The Fight for Equality.

How LGBTQ+ rights have progressed in Britain, and what is still yet to be done.

Written by: anonymous

Pride this year arrives during a period of great difficulty for many of us, and at this crucial juncture we must reflect on the fundamentally political nature of our movement. You have likely heard that the modern push for LGBTQ+ civil rights began at the Stonewall Inn in 1969, spearheaded by Black and Latinx people, many of whom were trans and many of whom were sex workers. You may have heard some of these names – Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Riviera – or you may not. LGBTQ+ people the world over have benefited from this work, but this fact is often obscured. It is our duty, as the modern movement for LGBTQ+ rights, to recognise this history, and our community’s role in marginalising the struggles and contributions of people of colour, and of trans people.

The fight for LGBTQ+ equality is by no means settled. A coordinated effort from conservatives and self-styled ‘liberals’ and ‘radicals’ aims to roll back trans rights and public acceptance in the UK today. This discourse is a rebranded strain of second wave feminism’s unsavoury perspective on trans individuals, repackaged as ‘Gender Critical’ to legitimise their perspectives. Organisations such as the LGB Alliance, Transgender Trend, and others have formed with the express intention of demonising trans people and dismantling civil rights protections. Many major newspapers in the UK have taken an editorial stance in favour of these organisations, supported vocally by prominent journalists and academics, and tacitly by many politicians and celebrities.

Both the UK and Scottish Government consultations on amendments to the GRA – Gender Recognition Act – have been stalled significantly by the intervention of anti-trans organisations. In the case of the UK government it is now unlikely the amendments will occur until the current administration is voted out of power. The amendments proposed would have expanded gender recognition to non-binary identities, as well as streamlining the arcane process of official gender recognition – which currently requires several years of psychiatric review – to a process of ‘self-ID’.

Anti-trans organisations recycle archaic homophobic arguments and use them as justification for opposing these reforms. Claims that trans people ‘groom’ young people, or that recognition of trans women’s identities poses a risk to women’s rights – particularly in single sex spaces such as bathrooms – are commonplace within these circles. As with gay rights before it, the evidence for these claims is unsubstantiated. There are, however, anecdotal reports of trans-exclusionary communities behaving in a way which resembles a cult – indoctrinating vulnerable LGB youth and punishing those who speak out, as their ‘activism’ leads to increasing social isolation and mental health damage.

Many countries have introduced self-ID laws already – primarily in Europe and Latin America – without any of these predictions coming true. The UK already allows de facto self-ID for passport changes, and most of the supposed ‘problems’ of amending the GRA would be true under the status quo if they held any basis in fact. 

Anti-trans organisations, contrary to their stated mission of preventing further liberalisation of gender legislation, in reality aim to roll back existing protections. Such organisations have recently appealed to the equalities minister, Liz Truss, to restrict access to puberty blockers for trans youth. They have also pushed for the overturn of Gillick Competency, the legal standard which allows persons under 16 to seek medical treatment without parental consent. This move not only threatens trans youth, a demographic at particular risk of mental health problems, but also threatens to become precedent for the rollback of reproductive rights to under-16s.

Anti-trans groups pose the greatest threat to trans people, but their advocacy of punitive legislation and employment of incendiary anti-trans rhetoric have implications for the broader movement. For instance, the founder of LGB alliance, a supposedly pro-LGB group which spends most of its time campaigning against trans people rather than campaigning for LGB people, recently called for restrictions to be placed on LGBTQ+ societies in schools, threatening a space of refuge and support for vulnerable young people.

Pride must return to its radical roots, and recognise that there is still much work to be done for LGBTQ+ acceptance. So long as the oppressive institutions of the state exist, and any LGBTQ+ person remains under threat, we are not free. If you are serious about LGBTQ+ equality, be serious about police brutality and look to the work of Black activists on the abolition of the prison industrial complex. As the world’s attention is focussed on the issue of police brutality, it is worth remembering that 16% of trans people in the United States – including 53% of Black Trans people – have experienced police violence. If you are serious about LGBTQ+ equality, be serious about the violence inherent in borders and the notion of ‘citizenship’. If you are serious about LGBTQ+ equality, be serious about inequality and poverty, and pay attention to statistics which show that 24% of homeless people in the UK are LGBTQ+. Pride is radical in the face of a cisheteronormative societal order, but it is nothing if it is divided and exclusive.

Trips to the Past: Paris, Alice

During lockdown, with the prospect of travel seeming further away than ever before, a lot of us will be feeling an extra strong sense of wanderlust and nostalgia for our past trips and adventures. G You is happy to present a series of travel writings reminiscing on our community’s favourite and most meaningful trips to remind ourselves of the joys and growth travel can bring. Our next ‘Trip To The Past’ is on  ‘The Reasons Why I Keep Coming Back to Paris’, by Alice MacFarlane.

At 17 years old, I went on my first holiday without my parents to Paris with my then-boyfriend. Cringey, I know. But in that August of 2018 I actually learned a lot about myself and about life in general. Taking on the city of Paris as your first independent holiday can be challenging and expensive – it might push you out of your comfort zone at times or make you feel overwhelmed when making decisions all on your own. Be that as it may, I’m going to tell you a bit about my time there and why I keep going back there.

Now, for context, I had been to Paris several times before but I felt that it was important to experience it as an almost-adult and try to really discover the culture like a local, so we decided to go to Paris for a week with the little money we had after finishing secondary school. My mum thankfully chipped in to help pay for the flights, for which I am really glad, as even though I had meticulously prepared a budget, in the end I still only had around only 20 euros to make it back to the airport.

Okay, so some of those reading may be dubious about Paris; you are probably wondering, was it worth it? Was it the magical experience of a lifetime that so many travellers say it is? Was it the most romantic trip ever? Well, yes it was. For so many reasons I would relive this trip, from eating a romantic bistro-style dinner on a cruise along the River Seine to having a French maid walking in on me and my boyfriend after we forgot to lock the hotel room door and awkwardly attempting to tell her to “revenir demain” with my heavy Scottish accent – a mortifying experience at the time but now makes for the most hilarious story to tell gal pals during wine nights. However, this is not to say Paris does not have its downsides just like any other city, with the devious tourist traps or extortionate pricing for English speakers, some of which you really should ensure that you are at least aware of before travelling.

To save as much money as possible we stayed in a southern suburb in the outskirts of the city, called Villejuif where we would commute 20 minutes on the RER (Réseau Express Régional), a train line which serves Paris and surrounding suburbs. Now I’m going to let you in on a secret here, in Paris, to be able to commute on trains, metro, buses, etc. tourists are led to believe time and time again that they have to pay for the Paris Visite travel pass. This pass is double what locals pay and is only valid for 5 days. What you want to get instead is called a Navigo Découverte pass which allows a week worth of unlimited travel at half the price. Yes, you need to be capable of bargaining a little in French at the ticket counter and have a spare passport sized photo handy but it is extremely worthwhile especially for those on a budget. Plus, beating French bureaucracy is a massive achievement in itself, let me tell you! 

Once you’ve tackled the French transport system, there are a few not-so touristy things you might want to do, Paris has some really beautiful parks where you can enjoy a picnic and a bottle of cheap French wine with good company; Parc Monceau, La Promenade Plantée and the Parc des Buttes Chaumont are all good choices for this, Parc Monceau was my favourite as it felt as if we had escaped the city although being in very close proximity to the Champs-Élysées. Another more local activity you might be interested in exploring is wandering through the famous flea markets where you can find some absolute gems, for instance I found a vintage Abba vinyl at the Marché Aux Puces De Saint-Ouen, (Les Puces, for short).

All of this is not to say that you shouldn’t visit the tourist hotspots and avoid the tourist traps, if I am completely honest the most memorable part of our trip was in fact the Eiffel Tower (shocker, I know). I won’t get into the personal details, but what I will tell you is that you really shouldn’t miss out on seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night. As mentioned earlier, I have visited Paris several times, but the building excitement, waiting for the sun to set, being surrounded by millions of people who have all come to see the same thing as you is quite something and never ceases to amaze me. So, don’t leave Paris without seeing it! 

Of course, you may have interests in arts, food or sports, and Paris is a city that truly does have something for everyone if you’re simply willing to look. I would really encourage you if you decide to visit to simply wander the streets and see what you find. Whether that be the most delicious crêpes you’ve ever tasted in your life or meeting some of Europe’s nicest people in a bar, whatever it is, I’m sure it will give you a reason to come back to France at some point.

A Bad Influence(r)

Nina Munro gives her opinion on the Myka Stauffer adoption controversy  

Written by: Nina Munro

I press play. Almost immediately, a whiney American voice greets me. She’s crying, he’s crying. So far, I think the video is of influencers announcing their divorce as they seem so concerned with themselves. The video, entitled “An update on our family”, tells the tale of an adoption-gone-wrong. 

