Commencing on Saturday, 10th October, Hate Crime Awareness Week aims to:
raise awareness of what Hate Crime is;
encourage reporting, and;
promote local support services and resources.
The under reporting of Hate Crime remains a challenge. We want everyone to understand the impact of hate crime and pledge to help eradicate it and so during Hate Crime Awareness Week Public Bodies in North Wales, supported by Welsh Government, will be working together on a regional awareness raising campaign.
Hate crime is a crime against an individual based on their identity or their perceived difference. Victims may have been bullied, harassed or abused because of who they are, their sexual orientation, gender, religion, ethnicity or lifestyle choice. The crime may be verbal abuse, offensive graffiti, threats, damage to property, assault, cyber bullying, abusive texts, emails or phone calls.
If you think you are, or have been a victim of a hate crime or incident, if you witness a hate crime or incident, or think someone you know is a victim then please don’t ignore it.
Report it by calling North Wales Police on 101 (999 in the case of an emergency) or Victim Support’s FREE 24 hour helpline on 0300 30 31 982 or report online at www.reporthate.victimsupport.org.uk
There has never been any secret that the founders of RainbowBiz have been long time fans of musician and vocalist Melissa Etheridge. So imagine our excitement when we found out that Melissa would be playing in London this year. Of course we planned a few days around the gig as we don’t have a holiday break very often. We booked a budget hotel, and got a great deal with Virgin Trains and left North Wales full of anticipation. If you have never heard songs by Melissa Etheridge, her live performances are always outstanding. Melissa is highly committed to giving her all at live shows. After releasing her most recent album “This is M.E” earlier this year, the Melissa Etheridge solo concert was never going to disappoint.
We arrived at the venue an hour or so before the start of the show. The Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a stunning building, an old theatre with stained glass and beautiful décor. A truly intimate place for any concert, but especially so when the star of the show is so in touch with her audience. This was a “Solo Tour”, which means (obviously) that there was only Melissa on stage with a huge selection of her guitars, pedals, drums and a piano.
Melissa Etheridge is an absolute joy to watch live, and has so much fun on stage, building each track starting with drum loops, acoustic and electric guitars and vocals, she is exceptionally talented and versatile. With a voice to rival Janis Joplin in her prime, Melissa filled the Shepherd’s Bush Empire with her mix of rock, blues and soul from the heart.
She clearly felt at ease with her audience as she chatted about her Radio 2 interview with Sir Terry Wogan the day before with Lucy Spraggan and went on to joke that she used to be intimidated by the British accent. This made a few giggle as we always thought of Melissa as being pretty feisty. You can hear the full interview here.
The Set List
Opening with “Chrome Plated Heart”, then on to the more rockier “I’m the only one” and “Come to my window” Melissa’s vocals were raw and evocative throughout. New songs from the album included the bluesy “Ain’t That Bad” and “Monster”, anthems like “Take My Number”, “Like a Preacher” went down really well and the very personal “Who are you waiting for” which was written by Melissa as part of her vows for her wedding last year to her best friend and partner in life, Linda Wallem. Melissa even managed to fit in “Gently we row” the beautiful song from “Fearless Love” written for her daughter after a fan in the audience held up a hand written request for her to sing it. Iconic “Like the Way I do” from 1988, possibly her most famous song was saved until last, everyone was dancing and singing along. The atmosphere was electric, Melissa was on top form and clearly thrives on live performances. We can’t wait to see her again!
If you have never experienced Melissa Etheridge before, she is a passionate blend of American rock and blues with flavours of Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and even Bruce Springsteen, but with an unique magical ability to lure audiences deep inside her soul. You will have a chance to see her in Europe in July as more tour dates have been released here.
RainbowBiz met Anita-Jo from New York
From a personal point of view it was fantastic to meet some of Melissa’s fans, Anita-Jo who recognized us from Twitter as the girls from “RainbowBiz”, she had flown in from New York especially for “This Is M.E”. We loved meeting Frank Cverna, Wolfgang from Germany, Bodil and Tanya from Denmark and Nikki Lamborn, Been and the “Never The Bride” team from the UK.
