Monday, 30 November 2015

Transgender Inmate Tara Hudson To Be Released Early

Tara Hudson, a transgender woman who has been serving a 12 week sentence, is to be released from prison early.  Tara came to public attention and received international attention when she was initially sent to an all-male facility following her sentencing due to the fact that she did not have a Gender Recognition Certificate, despite living the majority of her life as a woman.

Tara was originally sent to Bristol Prison to serve her sentence, but after the incident was brought to public attention a petition was launched, that quickly gained more than 150,000 signatures to have her moved to a female facility.  Her case was also raised in parliament and during the Women and Equalities select committee's inquiry on transgender equality.

Despite some criticism from certain members of the public, who felt that someone who had lived their entire life as a female should be placed in danger of physical and sexual assault in male prison simply due to not having a certain piece of paperwork, Tara was quickly moved to Eastwood Park Prison, where she will be released this coming Thursday (3rd December).

Tara's mother, Jackie Brooklyn, has confirmed her release to the Bath Chronicle, and has said, 'I think it's done her quite good because hopefully she's had time to reflect.  I just don't want her to drink again because drinking can cause loads of trouble.  It's a very dangerous substance.'

Whilst Tara was luckily moved into the correct facility, the same was sadly not done for Vicky Thompson, who was found dead in her cell earlier this month.  She was also assigned to a male facility because she did not have a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Thankfully the Ministry of Justice has released a statement confirming that the policy on where to place transgender prisoners is already underway.


Doctor Who 'Heaven Sent' Review

With a season seemingly focused on death and rebirth none other episode this year brings the idea to the forefront as much as 'Heaven Sent'.  In an episode that's very much a gamble, a whole 45 minutes with no one but The Doctor for the audience to engage with and follow, we are given a very strange, creepy and at times downright depressing story in which The Doctor is stuck in a loop, endlessly repeating events for billions of years.

As the episode begins we believe that The Doctor has just arrived in his elaborate puzzle box, torture chamber, clockwork castle after the events of the previous episode, just moments after watching Clara die.  The Doctor spends the next few days exploring his surroundings, running away from the hideous and terrifying Veil, and finally dieing in front of a giant space diamond wall before creating a copy of himself just to repeat it all again.

When I realised that The Doctor was stuck in a loop, and we saw that loop continuing on for thousands, then millions, then billions of years, with no apparent change in his actions I was beginning to genuinely question how The Doctor would ever manage to escape.  The reveal that he was slowly, painstakingly chipping away at the diamond wall by punching it, wearing it down over billions of years was a little moment of genius.

It's stories like this that push Doctor Who to it's limits, that take a show that has worked for more than 50 years and dares to try something it's never done before.  We're given a Doctor that is alone, completely and utterly, which is something we've never seen before.  Even when not travelling with a companion there's normally someone around for one of his adventures, but here it's just him.

That sense of isolation definitely added to the suspense of the episode.  If we were cutting back to a companion or if the Doctor had another living person to talk to we'd lose some of that fear and sense of isolation and vulnerability that was built up by a lone, scared Doctor running away from the monster.

The Veil, this weeks monster, was another of those genius creations that comes from such a simple concept.  A creature that never stops.  It's been done before, the terminator is a prime example of this.  But The Veil is such a creepy and disturbing foe that I'm sure it's already given many children nightmares.  A tall, desiccated corpse wrapped in sheets, slowly walking towards you, surrounded by flies, hell, it should even give adults the creeps.

Using The Veil as a way of frightening The Doctor into giving away his secrets was neat little idea, one that put The Doctor into a position we've never seen him in before, and one that paid off well.  The Doctor confirms a suspicion brought up by Davros in the first story of the season, that The Doctor didn't leave Gallifrey simply because he was bored, but because he was scared.  He was running away from the prophecy of the hybrid.

Whilst I'm sure that there will be many people who didn't like the episode, found it too 'slow' or 'boring' I found it to be an incredibly brave and interesting episode.  Yes, it was downright mad in places, and occasionally confused, but the concept was just so bonkers that it has to be given credit for being so amazingly well done.

The reveal that the diamond wall labelled 'home' didn't lead to the Tardis as The Doctor hoped wasn't a surprise to me, after a two year absence it's about time that the Time Lords made a return, especially with Missy roaming around the universe confirming that Gallifrey survived the events of The Day of The Doctor.

The final revelation of the episode comes not from the fact that The Doctor is back on Gallifrey, but in his final words.  'The hybrid is me'.  Now, is The Doctor saying that he is the prophesies hybrid that will ever save or doom Gallifrey?  If so, what does this mean, could this be Moffat going back to the long abandoned plot from the 8th Doctor's brief adventure, that The Doctor is part human?

Perhaps, or maybe he's a hybrid in a different sense.  One other possibility is that when he said 'me' he instead said 'Me', as in the name that Maisie Williams' Ashildr now goes by.  Ashildr/Me is a mix of viking and immortal alien, definitely a hybrid, and she is confirmed as being back for the finale.  It's still not clear enough at this point to make any firm predictions, after all as River kept telling us 'The Doctor lies'.

The preview for next week looks to set the stage for some exciting developments.  Will the Time Lords return to the universe, and if so will they be a force for good or evil?  Why is Ashildr/Me back, is she the hybrid?  Will Missy make an appearance to help/stop The Doctor?  Is The Doctor going to regenerate next week?

Whatever the answers to these questions I'm sure that we're in store for one hell of a finale.

As a side note, the folks over at did a little math into how many Doctors lived through the events of the episode.  On the assumption that each Doctor lives roughly 3 days, and a rough figure of 2 and a half billion years there have been approximately 304,375,000,012 Doctors.


Friday, 27 November 2015

'Loose Women' Comes Under Fire After Transgender Discussion

No one can deny that there is a lot more talk about trans people and transgender issues on television than ever before.  We're starting to be taken seriously, we're no longer being seen as deviants or fetishists, and people are starting to understand that we face some very serious, life threatening issues.  Some would say that any discussion about transgender people on television is a good thing, that it raises awareness.  Right?

Well, in the case of ITV's Loose Women not so much. A panel consisting of Jane Moore, Gloria Hunniford, Nadia Sawalha and Andrea McLean, all cisgender women, have received criticism for a discussion on transgender issues on the show yesterday, November 27th.

The group were talking about the subject of 'oversharing' with children and the potential harm that it can cause, questioning if children should be sheltered from certain subjects for their own safety and happiness.  It was during this discussion that the subject of transgender children came up.

Andrea McLean introduced the topic, saying 'There's been a quadruple rise in the number of children, some aged 10 or under , who have been referred to the NHS and that's because of transgender feelings.  Transgender is a word that has been banded around an awful lot in the last 12 months or so, especially because of the Caitlyn Jenner case over in America.'