Three years ago, influencers Myka and James Stauffer adopted a young boy from China. They were aware that he had additional support needs, later diagnosed as autism. The boy’s name is Huxley, and he is now four years old. The adoption process was filmed for their YouTube audience, with the family’s video of them meeting Huxley reaching more than 5.5 million views on YouTube at the time. Their family life has always been in the limelight, with pregnancy journeys, detailed updates on Huxley’s development and interviews carried out by Stauffer on the topic of caring for children with disabilities. 

Looking back on Myka’s videos from before the adoption, she outright discusses his diagnosis. She claims that her heart ‘stopped’ when she found out, and that it ‘felt like tears were running down her cheeks’ when James agreed to adopt Huxley. Her last video including Huxley was extremely positive, discussing the number of signs Huxley could make, and how well he was doing. However, on Tuesday 26th May, the couple revealed that they had ‘rehomed’ Huxley as a result of the difficulties they had found raising him. Before this announcement Huxley had notedly been missing from their social media posts and YouTube videos since late 2019. Now one search of Myka Stauffer on YouTube no longer takes you to her channel and hundreds of videos, but instead provides several hits on videos slamming Myka for her decision, one even labels her as a narcissist. 

Allegedly, the Stauffer family sought to adopt a child who had additional support needs but would not be ‘too difficult’ to care for. Unbelievably, Myka reportedly asked a Facebook group “what special needs are considered minor or relatively easy to manage that most people wouldn’t consider easy?”. The ignorance of the Stauffers can, therefore, be seen from the beginning, and in my opinion, they should never have been allowed to adopt Huxley in the first place. It is quite clear that the Stauffers could not cope with Huxley’s disability, and frankly should never have considered adopting a child with a disability if they were not fully prepared to support him long-term. 

The video itself is problematic, three minutes into the video and Myka has mostly spoken about herself: the struggle in making her decision, and how much she had tried to help Huxley. Surely, the important part would be talking about how Huxley is now safe, protected, and well? Not their struggles which they seem to have alleviated anyway, by giving up the child. She blames her decision on an unspoken thing that Huxley did in the home, which she will not mention due to the need to protect his privacy. However, the lack of explanation surrounding her decision has caused more anger on social media forums. Perhaps, she held back on revealing the real situation as she does not want the backlash for not having much of a reason at all. 

Stauffer discusses how she never showed their struggles, in an attempt to protect Huxley’s privacy. This highlights a key problem with the influencer lifestyle. Everything must seem perfect, nothing can ever go wrong. If she had posted about her struggles openly, Myka could have used her platform to help thousands of parents across the world in similar situations. Instead, she used her platform to act out this perfect lifestyle of a perfect family, guided by the perfect mother character she played – which frankly does not exist. Part of me even wonders whether giving Huxley up was a way to protect this ‘perfect’ status, as his behaviour supposedly threatened to disrupt their family life. Myka in the video lets us know that Huxley is now in a new home, with a ‘new mommy’ who has professional experience in caring for children with additional needs. However, there are multiple reports that Huxley has been fostered not readopted. This has no guarantee of ‘forever’, a guarantee he should have had with the Stauffers. 

What is terrifying about this situation, is the large platform Myka has, and the influence this decision could have on other families with adopted children, or children with additional-support needs, or even parents looking to adopt. If Huxley had been one of Myka’s biological children, would she have acted differently? This case has the potential to seriously impact other families’ decisions, the worry is that this could dispel couples from adopting children with additional-support needs. This would increase the number of children placed in foster care, which is arguably a more turbulent and damaging environment due to the constant change and lack of permanence.  

While I absolutely condemn the decision Myka and James took to adopt in the first place, my main concern is Huxley’s safety. One can only hope that he is safe and will be cared for in the way that he needs. At the end of the day, Myka and James are no longer his parents, and therefore as angry as we may be (and rightly so), the crux of what matters is Huxley.

Laughter is the Best Medicine.

Written by: Amy McKenzie Smith

There is literally nothing better than full-on laughing with someone. When you both continue to add things that make the heart of the joke even funnier, reaching a point where you can both barely breathe. It’s hard to pin down exactly why laughing until it hurts but feels so good and why laughter generally induces warm fuzzy feelings. Laughter really is funny- it’s weird that we do it a lot; one study found that people laugh 7 times every 10 minutes of conversation and 80% of our laughter occurs during everyday comments in social situations. 

We can make some very bizarre noises when we laugh, from squeaks to gasps to snorts to wheezes. Laughter is a non-verbal emotional expression and when you think about it, it really is quite strange that hearing a joke or being tickled can fully rob you of your entire ability to speak, left simply with uncontrollable giggles and maybe even tears. All members of the human species understand it and unlike French, Latin or Korean, we don’t have to learn to speak it. Babies tend to start to laugh at about 4 months of age and babies who are born blind and deaf can laugh too, so the ability to see or hear is not required for laughter. We are all born with the capacity to laugh, but what is it that makes laughter so fascinating?

One of the remarkable things about laughter is that it occurs unconsciously- it is not something you decide to do. While we can consciously inhibit it, we don’t consciously produce laughter which is why it’s very hard to laugh on command or to fake it. (Don’t take my word for it, ask a friend to laugh on the spot). Laughter provides powerful, uncensored insights into our unconscious by simply bubbling up from within us. It comes in many forms; chuckles, giggles, belly laughs, cackles, sniggers- a ha-ha-ha or a ho-ho-ho. It might be a very private thing: an inward giggle you keep to yourself or a tender smile towards a cute animal or a baby. Laughter might be polite or nervous: tenderly laughing at a terrible joke just to make your friend feel a little better, or your underlying anxiety forcing you to subconsciously nervous laugh before an exam. However, laughter can be more generally regarded as an audible expression or appearance of excitement, representing an inward feeling of joy and happiness. 

Laughter can be perceived as something of a social emotion that we use to make and maintain strong social bonds with those around us. Firstly, I curiously question- can you really laugh someone into bed? It’s an interesting one… One study found that both men and women specified a sense of humour as a more desirable quality in a partner than intelligence, education, profession and sexual drive. Another found that we rate strangers as more attractive if they laugh at our jokes.  It’s no surprise then that couples who laugh together report having higher-quality relationships (#wholesome). Laughter is a non-negotiable for all involved. Sharing a good old laugh can immediately strengthen the social bond between two people. Playful communications strengthen our relationships by creating emotional connections and infusing all-round positive vibes into a room, whilst working with the ability to act as a powerful way to heal disagreements and tension. And thus, laughter works to bring people together- wholesome stuff, right? 

So, is laughter actually contagious? Studies have shown that it could be; people are more likely to laugh in response to a video clip with ‘canned laughter’ (recorded audience laughter in TV sitcoms for example) than to one without a laugh track. People are 30 times more likely to laugh in the presence of others than alone, leading us to the idea that laughter can act as a form of communication, as well a reaction that we use to show people that we like and understand them. It’s like endorphin dominoes; each brain in a social unit is a transmitter of positive feelings, which triggers the feel-goods in other brains via laughter. We’ve all been in a situation where laughter can completely alter the mood of a room, proving that there is nothing better to bring your mind and body into balance than a good laugh. 

Laughter can not only improve and build relationships and friendships, it can in fact improve both your physical and mental health. Interestingly, laughing activates the release of the neurotransmitter ‘serotonin’, the same brain chemical affected by the most common types of antidepressants. Thus, laughter is able to relieve stress and physical tension. There is also research to suggest laughter might improve your physical health with the potential to boost the number of antibody-producing cells, strengthen the immune system and even lower your chances of a heart attack by protecting blood vessels and heart muscles. Incredible stuff there. Hearty laughing sessions should probably be part of every heart disease prevention program.

The universe would be ne’er the same without laughter; it is a mechanism everyone has and is part of universal human vocabulary. Laughing makes up so much of our joys and some of the happy memories we remember and treasure are often minutes of hearty laughter. Sometimes, life might encourage us to take things way too seriously, running and working through our lives in such a speed that we have no time to laugh and in turn, relax. Laughter really is a joyful thing which might just fill your day with a new kind of amazing energy. Having a good sense of humour is also a wonderful (and desirable 😉 ) trait which can help both you and the others around you deal with negative stress and allow you both to enjoy each other’s company. So why not try and spend more time with happy people, watch some of your favourite comedy or even try some ‘laughter yoga’ on YouTube (seriously, it’s something else). Be playful and laugh as much as you can, because countless researchers and scientists also back the idea that laughter really is the best medicine. 