You may remember we attended Manchester Pride last year in support of George House Trust, a fabulous charity based in Manchester that we still hold in close regard. RainbowBiz also raised a staggering £500 for George House Trust with the help of Andy Bell from Erasure and the fantastic online support that each and every one of you offer us. You can read below a press release from George House Trust which details their latest fundraiser, please feel free to share this with all your friends!
We’re delighted to announce that George House Trust is hosting its first ever Drag Ball, as part of our 30th Anniversary events. The Drag Ball will be at the Freemason’s Hall on Saturday 18th July and tickets are £20, the price includes cava on arrival and canapes.
The aim of this ball is to fundraise, to raise awareness and to formally celebrate our City and its vibrant drag scene. This event is the first of its kind in the country, combining the genres of cabaret and alternative drag under one roof. We’re extremely excited about our Ball and hope that you are able to join us for an evening of unique performances and special guests.
Tickets are available to buy online from http://www.ght.org.uk/dragball . You will also be able to purchase any additional tickets on behalf of your friends or guests who you want to join you on the night. The venue has a limited capacity and tickets are sold on a first come first served basis.
Finally, any support you can give us around promoting this event on social media and through your networks would be very much appreciated.
Marketing and Community Fundraising Coordinator
That’s not a generalization or an optimist’s lament. It’s the product of deductive reasoning. It’s a bona fide statement of fact. We just have difficulty perceiving it long-term.
The latter is particularly true of Trans people BEFORE they transition. But when your physicality finally aligns with your psyche, the true nature of reality explodes into view like a Roman Candle. Similarly, remarkable things start to wriggle from the woodwork. I’ll be 26 years old and 2 months on HRT when this blog goes live; growing exponentially happier with every passing hour. You WILL be OK. I wouldn’t promise you that if I didn’t believe it, reader.
“A lot of girls out there have penises” my doctor said. Likewise, a lot of guys have vaginas. I simply refuse to have my social identity determined by the contents of my jeans or genes, respectively. The latter doesn’t matter. The former is between Mr Calvin Klein and me.
The world is not Black and White like it was in the opening sequence of The Wizard of Oz. And, just like Dorothy, people will come to see the rainbow eventually. I’m pretty sure they introduced colour back in 1953? But even in B&W, trust me: ‘50’ is a staggering underestimation when it comes to ‘shades of Grey’.
Photographer: Dean Chesterman
I am a Trans female recording artist from Essex – stage name: Tall Dark Friend – currently couch-surfing between the UK and Scandinavia. I love the Swedes, the Nords, the Danes, the Fins… I gig a lot in Sweden and it’s like another planet. A ‘flat pack planet’. A ‘flanet’. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my crazy lil’ meatballs out there in Abbaland. Jag älskar er alla så mycket!
It was made aware to me very early on that the two things that HRT definitely wouldn’t change were my skeleton and my voice. My bones and my tones. I will always be 6ft tall with size 11 feet. That’s just the way it is. And if you begin HRT after your voice has already dropped, it doesn’t ‘un-drop’. That’s not a thing. You have to learn to manipulate your voice manually to reach the desired level of femininity. Which you think would be no problem for a singer, right? Wrong. It’s so hard! Tough I’m convinced it’s psychological. Doctors have achieved mixed success in the field of VFS (Voice Feminisation Surgery) but I’m not let anyone near my vocal chords. Not in this line of work. Same goes for my Eve’s Apple: it’s staying.
As it stands, I’m closing in on album #7, currently filming music video #5 (#HangWithThe Happiness) and scheduled to appear at a few dozen festivals up and down the UK in 2015. I came out to my home county, on stage, in November 2014 @ The Essex Entertainment Awards – clinging timidly to the awards for ‘Best Original Song’ & the gender-neutral ‘Best Original Artist’. This April, I am overwhelmed to announce that I’m nominated for 4 more: including ‘Best Female Solo’. I cried when I saw my name in that category alongside the other girls. Thanks to the hormones, I cry at most things these days #HappyTears :’) Then again, can you blame me? I mean… have you SEEN ‘Cat Hugs Baby Kitten Having Nightmare’!? Youtube it.