'One case is wonderful and lovely, how accepting people are of fluid sexuality.  But the fact that young children are now questioning their sexuality and gender at such a young age, is that refreshing or worrying?'

Obviously this was already problematic as one of the hosts had already confused gender and sexuality, something that annoyed some viewers.  Nadia Sawalha went on to add further ire when she went on to say, 'Last year my step daughter told me the 'in' thing in school was self harming, and then before that it was throwing up.  You know, fashionable words that have been taken on'.

I, and some others who have taken to social media to complain, think that comparing any of these issues to being an 'in' thing is incredibly insulting and potentially dangerous.  It pushed someone who is going through one or more of these issues away, it sends a message that if someone feels that they might be transgender they're only doing it to be fashionable because it's 'in'.  It tells parents not to worry if your child is self harming, it's not because they're in pain and need help, it's because it's a fad.  

Gloria Hunniford proved to be just as problematic when she went on to discuss a family friend, whose child, assigned female at birth but identifying as male, who has expressed the desire to undergo gender realignment surgery to remove his breasts.  

She said, 'It must be so difficult for parents to deal with that.  It would be bad enough if a child eventually had a mastectomy for health reasons, but just to look like a boy?'

No only did none of the presenters respect this young man enough to use male pronouns, using she and her throughout, but Hunniford seems more concerned with how parents of transgender teens feel than the feelings of the transgender person themselves, going on to lament the parent's feelings of their child having to have surgery 'just to look like a boy'.  God forbid she actually think this person might need that surgery for their own quality of life, or respect them enough not to use language like 'look like a boy'.

Jane Moore tried to inject some wisdom at this point, telling Hunniford 'I would say if she's got to that stage she's teen age you know by then, don't you?  The under 10 aspect worries me.'  Despite stating that the young man probably isn't just 'confused' by that age is good, being unable to say the word transgender and misgendering them is not.

Hunniford went on to add, 'You understand when your child talks about homosexuality but being transgender is a whole new thing.'

Jane Moore ended the talk by saying, 'We shouldn't push anything on a child.  All you can ever have with them is an open relationship where they feel they can come and talk to you about it.'  The audience applauded the panel at the end.

However, it would seem that not everyone agrees with everything the panel said, calling out some poor use of language, the muddling of gender and sexuality, their concern for parents of trans children over the trans children themselves and general lack of education and ignorance on the subject.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and it's a panel show where people are allowed to share those opinions, but it's obvious from every comment that the presenters made that none of them have ever looked into transgender issues, especially transgender children.  All of their opinions seem to be based on shaky general knowledge, informed by other ill educated television and radio.  

They failed to use correct pronouns, they felt that even acknowledging trans issues is somehow 'forcing' them on children, they show more concern over the feelings of the 'poor' parents, they seem not to understand the reasons for surgical procedures.  Hell, the way they were talking I'm surprised they didn't start trotting out 80's tropes and innuendos.

So many people are educated by television, the things they see and hear act as their guides on issues they might never have come across before or thought about much.  That in itself is not a bad thing, television is a medium that can be used to a fantastic effect to educate and inform, but only when done right.

When little or no research is done on such a sensitive and important issue as transgender children it can lead to the furthering of misconceptions and discriminatory views.  This was an excellent chance to do something good, even if it had helped just one member of the trans community by giving out the right info it would have been worth it, instead they've helped no one, possibly even the opposite.

If you are discussing transgender issues and don't have any trans people their to help educate and inform, please go and do just a little bit of research,  Half an hour on Google would have made their discussion very different.  It doesn't take much effort to get it right, but it takes a lot more effort to fix it when it's been done wrong.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Transgender Prisoner 'I'm So Close To Ending My Life'

A female transgender prisoner has written to the UK parliament stating that during her time in prison she has been mistreated, sexually abused and is close to ending her own life.

The letter has been published as part of the evidence of the ongoing transgender enquiry, and raises some extremely serious concerns as to the treatment and safety of transgender people whilst in prison, not least because it was only a week ago that transgender inmate Vicky Thompson took her own life after being placed in an all-male facility.

The enquiry have chosen to withhold the name of the prisoner, and the facility they are currently in, but a spokesperson from the Women and Equalities Committee has confirmed that they 'know the individuals identity and are certain that it's from a genuine prisoner, not Vicky Thompson.'

The letter states that the prisoner is currently being held in an all-male facility despite being 'legally female'.  She also goes on to say that she has been the victim of rape, sexual assault and the deliberate withholding of hormones as part of her ongoing medical treatment.  She makes it very clear that she is suicidal.

She goes on to write that she has been denied access to any means to effect transition, including female gendered clothing, make-up and hormone treatment.  She says that because of this 'my safety is constantly at risk'.

'I'm legally female, the equality governor [name withheld] is constantly out to hurt me and states I'm a freak, there are no equality reps or LGBT reps.  I have no access to help or other transgender people.'

'I'm so close to ending my life.  Now [name withheld] is so horrid, and even though I've been raped/sexually assaulted they put me on VP [vulnerable persons] sex offenders wing, they are mad here.  I've gone through hell and have begged them to please move me to a female estate.  If I had already been there I would not have been raped and assaulted, I'm so down and so alone.'

In response to the letter, and the concerns raised by the public for the safety of yet another transgender woman in an all-male prison, the Women and Equalities Committee had this to say, 'While we are not able to take up individual cases, we take our responsibilities to witness very seriously and have out the individual in touch with people who can help her.'

'The individual is in contact with a support orgnisation for trans people.  The Minister for Justice is also aware of the case and the prison Governor has spoken to her about her evidence to our committee.  We have also given the individual the details of her constituency MP'.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

'I Am Leo' Transgender Documentary Wins BAFTA

'I Am Leo', a documentary made for British children's channel CBBC, received a children's BAFTA in the Factual category.

'I Am Leo' focuses on the Leo, a young transgender boy, aged 13 at the time of filming, as he goes about his daily life, meets with his friends and a twenty year old trans woman named Natalie, as well as the Stephen Whittle, a member of the Press for Change advocacy group.

The documentary won out over other nominees, 'Mr Alzheimers and Me', Being Me: A Newsround Special' and 'Operation Ouch!'.

Leo went on to say, 'I want to thank everyone who nominated I Am Leo for this award, and everyone involved in making it a success.  I'm really proud to have been given the opportunity to make so many people proud by telling my story, and being able to tell it my way.'