Trips to the Past: A Love Letter to Berlin, Grace

During lockdown, with the prospect of travel seeming further away than ever before, a lot of us will be feeling an extra strong sense of wanderlust and nostalgia for our past trips and adventures. G You is happy to present a series of travel writings reminiscing on our community’s favourite and most meaningful trips to remind ourselves of the joys and growth travel can bring. Our next ‘Trip To The Past’ is ‘A Love Letter to Berlin’, by Grace Richardson.

As the weeks pass by in lockdown, I find myself becoming increasingly nostalgic for past experiences. There is a sense of longing for the things we are unlikely to experience for a while, and the things we often took for granted. One of the sources of this overwhelming nostalgia is my trip to Berlin in June 2018.

First year of university came to an end, and we decided what better way to celebrate than to take a trip to Berlin. After missing out on the buzz of sixth year holidays for a number of reasons, including personal anxieties, I was so excited to be going away with my new university friends. So, we packed our bags, boarded our EasyJet flight (not without a few bumps on the road, namely forgotten passwords and a few tears) and got on our way. Little did I know how this trip was going to change things; it was going to give me a new lease for life and solidify lifelong friendships. 

As we stepped off the plane, I felt the warm, foreign air blow away all my previous anxieties over the trip as I could already tell it was going to be legendary. Enthused by the few gins consumed on the plane, I could not wait to see what this city would offer us. 

After being catfished by our Air BnB host and shown our apartment that resembled a torture chamber with chains on the wall and who knows what else, it was now the time for the most crucial part of any trip: the foreign supermarket adventure. 

There truly is nothing better than exploring a foreign supermarket for different crisp flavours or Haribos we don’t have back home. So, we located our nearest supermarket and went to stock up on the ‘essentials’ for our Air BnB. What was meant to be a trip for bread and milk ended in a hysteria over the prices of alcohol. We definitely lived up to the stereotype of mad Scots as we screamed down the aisles about the one euro wine or the cocktails that are buy one get one free (we have minimum unit pricing, so let us off). 

On our first night we took a slightly tipsy midnight trip to the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. This was another thing that amazed us Glaswegians, you can pretty much catch a tram at any time of day (Scotrail, take notes). As we walked down the street with the Brandenburg Gate slowly becoming more in focus within a background of a beautiful sunset, I took a moment to look around, feeling very lucky to be surrounded by this amazing city and my amazing friends. You know those moments in coming of age films where the character feels like they are now truly living, well I had never fully related to that until now. 

My main draw to Berlin was the history and culture it has to offer. The fact you can walk down a street full of shops and casually stumble upon remnants of the Berlin wall is incredible. We were prepared to see all that Berlin has to offer, so booked the open top bus tour to take us about the city. Although I do love seeing a city from foot, this provided us with a quick way to navigate and learn about this fabulous city. 

Berlin is famous for its nightlife, but although we never made it in to Berghain, we still had our own unforgettable experience. On our last night we found a club called AVA, just outside of the East Side Gallery, which provided an amazing background when sitting in the smoking area. This night remains one of the funniest I’ve ever had, from the bartender giving us orange with our tequila shots (which I continued in Glasgow, much to my pals disgust), the toilets resembling those in Trainspotting to the German heckler at the tram stop. Coming from Glasgow we know a mental night out, but Berlin definitely surprised us. After all that we packed our stuff and cleaned the apartment whilst still drunk and embarked on our trip back home. Despite how tired and hungover I was I can’t sleep on transport so as everyone slept, I listened to music and reminisced on how perfect the last five days were.  


What wasn’t perfect was that I slept for 18 hours when I got home and woke up with twenty minutes to get into town for my shift starting at 12. But nothing mattered after that trip, I was on cloud nine and the happiness that Berlin gave me could not be tainted. Even making milkshakes in Buchanan Galleries during peak summertime couldn’t bring me down. 

Berlin is a city unlike no other and I would return within a heartbeat. From the history to the nightlife it had all it for me. But looking back I think what made this trip so special was the company I was so lucky to have with me. The moments we spent in our apartment getting ready, watching Love Island, chatting and playing drinking games will stay with me forever. I remember looking around the room at their smiling faces with so much love and gratitude, almost missing the moment I was still experiencing. Whilst I sit at home unable to see them right now, I wish more than anything that I was looking at their beautiful faces once more. But I know they’re never far and that we will see each other soon. 

As a visual person, I have reminders of this trip not only in my mind but plastered around my room in the form of postcards, photographs and in German flag coloured flower garlands that hang over my bookshelf. I only have to look up at my walls to remember all the special moments we had and the amazing friends I gained. Now that we’ve finished third year, I wish more than anything that we could be jetting away for another trip. But when times are difficult, I think about our Berlin trip and remind myself of how lucky I am. 

Berlin, you are forever in my heart. See you soon. 

June Simple-Stupid-Star-Forecast

June Horoscopes: All you gotta know beforehand is that there will be 2 eclipses and 6 planets retrograding. BOOM wham-bam-shang-a-lang. This month the theme is simple-stupid (as my 6th grade teacher, Ms. Lynn used to say) – I will be simple and stupid (and silly too as always [and perhaps grammatically sloppy too]).

Aries

Rhymes with fairies. You must be a good person then! Get ready fairy Aries because this month brings in the shift you’ve been dying for (hopefully not actually dying, please take care) with two eclipses. Apart from that and six planets retrograding (in total from April-May), Gemini season will be here ‘till the 20/06 in your ideas-filled and communicative dimension.

First eclipse booms on the 05/06 in Sagi in your educational, expansive and entrepreneurial house. Missing any fuel for those projects that Miss Rona kind of burned off? Well this eclipse has got you covered. You might also start planning some kind of relocation, perhaps not tomorrow but after things clear up. Anyways, this eclipse will also serve to question A LOT of things, so start testing your belief system.

On the 18/06 Mercury gets its retrograde goin’ in Cancer in your fourth house of domesticity, until mid-July. Any emotions hidden will sprout like a healthy plant so make sure that all communication channels are clear for transit. Also ensure your tech is protected and Gucci. 

June 20th brings in a summer solstice and the day after is Cancer’s new moon – uuuh sounds interesting. Big changes and fresher than fresh starts will be LIT at this time. Back on the relocation talk, if you are planning to do this, from these days plans could get REAL. Anything you’ve been working towards might also present its finale with the end of the two-year Cancer-Capri series eclipse. 

The 22nd also starts Neptune’s retrograde which attacks your imaginative and healing realm – keep your guard UP. And with your guard up, on the 27thMars lands in Aries until January which gives you the buzz to be project-driven as well as romantically sexy.

Last but not least, June 30th Jupiter and Pluto meetup in your career zone. Anything that happened in the beginning of April might resurface. Get the puzzle pieces together and plan out your big breakthrough!

Taurus

People time!!! This month there will be two eclipses (apart from the six retrograding planets lol) which will boost your communication and community feels. Do I hear “hooray”!? Gemini season goes until the 20th of June which will warm up your productivity and stability!! Sounds good? It’ll be a hard-working month so get ready to get your hands dirtay.

June 5th brings in the first lunar eclipse in Sagi in your eighth house of intimacy, merging and long-term finance. Here you’ll either experience a turning point OR closure, be it financial or romantic. Maybe try investing somewhere or create passive revenue sources? This eclipse will surely throw you to one of the sides of the fence.

If this eclipse put you in collabs, 18/06 will boost them when Cancer and your communicative house get lit. In fact, expansive Mercury will propagate this talk, but in a tricky manner. Cautious with your media and with your tech. Good thing? As retrogrades rule the past, something might resurface and you’ll get it done and dusted. And speaking about dust and onto germs, make sure you get the alcohol gel, hands cleaned, and appropriate distance. 

June 20th starts Cancer season and the day after is its new moon (other eclipse) which might cause you to suddenly change perspective on something. It is very possible that this something has to do with either travel or relocation so be ready to commit! 

Coming onto retrogrades… Neptune starts its own on the 22/06 which will call you to do a friend detox – who’s really on your team? Don’t feel like doing that Zoom hang? Then just don’t. Take time for yourself.

From late June until January, Mars will be in Aries in your healing home. Solitude and self-care are key here. Get in contact with a therapist or any other resource that will help you delve into this spiritual time – you’ll want to take advantage of it, believe me!

The month ends with a Jupiter and Pluto meet marking it a great moment for transformation, something that goes quite well with Mars. Be open-minded here and don’t be afraid of feeling vulnerable. Be curious about yourself and what you are capable of doing and not judgemental.