I am proud to be a woman, of any delineation. I am proud to be Trans and of the inherent struggle. I’m proud of Essex – of England – of Earth! But with such opportunity to be prideful in our lives, I think it’s important that we cling to our humility with the same intensity as we do our accolades. Music is a cutthroat industry and I try to live my life mindful of others’ toes and shoulders… so as not to tread on either. Put exquisitely by Hendrix: “Music is our mission, not a competition”.
Off stage, outside of the music, I’m an independent author. My début novella ‘Dog Bless The Day’ is basically ‘Animal Farm meets Fear & Loathing’… if ‘basically’ is the right word for a car-crash of a concept like that? Novel #2 is the first in a 5 book New-Adult Thriller series and Novel #3 is a standalone Sci-Fi Spaghetti Western (due for release in 2016). On the side, I’m penning a 2nd autobiography: the story of ‘a MTF transition told with humour and heart’. I literally can’t stop writing. Like right now. All I do is type. See? Look! Somebody. Pleeease!? Stop meeeeeeeeee…
When all’s said and done… what REALLY turns me on is my independent research toward a G.U.T (Grand Unifying Theory *of Physics*) It’s a theorem that marries Gravity with the other 3 Fundamental Forces. Science is sexy. Simple as that. Best of all it’s open to everyone and, to prove it, I’ll be TWEETING my accumulated work – just for the lolz. I have my little heart set on being the first Transgender woman to publish a pioneering G.U.T. It’s thirsty work… but I’m happy to settle for a soy cappuccino (no sugar) since I’ll be officially 14months sober when this blog comes out. If you drink: Quit. It’s terrible for your brain. And for Trans people, it doesn’t hurt to start your HRT with a clean bill of health.
Life’s too short to waste it wondering. Be good to yourselves and trust in the goodness of other people. It’s not 1955 (more’s the pity, I love me some rock-a-billy-roll!). I promise you it’s not as scary out here as you think. Come out. Play!
Here we are in February 2015, a new year with new promises. Last year was an exciting year for us as we re-thought our business idea and changed it to suit our situation. We used to run a business called “Rainbow Trike Tours”, which we loved, but this had to come to an end as Sue was finding it very physically demanding to chauffeur customers around the North West in often pretty appalling weather conditions. Sue has Multiple Sclerosis, which affects her in a number of different ways. Some days she feels great, but others she is unable to move due to fatigue and muscle ache. Riding the Rainbow Trike was very demanding for her but we did not want to be defeated.
Photographer: John Tsiavis
Then everything changed. On the 28th January, 2014 we joined a Google Hangout for the Uprising of Love Movement with Melissa Etheridge and fellow Uprising Of Love Coalition Co-founders Dustin Lance Black and Bruce Cohen. We were able to ask questions on how we can support our LGBT communities around the world, so we were able to ask questions about how we can make a difference. This was an amazing turning point in both our lives.
We have long been fans of Melissa Etheridge’s music and followed her since the 1980’s, the above video was taken at the Pinkpop Festival back in 1990. She has been through many private and public struggles of her own, but has always come out stronger than before. During the Hangout we were able to ask her questions about how we could as a small business support our LGBT community, Melissa said “What you do in your own lives makes all the difference to what’s happening in the world”. We really took this comment on board, and embedded it into our business ethos as well as our private lives. Instead of just being a business front, we started to bring in our personalities and spoke out about issues that we thought might help others and found this encouraged what has become quite a widespread support network both on Social Media and in our own community.
RainbowBiz Limited is now registered as a Social Enterprise (not for profit business). We support small businesses, charities and organisations with Social Media. We currently manage several Facebook and Twitter accounts for local organisations, but will be starting to train other people to manage their own. The best person to shout about their business or organisation is of course someone who works there and feels passionately about their work. There is great satisfaction in empowering and enabling other folks to use social media and promote their organisations.
