Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Abortion Support Network Emergency Fundraising Appeal

Crossposted from their website:
Today we were planning to send out information about our upcoming 2nd “birthday”, something cute with a play on the theme on our 2nd anniversary, along with the formal invitation to our party on 26th October (with special guest speaker Diane Abbott MP!!).
Instead, we have to send out an emergency fundraising appeal.
ASN has £175 in the bank and the following four women need our help. Without additional funds, we will only be able to help one of them.
A 30 year old mother of one who was extremely distressed to learn that she was pregnant. She recently lost her job, is facing eviction from her home and her family is currently going through another crisis which means that she has little financial or emotional support.

A young teen whose mother called us on her daughter’s behalf. Struggling to make ends meet on benefits and already behind with the rent, they borrowed what money they could for a procedure. When they arrived in England they found out that the pregnancy was further along than they’d thought. As there was no doctor at the clinic to do the later procedure, they’ve had to return home and do not have the funds for the combined costs of a more expensive abortion procedure + new flights. With nowhere else to turn they called ASN.

A woman in her 30s with a late term pregnancy who has just one week left to access a safe and legal abortion. Having recently broke up from her long-term partner and giving up work to care for a sick family member, she has no way of finding the money she needs. She called ASN after having to put her appointment on hold because suddenly a friend who was going to lend her the money she needed changed their mind “for moral reasons”. Unable to get a loan from a bank or to turn elsewhere for support she desperately needs help to meet the costs of her expensive late-term procedure.
A 29 year old mother of three, who recovering from postnatal depression following her last pregnancy and trying to return to education said “she simply can’t do it again – for me or my children.” With both herself and her partner both out of work they’re trying really hard to scrape and save the money they need for her procedure.
Huge thanks to the phone volunteer on duty this week for having to navigate this very emotive situation.
Can you help? Help can come in the form of a single donation, a standing order, or a direct debit. If you can’t help with a donation, you can help by forwarding this email to your prochoice friends, family and colleagues, tweeting the appeal, and posting it on Facebook.
We are 4 days from turning 2. With your help, we will still be able to say that ASN has never turned down a woman unable to access an abortion without our help.
Thank you for your continued support.
You can donate by clicking on the 'Donate' button at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An article on those Catwoman/Starfire comics

It's good, and can be read here.  Some of the comments are horrible.  Seth Vlan has a good point when he says that:

"Which brings me to my second point; nearly EVERY SINGLE MALE in comics drawn with an Olympian physique that's every bit as offensive as the equally exaggerated proportions of female characters. According to these comics, even Reed Richards could beat me at arm-wrestling without resorting to his stretchy powers. If you can't see that, if you can't even try to understand what it's like to constantly be told that you need to have huge muscles and bed lots of women to earn respect, then you're a hypocrite of the highest order, maim."

Apart from the last sentence which is rude, he has a point.  Then he continues with:
"As for how you view "sexually liberated women", stop hiding your true feelings. At the end of the day, you just don't like it when women go to bed with TOO MANY men. Probably because no one gives you the opportunity"

Whichmakes Mr Vlan a bit of a dick really.  Patriarchy and sexism hurts everyone.  To make a generalisation, under the patriarchy women get objectified to look like sexed up vacant dolls, men get objectified to look like strong muscle men.  These actions help no one.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Equinox!

Today is the Autumn equinox, where the day and the night is of equal length.  I believe some people also refer to it as Mabon, Harvest or Herfest.  This year, I like 'Autumn Equinox' myself.

As this posts (at exactly 6 hours 5 minutes after sunrise and before sunset) I shall be preparing to go toa  friend's wedding where I am bridesmaid.  The wedding is taking place tomorrow, and initially I thought that tomrorow was the quinox, which made me think what a perfect day it would be to get married.  It's a day of balance and surely that's what a successful relationship should be about?  As it is, the equinox is the day before the wedding, nut no matter.  If we have to experience the dark, miserable days of winter I figure it's also pretty good to start the shortening days with a marriage ceremony to solidify the partnership and join you with someone who will supoprt you when it's cold, dank and wet oustide.

