I will spare you the neepery and cut to the chase.
As expected, Somerset wrapped up a victory easily — with a day to spare, in fact. They missed out on only a single bonus point and so racked up a lot of points. They now sit happily on top of the table.
Meanwhile in London fortunes swung back and fore. Yorkshire currently have the upper hand, but there’s a whole day to play and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Middlesex could get a win. Sides have come back from worse positions before. A win for either side will net enough points for the title.
Or it could rain all day. Who knows?
We’ll find out tomorrow. The bookmakers have Yorkshire as firm favorites. They are they reigning champions. They know how to win. And there is enough playing time for them to get there. But Somerset have points in the bag. If Yorkshire slip up tomorrow, something momentous might happen.
In thinking of how to explain this to Americans, my first thought was to talk about the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs were founder members of Major League Baseball and have a history dating back to 1876. They haven’t won the World Series since 1908 (though this year they look to be hot favorites). But they have won, twice.
Somerset’s cricket club was founded in 1875. County cricket was started by Yorkshire and Gloucestershire in 1890, and Somerset was the third team to join the tournament in 1891. In all of that time they have never won the championship.
Tomorrow we could see a little bit of cricketing history being made.
I have been so busy today that I almost forgot. However, Liz Williams had this beautiful image on Facebook and I couldn’t help but swipe it.
And for those of you who saw this when I first posted it, yes, that is how much my brain is fogged. I feel more like a mucus-stuffed corpse than a cat, but at least I got the radio show done.
Today I devoted the whole of my show to the South West’s first ever Trans Pride. I was joined in the studio by Sophie Kelly of the TPSW committee, and Tara Fraser who works with our friends ShoutOut on BCFM.
Our one non-trans guest was Liz Sorapure of Bristol Mind who is helping set up a new helping specifically for trans people. Liz is looking for trans people who would like to be trained up to be helpline volunteers, because it makes a big difference to know that someone with similar life experiences is on the other end of the phone.
I had a whole pile of pre-recorded interviews, mostly from my trip to London last week. These included Ruth Cadbury, MP; Helen Belcher of Trans Media Watch; Jay Stewart of Gendered Intelligence; and journalist, Jane Fae. Obviously they were all talking about the state of the campaign for trans rights.
Later in the show I spoke to Henry Poultney of Off the Record who talked about issues facing young trans people in Bristol.
All of the music on the show was by trans artists. I also included an interview with the headline act from trans pride, Ren Stedman. I played three of Ren’s songs, including a new one he tells me has never been heard in public elsewhere.
Apparently we were off FM briefly at the end of the show. I’m told that there were some power cuts in Bristol and the building that houses our transmitter was hit. Thankfully the studio was OK. Internet streaming was unaffected, and the Listen Again links are fine. My apologies to anyone listening on FM in Bristol. Hopefully you can catch the missing bits of the show via the links below.
The playlist for the show was:
- I Am What I Am – Amanda Lear
- What I Have Become – Ren Stedman
- White Wedding – CN Lester
- You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – Sylvester
- Grow Up – Ren Stedman
- Love Will Save the Day – Koko Jones
- Alfred Parks – Ren Stedman
- True Trans Soul Rebel – Against Me
The full publicity for my two events at the Bristol Festival of Literature is now out.
The “Stories of Strong Women” panel only exists as a Facebook event. You can find that here. Apparently we have 85 people going already, which is awesome.
I have created an EventBrite event for “Ageing in the LGBT Community”, which you can find here. I’m hoping we’ll get good attendance from people who work with the elderly, both via the NHS and the voluntary sector. I certainly got interest when I mentioned it at some of the trans awareness courses I have been doing.
While I’m here I would also like to highlight the Annual General Meeting of OutStories Bristol (of which I am co-chair). This year Bristol University has kindly provided us with a beautiful venue, and we are lucky enough to have the brilliant Dr. Jana Funke of Exeter University to come and talk to us about her research into the archives of Radclyffe Hall. Jana is a great speaker. She did a short version of this for me in February as part of the LGBT History Festival. She’s got twice as long this time. I’m looking forward to it.
Science Fiction lost one of its oldest fans yesterday. Dave Kyle, who chaired the 1956 Worldcon, has died at the age of 97. I chatted with him at various Worldcons when he must have been in his 80s. He seemed a lovely bloke. Mike Glyer does obituaries far better than I do, so here’s his.
No, Laverne didn’t win one. She was presenting one. How cool is that?
Also she had by far the best dress of the night, and the second best red carpet photo (of which more later).
So, I did not get to Trans*Code today, and I am not at Fringe. I am still sick. But one of the very upsides of being woken regularly through the night by sinus pain is that you get to check on the Emmy results as they come in. This weekend was the high profile stuff: actors, directors and the like.