'I would like to say a massive thank you to Nine Lives Media, and especially to Cat [Lewis] for giving me the opportunity.  To Phil [Niland] and Lyndsay [Rowan], who I spent much time with, for their support and encouragement, and keeping motivated throughout the months of filming.'

'I would like to thank my mum for believing in me, staying positive and being beside me throughout my journey.'

Leo has said that he is glad that his story is out and that it has helped other people, saying that a lot of young transgender people have contacted him for help, advice and guidance.


Arrow 'Brotherhood' Review

Things took an interesting turn on this weeks episode of Arrow as Diggle and the rest of the team discovered that Andy Diggle, believed killed by HIVE years ago, is in fact alive and a member of the Ghosts.

This episode was a vast improvement over last weeks, with more being added to the overall story arc of the series and the mythology.  We were given a deeper insight into the way that HIVE operates, raising the possibility that not all of the Ghosts are willing participants, but under the control of Damian Darhk.  This opens up some options in the story of the season, who else could be under their control?  Will Team Arrow find a way of breaking that control and deprive Darhk of his army?  Will one of our heroes fall under HIVE control?

The decision to free Andy from HIVE control may have seemed like a fairly sensible and obvious one, but somehow Diggle's reluctance to do so seemed somewhat forced.  Yes, he explains in great detail how the death of his brother effected him, and it was handled well enough to be believable, but I just felt that his reluctance was a little unusual.  Perhaps it's because he's discovering that his brother wasn't the good man he thought he was that has shaken his faith in his brother and makes him question just who he's going to be getting back.

Elsewhere Ollie's campaign to be mayor of Star City stepped up a notch as he comes face to face with Damian Darhk, who thankfully at this point does not seem to know that Ollie and Green Arrow are the same person.  Darhk offers Ollie the opportunity to work with him, prompting Ollie to consider agreeing to the partnership with him in order to infiltrate HIVE.

Whilst this might appear to be a good plan, the rest of Team Arrow are firmly against it, being quick to point out how he did the same last year with Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins, and whilst in the end they won, it was an incredibly damaging experience.  Diggle has only just begun to trust Ollie again, Thea is suffering the after effects of almost dieing and all of that stems from having 'joined' the villain.

Thankfully Ollie sees that the best solution is to 'fight in the light' and rejects Darhk's offer, which will probably come around to bite Ollie as Darhk is clearly not a man that handles rejection very well.

On the topic of Darhk, it looks like the team may have something that can finally do some damage to him.  Darhk confronts Thea and attempts to do his life sucker magic on her, only to have it come around and hurt him instead.  We knew that magic would be a big part of this season, and it looks like they're going to be taking some time to explore the mystical elements that have already been sown into the series such as the Lazarus Pit.

The episode gives everyone a time to shine, including Ray Palmer who is sticking around for a little longer, and builds the show mythology and sets up for more interesting stories yet to come.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Church of England To Claim Equality Act Case, Despite Exemption in LGBT Case

The Church of England have recently produced an advertisement that aims to promote the Lord's Prayer, the Church of England and their belief system.  Having been denied approval to air the ad in a number of cinemas, the Church of England has issued a warning that they may begin legal proceedings under the Equalities Act, though this is after they themselves successfully argued in court that they should be exempt from the rules of the Equality Act in order to avoid discrimination charges against LGBT people.

The Church of England have, just last month, successfully argued that they are exempt to the rules of the Equality Act due to their religious exemptions when they were taken to tribunal after firing a gay hospital chaplain for marrying his partner.  The case was dismissed by the tribunal.

It would appear, though, that after being able to have that particular case thrown out of court under 'religious exemptions' the Church of England is threatening the exact same actions against companies who do not wish to air their advertisement.

Digital Cinema Media, who provides all advertisements to UK cinema chains, blocked the proposal for the advertisement to be shown in cinemas under a long standing policy of 'not accepting political or religious advertising'.

The rules regarding religion on broadcast outlets are detailed, and stipulate that advertisements must not 'expound doctrines or beliefs' unless they are on specialist faith channels.

Religious based advertisements have proven to be controversial and upsetting in the past.  In 2009 two rival campaigns using the sides of buses to debate whether God exists prompted thousands of complaints, and in 2012 a campaign using the slogan 'Not gay!  Ex-gay, post-gay and proud!  Get over it!' was banned by Transport of London after being employed by evangelical groups.

Due to these guidelines and poorly received campaigns in the past the DCM (Digital Cinema Media) argues that it could offend people of 'differing faiths and no faith', a claim that the Church of England are calling 'plain silly' and claiming will have a 'chilling effect' on free speech.

Reacting to the decision not to show the advertisements in British cinemas, including Vue, Odeon and Cineworld, the Church of England's chief legal adviser Stephen Slack claimed that the decision could 'give rise to legal proceedings' under the Equality Act.

Despite the Church of England claiming that their advert should not be banned because the Equality Act prevents businesses from discriminating on religious grounds some activists have voiced disapproval of the Church's willingness to claim protection under the Equality Act when having claimed in court that they are exempt from it.

Terry Sanderson, the president of the National Secular Society has said that, 'The Church of England is arrogant to imagine it has an automatic right to foist its opinions upon a captive audience who have paid good money for a completely different experience.  The Church does not hesitate to ban things from its own church halls - things like yoga.  The cinema chains are simply exercising the same right.'

Despite claims from the Church of England that they do not wish to broadcast the advertisement on television and radio, the advertisement has already received a lot of air time on both due to the media coverage of the controversy. The Church has claimed that the online version has been clicked on half a million times in the first 24 hours since the story broke.

A public relations consultant Peter Davies has said, 'People tend to come into cinemas 20 minutes after the programme starts, so they can avoid the adverts.  Already, it seems the audience far outweighs what the Church of England would have gotten if it had been shown in cinemas'.


Doctor Who 'Face The Raven' Review

We've known Jenna Coleman's departure from Doctor Who was coming, the news broke several weeks ago, but most people (and myself included) would have thought that her end would come in the closing story of the series, not with two episodes left to go.

The shock of Coleman's sudden departure this episode is what made her death stand out for me.  Right up until the point when the smoke came out of her lifeless mouth I was expecting her to somehow survive, to use the episode as a curve ball to make the audience believe she was going to die before letting her live for a few more episodes.  Alas, that was not so and Clara Oswald met her end for no reason, dieing simply from her own stupidity.

Her intentions may have been pure, to remove the threat of death from Rigsy, but she was in full possession of the facts, as she came to realise at the end of the episode, that she was doomed the second she took the mark.

The thing is, was that really a surprise?  If you watch Clara over the course of this series she's a very different person from who she was last year.  She's taking more risks, she acting recklessly and literally laughing in the face of danger (like when nearly falling out of the Tardis in this episode).  She has been putting herself in more and more danger each episode.