Gemini

Yello ya gem, it’s ya burfday. This month two eclispes are on the menu which will evidently change some stuff related to work and collabs. And as Selena rightfully puts it: if you’re ready come n’ get it. It’ll be your season until the 20thwhich will be accompanied by Venus’ retrograde – time to say some truths in a peacekeeping, Gem way. Apart from Miss Venus, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn will be in retrograde as well as Mercury and Neptune for the second half of June. This will make the pace of the month a bit like Hiit training – slow, fast, slow, fast. So ya homework for the start of the summer is to take care of your relationships so that your collabs and finances are balanced and strong.

The first eclipse will be lunar on the 05/06 booming, guess where? Your partnership house! Ofc. There will be turning points, but as you might’ve gotten already, anything and errything will be out in the open. If a relationship ends, personal or business, worry not, it’s probably for the better.

The second half of the month shines on your job and finances with the Sun moving into Cancer territory in your second house on the 20th. Mercury will be in town here and will trick your technology and communication sides until mid-July. My advice for Mercury is to watch out what/who resurfaces from the past AND if you’re financially struggling to renegotiate with whoever you’re owing money to – Miss Rona has brought out a lot of the good-faith in people after all.

But don’t close your eyes just yet. The solar eclipse in Cancer on the 21st will conjugate with the new moon in Cancer on the 20th making it a powerful couple of days for a finale of some project you’ve been working on or/and transform your finances. Neptune goes on to start its retrograde on the 22nd (woah what a domino!) in your realm of LT-goals and career. Don’t burn out just because it’s the first week you’ve been in the office/café in the last two months. Take it easy and know where you’re headed.

On the 27/06 Mars will being its Aries trip in your house of team and tech which will spark creative, collaborative and innovative ideas. Just be careful in not rushing (AGAIN)! This end of the month accumulates with Jupiter and Pluto meeting up for a coffee and making power moves in your intimacy, wealth and control (something from the beginning of April might re-spark here). Yum!

Cancer

What up? The two-year transformational cycle (from July 2018) you’re about to end is about to happen and RSVP for the 21/06. Congrats grad! In addition, there’ll be to eclipses to speed things up, toss them around and hopefully not leave you with a frown!! And to add some more spice, six planets will be retrograding this June so time for unfinished business!

Whilst the Sun is still in Gemini season it’ll be resting in your house of rest 😉 n’ healing. Gr8. You need some self-care before eclipses, retrogrades and all that jazz bump into you. Don’t go rushing out because restrictions have been lifted and you’ve finished exams. Almost like dieting: why do you binge if food doesn’t have legs to run away?! Moderation crab!!

The Sagi lunar eclipse on the 5th will land in your house of health & organisation & work. Chaotic plans? You don’t know where to start. Map it out. I know you’re all for spontaneity but sometimes planning does not hurt. This will also help you de-clutter anything that is not helping you move forward. 

Two days before it’s ya season, Mercury enters retrograde in your sign which will cause (like always) miscommunications so careful on the talking and hold on to any AC (after corona) launches. Your season starts on the 20th! Hooray! On the 21st the solar eclipse brings the cycle I aforementioned to a close. Everything that happened between July 2018 is rounding up, meaning that fresh starts, new projects or ideas are in order. Neptune joins the domino with its retrograde start on the 23rd (which will be lasting all the way until Nov.). Don’t preach what you can’t practice, nor offer what you can’t commit to. 

June 27th marks Mars’ trip through Aries in your career and LT trips realm. On the previous note, don’t take on too much just because you’re ecstatic that restrictions are loosened. Boundaries should stick. Moving on to the 30th, Jupiter and Pluto meet up in your seventh house of committed relationships causing you to revisit some jazz. (I love jazz!!). Oh well, speak the truth!

Leo

As Rafiki had manifested, look into your heart Leo. This month will be busay – two eclipses and six planets on retrograde, OOFT. You’ll be front stage and centre so get ready to shine. Fostering some passion and probably resurfacing (what you thought were) long-lost loves is Venus retrograde until June 25th. Summer flings, I love them!! (If you’re trying to have a baby then it’s an optimal time!). Time to make up for the lost time!

Side note: Mercury is in town from the 18/06 until mid-July which might clutter all that has to do with technology, teamwork and travel so keep your guard up for this time.

The domino energy-crash starts on the 20th when Cancer season is lit. You’re probably used to it since June is usually quite sleepy for ya. It all begins with a new moon on that same day in your restful and solitary dimension. Get your sleep and take care because the second eclipse arrives on the 21/06 in that SAME dimension. Hopefully you’ve been in touch with your body & mind much more since this has been a recurrent theme these past two years. What’s good? This dimension really plays with your intuition which makes it such a symbolic time to be nostalgic, forgiving and all in all supportive of yourself. To finish off the domino, Neptune starts its retrograde on the 23rd in your intimate yet collaborative house – who’s the peanut-butter to your jelly? If you feel you’re not getting enough support here, speak out (gently). 

Mars begins a journey through Aries on the 27/06 in your very expansive house. This visionary moment might really spark entrepreneurial and educative moments. And to add on to this expansive moment, Jupiter and Pluto meet up for brunch on the 30th which calls for you to be as expansive as possible within your own capacities at the moment. Don’t overpack when you know you have a weight limit. There are so many opportunities, don’t worry!!

Virgo

Future and relationships, combine them together and that’s your most of your month of June. Gemini season is in town until the 20thand the Sun is hitting your LT-goals & plans realm. It’s been a tough few months but now is the time to wake up and plan the summer’s bustle n’ hustle.  

June 5th starts with the first eclipse of the month in your domestic house. Anything from moving flats to buns in the oven and other big living situation change is on the map. Female relatives may also be around this date, in fact around this time your relationship with your parents might be lit – even if they’ve gone to heaven or an afterlight, you might connect with them in other ways. The unexpected could also boom atm.

The second half of the month lights up the sector of friendships and collabs. The domino starts on the 20/06 when the Sun shifts into Cancer season and a new moon shines. Time to connect with your friends as restrictions loosen up! Watch out though, Mercury will be in retrograde since the 18/06 so there might be miscommunications (especially with people from the past) – you forgot your mask or someone didn’t understand what social distancing actually meant, aghh! Worry not, just confirm (a million times) before actually doing something. June 21st brings yet another new moon which will supercharge your collabs – who are you meeting today? They’re important. Just don’t get too involved too quickly just because of Mercury. These eclipses are a grand two-year series so you might just recognise how open-hearted and compassionate as well as authentic person you’ve become (hopefully). You also probably have a better sense who’s worth it by now. To end this domino, Neptune starts regressing on the 23rd until NOVEMBER through Pisces in your house of partnerships which might make you rethink a connection that started just before or even during this pandemic. Venus is also in the house so it’s probably romantic.

On the 30th Jupiter and Pluto hang out together in Capri in your fifth house of passion, creativity and self-expression – talk about feelings huh. This meet-up happened earlier in April so look back and see what might resurface or perhaps plot-twist. Anything that seems negative rn, try to work it out so that when Pluto and Jupiter meet again you’ll be as jolly as ever. 

Libra

Home has been a big one Libra (I SAY!). The first half of June offers a very visionary, ‘big picture’ & friendly vibe, although Jupiter, Pluto, Saturn and Venus are ALL in retrograde. So yeah, the Sun will be in your expansive realm during Gem season. (as if that all made logical sense, lol)

June 5this the first eclipse of the month and lands in your communicative and idea-full dimension. Someone can show up and rock your synergies for some potent dynamics. Maybe a new techy project or some special news are coming your way.

The second part of the month? From June 18th Mercury and Neptune join the retrograde-mania so make sure you plan your good ideas BEFORE miscommunications could start happening. Any hard work will be acknowledged as the Sun moves into Cancer on the 20th so do take the time to recognise yourself and your achievements (and a new moon on this day is pushing you closer to your goalzzzzz, exciting)!! The 21st lights up a new moon in Cancer which will land in your status-boosting zone – even if out of your line of work, why not try out a new job opportunity? 

Back on Mercury talk, don’t rush to sign anything off if you’re not sure because this retrograde will be here until mid-July and knowing Merc, you should back yourself and investigate any opportunity first.

Speaking of Neptune, its retrograde will be on from June 23rd until November in your health and organisational house. It’s summer after all (and we’re mid pandemic) so prioritise your wellbeing first and foremost so that you’re a boss at managing your stress during this cycle. Your support system should be intact throughout as well.

Venus ends its retrograde on 25/06 which might call for some lovey-dovey peoples in your space. After all that’s been going on you might feel like you want to make everything insta-official, but remember Mars is in town soon and it ain’t supportive of rash decisions. Follow your gut.