Game of Thrones won loads of gongs again, and George got to go on stage even though his name wasn’t on any of the trophies, which made me happy. Well done, mate. You’ve done us all proud.
Transparent won two awards: Jill Soloway for Director of a Comedy Series and Jeffrey Tambor for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. In her speech Soloway said, “We need to stop violence against trans women and topple the patriarchy.” In his speech Tambor said, “please give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions. Give them their story. I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a transgender character on television.”
Of course it hasn’t escaped people’s notice that it is all very well for a couple of cis people make such comments when being heaped with awards. It is the second year that Tambor has won for the same role. Nevertheless, I think last night was pretty important. Here are a few things to note.
I have to admit that Transparent isn’t for me. I’m not good with TV comedy of any kind. But other trans folk have had good things to say about the show. One of Soloway’s parents identifies as trans, and the show has recruited a whole slew of trans people to work on it behind the scenes. Zackary Drucker has an associate producer credit on the show, which should be very good for her career.
Also here’s what a couple of people in the business had to say.
I am grateful to @jillsoloway for changing the world for people like me.
— Jenny B. (@JennyBoylan) September 19, 2016
I know well the pace of institutional change. That moment was 40+ years in the making, due to work of countless people. But it's here now.
— Jen Richards (@SmartAssJen) September 19, 2016
Both Boylan and Richards have seen Hollywood from the inside. They understand how the politics works, and the importance of having people like Soloway and Tambor stand up for them. Sure it is privilege at work, but change isn’t going to happen any other way.
I’m particularly pleased for Jen Richards. When she took a stand against the new Matt Bomer film (yet again a cis man playing a trans woman, and with far less justification than is the case with Transparent) it was clear from her tweets that she felt she might have just killed her career. Hollywood doesn’t like people who rock the boat. Thankfully That Moment has come. A few days later she went on to land a recurring role in Nashville. I like to think it was that event that gave Soloway and Tambor the confidence to speak out as they did.
So where now? Eden Lane had a very good point:
— eden lane (@edenlane) September 19, 2016
Looking over the press coverage, it is interesting to note which outlet’s reported Soloway’s comment about the patriarchy but left out her comment about violence against trans women, or which note Tambor’s win but leave out his support of trans actors.
We saw another major step forward last night, but it is only a step on the road. There’s a long way to go yet.
Oh, and I promised you another photo. You have probably all seen this by now, but it is great so I’m doing it anyway. Her name is Jessie Graff and she’s a stunt woman. Some of her recent work includes doing stunts as Supergirl, and as Bobbi Morse on Agents of SHIELD.
The recordings from the June BristolCon Fringe event are now online. We did things slightly differently that month. Firstly thanks to a technical hitch we had no microphone on the AV system. That meant we had to record people direct rather than off the AV system, which caused a few problems with the sound. In addition Stephanie had to leave early to catch a train back to Abergaveny so we had her read first, then did her Q&A, all in one session.
Stephanie read from the opening chapter of her novel, Masks and Shadows, which I reviewed here. It being an historical fantasy featuring secret societies and a eunuch, I had a lot of questions to ask her. The opera connection is very important too.
Our other reader for June was Justin Newland, better known as “the man who asks questions” from our Q&A sessions. Justin read a short story set during the building of Hadrian’s Wall, and the opening chapter of his novel, The Genes of Isis.
Stephanie was able to stay for the reading but had to leave during Justin’s Q&A session. We had a short break while she left, but when we came back no one had any new questions so we just did announcements, which have been tacked on to this recording.
The September Fringe event takes place tomorrow night. The readers are Cassandra Khaw and Jonathan L Howard. I should be there, though I am supposed to be in Cardiff during the day for a Trans*Code event and the Severn Tunnel is closed so travel will be a bit unpredictable. Also I have to get my body functioning again after a couple of days of being dead of cold. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow.
If you want some confirmation that the TERFs did themselves more harm than good by trying to disrupt Tuesday’s meeting in Westminister, just check out this report from a young woman who is doing a year’s placement work in Parliament.
Also something new and interesting is happening. It is called the Trans Equality Legal Initiative, and it is a joint effort between trans activists and human rights lawyers. I’m a big fan of what the Transgender Law Center has done for trans rights in the USA, and if these folks can deliver the same sort of service in the UK that would be very valuable indeed.
Parliament isn’t the only place where laws are created. Legal precedent is also a very important area. Test cases can clarify what laws actually mean, or flag up the need for Parliamentary action. And what has been happening in courts with regard to cases of obtaining sex “by deception” has been hugely harmful to trans people. We need highly qualified specialists who can take on these cases and win them for us.