I came back from my week long holiday in France to find that the season had changed.  It was unmistakably Autumn when I arrived in Kent.  The leaves have turned and there was that cold snap in the air.  I shall celebrate this turning of the season with a (vegetarian) minestrone soup on the 22nd, a pre wedding meal onteh 23rd, and my friend's wedding on the 24th.  I love weddings and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get really soppy at this one.

Happy equinox everybody!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My eyes! Can I unsee this please?

Not safe for work.
Contains images of sexy sexy sexy sexy mcsexy from sexytown Catwoman #1.
It's not really sexy.
I did not buy Catwoman #1 this week. Or red Hood #1.  I am pleased by this.  Why you ask?  Well first there's the preview pages where she appears to have turned into insectoid woman (shudder) then there's this:

Selina and Bruce, fucking, quite explicitly, on the last page of Catwoman #1.  I concede that's in character for them to screw on a rooftop, but the art is horrible.  The art makes it objectifying.  The art makes it thoroughly for adults, and not because it's mature or complex, but because you wouldn't want a 9 year old reading that.  It's crude, it's vulgar and this is not a fecking porn comic or an exploration in fan wank, so this doesn't need to be in a damn superhero comic.

And ugh I can't even be arsed to go into the Red Hood images.

Good Old John.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Norcon 2011

It was fab!  Organised by the Norwich sci-fi club, Norcon is a celebration of all things geeky.  The emphasis was on Dr Who and Red Dwarf but there was also comics nerdiness there, including Barry Kitson who pencilled JLA Year One (I didn't get a sketch, he was very busy and I didn't understand the queueing system, meaning that I inadvertently pushed right in to the front and then got very very embarassed).
There was also a writing fella named Simon Furman there who I didn't know, but we got chatting, and it turns out he wrote the 80s Thundercats comics.  Now that was the series that got me into comics, so you can imagine my glee at finding this out!   Anyway I told him this and also bought some signed transformers issues that he wrote as a gift for the boyfriend.

I of course bought some comics for myself too - Lobo and Black Orchid ones, and a Captain Britain one, on the recc of Anj from Supergirl Comic Box Commentary.  Captain Britain was surprisingly good, I haven't read the others yet.

I was at Norcon cos I was helping out on the Reynard City stand - we got lots of people interested in the project and even met a few fans! Some who remembered us from last year and some who met us for the first time.  Near enoguh everyone who came to the stand was postive about the comic, I got to chat comics and superheroes (DC, Marvel and webcomics) with so many people, young and older, my colleagues on the stall were brilliant.  We even made some links with industry people so the future is looking bright for Reynard City!  Professionally, it was a really successful day :D  I loved it!
Below the cut is lots of photos of Con wonderfulness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Eschergirls tumblr!

The wonderful Ami Angelwings has started a tumblr, titled Eschergirls, showcasing crap comic art. Actually the tagline is: 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a WTF!?  This is a blog for female characters in impossible or ridiculous poses because the artsist need to show teh sexy'

It's highly amusing.   Here are some fetaured pictures, but bear in mind that as with most tumblrs the brilliance is in the commentary:

  Go check it out! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bristol's Deaf Community feel under seige

Cross-posted in it's entirety from this article at The Guardian.

Last week, it was announced that Bristol Deaf Centre, which celebrated 125 years of serving the local deaf community just two years ago, will lose £240,000 worth of funding from Bristol city council. This money paid for their core funding, equipment service and special projects. As a result, the centre is faced with closure, with many staff who have worked there for years served with notices of redundancy.
This comes on the back of the University of Bristol's decision a year ago (despite a campaign that gained international support) to cut a key course at the Centre for Deaf Studies. This year, the student intake for the deaf studies BSc course has stopped and as a consequence, by 2013, the number of deaf studies staff – many of whom are deeply skilled, with years of experience in their field, themselves deaf – is set to be cut by more than 75%. This is a groundbreaking, world-renowned research centre that was the first in the UK to undertake sign language research over 30 years ago.