Any partnerships will BOOM on the 27th as Mars flies through Aries in your committed-relationships zooone until Jan. This is quite an ‘open’ zone, so you might feel you’re fighting more with your SO or business partner, yet the more you put it out in the open and clear it out, the stronger this partnership will become.

Last but not least, June 30th brings in some changes in your personal life as Jupiter and Pluto meet up for some coffee. Look back to the beginning of April and see what might resurface here. Your living situation is def a target here. Also, any emotions you’ve been keeping under the rug might simmer now so make sure you don’t projectile-vomit-it-out.

Scorpio

You’ll grow like a flower and build like a (productive) construction site. There will be two eclipses in your financial and risky zone which might turn your luck upside down (in a positive way) and six planets on retrograde :O. All in all, the first part of the month in Gem will be in your private yet merging realm.

June 5th springs in the first eclipse into your home of work and moneyz, bringing in much opportunity for a better fit. Big transformations re confidence and intimate relationships.

Mercury will be ruling your travel house until mid-July from the 18/06. Whilst bans are lifted, you might go further than your kitchen! Just don’t rush out the door and forget to tell your SO. Be honest with yourself and others BUT FILTER your words too.

As Cancer season starts on the 20th you’ll be in your expansive realm. The new moon here will be very honest and will allow you to fly like a bird. June 21st brings yet another new moon in Cancer. Another push into your desires and visions. Perhaps a desire to ‘be free’ has been present since July 2018? These days will mark the finale of that cycle. How do you want to end it? Finishing up this domino is 23/06 with Neptune turning retrograde in your romantic and creative home. Things might seem foggy rn, especially after quarantining with people within a lack of space. Get your air and space rn so that you can return mindful.

The month starts its end on the 27th with Mars through Aries in your house of wellness and organisation. BE VERY CAUTIOUS here. Slow down, don’t drive too fast, drink too many VKs, use gel, mask and all that jazz. Do things right so that you are clean and healthy. The 30/06 finishes the month with your sociability – Pluto and Jupiter meet up and talk about your self-expression and your friends. Maybe there’s something you want to voice rn and you have a friend who directs a podcast? It’s like adding 1+1.

Sagittarius

A WHOLE NEW WOOOOOOOORLD. There’s an eclipse in your sign this month!!!! (this doesn’t happen since May 2013!!) June will be GRAND for ya. Your closest will be tested with Venus retrograde until late June and if you’ve got a new post-Rona contract then check it twice and sign it before Mercury turns retrograde on the 18/06. Do you feel a bit more tired than usual? Gemini is the sign opposite from you so it is normal. That is another reason why the people on your team have to be A++++++.

June 5th presents a lunar eclipse in your goal- and passion-oriented house. The words ‘me’ and ‘we’ rhyme for a reason! Recalibrate those bonds. Mercury’s retrograde on the 18th emphasises this as it starts slowly (but steadily). Anything bothering you? Search for those triggers with CURIOSITY and no JUDGEMENT. Also with Mercury you need to be a lil careful with your technology so back it all up on those clouds.

June 20th starts Cancer season as well as a new moon in your house of intimacy, merges and shared resources. It’s okay if you don’t feel like you want to rush out the door as soon as restrictions are loosened. Be in your zone, all is good! June 21st brings another new moon with great financial and intimate links. Perhaps since July 2018 you might be recalibrating your relationships and values. What can you reflect on that? Plus on the 23/06 Neptune enters retrograde-mania which might reveal some relationship issues with a female relative? Perhaps do something outside the home to get your bonds stronger. If you’ve been caretaking or living alone during the quarantine then you might be falling towards isolation BUT make sure your social contact continues – balance is everything!

The 27/06 will show Mars into Aries into your house of romance, self-expression and luuuv. Big spotlights on you here so any passions might spark here. And you know what? Flaunt all your curves and edges!! Be you! Mars will be here until January so use it wisely!

June 30th will take in Jupiter and Pluto for a meet up in your realm of work and finances. Rewind to the beginning of April and that might give you a clue of what might resurface. Maybe you need to save up, or clean up your debts – who bought you those pints of fun so many nights ago? Be willing to change the way you do business.

Capricorn

The waiting game. You know you love it. June will be all about conserving your energy and letting life flow. Pluto and Jupiter will be in retrograde in your sing until Sept/Oct. which might be fairly introspective. Your ruling planet, Saturn (aka my fav planet!!!!) will also be in retrograde until the same time along with Venus which is all the reason for you to take your time.

Let’s get down on what’s important: Mercury will be in town from the 18th which rules all your cut-outs. Doesn’t serve you? Cut it out. Anyone from your past might resurface (classic) too.

As Cancer season starts on the 20th so does a new moon on your partnership area. And another moon right the next day on the 21/06. Commitments will be on review, what duo adventure will you go on next? Doesn’t matter if it’s only to the Botanics, as long as you’ve got each other and somewhere other than the kitchen. Events near this date might make a re-appearance later on next month. There’ll be some continuity too, so not that a new person might show up, but new advancements with someone already there is what I’m saying! This is especially true as Neptune goes on retrograde from the 23/06 in your house of communication. Maybe quarantine just showed you how much specific people in your life you don’t actually need. And that’s okay!

In terms of home – on the 27th Mars goes through Aries in your domestic zoooone. Here you’re either prego (aka bun in the oven aka pregz) OR you’re just with cabin fever. Probably the latter may I confess. Alone-time is the answer here Capri!!

Independence becomes key as you can see (another rhyme point for moi). As Jupiter and Pluto meet-up in your sign and call for all opportunities. Any unfinished byzzbacks (aka business)? Clean that dust and get workin’!! It’s okay to revisit the past as long as you do it curiously and not with too many oz of judgement.

Aquarius

It’s your aquarium and we are just the fish living in it!! Saturn (aka my fav planet in the universe) will be visiting your sign (last time 1994, were you born? :O) and transforming your identity and all that is up and personal.

What’s important this month? Until June 20th the Sun is lighting Gemini season with lots of sunbathing in your lust-life-zone. Get creative with your SO or with any possible sprummer (spring+summer) fling (I kind of feel Spring and Summer just got combined in one go this year). No HIVE anymore not many developments in your romantic career? I get you. 

From the 18th you’ve got a lot goin’ on. Mercury turns to retrograde-mania on the 18th which might help you give big ‘clean up’ vibes. It’ll super duper help you get a sense of tranquillity. Also ensure you back up your tech and wear mask n’ gelz. Coming on the 20this Cancer season in your house of organisation and wellness for one month. Quarantine has been tough and the best way to keep up was to take it easier. Time to get back on the wagon of living life!! Get your priorities in order and your GOOD habits on too (sorry Beer Bar). 21st continues the domino with a new moon in Cancer making you probably desire some ‘normality’ and self-improvement – very doable so think about how you’ll do this! This new moon will really encompass the weight of all that’s happening since July 2018 – accept the things you cannot change but being active about what you can change are the words of wisdom that shine bright here. To end the domino, on the 23rd Neptune enters retrograde in your dimension of work and moneyz. Very big focus on budgeting here: what can you do to help your life’s financials? Perhaps one day passing around your CV ain’t cutting it, maybe being more insistent now that things are calming down (covid-wise) is a good chance for that summer commitment. If you do do this, make sure you’re coming from a place of kindness and not so much an aggressive urge. 

June 30th ends the month with a Jupiter and Pluto meet in your healing house of closure and rest. Look back to the beginning of April (04/04 to be exact), does anything spark there that still needs some work? Work on it. When Jupiter and Pluto meet again in November you’ll have this cleared up for sure, as long as you’re proactive about it.

Pisces

Hey lil fish. The Sun in Gem is in your house of home (lol) until June 20th and Saturn is in Aquarius in your home of solitude n’ healing. Sounds like quarantine didn’t come at such a bad time, did it? Maybe you’re still healing from that last pint-of-fun-caused hangover. Whatever it is, it’s a good time to heal.

This month’s rhythm really accelerates from the 18th onwards. Mercury turns retrograde on the 18th (woo) in your very theatrical dimension which could trigger exes or old projects. Whatever it is, take care of it so it doesn’t ‘haunt’ you no more. On the 20th Cancer season arrives with a new moon and quite the appetite for adventure in your house of passion and self-expression. Any flirtationz going on? If so, speak out how you feel and you might be corresponded. If you’re not single, then work on getting more “new” activity going. Spice it up! 21/06 picks yet another new moon which will trigger the same realms. You really have admirers knocking at your door and you know it so don’t act so surprised! It is an excellent moment for you to reflect on how the dynamics of your relationships have evolved! To end this domino, on the 23/06 Neptune goes retrograde which calls you to line up all your priorities.