Whilst some of that can be chalked up to her cockiness, and she has been extremely cocky in the role of companion since the first episode in which we met Rigsy where she was left to play the part of The Doctor whilst he was stuck inside a miniturised Tardis, it's not just down to her thinking highly of herself and her skills.  No, this is all down to the death of Danny Pink.

Danny died in last series finale, and Clara hasn't been the same since, a fact that she even acknowledges just before her death.  She's been throwing herself into danger because she hasn't really cared about living as much as she was before.  Whether it was conscious or not, she didn't care about her safety any more, even to the point where it had The Doctor worried.

The moments leading up to Clara's death are what really made this a good episode.  Up to that point we were given a mystery story, the return of some previous characters in the form of Rigsy and Ashildr and a new piece of Doctor Who mythology in the form of hidden refugee settlements for some of The Doctors fallen foes.

It was as soon as the characters realised Clara was about to die, with no way to save her, that things really got interesting though.  These are the kinds of moments where I love seeing Peter Capaldi in the role of The Doctor.  He was able to portray despair, sadness, anger, frustration, hopelessness and simmering rage in such wonderfully subtle ways.  You could see all those emotions swimming just under the surface whilst he tried to maintain a brave face for his friend.  This scene is definitely up their with his speech at the end of the Zygon two parter as showcase moment that perfectly displays why he's one of the best Doctors we've had.

All in all I was very happy with the episode, it introduced some new ideas to the show, brought back some characters and monsters from the last few seasons and set up brilliantly for what looks to be one of the more unique season finales we've had, one with The Doctor alone and companionless (unless Missy comes back to help for the last episode).

It was also good as it was the first episode since the show returned that had the nerve to kill a companion.  Whilst Donna's end was extremely sad (sadder than Clara's) she was still alive and ended up rich and married, and whilst Amy and Rory never saw The Doctor again they both lives into their old age, so those 'deaths' didn't count.  This one does though.

Sometimes it's good to remind the audience that travelling with The Doctor isn't safe, at all.  It's good to show that the good guys don't always win, and it helps to remind people that whilst Doctor Who is a family show characters still aren't safe, even companions.

A great start to the series finale and excellently acted by both Capaldi and Coleman.


Friday, 20 November 2015

Marvel Comics Reveal First Look At 'Mockingbird' Comic

Marvel announced at Baltimore Comic Con Summit that Chelsea Cain would be writing a new Mockingbird comic, with Kate Niemczyk providing art.

Despite gaining massive popularity in the last couple of years since her inclusion in hit television show 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.', played brilliantly by Adrianne Palicki, Mockingbird has never starred in her own book.  She has been used in other characters titles, and in team books, especially alongside Hawkeye, but has never been the centre of a story.

All that's about to change with the upcoming launch of 'Mockingbird'.  The title will reportedly follow her 'medical history.  Nick Fury saved her life with a dose of Super Soldier Serum and Infinity Formula, and I (Cain) wanted to explore the fallout from that.'

'She's got to go in every week for a medical check-up.  I loved the idea of this medical clinic for super heroes - a place where they go to get stitched up and get their Prozac refilled.  And the waiting room would be full of bored heroes leafing through old 'Us Weekly'.  Would Bobbi uncover a conspiracy in that sort of environment?'

'Well she is good at ferreting out conspiracies having been subject to them a number of times herself.  Frankly she's a little sensitive about that.  But the books will also show Bobbi on her personal time, and off having Bond-level adventures - the Roger Moore years.'


Daily Mail Brands Trans Students & Allies As Fascists On TDOR

The repugnant 'newspaper' The Daily Mail has chosen today, the internationally recognised Transgender Day of Remembrance, to publish an article that has attacked transgender students and their allies at Cardiff University as being fascists.

The article, which despite being printed on page 17 of today's issue was promoted on the 'newspaper's' front page, compares students, who earlier this week protested the appearance of feminist and known transphobe Germaine Greer at Cardiff University, as being fascists for trying to prevent the spread of hate speech.

The article is written by Brendan O'Neil, a journalist known for his extreme thoughts and opinions.  In the past he has opposed the legalisation of same sex marriage, has criticised the notion of tackling global warming by lowering carbon emissions, and even considers efforts to combat racism in football as 'a petty poisonous desire to police the working classes'.

O'Neil believes passionately in free speech, he believes that nothing should be barred from being said, a will use those arguments to justify sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic hate speech, as he does in this article.

He begins his article by stating that 'Britain's universities have changed.  They've turned from citadels of intellectual enquiry into sprawling camps of conformism, where anyone who dissents from what is decreed to be the correct thought process will be cast out into academic darkness.'

He places the blame for this change in universities squarely on the shoulders of students, claiming that the 'bright eyed students' are now 'proselytising zealouts' and refers to them as 'student Stasi'.  It's amazing that he would equate trying to erase disinformation and hate speech with an evil secret police service, but I guess to him being told that certain terms are harmful is the same as taking away his rights.

He uses the article to complain about people with known racist views being prevented from talking at universities, he complains about men being asked not to be involved in abortion debates, he complains about the fact that some universities have stopped playing Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines record because of its close rape connotations.  Some people would argue that all of these things are good things, that they're the right steps forward towards making a better, safer and healthier environment, but not Brendan O'Neil and the Daily Mail.

The students Brendan O'Neil insist are fascists, with their messages of peace.
This blatant refusal to see that certain speech and views can be harmful extends to the language O'Neil uses to speak about transgender people.  He references Greers views, stating the 'men who have sex-change surgery do not become real women' without even trying to disagree with those views or say that trans women aren't 'men'.  He enforces this by later saying that such views are considered 'harmful'.

Those quote marks aren't from me quoting the article, that's how he describes transphobic views, he puts harmful in quotation marks to show that he doesn't believe it to be harmful, that it's only an opinion.  Well Brendan, that's quite simply bollocks.  Transphobic views ARE harmful, fact.  If they weren't the suicide rate of the trans community wouldn't be 12 times higher than that of the general population, and we wouldn't be remembering over 270 people killed because of those views today.

Transphobic views being harmful is in no way an opinion, and to try and describe it as such is both ludicrous and insulting.  But he doesn't stop there with it, he even goes on to show his support for Julie Bindel who was prevented from speaking at Manchester University for her transphobic views.  He even feels the need to quote those views just to include another shot at the trans community.

He claims that it's only 'different or daring thinkers who are silenced by censorious students', but the things he's complaining about aren't 'different' or 'daring', it's opinions that have been proven and accepted by most people as false and ludicrous.