These two cuts to deaf hubs in the city look like being just the start. In December, the future of Bristol's specialist school for deaf children, Elmfield Deaf School, was placed in doubt after Bristol city council launched an informal consultation about whether its pupils could instead attend units in mainstream schools. Crucially, due to many specialist deaf schools closing across the country, the school also serves many children from far outside the city itself. Elmfield has taken new pupils for this year's intake but its future remains in the balance as staff and pupils await a new council review.

Perhaps just one of these decisions to cut or try and cut, particularly in the current climate, wouldn't seem like the end of the world. But when this all happens in one place, you see how a community can feel under siege, with the very psychological and physical landscape of a city for the deaf people who live there seemingly set to irrevocably change. Jobs are about to be lost, or are in the balance. Deaf and hearing people who currently work together in the deaf community wonder whether it's time to move away, or change careers – if they can. Meanwhile, children wonder whether the environment in which they are educated will completely change, just as older deaf people see a place they have known all their lives, received services from and often contributed to, on the edge of extinction.
We're only just beginning to understand how cuts are affecting deaf services nationwide, most starkly in this online map from the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) showing local authority cuts to education services for deaf children. But never before have we seen so many cuts bite in one place, and so quickly.
Bristol's run of cuts and attempted cuts could be an anomaly, a freak series of decisions that happened to land in the same place at the same time. But there's fear now within the deaf world that it may instead be just be the start. Deafness at its heart affects communication. Are cuts to deaf services seen as an easier cut, when they hit people who use sign language or lipread to communicate, and, as a consequence, may be perceived as being less likely to be able to articulate their concerns to the media and the wider world? As we see services, jobs, places and institutions come under threat and disappear, very few deaf people both in Bristol and elsewhere can now hope to escape the impact of the cuts unscathed.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Forgot to say...

I'm gonna be at Norcon - Norwich's Sci-Fi Convention - on Sunday.  I'm helping out on the Reynard City stall and I'm quite excited about it.  The cast of Red Dwarf will be there, along with Daleks, Sophie Aldred (Ace from Dr Who), Davros, lots of Dr Who folk and Barry Kitson.  Mr Kitson did the pencils for JLA Year One, so I'm pretty darn excited about him being there.  Gonna get my trade signed and nerd out a bit.  I will possibly get a sketch done too - I think a Black Canary/Black Cat piece would be rather good.  Or possibly an Aquaman/Canary piece, to honour Aquaman's new series.  I dunno yet.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to it.  The fella who runs Reynard City is lovely and quite possibly the most dedicated person I've ever met.  It's a fun universe that he's created and of all the creative people I've met, he's the only one who I think will actually go somewhere with his product.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Not around much

Blogging is likely to come to a complete slowdown over the next few months.  I've started my BSL level 3  course in London, with Remark!, I've attended one weekend so far and have a few more to go.  It was great, really great, but I've got a lot of work to do inbetween classes.  So, I have set up a youtube channel, and I intend to upload videos of myself signing, dunno what about yet, I suspect comics will come into it somewhere.  Hopefully this will give me the confidence to sign in front of a camera and also provide me with a way to self evaluate and improve my skills.

Anyway, for the next few months or so I reckon I'll be concentrating on that and New readers... more than on Pai.  If you're interested in the channel, or if you know BSL and would like to leave me comments, the channel is here.  I think that's the right link - the channel is called sarangabsl.

I've read Justice League #1, and loved it, my review is on New readers....  I have yet to read the other number ones as I haven't picked them up yet.  Will do so Friday or Saturday.

What does everyone else think of the new DCnU titles?  What are the good ones what are the bad ones?  Leave reccs and warnings in the comments please!

Oh, and I'm particularly keen on comixology!  I downloaded JL from it before getting my hardcopy and it's easy to use and cheap.  Awesomesauce.

You def won;t hear from me over the next week though, as I'll be on holdiay in France :D

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

@AbortionSupport Network August Bulletin

It's ASN's August bulletin.  As usual, copied and pasted from my email.  Unusally, I ahve a efw words to say about them and this bulletin.

In particular they are looking for someone who knows Gift Aid and can help them understand the process, and of course, more donations! At the time of writing they only have £400 in their coffers, which is only enough to help one woman. Please, please PLEASE consider donating to them, a one off payment or a standing order.