We will be developing Diversity training in addition to basic skills training with computers, and even offering support to disabled and older people who would like to learn how to communicate online through Skype, social media networks, forums and how to order online shopping. This we hope will reduce isolation in the community.
We are a very lucky couple in that we both like the same music, our favourite album at the moment is still “This is M.E.” by Melissa Etheridge. In fact, we both appear on that album cover several times along with many other fans, as Melissa requested fans send in their photographs as she wanted to make a collage of herself with her fans photographs. Melissa is in fact touring this March / April around Europe and there is a one off date in London at Shepards Bush Empire on 27 April – GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! We are hoping that we might get a chance to thank her for giving us inspiration and confidence to make a difference in our community. From a personal point of view, we feel that Melissa is a huge inspiration to us on many levels from talking openly about how she manages her health and minimises stress. Melissa and her wife Linda are positive role models to their children and she is still able to balance her family life with real hard work, touring and public appearances. More and more over the years, Melissa has retained youthful and rockstar looks, but increasingly seems to blossom as time goes on. We can only think that this is through being happy in her own skin, marrying her soul mate and being true to herself.
Photographer: John Tsiavis
We were given an exciting opportunity to ask Melissa some more questions:
Sue and I became Civil Partners in a beautiful ceremony last year in Llangollen, Wales, UK we are now legally able to “upgrade” to an equal marriage in Wales which is pretty exciting! Melissa, you were married in California last year to your soul mate and best friend Linda Wallem, how has your life changed since you have legally become wife and wife?
Mostly, it has changed in the deep sense of commitment to my wife and family. Also just calling Linda “my wife” is a complete thrill.
You have recently toured with your new band through the US and Canada, where do you find your energy and inner strength from? Do you invite your family to join you? How does that work on a tour bus?
Health is the number one most important thing for me on the road. Eating healthy and getting enough sleep, while not the rock and roll lifestyle, is absolutely a must to keep up the energy needed for my shows. My family does join me every now and then. When Linda is not working she comes with me. This last Thanksgiving in America I had my whole family, Linda and all for kids with me for a week. It was heaven. I had our own family bus for a week.
As you know we take a lot of inspiration and strength from you, who inspires you and why?
My family, my fans and the ever changing stream of people that come into my life have constantly inspired me. Inspiration is everywhere.
We are about to embark on some training courses in the community, some of which will involve Social Media. Which Social Media platform do you prefer to use and why?
Well, as my fans can tell, I am a Twitter person. I get on Facebook every now and then, but Twitter is quick and easy and it forces me to be brief!
If you could include one specific point that you think should be included in Diversity Training, what would it be and why?
Loving yourself. You can’t begin to understand or appreciate anyone else until you do the same for yourself.
We came to see your tour in Manchester Academy a couple of years ago, it was the first time we have ever seen you perform live. We hope it will not be the last! Have you ever thought about playing in Liverpool UK, home of The Beatles?
Yes I have. I would love to do a more extensive tour of the UK. I hope that will be possible soon.
Thanks so much to Melissa for giving up her time to answer our burning questions and for giving us a small insight into her life. We hope this blog will encourage other folks to listen to your music and come and see you on tour this March / April. We will certainly be at Shepards Bush on 27 April!
Meanwhile at RainbowBiz HQ we are really busy working on training courses organising local festivals. We continue every day to network and meet new people so that together we can build a positive and diverse community. We would encourage your comments on how we can improve our services in the future. You can contact us here www.rainbowbiz.org.uk email email@example.com
My love of writing began at a very early age. I loved to create characters, adventures and alternate realities to escape into. At the age of six, using a computer at school, I put together a book of short stories about a group of superheroes and designed a cover for it. The characters were named after myself, my pet cat and my younger cousins. Both my teachers and parents were delighted with it, and so was I! This playful and childlike introduction to self-publishing was to mark the beginning of my writing journey. I excitedly decided that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. This was a spark that was to come and go during my adolescence and adulthood.