If someone wanted to talk about how all men are animal rapists, or all German people are cannibals, or that the only cure for cancer is prayer, or that people who have a disability are being punished for something in a past life would those views be given a platform to speak on and viewed as 'different' or 'daring'?  No, they'd be called out for being completely ridiculous, unfounded and in some cases hateful.

That's exactly the kind of thing that O'Neil and the Daily Mail are trying to defend though, they feel that anyone can say anything, claiming it to be true and no thought should be paid to the effect of those words.  They seem to consider putting thought into what should be given a public platform should be seen as fascism.

'The word fascist must never be used lightly.  But to destroy with fire words you don't like?  That is fascistic and the very opposite of the freedom of thought that should prevail on 21st century campuses.

'As we have seen, the New Fascists, and the academic apologists who cave into their censorious demands, from on alternative thinking and seek to eradicate dissenting thought.'

It is worth remembering what kind of 'newspaper' the Daily Mail is though, it's the kind of paper that calls a woman trying to highlight sexism as a 'feminazi', it's the kind of paper that calls refugees fleeing from war 'boat people' and even gives Katie Hopkins a platform.

With that I'm not surprised they've chosen to label the transgender community and their allies as 'fascists' for wanting to end the kind of hate speech that has led to literally hundreds of deaths this last year alone.  What I am a little surprised about is the fact that they chose today to do it, that they would show an image of the trans flag next to the term 'fascists' on their front page on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  They chose to use that image and that language on the day that we mourn the deaths of over 270 transgender people, most of whom were violently murdered by people exposed to so much transphobia that they saw those views as normal.

But maybe they're right, maybe wanting to stop the rapes, beatings, stabbings, shooting and murders of transgender people around the world is being a fascist, because as we all know fascists have historically wanted nothing but equality.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Many Heads, One Tale' Review

After sidelining Hydra for most of the season to focus on Inhumans, the A.T.C.U. and building tensions between them and S.H.I.E.L.D. it felt a lot like Hydra was becoming a thing of the past, a side plot that would come up only when the writers wanted to give Ward some screen time.  This weeks episode changed all of that.

In a dramatic final five minutes we discover that Hydra is much older that everyone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and us the audience, were led to believe.  It turns out Hydra was around long before the Red Skull and the events of Captain America: The First Avenger,  'hundred generations' ago.  Hydra were also behind the NASA mission that sent Will and his team through the monolith to the alien planet Simmons was trapped on, and had been sending people through for hundreds of years.  All because they serve the Inhuman that was sent through the, presumably the 'creature' Will was so afraid of.

Hydra believe that this powerful Inhuman is destined to rule the world, and plan on both bringing it back to Earth, as well as building an Inhuman army for it to lead.

This is the kind of moment that makes S.H.I.E.L.D. a genuine joy to watch.  Whilst I anticipated Hydra being behind the A.T.C.U. and wanting a force of Inhumans under their command, their being connected to the monolith, and being founded to worship and serve a powerful Inhuman was definitely a twist I wasn't expecting, and certainly sets the stage for some exciting stories to come.

Elsewhere in the episode we were treated to the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being agents again.  Instead of going up against Inhumans, or other alien threats we got to see our favourite secret agents actually being secret agents again, breaking into a secret facility.

Taking up a decent sized chunk of the episode, the team were tasked with breaking into the A.T.C.U. facility to find out just what Rosalind and her people were up to, something that was genuinely enjoyable to watch.  Things got changed up as we got to see Hunter playing the techie as Daisy talked him through tech speak that he was obviously clueless to, and even had Mack's phone call role-play was fun to watch.

When the spying didn't go exactly to plan it was down to Bobbi to fight her way out of the facility, which led to a fun new use of her iconic batons, as she made use of some snazzy magnetic wristbands to make the weapons fly back to her after throwing them.  Her fight with the Inhuman Mark Damascos was fun to watch, though way too short.

The episode had some good character development too, in more than one place.  We got to see May open up to Lincoln in a very well written and tender scene as the normally stoic woman opened up to Lincoln and apologised for Andrews actions as Lash.  This scene was by far the best one of the series so far to feature Lincoln, though mainly due to Ming-Na's excellent acting, and will hopefully help to bring the Inhuman into the team.

Coulson and Rosalind also had something of a rocky week after their romantic moment from the previous episode.  It would appear that whilst Coulson does genuinely like Rosalind he just can't trust her 100%, even going so far as to lock her in one of their Inhuman holding cells to question her motives and what the A.T.C.U. is really up to.

Whilst some will still think that Rosalind is working with Hydra, I believe she has to be one of the good guys now.  Her reactions to what Coulson were doing, and the revelation of what was going on in the A.T.C.U. building seemed too genuine to be faked, even for a seasoned spy.  I think that like many before her, Rosalind was simply fooled by Gideon Malick into thinking he was a good guy.  Don;t forget, this man was on the World Security Council in Avengers, so he's clearly very good at hiding his true intentions.  Add into that the fact that Rosalind helped Bobbi and Hunter escape I think she's going to continue to be an ally of S.H.I.E.L.D. throughout the rest of the season.

The main moment of the episode, other than the shock ending, came with Fitz and Simmons finally kissing.  It's been building for two and a half years and didn't feel false when it finally happened.  With the shadow of Will still hanging between them it was hard to watch the two characters try and resolve their situation, especially as Fitz made it clear that he felt in some way inferior to the handsome astronaut, those his doubts were blown away when Simmons made it clear just how amazing Fitz really is, he 'dove through a hole in the universe' to save her.  That's pretty damn bad arse in my books.

This episode is a prime example of S.H.I.E.L.D. doing what it does best, giving us action, drama, emotion, intrigue and revelations that will go on to shape the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Fingers crossed the show can keep up this standard and deliver one of the best seasons yet.


Flash 'Gorilla Warfare' Review

After last weeks impressive Zoom centric episode it was going to be hard to compete, luckily The Flash had something up it's sleeve, everyone's favourite psychic Gorilla, Grodd.

Just like in the first season Grodd is very impressive, with so much phenomenal effects work going into giving the villain life.  That work doesn't just extend to making Grodd realistic though, this time round he's able to show a broad range of expression and emotion through both is face and body movement.  The result is a fully CG bad guy that actually has more depth and range of emotion that some of the other villains on the show.

Last years 'Grodd Lives' was nominated for an Emmy due to it's impressive visual effects work, and I certainly wouldn't be surprised if this episode is received the same way.

Despite Grodd's return to the Flash universe being a big deal it still feels like the character is still in the process of being set up to be the villain we know and love from the comics.  This episode was used as a healing process for Barry, for him to get over the beating he received from Zoom and build his nerve into getting back into the suit.