If you don’t know why you should support them please read the sections titled ‘Women we’ve helped’ and ‘A woman we couldn’t help’.

I donate to ASN because I believe that every woman should have autonomy over their own body, because I do not believe that foetuses are sentient and because if we reduce the opportunity and availability for legal abortions backstreet abortions will take place. These back street abortions will not be regulated, could be dangerous to the health of the women and could be botched.

Please support ASN.

Welcome to your ASN eBulletin. We’re counting down to our second anniversary, and hope you all plan to attend our birthday party on Wednesday 26 October. We are currently in desperate need of funds as the more and women contact us for help. What better time than our birthday to make a gift to ASN – or ask your friends to? Read on!

• Happy almost birthday, ASN!
• All we want for our birthday is . . .
• £1000 campaign
• Gift Aid
• Women we’ve helped
• Thank you!

Happy almost birthday, ASN!
ASN is incredibly happy – and proud – to be turning 2. We couldn’t have made it without you, our wonderful supporters. We are busily putting the finishing touches on our second annual report, looking at all of our accomplishments, and planning for the future. We’re on track to TRIPLE the number of women ASN has helped this year compared to last. This growth has come with its share of challenges, but it has been incredibly rewarding to have helped more than 200 women who have contacted ASN since we opened.

We hope to see you all at our 2nd Birthday party, Wed 26 October from 7.00-10.00 pm (at Navya’s, 61 Swinton Street, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 9NT). An official invite will follow later this month.

All ASN wants for our birthday is . . .
Right now, we have just under £400 in our coffers. This is just over the cost of ONE abortion under 14 weeks, and not enough to cover abortions at later gestations. While we are expecting another £300 this month in standing orders, September is generally a very busy time at abortion clinics as some female students make the decision to carry on with their studies (instead of their pregnancies) and women with children facing crisis pregnancies are only able to make the trip to the clinic now that their children are in school in the day.

We’d like to use our birthday to request donations. As it’s our second birthday, we’d like to ask you to do any – or in keeping with the theme, any two – of the following:
- Increase your existing Standing Order by £2 a month
- Double your donation (2 X what you give every month or have given in the past)
- Set up a monthly Standing Order in a multiple of two - £2, £4, £8, etc
- Make a “2” themed donation – £2, £12, £22, £200, £222, £2,000
- Get 2 friends to set up a Standing Order

If you make a Standing Order or Direct Debit, please email ASN to let us know, so that we can track, acknowledge, and claim Gift Aid on your gift.

Other ways to give a birthday gift to ASN are:
- Tell 2 friends about ASN
- Get 2 friends to sign up for our mailing list
- Bring 2 friends to our birthday party!
- Promote ASN through #Fan Friday on Facebook or #Follow Friday on Twitter!

£1000 campaign
Last year, we announced a campaign to raise £1000 a month in regular income (Standing Orders) over the course of the year. We need just over £300 more a month to reach our goal! That’s just 30 people making a commitment of £10 per month to help a woman access a safe and legal abortion, or 60 people making a commitment of £5 per month. Or you can help of course by increasing your existing regular donation! Standing Orders help us to know how many women we can help each month.To set up a Standing Order you can complete this form and pass it on to your bank. Many banks also allow you to set up a Standing Order online if you use internet banking.

Now that ASN is a charity (woo-hoo!) we are looking into how we can best claim gift aid – which means that if you are a UK tax payer we can claim tax on your donation making it worth an extra 25%. Please help us do this by:

- Filling out the gift aid form, attached and (NOTE: Email ASN if you need a gift aid form)
- Letting us know by email that you have made a donation via Direct Debit or Standing Order. As banks do not provide us with this information, emailing ASN is the only way for us to acknowledge, track, and claim gift aid on your donations! This holds true for donors both future and past -- if you have made a donation in the past but have not received acknowledgement, please let us know.

Do you know Gift Aid?
We are seeking someone with knowledge of the Gift Aid scheme to help ASN get set up. If this is you, and you have a few hours to spare, please get in touch.

