Real Talk. News. Views. Opinions.
Wherever you are in the world, there’s a lot going on – there’s a lot to keep up with.
One way to try and avoid feeling overwhelmed by everything going on is to remember that the personal is political. What you’re experiencing matters. What you’re feeling matters. Your perspective and your opinion matters.
Here’s what’s happening in my world.
I’m a bit obsessed with Twitter, so it’s super-interesting to see that they’ve finally moved to put a fact-check label on a tweet from Donald Trump. Predictably, he’s furious. What’s hard to predict will be whether he changes his behaviour at all, or just turns up the volume and keeps tweeting. Fascinating.
It’s hard to imagine a time when the Covid-19 pandemic won’t be dominating the news and every conversation, but every day there’s some small new development, and countries around the world are starting to explore life beyond lock-down.
It’s also hard to stay focused on the facts – particularly when the facts aren’t always readily available.
I’m not a doctor. I’ve got the white coat for role-plays, obviously, but there’s a lot of people who are a lot more qualified than I am who you should be listening to when it comes to Covid-19. Make sure you’re getting your updates and insights from experts who are informed and know what they’re talking about.
Confusingly, it’s not always our political leaders that we can turn to for accurate information – the US and the UK are obvious examples. One of the skills that we all need to develop in this new-normal is critical analysis. We always need to be questioning – Does this person know what they’re talking about? How objective are they? What’s the context of this information? Does this information apply to me?
Covid-19 in the UK
I’m trying to stay clued up on what’s happening in the UK – it’s where my home is.
Why are so many people getting infected and dying in the UK? No one seems to know, and the government doesn’t seem particularly interested in finding out. All of their focus at the moment seems to be on preventing ‘the second wave’ – like, we’re just going to move on from the first wave and try and do better next time.
We shouldn’t be surprised. This is a government that clearly lost its moral compass a long time ago, yet somehow people keep voting for them.
Covid-19 in Australia
Australia seems to be at a different point of the Covid-19 pandemic than pretty much everywhere else. It’s probably only New Zealand that has been more effective in closing its borders, minimising infections and minimising deaths.
Australia operates a Federal system, so most of the decision-making happens at State level – each state following their own timeline.
I’m currently in the state of Victoria – Melbourne is the state capital. In this state, so far, there’s only been 1,618 infections and 19 deaths. There’s only been 7,142 infections and 103 deaths across all of Australia. Check out the tracker from John Hopkins University for global data.
After an extended period of lock-down, restrictions in Victoria are slowly starting to ease. Schools are gradually opening back up, and the plan seems to be to have pretty much everything open by the end of June.
It’s been a relief to be able to call a halt to the weekly family FaceTime calls – a good idea in theory, but not much fun for anyone.
What’s not clear is when Australia will open its borders, and what that might mean in terms of transmission and infection. First step is likely to be flights between Australia and New Zealand – creating a low-risk travel bubble.
I was on a planned visit to Australia to see family when everything escalated and borders were closed. Personally, it hasn’t been a bad result – I’ve avoided some of the chaos in London and been able to spend time with my parents. Today, I’ve booked my flight back to London. I’m a bit apprehensive about it, but it makes sense to get back to London before the new quarantine rules kick in on 8 June.
What’s your social life like in this new-normal?
As different parts of the world start to contemplate life after lock-down, it will be interesting to see how we all navigate the new-normal of our social life.
One of the life-lines of the past few months has been the adaptability of many performers who were able to create online experiences.
I’ve been using the tracker from Wilde Trip to stay on top of what’s going on. There’s a lot!
The shut-down of physical venues has been devastating for queer venues and queer performers. Obviously, it’s been devastating for everyone, but what we don’t know is what will be able to re-open and what won’t. What will our nightlife options be once it’s safe to leave the house? Will there still be gay bars to get drunk in, or will we have to sit at home trying to pretend that Drag Bingo is a meaningful substitute for human intimacy?
My entertainment options currently seem to be limited to weekly episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Season 12 in the US) and also Masterchef Australia.
Last week’s RuPaul was the Reunion episode. It’s generally a bit of a filler episode, but it wasn’t too bad. This week is the grand finale. I’m totally #TeamJaida. Can’t believe we’re going straight into a season of All Stars. RuPaul’s Drag Race used to be event television – it’s now starting to feel like background noise.
Masterchef is a reality cooking show, but the Australian version is totally mad – I’m obsessed. It’s on five nights a week – I’m not joking. 90-minute episodes, five nights a week. GBBO could never. It’s always a bit confusing as to what’s going on – it’s a huge cast and sometimes all of them are cooking, sometimes some of them, sometimes someone goes home, usually no one does. Last night, it was as dessert challenge for four of the cast (they’d won the team relay challenge from the night before). It was a bit of a non-event as one of the four was a dessert specialist, so it was clear from the beginning that she was going to win.
The rainbow flag
This is probably just a bit of a UK gay issue, but there’s a discussion to be had about the rainbow flag.
During the global pandemic, the rainbow has been used as a symbol of support for the National Health Service.
Obviously, no one has copyright on rainbows, but we have seen some examples of people using flags to support the NHS and at least one example – I think it was Swindon? – of a local authority turning their rainbow Pride bus into a rainbow NHS bus.
It might sound like a small thing, but the rainbow flag is a hugely important symbol for the LGBTQ community. It was designed by a gay man to help us all celebrate LGBTQ Pride.
Anyone can use a rainbow for anything they like, but you can’t just co-opt a rainbow flag and pretend that it’s not intrinsically connected to LGBTQ equality and Pride. It’s disingenuous and disrespectful to even try it.
I’ve written a few erotic stories in my time. I like to read erotic gay fiction, and I like to write stuff – it was inevitable that I’d eventually try and combine those two passions.
None of the erotic gay fiction that I’ve written is going to win any awards, but I enjoy the process – I often go back and rewrite stories to try and make them better, or at least a bit filthier.
If you feel like you could write a bit of filth, get to it – we’re going to be publishing stories here on Means Happy as part of erotic fiction challenge.
Share your fantasies and get paid for it – here’s how.
Michael Henry is asking the important questions.