Whilst there's nothing wrong with showing our hero emotionally and psychologically shaken after his showdown with Zoom (and who could blame him for that) it feels like an under use of Grodd's potential.  At least the episode started Grodd down the path to bigger and greater things, transporting him to Earth-2 to Gorilla City.  I'm hoping that he'll be back for season three more as the Grodd we've read in the comics, and introducing Solivar would be cool too.

Elsewhere the episode was spent showing us the recovery of Barry Allen, who after receiving massive spinal trauma last episode began this one already walking.  I know it's one of the benefits of Flash's powers that he heals exceptionally quickly, but the show runners could have at least had him recovering for more than half an episode.

His incapacitation though was a good way of bringing John Wesley Shipp's Henry back to the show after several weeks away.  Whilst it's a shame he isn't around more, the brief times we are given him he's always a pleasure to watch, not just for his great acting but for the joy of seeing both Flash's on screen together.

We were also given a small tease for next weeks Arrow/Flash crossover when Cisco went on a date with Kendra Saunders.  Using his 'vibe' he was able to see a flash of Hawkgirl.  Yes, we might only have to wait a week to finally get to see her fully, but this brief tease was a great way of building excitement as the CW have been very sparse on showing her in action so far.

The stand out for the episode has to go to Tom Cavanagh for the way he played Harrison 'Harry' Wells.  After a couple of weeks of being something of a grumpy arse hole it finally feels like Harry has started to find a place in the team, he's realising that they are his best way of getting his daughter back and he's slowly starting to warm to them, so much so that he put himself in danger to save Caitlyn after Grodd kidnapping her.

It was these scenes that really show how good Cavanagh is in the role.  Even when wearing the Reverse Flash suit it was very clear that Harry Wells is not the Harrison Wells (well, Eobard Thawn really) that we knew from season one.  Yes, sometimes he might seem creepy and cold, but he's really playing it differently now.

'Gorilla Warfare' was a good follow-up episode to last weeks, plus a great way of carrying on Grodd's story.  Add into that the fact that we got to see Gorilla City on TV, which is something I never thought I'd see.  With the mention of Atlantis a few weeks ago and the cameo of King Shark maybe Earth-2 is the shows way of experimenting with the wackier side of DC's back catalogue, and I hope we get even more amazing things in the future.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Lily Allen Celebrates Trans Awareness Week, Receives Transphobic Responses

British singer Lily Allen, sister of Game of Thones' Alfie Allen, posted a meme on Facebook to celebrate Transgender Awareness Week and show support to the transgender community.  The meme was very simple and clear, it said that gender is decided by the brain, not by genitals.

Whilst this is a very simple fact that members of the trans community know and understand, and many members of the cis community are coming to realise, the singer was met with a torrent of abuse for her meme, with many of the top comments being transphobic in nature.

Comments range from people claiming scientific knowledge on the subject, though it is obvious that this knowledge is based solely on primary school learning and no real in depth knowledge, to people making the oh so funny comments that they wish to identify as animals now.

On a positive not, there was a lot of positive support for Lily Allens post, with a number of trans people weighing in to thank the singer and show their appreciation.  Sadly, despite trying to educate those people that disagree with basic fact, it seems like they're simply talking to a wall.  The people making these negative comments aren't going to have their minds changed by the trans community.

Sadly this is an indicator that despite how far the trans community has come, there is still a so much more that needs to happen before the trans community becomes fully accepted.


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Neon Moon - Promotes Trans Rights, Fails To Demonstrate

A few weeks ago I produced an article on the feminist lingerie brand Neon Moon, discussing their use of a transgender model in their latest campaign.  To prepare for that article I interviewed both the model, and the CEO of Neon Moon Hayat Rachi.

Following that article Neon Moon has acted rudely and cold towards myself and Planet Transgender, where the article was published, and even reprinted much of my work on their own website claiming it to be their own work.

The article did not mention that the interview was conducted by myself, or were conducted for Planet Transgender.  The article made the claim that it was a piece of their own making, and that they were the ones who performed the interview.

This was done without the knowledge or consent of either Planet Transgender or myself.  We were not approached to ask if Neon Moon could reproduce our work, and we were certainly not asked if they could tell people that it was their work.

The link to the now deleted article, clearly stating 'We ask', rather than
citing the original article.
The only main difference between the interview I conducted with Hayat, and the article she had produced, was that they added a question and answer about her appearing in her company's photographs as a model, and removing a question I asked her about how she would react to accusations that Neon Moon were just using a trans model to gain media attention.

I believe that it was this question, and the subsequent reporting of it in my original article that begun Hayat's cold behaviour.

I asked that question of her to give her a chance to counter any criticism of her and her company before it arose.  I made it clear to her that I myself was not accusing her of 'taking advantage' of the focus on trans people, but giving her an easy way of showing that she wasn't before the accusations began.  We live in an age where even good deeds can be seen as suspect, of having an ulterior motive.  I wanted to give Neon Moon the platform to say 'that's not us'.

Hayat refuses to respond to a question, a question I believe to be the source of
her poor behaviour towards myself and Planet Transgender.
The reason I believe this question became a source of contention for Hayat was that her response was 'I'm not comfortable with this question'.  She went on to say that 'no one would accuse Neon Moon of this', and asked me why I would ask that question of her.  After explaining that I was not trying to cause offence, but on Neon Moon's side her response was 'could you word it?  They'd trust you more than me'.  She had once again refused to answer the question, and that fact was reported in my article.
With this question removed from the interview I conducted with her and a question of her own put into it's place I guess she felt that it was an original enough work to claim it as her own.  The article was posted to Neon Moon's Facebook page and Twitter feed, where I left a comment to say where the article was originally publish and who the actual author was.

At this point I was upset that Hayat had taken my work and was trying to pass it off as her own.  I took to Twitter and vented my frustration that someone had taken my work and was claiming it as theirs.  I did not, at any point, however, mention Hayat Rachi or Neon Moon in this, giving them the benefit of the doubt of contacting them before going on to name them.

Later that night, when I was then able to try and message Hayat I found that the article they had produced had been removed from their website.  I went to contact Hayat to talk about what had happened only to discover that I had been blocked by Hayat on Facebook, and blocked from the Neon Moon Twitter page.

I emailed Hayat to talk to her about why she had felt the need to block me, and messaged her on Facebook through the Neon Moon company page.  The email has thus far been unresponded to, and the several messages that I have sent through Facebook have been viewed, but ignored.

Hayat Rachi blocked me from both Facebook and Twitter, ignoring my communications.
I worked with Hayat on three articles, two of which were way before she announced involving a trans model with the company.  I believed in Neon Moons message of body positivity, I thought that they had a good and healthy approach and were a company that conducted itself well.  I even believed that they wanted to help tackle transphobia and help trans women.