The calls keep coming in
In August, ASN heard from 25 women. Last August, we heard from 6. We are immensely grateful for our donors who enable us to help women, the phone coordinators (Katie, Maddie, Sarah, Jane and Mara) who help these women navigate their way to a safe and legal abortion, to Women on Web for the amazing services they provide, and to the clinics we work with for making it all possible.

Women we helped this month included:
A woman who was literally £20 away from being able to have the funds to travel and pay for her abortion. Can you imagine £20 being the difference between an abortion and having to continue an unwanted pregnancy? Of course ASN was able to help!
A young woman who ran away to a friend’s house to escape her partner who was physically and mentally abusive and using drugs. She was desperately afraid that her family would find her and force her to continue with the pregnancy. ASN was able to help her cover the costs of her flights and procedure.

A lone parent with a young daughter. In addition to needing financial assistance, she also needed an expedited procedure as her passport was due to run out in a matter of days.
A young student who lives with her mother. Her mother, who supports the family on benefits, was refused a crisis loan from the bank. With the help of a discount from the clinic, ASN was able to help.

A married, unemployed couple unable to afford any more children.

A mother of four whose partner has just found work after more than a year of unemployment.

A young mother whose partner recently died tragically. She is living on benefits with no credit card, savings or internet access.

A woman who has been living in a hostel paid for by the housing agency since her partner left her and their children. She has no family support or friends who can help her. She was able to get a crisis loan of £90 and raise enough for flights and we were able to help her with the balance of her costs.

A woman who called very distressed about getting the money together. She couldn't tell her two older children who are unemployed anyway and the father "told her where to go" when she told him and changed his phone number. She was unable to receive a loan and tried but failed to borrow from family and friends.

A Woman We Couldn’t Help
At the end of July, we heard from a woman who only discovered that she was pregnant at 20 weeks. After trying to raise money for flights and travel in every way possible, she found out about ASN. A few phone calls and days later, we were able to arrange for a reduction in the cost of the procedure, a grant, and a host for two nights in London. Unfortunately, when she was scanned at the clinic, she was ONE DAY past the legal limit. Our hearts break for this woman – who, if she’d had the financial means to travel and book immediately, would not now have to continue an unwanted pregnancy.

ASN thanks these women and men for sharing their stories with us, and for permitting us to share them with you. We also thank the clinics, counsellors and other groups who ensure that these women receive the care they need.

Thank you!
ASN is funded almost entirely by the generous donations of individual supporters – like you! Without ASN, women would be left with no other financial and practical support towards covering the costs of their procedures and their journeys. Donations to ASN are vitally important to the lives of women faced with unplanned pregnancies.

We are entirely volunteer-run, and our small overhead costs are covered by a regular donation. This means that any money you donate goes directly towards the cost of a woman’s abortion or transport to England.

Due to your support, we have never turned down a woman who could not access an abortion without our financial assistance. (And we’re hoping our 2nd Birthday request will mean that we never have to!)

Thank you again for all your support. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to provide accommodation, financial assistance, and confidential, non-judgemental information to the women in difficult circumstances who have contacted us.

With best regards

Abortion Support Network
+44 (0) 7897 611 593
Charity Number 1142120

Abortion Support Network (ASN) is an all-volunteer charity that provides accommodation, financial assistance and confidential, non-judgemental information to women forced to travel from Ireland and pay privately for abortions in England. The cost ranges between £400 and £2000 depending on circumstance and stage of pregnancy. While other organisations campaign for law reform, ASN is the only group on record providing women travelling for abortions with the thing they need the most: money.
ASN is now a charity! Registered Charity Number 1142120

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Gross sexism comes to Outline

Outline is a local, free magazine for my city, Norwich.  Cover here:
It gives info on the club nights, the gigs, and up and coming fun events in the city.  It’s considered a bit alternative.
It has a jokes page, with stuff that’s a bit of a laugh, right?  Anyway August’s jokes were just chock full of  misogyny:
This is rape culture and this is the stuff that distresses me about modern life.  This is why I fill my blog roll and my twitter follows with people I trust who don’t perpetuate this shit or instead call it out, because otherwise the world’s just too damn depressing.
Thank you John Stewart.

EDIT - It looks like they have a facebook page and a twitter account.