The month ends with the 30th and a Pluto-Jupiter meet. These two are planning your teamwork and tech so you might see action happening around those corners, especially collabs and activism. Look at April 4th and see what you can dig up from that day that might be resurfacing in this meet.

As much as I love you readers, it is time for a horoscope-summer-break (I’m loving hyphens rn) before my writing becomes even sloppier. Worry not, I will come back in September. Much love and take care ❤

Kika

selfish

Written by: Imogen James

I just wanted to write a short foreword before you read this piece. The Black Lives Matter movement is something that has always been close to my heart. I was lucky enough to be educated in school about the Civil Rights Movement, the Slave Trade, and all the bad parts in between. This piece was inspired by the struggles I saw growing up in the literature and media around me, through films and music. The road is long, hard, painful, however there will be a day when racism is impossible to get away with, where people of colour don’t have to look over their shoulder their whole lives. We are carrying on this fight. When Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, those riots led to the Civil Rights Act of 1968. There could always be something good around the corner, which is why we cannot give up. 

RIP George Floyd and all of whose names we know, and of those we don’t know. I will never understand, but I stand with you. 

‘Selfish’

The clouds were selfish tonight: they absorbed the sky, leaving faint trails of pink and blue in their wake, lined by the frayed trees. The silence is cut, as glowing sticks fly past, a blurred mirage of pointed white outfits and words thrown into our front room, swaying my granddad on his creaking rocking chair. 

The rock, a large, ugly mass, shattered through my window, blanketed in slurs and flames. And just like that my life changed.

Our home wasn’t much, but it was ours. The day they took it away from us sparked not only our charred walls, but a fire inside me. I remember sifting through the carcass of what was once my bedroom, finding nothing but ash and the occasional sea coloured marble. It took us days to salvage all we could – already having little to our name – my life became a half charred Bible and a sweatshirt knitted by my granny last Christmas. Of all things to survive, it was an itchy ill fitting sweater. It took us even longer to cease my mother’s tears. They painted lines on her face through the grey sprinkles of ash cloaking her. 

That was the first time I started to notice I was different, just as a boy about 12. Yes, I had never sat next to the other boys on the bus, or walked in the same parks, but it had never really mattered to me. I felt like I fitted in, they always laughed with me, although I found this a little strange as I never had to say anything to make them laugh. Still, I laughed along. But then my reflection grew darker and I was no longer just a boy. 

As I grew, bitter thoughts churned in my head, words burning on my tongue and fists uncoiled only when I was at rest, which seldom happened. I started off with little things, even having the courage to throw a piercing look their way was enough, calmed my thoughts for a moment. But then that summer little Joey from down the road was lynched. Seeing him hanging from the tree like a bitter fruit struck a chord within me and I flew forward, practically foaming at the mouth. Those gathered around jeering were stunned into silence at the spectacle as I ran into the crowd fists flying with reckless abandon. I had the one that strung him up in my fist, held to my face inches apart. And I started hitting. Hitting. Hitting. Spitting. Crying. Breathing. Collapsing. Hurting. Screaming. 

They locked me up for that. I stumbled into the jail, and saw a man like me. He was shouting at the officers, being dragged away in cuffs, but all the while smiling as if this is what he wanted. He looked at me, eyes glinting and said simply, ‘I’ll see you on the front page tomorrow then.’ And I got it. Attention. That’s what we needed. Not small acts of pitiful revenge. Large movements. A real fight. If that’s what was needed, that’s what we’ll do. 

I wasn’t a big fan of busses, so when I saw Rosa Parks on the cover of the paper, face full of pride and anguish all at the same time, I started walking. And so did my neighbour. And my cousins a few towns over. And the lady who I bought the paper from. And the man who I wave to on my way to work. And then we were allowed on the bus, anywhere we wanted. I sat right at the front. And I smiled for the first time in a long time for myself; not for the smartly dressed white man skipping the queue in front of me, or to thank the smartly dressed white woman for letting me walk past her on the sidewalk without calling me names I wish to not repeat.  I smiled for me.

***

We gathered, mist thick in the air, the top of the bridge eerily fading away, like our identity. This was a chance to get it back.  Marching, the drumming sound of footsteps in unison split the tension in the air, and our steps became mingled with the beat of horse’s hooves and shouts of the ‘bull’. They thundered over the crest, and our support went with the wailing wind. Smoke burst, as did lips, staining the concrete crimson as people fell to the ground. It was clear our numbers were not as large, but hell, were we determined. Every step I took, on the road my ancestors had slaved to build, was another step forward. I wouldn’t run. I was surging against them all, a fish going upstream. Until they started crashing into me, a bloody handprint running down my Sunday best, a garment of clothing dropped at my feet. I was staring in the face of my jailer, and I walked right out of my cell. 

I kept walking, for many, many years. Although my ancestors did a good job on the roads, there were still bumps. Much like the one my Ade was developing. I know the world around me is chaos, but she is my peace. It is no longer just a fight for me; it is a fight for my family, for my child to grow up sitting next to the others on the bus and to play in the same parks. 

By now we were riding out the 50’s and 60’s in Chicago. Despite our colour being hated, our culture was celebrated. Walking down the narrow streets, buzzing with a strand of jazz music here, vibrant dancing there, and well, there was nothing quite like it. It helped me keep going. After spending over a third of my life fighting to be the same as the white man, I often felt like giving up. But times like this, evenings listening to the sounds of the sax pouring through me, reminded me I have an identity. My colour may be dark but my culture is bright. That never lasts for long however.

The ever so familiar sound of ‘authority’ rang in my ears, megaphone making the voice resonate and bury even further under my skin. I guess the peaceful approach was finally fading. There was a time when I would’ve run forward to join the fight, but as I aged my ideas aged too. I see what we are lacking in peace, but violence certainly won’t even it out. So for that week, we sheltered in our meagre flat, allowing the uproar to pass as we listened to shrilling screams and wild window smashing, hoses blasting and lamenting sirens. The cities that we built began to be torn down by us. 

The clouds were selfish tonight: they absorbed the sky, leaving faint trails of pink and blue in their wake, lined by the frayed trees. The silence is cut as my daughter runs onto the porch, hair stuck to her face from salty tears, “He’s done it again, dad!” And I looked forward to my remaining years, as I saw a black man, just like me, sitting at the same desk as Johnson did when he granted us our freedom, and signed America into his hands. 

The Morality of Genetic Engineering

Written by: Rado Serafimov

If you had the choice to make your children immune to a certain disease, would you? What if you could make them stronger, smarter, more talented? What if you could do this, but not everyone else? Would it be correct to do such a thing? Would it be fair not to? What about the risks involved in the process? These are the types of questions that bioethics aims to answer.

As our understanding of genetics has developed over the last 75 years, we have done great things with it. From genetically engineering insulin to stop its harvesting from animal pancreases to engineering our food to last longer on shelves or produce its own pesticides. Or even cloning endangered species and building living organisms from scratch. There is a wide range of uses for this process.

In 2012 a new technology called CRISPR was discovered. Two years later a second big discovery was made called gene drive. These new technologies allow us to carry out genetic engineering with incredible precision and potency. It is like the difference between trying to perform surgery with a rusty kitchen knife and a scalpel. Suddenly, our possibilities have expanded massively and they will only continue to grow.

These incredible new technologies have already been put to use. In 2019 two cloned girls were born in China, both immune to HIV, despite the questionable ethics of the experiment. Currently, research is being conducted on mosquitoes who have been engineered to be resistant to malaria and capable of transmitting that resistance to their offspring.

Whether we like it or not genetics has been playing a role in our lives in some capacity and it’s looking like it is about to make great leaps forward that could change everything.

Despite all of these amazing feats, some of us seem to harbour feelings of irrational disgust and fear when we think of genetic engineering. Feelings that cloud our judgement towards it. This stems from various places, including religion and media. Regardless of our religious beliefs, we tend to think of our bodies as something sacred and natural and perceive any form of genetic modification as intrusive. These beliefs are only exasperated by the media in search of more public interest.

Our view of genetic engineering is also heavily influenced by works of fiction such as “A Brave New World” and “Gattaca”, which portray the horrors that making designer babies hold, such as social discrimination, the lack of a sense of personal achievement & self and economic inequality all based on genetic disparity. These issues, both personal and societal, are something we must consider when thinking about how we can morally apply genetic engineering, as it is hard to excuse such things, regardless of the benefits.

We do also have to recognize however that genetics is a big and confusing field that is still a mystery to us in very many ways. As such, what those works of fiction portray is still far off in the future, if it is even possible, yet that does not diminish the importance of the discussion about the issues they raise. 