What I find hard to understand is why a company that preached equality, and spreads a message of positivity towards trans people would firstly steal work from a trans person, then block and ignore that person when they try to speak to them about it.  I find it hard to understand why Neon Moon go out of the way to share and promote the articles people produce on them, yet have not once shared or mentioned the last article produced by a transgender publication.  They are sending one message, and then acting completely opposite to that message.

This is not designed to be an attack piece, instead I'm hoping that the publication of this prompts Hayat to open communications again so that this matter can be resolved.  However, I doubt that she will do so.  So instead this is designed as a warning, that some companies, and I believe Neon Moon in particular, preach a good message when it comes to trans people, but act completely contrary to that message.


Less than 24 hours after posting this article another trans woman read this and chose to try and ask Neon Moon about this rather than believing it as fact from only hearing one side of the argument, a very well reasoned choice.

This other person was wanting to give Neon Moon the chance to explain what had happened, to give them a chance to apologise, or to even say that their had been a misunderstanding.  Instead, Neon Moon deleted this woman's comment and blocked her.

That makes two trans women blocked in a two day period.  Questionable action from a company that is pushing for trans equality and sending a pro-trans message.


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Arrow 'Lost Souls' Review

Last week we learnt that Ray Palmer, the superhero known as The Atom, was not in fact killed in an explosion at the end of season three as believed (despite the fact that we were told that he was alive months ago with the reveal trailer for Legends of Tomorrow).

That's what a lot of this episode was about, building towards the new Arrow spin-off 'Legends of Tomorrow', as not only was The Atom re-introduced to the franchise but so was Sarah Lance's Black Canary, who we know will go on to become White Canary.

Whilst the episode did carry on with a number of the stories already established in the show already, the up and down relationship between Ollie and Felicity, the evil machinations of Damian Dahrk, but all in all it felt like a very throwaway episode where nothing much actually happened.

All the main changes involved Ray and Sarah, who were both very quickly sidelined by the end of the episode.

The one positive in the episode is that even though it was heavily focused on setting up for the future spin-off Damian Dahrk was heavily involved.  Whilst it was good to see a rematch between Green Arrow and his supernaturally powered opponent, compared to Flash's fight with Zoom it felt a little underwhelming.

Hopefully the show will bet a little back on track next week and get back to the main story of the season.


Friday, 13 November 2015

Patch Reynold - Remembering An Amazing Person

I've tried several different starts to this post, been trying to get it right.  But I realise that I can't.  So instead I'm just going to write, and hope that whatever I end up with isn't complete nonsense, because I don't know how to do this.

I've reported on death's before, I even did it earlier today, but I've never written about a friend dieing.  I don't know how to make sense of the emotions I'm feeling as I'm writing and make any kind of coherent statement about such an amazing person.

That's what Patch was, an amazing person.  I'm sure that anyone who is reading this who knew her will agree with that in a second, and for those of you who never knew her, I'm sorry that you missed that opportunity.

I first met patch years ago, back when she was in her teens.  A friend of mine owned a comic book shop, and as per the rules when one of your best friends owns a comic book shop I was always hanging out there.  

That's where I met Patch,  She must have been fourteen or fifteen at the time, and would come in after school and at the weekends and hang out.  She was always excited to be in the shop, to get to hang out with other geeks and have a place where it was cool to be different and into 'silly' things.  It was always great to see her and her friends be so passionate about their interests.

I lost contact with Patch for a while after that, but thanks to modern technology was soon in contact with her again.  We'd talk for hours and hours over the web about so many different topics, from TV, to politics, to the deeply personal.

Patch talked in depth with me about her questions about her gender, and shared some things with me that made me feel deeply honoured for that trust.  She asked me about writing, and spoke so passionately about her wanting to write on politics.  

She talked to me about some of the trouble she had had through the Internet, from people sending her hate and the effect that it had had on her.  She spoke to me about her mental and physical health.  She spoke to me about so much, and with such honesty that it was hard to feel like I didn't know her well.

That was part of what made Patch special to me, she was never afraid to talk about subjects that would make other people scared to share.  She understood that their were social stigmas around subjects like gender, sexuality, mental health, and she knew that those stigmas were complete bullshit.  

Patch understood that there were so many problems with the world, that she and others were going through a whole range of different issues that weren't being talked about, and she went out of her way to make sure that it was okay to talk about those things.

She displayed a wisdom and caring that was almost unheard of in someone of her age.  In a lot of ways she was the kind of person I wished I could be, which I never told her and wished I did.  She joked with me that I was like a 'big sister' to her, and told me how much she admired me, but the truth is Patch, I think I looked up to you more.

You were off at Uni, doing things you loved, getting involved with groups and charities, you took part in workshops for important subjects, you were taking the world by storm and trying to make a positive impact.  You were amazing.

I hate that for so long we only talked online, and I wish we could have seen each other in person more.  I hate that through writing this whole thing I'm having to write about you in the past tense.  I'm going to miss our conversations, and seeing your amazing posts and tweets come up in my news feed.  
You were a truly amazing person, wise beyond your years, passionate and caring.  The world has lost one of it's best and brightest.

I miss you 'little sister'.


Transgender Man Found Murdered & Mutilated

Yoshi Tsuchida, 32, was found dead in his Tokyo home yesterday by his adopted son, with his head covered in a plastic bag and his face removed.

Mr Tsuchida's 28-year-old son, who has not been named, returned to their shared home on thursday morning.  He went to bed, but awoke later to find his father dead, according to a local police spokesperson.

'When I woke up my father was bleeding from the face' Jiji Press reported him saying, citing police reports.  It is not uncommon in Japan for adults to be adopted, hence the small age gap between Mr Tsuchida and his son.

Reports cite a history of violence between the two of them, and that police officers had visited the home on multiple occasions responding to reports of loud voices and people fighting.

It's also being reported that Mr Tsuchida's son is also transgender and receiving female hormone treatment, but still identifies as male at this time.

It has not yet been established if this is to be considered a hate crime, or if it unrelated to Yoshi Tsuchida's transgender status.


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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Supernatural 'Our Little World' Review

After a slow monster of the week episode last week it's time to dip back into the main story for season 11, The Darkness.  This week we're not only treated to yet an older, and much better acted, version of The Darkness, but also receive some serious information on who she is and where the season might be heading.