During my teens and early twenties, I began to use writing as a way of expressing my emotions. It became an outlet that helped me to deal with my anxiety and depression. For a long time, I associated writing with feeling anxious, lonely or depressed. I felt that I wouldn’t have much to write about if I began to feel more positive. I often said that I didn’t know how to write happy poems or stories, and I would tell myself that I wouldn’t be able to write anything if I got “better”.
Most of the writing I did in my twenties took the form of song lyrics, as I was lead singer in a band. Putting my words to music felt really good. Soon after, I lost momentum and would rarely write anything.
At the beginning of 2013, after a long journey of transformation, I felt a renewed sense of inspiration and began to write more often. I had recently moved into my own flat in North Wales, which had a beautiful view across fields, hills, trees and mountains. One mountain in particular, Moel Famau, inspired one of my favourite poems in the Spiral Storm book; “Mother Mountain”.
A love for nature has always been present in my life, and it is one of the main subjects I enjoy focusing on during writing. The other is spirituality. For me, the two things intertwine beautifully and walk very much hand in hand. I can literally feel the peace, calm and inspiration flowing into me whilst I am out in nature.
After sharing my poems with a few select people, I decided to create a poetry page on Facebook. The more positive feedback I received online, the more apparent it became that I wanted to publish my own poetry book. And, the more I thought about it, the more excited I became. Finally I had remembered my purpose and passion; to write!
At the beginning of 2014, I sold and donated the majority of my possessions, and travelled to Australia. Something I never thought I would have the confidence to do. I had decided to push myself to grow, learn and increase my confidence.
I spent nine months in Australia, meeting new people, making friends, WWOOFing (volunteering for food and accommodation) and enjoying the wildlife, sun and beautiful beaches. During my time volunteering at a spiritual retreat, I found the focus to put my poems together, create a book and self-publish it. I even used my own artwork on the cover. With a final push, Spiral Storm was born!
I have enjoyed selling copies of the book online and in person. Many people have asked for signed copies, which always feels amazing. I am currently putting together another book of poetry, and I look forward to sharing even more of my work with the world!
Dylan R McCabe is a poet, author and spiritual mentor from North Wales. As a catalyst for change, he assists people to increase their motivation, inspiration and to live their passions as their true selves.
Click on the following links to follow, like and share his work and wisdom on Facebook and Twitter:
A big hello to our community and LGBT friends. I’ve always been synonymous with game shows and quizzes in Manchester, starting nearly 6 years ago with ‘Blankety Blank’ at AXM club. These days i currently present both a themed Monday night quiz at Tribeca and a Thursday night gay version of Family Fortunes at Iconic Bar. For 2015 i will be adding another quiz event to my calendar and it will be a first for me in a couple of ways. First of all, i will be mixing business with pleasure and the new quiz will revolve around all things ‘Geek’ and ‘Cult’, from Sci-Fi to classic movie genres, to real science and gaming. Anybody who follows my social media sites will know that I’m a regular convention goer and self professed member Geek of fandom including Space exploration, myths, conspiracies and pop culture. The second difference will be that this quiz will take place in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, a popular student haunt where free expression runs wild and alternative hair colours and apparel are common place. Bar 21, the host venue, has recently benefited from a full overhaul and refurb and now features other great entertainment events like their Monday night ‘Geek social’, a dedicated games night for those who enjoy spending time in cyber space fighting with Avatars.
My new ‘Big Geek Quiz’ starts on Tuesday February the 3rd, Bar 21, 10 Thomas St, M4 1DH
Lets hope this new quiz goes with a ‘Big Bang’, in Theory, it should be quite fascinating.
If you would like to find out more about Misty Chance and what she is up to, take a look at her website www.mistychance.com You can follow her fabulous Tweets @TheMistyShow and her very funny updates and photographs on Facebook here!