Most traits that we possess are a collection of multiple genes acting together in addition to environmental factors. For instance, there is no single gene that we can simply inject into a foetus to produce a musically talented child and even if there were, that child’s talents would never come to fruition if it did not engage with music and heavily practice from a young age. So, if we can’t quite achieve the things that science fiction predicts, but we also don’t know what is possible, where do we take genetic engineering next?

Though some would wish to ban genetic engineering as a whole due to our fears, others disagree, and propose instead that regulation and public discourse are the tools we need to use to handle this newfound scientific power. As China has already proven, whether or not a certain experiment is deemed ethical (or even legal), there will always be someone whose morals are silenced by their morbid curiosity and desire for fame. If we ban genetic engineering outright those willing to pursue it will simply move their talents to dark places with no legislation to hold them back and possibly create those nightmare worlds we all fear.

Additionally, we are faced with many terrifying problems in our modern world – from world hunger to antibiotic-resistant diseases and global warming. These are all issues that genetic engineering could help solve or at least alleviate. CRISPR has been used to develop possible solutions for different diseases such as malaria and even some types of cancers. True radicals in the field even propose someday modifying the human genome to make us metabolize better, or feel an aversion to red meat to help slow global warming and rampant industrial agriculture.

The possibilities of what we could achieve with genetic engineering are endless, so perhaps we have a moral obligation to all those coming after us to use this newfound power to help clothe, feed and cure them. Therefore, the focus of any ethical discussion concerning genetic engineering should centre around regulation, informing the public and upholding ethical scientific practices. All to ensure that whatever direction we decide to push this new technology in, it is one that will benefit us all.

Black Lives Matter: Listen, Educate and Amplify.

Disclaimer: Although the official magazine of the Glasgow University Union, the views expressed are that of the author and not of the Union.

The G-You Magazine will always use our platform to advocate for justice and equality. We stand with the University of Glasgow in condemning all forms of racism and discrimination. The team has compiled information, advice and resource materials designed to assist those looking for more information. Remember that we are students too and we are still learning, please continue to follow the media information sources as they are updated. If you have any questions or issues please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will do what we can, the libraries committee is here to support you. All of you.

  1. Personal Message: Fuad Kehinde
  2. Educational Resources: Books and Websites
  3. Accessing Help: Self-Care
  4. Donations: Contribution pages 
  5. UK Protests: Locations and alternative forms of protest
  6. Protecting Yourself: Physical protesting and Covid-19
  7. Reputable sites: Websites to avoid
  8. Moving Forward: G-You amplifies

Personal Message

Science Editor: Fuad Kehinde 

Growing up black in Ireland and comparing my experiences to others around the world makes me feel lucky. Lucky that I can walk on the street without fear of being harmed because of the colour of my skin. Lucky that I could move schools without fear of being isolated or ignored. Lucky that my government isn’t passing laws that actively restrict my freedoms and voice as a person. But the problem with making these comparisons between our world and other people’s worlds is that you unintentionally minimise the issues that are near to you. Yes, I have been lucky. But I’m still scared. Scared knowing that 1/3 of the reports of racial violence are not taken seriously by the police. Scared by the young children I’ve heard throw a slur in my direction and knowing what that behaviour can turn into when they grow up. So, while we see all that’s happening in the world, like the protests and riots in the US, we mustn’t get desensitised. It’s important that when these protests and riots are events of the past, that we don’t just move on. The most essential thing that we can remember is that so many people are just afraid. Afraid of going outside, afraid of those who are meant to protect us, afraid to try to move on with their lives. In Ireland, in the UK, in the US and further afield. Everywhere, people are afraid. And it is only our voice, our vote and our influence that can change that. So, don’t just move on. Use your voice, use your vote, use your influence. Donate, share, campaign. Together, we have power and there’s no reason to waste it.

Educational resources

Editor-In-Chief: Francisca Matias 

It all started with the education we have been given and the education we give to those close to us. White supremacy is taught in the western world just like any mundane potty training or math. You see, education is unfortunate and fortunate – it has propagated systems enrooted with discrimination, yet it also serves as a catalyst for social change. Let’s please use it as the latter. If you are unsure of how to feel, act, say in times like these, there are MANY books you can read that will help you attempt to understand what it is like to be oppressed. If you need a hand to hold or perhaps someone/thing when you feel most alone, then also have a read. These are just some:

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Good Immigrant: 21 Writers Explore What It Means To Be Black, Asian, And Minority Ethnic In Britain Today edited by Nikesh Shukla
  • Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde
  • White Teacher by Vivian Gussin Paley
  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris

“De pequenino torce o pepino” – a Portuguese saying that says that your habits are formed as a child. The generations which are now in school, still being molded, these are the ones we need to target and educate so that discriminatory inequalities are not nurtured further. Unsure what you’re going to tell your siblings, children, pupils or just anyone underage? These are some resources for you to share with the younger ones (and even with older ones) either they be family or neighbors or strangers:

Donation Pages

Co-Editor-In-Chief: Catherine Bouchard

It can sometimes be overwhelming trying to work out where best to place your support in a crisis as overwhelming as this. Below is a compiled list of various charities helping combat different aspects of racial injustice facing BAME individuals in global societies. 

Charities Protecting Legal Rights, Funding Bail and Promoting Civil Reform

Education, Arts and Empowerment Charities

UK Based Charities

Accessing Help

Media Coordinator: Nina Munro

First and foremost, the Black Lives Matter movement has a website, with a plethora of resources and useful links to petitions, donation pages and help for those that need it. This is a traumatic time for black and NBPOC individuals, and therefore this section of the article intends to provide some self-care tips for those who are overwhelmed with the current media coverage of such difficult, upsetting atrocities. The website also provides guidance on legal matters surrounding the topic of racism, which may be useful to individuals suffering from violence right now. As the incredible Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”.

Self-Care Accounts to follow:

@reignxshine 

Instagram account, a really good account to follow on health and wellness at this time. This is where I have taken my self-care inspiration from. First, set firm boundaries: you are under no obligation to explain your feelings or educate people on what we are dealing with. Second, indulge in black creativity, switching your focus does not mean you don’t care, seeking out black art and celebrating black joy can provide some respite from the traumatising media coverage. Third, be tactful about your daily scrolls. Not everything that is posted requires your attention and response, intaking too much can be overwhelming. Fourth, FEEL. Remember that ALL your feelings are justified. Fifth, seek support, and comfort from others that you can trust.

@ogorchukwuu 

Designer, researcher and writer in the wellness space. ‘This is a soft-place to land for those who have been told that their experiences with institutional, interpersonal and internalized oppression do not matter… We deserve more spaces for healing.’ 

@ViceLife 

Has a thread of tips on Twitter and a link on their website, found here:https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/g5pgmq/self-care-tips-for-black-people-struggling-from-painful-week. Firstly, the site suggests that you make sure you are meeting your basic needs. This is fundamental. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in Twitter and group chats for hours on end and forget to eat, drink, sleep at normal times. However, you are already feeling low and therefore skipping out on your most basic, fundamental needs will not help. Perhaps it would be useful to set reminders on your phone or laptop or stick post-it notes throughout your room to remind you to get up and make yourself lunch, go to sleep or do some exercise – whatever you need as your basic functional requirements. Next, the article suggests letting yourself feel. I discussed this above, but this is so important, as we know that pushing negative feelings away does nothing to help you get through them. It is ok to feel how you feel. It is ok to take time out. It is ok to simply sit in your feelings. Perhaps you don’t have that option right now, so instead I suggest setting some time to yourself in your future schedule so that you can. Speak to someone or do an activity to release some anger such as listening to angry music, furiously dancing or doing an intense workout or cleaning session. The article also suggests setting boundaries with who you engage with right now. Give yourself permission to escape from conversations that are too much. You are not responsible for managing other people’s feelings. You could also repeat mantras of affirmation that help you feel grounded. The article suggests a list of affirmations written by Araya Baker for “The Mighty”. This was originally to help cope with COVID-19 and lockdown, but many are applicable to coping with the violence against black people too. Find them here: https://themighty.com/2020/04/hope-affirmations-coronavirus-covid-19/

My Advice 

I also have some of my own ideas to help you look after yourself right now in this terrifying time for the black community. One of these is to cultivate a spirit of gratitude, focusing on the things you are grateful for each day. This will be difficult during this current time but is so important to make you feel more centred and remember that there is good in the world, even though it absolutely doesn’t feel like that right now. This can be as simple as just being grateful that you woke up this morning. Further, remember to say no. It is not your duty to educate your white friends on this topic. That is what all the resources being shared are for, that is what google is for. This is not your responsibility. This is your time to grieve, your time to rest, rehabilitate and unplug from it all if that is what you want to do. Remember that it is ok if you don’t want to watch a viral video of a racially traumatic incident. If you need to, take a day just to rest. Unplug yourself and rehabilitate from what is happening. Being exposed 24/7 to such videos can have a serious impact on your mental health. Be as tender to yourself as you would be with a friend right now. Look after you, as that is most important after all. Perhaps you could even set boundaries with your exposure to the news and social media. You could say you will only read the news twice a day, for thirty minutes at a time. You can change settings on Twitter too, so that videos do not autoplay. Remember, you can stay informed and involved without being glued to the information on your phone at every waking minute.