After finally 'coming off the bench' Castiel is back in the field and tracking down Metatron, who has taken some tips from Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Nightcrawler' and has become a headline hunting sleazy reporter.  This feels like a very natural progression for the character, he's obsessed with stories and he's a dirtbag, so I can very easily believe that he's that kind of despicable human.  It's even kind of pathetic that someone who was such a powerful threat just a few seasons ago has fallen so far.

It's Metatron that gives one of the biggest revelations this episode, The Darkness isn't just some kind of pre-biblical 'evil' entity that God defeated.  She's his sister, who he betrayed in order to bring creation into being.  This not only ups the ante, giving us a villain more powerful than every big bad the show has had put together, but also raised some interesting questions, such as, is The Darkness evil?

Okay, she's feeding on souls to gain strength and that's definitely bad, but she wasn't some rampaging monster before God got rid of her (as far as we now know), but someone he 'betrayed'.  It's very possible that she was just as kind and benevolent as God before he turned on her.

Whatever her past, I'm sure she's not going to end up as some kind of misunderstood hero, she's definitely the villain, but it at least gives us something more than just a black and white, good and evil dichotomy, but some more depth.

Elsewhere in the episode Sam and Dean finally come face to face with Amara, and it doesn't go well.  Breaking free of Crowley's 'protection' Amara's now out on her own, and it would appear that she definitely holds some kind of sway over Dean.  Given multiple chances to try and attack her Dean was left unable to bring himself to do so, at least until Amara put Sam in danger.
How this will play out is anyone's guess, whether it just means that Dean won't be the one to take Amara down, or if he'll end up going over to her side isn't clear yet.  Though with Sam apparently receiving visions from God it could be possible that the Winchester brothers may end up on opposite sides, the way they were destined to in season 5 when Lucifer was free.

Speaking of Lucifer, it would appear from Sam's latest vision from God that he and/or Michael may be making a return as Sam is shown visions of the Cage, where the two of them are being held.  Is God telling Sam that they need the power of the Archangels on their side to fight back The Darkness?  Are we going to see some kind of epic Heaven and Hell team up with Lucifer and Michael leading the fight against the Darkness?  Is God going to make an appearance?  Is Chuck God?

We don't know yet, but some things are looking clearer and clearer.  The Winchesters and co. are up against a foe stronger than any that has ever come before it, and it looks like they're going to have to make some crazy choices if they're going to take The Darkness down.


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Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. 'Chaos Theory' Review

After last week's revelation as to the identity of the Inhuman killing machine Lash being the much loved Andrew Garner, all round good guy, psychologist and love interest of resident bad arse Melinda May it's all hands on deck as the team come face to face with that revelation and the monster they've been hunting.

After learning about May's back story last season, of having to kill an Inhuman child in Bahrain, and seeing the effect that had on her it's almost gut wrenching to know that she could be facing a similar situation now,but with her ex-husband instead.  Perhaps it was that baggage that drove May to confront Andrew on her own, but whatever her reasons it was an unusually stupid choice from a normally level headed character, but one driven by how much she has grown emotionally since her introduction.

The fact that Andrew is Lash wasn't kept secret from the rest of the characters as they came to the same revelation was a good one.  Rather than keep it as knowledge the audience held over the characters as they frustratingly circled other leads they immediately confronted, and apparently neutralised, the threat.

The scenes in which S.H.I.E,L.D., along with the assistance of Lincoln and the A.T.C.U., were brilliantly executed, tense and action packed.  The show also used those moments of action to expand upon Daisy's powers, with her using her seismic abilities to save a falling Rosalind, showing the versatility of Daisy's powers, as well as hopefully showing Rosalind that not every Inhuman is a threat.

Whilst Lash may have been neutralised in the episode, it's worth bearing in mind that this is only episode 7, and that it's more than likely he'll be back before the season is through.  My only hope is that if he is, it's not May who will have to kill him.  With the information that Lash will eventually become Andrews dominant personality it's very likely that death will be the only way to stop him, and that May will be the one to do so, for dramatic effect.  Now, while this might make good TV, I really don't want to have to see one of my favourite SHIELD characters go through that.

This week we also learnt that despite her relationship on an alien planet Simmons genuinely does love Fittz after he was able to recover the information on her phone.  Despite Fitzz initial anger at seeing the photo of Simmons and Will, it was seeing the emotion and heartbreak on his face when he watched her final message to him that shone through.  Yes, he has her back, but he still felt the emotions of watching what was essentially her goodbye to him.  It's these little moments from Ian De Caestecker that have made season three some of the best in the show.

The episode ends with a rather intriguing revelation that Rosalind is working for Gideon, the mysterious 'Foreigner' that has been working with Hydra since the very beginning.  I'm hoping that things will play out where Rosalind is unaware of who Gideon really is, rather than turning out to be a villain as I'm really enjoying her and Coulson on screen together, but then the idea of Hydra getting it's hands on a super powered army of Inhumans is a pretty exciting prospect too.

'Chaos Theory' kept the pace and excitement rolling whilst managing to give us some touching and emotional scenes as well as setting up even higher stakes for the rest of the season.  A great episode that goes a long way to show why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is one of the best shows on TV right now.


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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Sun Newspaper Under Fire For 'Insidious' HIV Article

The British newspaper The Sun has come under fire today following what is being described as an 'irresponsible' and 'insidious' article that speculates on a Hollywood actors HIV status.

The paper published the article on it's front page today, titled 'Hollywood HIV Panic', that claims 'Hollywood was gripped with fear last night after a womanising A-list actor was diagnosed with HIV'.

The Sun has 'chosen not to name' the actor, but claims that they have had a string of high-profile lovers, including 'an award winning actress', a 'busty glamour model' and a 'celebrated media personality'.

The article goes on to speculate that the lawyers for the 'superstar' were preparing themselves for a 'raft of potential legal claims'.

The article, and the headline, have been highly criticised by both the public as well as HIV campaign groups.  Many went to Twitter to slam the article, some of whom suggested it was more like the articles on HIV produced in the 1980's.

Shaun Griffin, of the British HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, spoke to The Independent and said, 'The fact is that for anyone diagnosed with HIV, they are given treatment that reduces the amount of HIV virus to an 'undetectable' amount and this means that HIV cannot be passed on.'

'The fact is that it's utterly wrong to disclose an individuals HIV status without their permission - though we are not provided with enough information here to identify them.  Even with the advances made in HIV treatment, this shows that unfounded prejudices still remain.  It's attitudes like these that perpetuate HIV stigma.'

'Stigma is a dangerous construct and we've seen that it has a damaging effect on individuals and public health.  It can deter people from accessing testing or treatment, and can isolate someone living with HIV causing anxiety and depression'.

According to the HIV Aware charity an estimated 100,000 people in the UK are currently living with HIV, and one in five of those are believed to be undiagnosed.


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