I would also like to suggest some more general self-care resources that I have found useful in the past. I enjoy following accounts on Instagram, so that my feed is filled with little positive reminders. The ones I enjoy are:

@thortful

@constantbageltherapy

@selfcareisapriority

@thehappynewspaper

@selfcare4yu

@theblurtfoundation

@sunnybloominspiration

Also, there are a number of mental health websites and helplines with loads of useful resources to help you cope:

Lastly, please remember this: You matter. You are loved. You are worthy.

UK Protests

Politics Editor: Duncan Henderson 

Protests have formed around the world in response to the Minneapolis Police Department’s killing of George Floyd last week. In the coming few days, protests are planned across the United Kingdom to protest racial injustice and the impacts it has, which have sadly been fatal for so many people.

The current dates and locations for the widely publicized protests across the UK: 

  • Glasgow (George Square, 7th June 12noon)
  • Edinburgh (US Consulate, Regent Street, 7th June 1pm)
  • Inverness (Bught Park, 6th June, 1pm)
  • Aberdeen (Union Bridge, 7th June) – Postering the bridge, not a mass gathering
  • Dundee (City Square, 7th June 2pm)
  • Leeds (Town Hall, 6th June 1pm)
  • London (Parliament Square, 6th June, 1pm)
  • London (US Embassy, 7th June, 2pm)

Protests have already taken place earlier in Manchester and Cardiff, and it’s possible that other protests could be planned and gain traction across the UK. Similarly, a number of protests are now being held in virtual, digital or online formats – check the media sites for these events as they appear. 

Of course, COVID-19 is still a consideration, and the legal restrictions on gatherings still apply across the UK. The organisers of many of these events have promised to attempt to uphold social distancing, but some may prefer to support the cause from a distance. If this is the case: 

Other ways people can contribute and show their support are:

  • Contacting their elected officials, such as MPs and MSPs to raise their concerns and ask about what they will do to both tackle racial injustice in the United Kingdom and if they will ask the Government to raise this on an international level
  • Donating to some of the organisations listed in this article, if you can afford to
  • Sharing posts with information on racial injustice on social media
  • Talking about the topic with friends and relatives to raise awareness
  • Attend alternative non-physical protest spaces
  • Sign Petitions 

Staying Safe

Current Threads Editor: Holly Ellis

In this ongoing fight for change and justice we understand that many of you who are able to do so, will be attending physical protests across the UK and in your respective home countries. It is incredibly important that we act but also that we protect the health and safety of ourselves and those around us in the given circumstances (especially in light of the recently released BAME report). First and foremost check your respective government information channels to make sure that you are acting – to the best of your ability – in accordance with the government guidelines pertaining social distancing measures. Advice changes between regions, especially in the UK, be mindful of this. We want to protect as many people as we can, whilst showing our support for the black lives matter movement. For those who are unable to attend protests due to health, safety or legal concerns, the previous section outlines some other alternative forms of protest. Official advice can be found on your respective government or NHS websites, and on protest event pages. The points mentioned below are just the tips we have found applicable for UK protestors: 

Protection with Covid-19 in mind: 

  • Wear a mask to protect those around you. 
  • Two Metre distance. Wherever possible maintain a 2 metre distance from those around you. 
  • Hand sanitizer. Continually use hand sanitizers throughout the day. 
  • Two-Week Isolation. If you attend the protest, it is advised that you follow a two-week isolation procedure afterwards.
  • Vulnerable people. Consider the people you live with, if you live with high-risk people consider the risk-factor involved with attending, look into alternative forms of protest. 

These protests are peaceful protests but here are some other ways to prepare unrelated to Covid-19: 

  • Do NOT wear contact lenses if you believe you will come into contact with tear gas, the combination is potentially harmful to the eyes. 
  • Wear protective gear. Protect yourself from crowds and unrelenting weather. This might also mean bringing along water and snacks to sustain yourself. 
  • Do not have anything in your possession that might lead to an arrest.This means weapons, drugs and any other illegal entity, for those still in Glasgow this includes alcohol. 
  • Milk if unrefrigerated is not sterile. Be mindful of the weather and the effectiveness of the products you intend to bring along.  
  • Have emergency contacts written down. This allows other people to help you in an emergency situation. 
  • Bring identification. This helps you identify yourself or allows others to identify you in an emergency situation. 
  • First Aid supplies. In the event of an emergency it is always useful to have access to a first aid kit. 
  • If you are attending and do not wish to be identified for any reason. Disable your face/touch ID, use airplane mode and disable data. Wear nondescript clothing, do not wear identifiable brands, and cover any identifiable tattoos. 
  • Do NOT bring an All Lives Matter sign. This sign does not align itself with the black lives matter movement. 
  • Check protest etiquette. This is especially important if you are white. There are some chants and gestures that are NOT yours to use. Make sure you are aware of these before you attend. 

This is not the time to be silent, if you cannot attend physical protests, use whatever means you can to raise awareness and amplify the voices of black people. If you don’t understand why people are protesting, choose to educate yourself rather than challenge those who do protest. For those of you still in Scotland wondering why this movement is needed here take a look into the origin of Buchanan and Glassford Street, look up the name Sheku Bayoh, and scroll through the comments on the UofG’s twitter condemnation of racism and discrimination. Our ancestors may have been complicit, but we will not be. We need to dismantle the structural inequalities that propagate racist systems. This is a struggle against intolerance, prejudice and discrimination that began a long time ago and will continue until our world is just. 

Reputable Sources of information

Showcase Editor: Imogen James 

With the endless stream of information concerning the protests over the George Floyd murder, and the Black Lives Matter movement, it can be confusing and difficult to keep up with accurate and honest portrayals of events. It is often overwhelming to sift through dozens of videos and articles in order to get to the truth of the matter. This list is of people sharing updates on protests, petitions and updated ways to help, useful guides on how to safely protest, and the truth of the situation without it being twisted.

Short Guide:

  • Twitter: Firstly, twitter itself has proven to be the most accurate and up to date form of information spreading in this instance. Each second new info is posted, videos and photos with the proper explanation of events before mainstream media construes them, and also live information of protests so you can be safe wherever you are. 
  • Instagram: Instagram has many useful guides and links, under the #blacklivesmatter and also through many accounts. People are constantly sharing ways you can help wherever you are and new photos that are incredibly symbolic, as well as informative.
  • Mainstream news: Many news outlets, especially American ones like CNN or NBC have been portraying unjustly and biased commentaries of events making peaceful protests look violent and changing footage of the police acting unnecessarily abusive so they look good. If you want to consult mainstream news, be careful in doing so and look at a few in order to find the full story.

People and organisations to follow:

Protest Updates

Twitter: @protestupdatez

#blacklivesmatter on Instagram and twitter to keep up to date with goings on

NAACP

Twitter: @NAACP

IG : @NAACP

Legal Defense Fun

Twitter: @NNAP_LDF

IG: @naacp_ldf

Black Lives Matter

Twitter: @Blklivesmatter

IG: @blklivesmatter

Until Freedom

Twitter: @untilfreedom

IG: @untilfreedom

Harper’s Bazaar

Twitter: harpersbazaarus

IG: harpersbazaarus

New York Times

Twitter: @nytimes

IG: @nytimes

Time

Twitter: @time

IG: @time

Layla F. Saad

IG: @laylafsaad

Rachel Ricketts

IG: @iamrachelricketts

Rachel Cargle

IG: @rachel.cargle

S. Lee Merritt, Esquire

IG: @leemerrittesq

 

Moving Forward: Over the next couple weeks

Artworks and Graphics coordinator: Jaimie Chow and Media Coordinator: Nina Munro 

  • The G-You instagram account will be featuring black artists for you to follow and support. 
  • Our social media pages will be updated with information about the BLM movement.
  • We aim to create some accessible infographics to keep people informed. 
  • Anyone who has an article or pitch in mind relevant to the movement please do not hesitate to contact us at libraries@guu.co.uk

Silence is Compliance. 

Francisca Matias, Fuad Kehinde, Olivia Swarthout, Ewan Galbraith, Duncan Henderson, Jaimie Chow, Holly Ellis, Beth Leishman, Imogen James, Nina Munro, Catherine Bouchard.