LOL-Word-Blog-POst

The LOL Word Comedy Night at Sh!

Like comedy? Like queer women?

Then you’ll love The LOL Word!

That’s right: your favourite LGBTQ+ women and non-binary comedians, The LOL Word, are descending upon London’s finest sex emporium Sh! for a night of raucous, inclusive, sex-positive and hilarious comedy.

Not only will you see the comedy scene’s finest award-winning queer talent, but you’ll also get to spend the evening surrounded by solid gold pure smut with 10% OFF ALL PRODUCTS for ticket holders!

Comedians for the night include the entire LOL Word originals (Chloe Petts, Jodie Mitchell, Shelf, and Chloe Green) plus the most special of SPECIAL GUESTS…


Tickets are extremely limited so grab yours now to avoid disappointment!

Arrive at 6:30pm to start shopping with that sweet 10% DISCOUNT and the show starts at 7pm prompt.


So who are LOL then?

A bunch of best mates and accolade-brimming comedians, providing London, Manchester, Brighton, Edinburgh and beyond with the best LGBTQ+ comedy talent there is. Founded by Chloe Green, Jodie Mitchell, Chloe Petts and sketch duo Shelf, they pull together the very best talent the scene has to offer, to save you the faff. Previous line-ups have included Sofie Hagen, Fern Brady, Sophie Duker, Kemah Bob, Sarah Keyworth, Rosie Jones andmaaany more babes.

Shelf

Shelf are a comedy double act from South London.

Shelf is made up of Rachel WD and Ruby Clyde. Already lifelong friends, they started performing as Shelf in 2015. Shelf started out at open mic nights, honing a style that is “a winning hybrid of sketch show and standup” (Edfringe Review).

Since their formation, Shelf have performed at Bestival, London Pride, and been nominated for Sketchfest’s Best New Act award. Their work has appeared on BBC3 and LADBible. They are founding members of sell-out monthly night The LOL Word, which showcases queer women and non-binary comedians from across the London comedy circuit. They are board members of the cult hit Alternative Comedy Memorial Society, with whom they regularly perform in London and Edinburgh.

Shelf
The Skinny – “…cool and relevant”

Diva Magazine – “The talented twosome find belly laughs in heavyweight topics like mental health, sexuality and gender

The Broad UK – “What makes their show really stand out is the crackling chemistry between their on stage personae”

The Daily Info – “Everything they do is organic and fresh…the audience is given permission to join in with their friendship: they let us in to their lives, flaunting their flaws and thus showcasing their qualities. Their honesty encourages laughing along and their comic timing ensures it”

Bunbury Publishing – “The chemistry between Rachel and Ruby absolutely sparkled, from the writing to the performance, page to stage, everything feeds into each other perfectly. I will repeat, Shelf are going to be huge”

Scotsgay – “Lesbians”

Jodie Mitchell

Jodie-MitchellJodie Mitchell is a ‘blindingly obvious comedic talent’ (The Skinny) doing her best to simultaneously be as surreal and political as possible. In 2018, she was a ‘Funny Woman Awards’ Finalist, a ‘Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year’ Semi-Finalist, and shortlisted for the ‘BBC New Comedy Award’.  She has a hit comedy podcast, ‘Secret Dinosaur Cult’, which she co-hosts with Sofie Hagen, and is currently touring a new show as her male comedian alter-ego with the Drag King troupe ‘Pecs’, after a 5*, Offie-nominated, sell-out run at Soho Theatre. Jodie’s supported by Soho Theatre Young Company, and is a founding member of queer, all women and non-binary comedy collective ‘The Lol Word’.  If you’re her mate, then you laughed at her shouldering butchness to don a denim mini-skirt in BBC Scotland’s ‘Scotsquad’.

‘Jodie Mitchell…left me with actual tears of laughter running down my face’ – DIVA
‘[Her] set is so funny it makes all the comedy in my life up to this point redundant’ – Theatrebubble

Chloe Petts

Chloe Petts’ “inexhaustibly funny mind” (Diva Magazine) and “compelling presence” (Steve Bennett, Chortle) has established her as one of the most exciting new acts on the circuit.

Chloe-Petts
Chloe is an alumna of the prestigious Pleasance Comedy Reserve, has been shortlisted for the BBC Comedy Award, was a finalist in the most recent Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year Awards and came runner-up in the Funny Women Awards 2017.

She has appeared on Channel 4’s Random Acts and BBC 3 Quickies.

Chloe Green

Chloe-GreenChloe Green is a queer comedian who makes jokes about life as a Labour Party staffer and the patriarchy. Sounds like a misnomer? It’s Ms. Nomer, thanks very much.

When she takes time off from being a “f*cking delicate snowflake”, Chloe likes to make jokes. Because her job staffing Labour’s Twitter account and navigating the minefield of sexism and homophobia in politics is surprisingly funny. Sharp political commentary meets confessional storytelling as Chloe tells us what it’s like to be “out” on the inside of the UK’s weirdest workplace.

Chloe is a co-founder of queer comedy collective The LOL Word, which had a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018. She’s also a member of the Soho Theatre Young Company, was named one of the top lesbian and bi comedians to watch out for by Pink News in 2018, and was a Semi-Finalist in the BBC New Comedy Award 2018.

As seen on LADBible and Pink News, seen at Latitude, heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

“Smart, insightful, hilarious, and completely relatable” – DIVA magazine.

“a quickfire stream of jokes that bounce pleasingly around a wide field of crowd-winning topics” – Bechdel Theatre

About LOL Word:

The Guardian: “a new generation of comics retaliating against the old template of comedy”
DIVA: “Smart, insightful, hilarious, and completely relatable”
Sofie Hagen: “My favourite comedy night in London”
Bechdel Theatre: “THE night to go to”

Blog-Post-Pride

Special Edition Rainbow Dildos!

The biggest LGBTQIA+ celebration of the year is a just a few weeks away, but we say:

Let’s get this Pride party started!

Pride is our favourite season and we usually throw an event of our own or have a special product or two to mark the day of London Pride, where we celebrate love and diversity with our lovely and diverse customers (although, being a forward-thinking company with a strong LGBT following, we celebrate love & diversity each and every day).

This year, we hope and believe that Pride parade is going to be even bigger, more fun and more colourful than ever and we’re looking forward to joining in with the fantastic street party in the West End of London.

The parade itself takes place on Saturday 7th of July, but we can’t wait to throw ourselves into the festive spirit so we sent our fantastic dildo maker into the silicone lab and grrrl, did she get to work! She’s done lots of mixing and pouring and the end result is something which beautifully encapsulates the fun vibe of the movement:

A Range of Special Edition Rainbow Dildos for Pride

Rainbow-HeartsSeveral days of prep took place before the actual dildos were made.

First, flat sheets of soft silicone were made, one sheet for each colour to be included. The sheets were left to firm up for around 24 hours before they were ready for the next step.

Once the silicone set, tiny hearts were cut out of the sheets by hand (the leftover circles of silicone are cute and we use them as drink coasters, by the way). The hearts are then sorted into colour for ease of use in the next step.

Next up, the molds were prepped and silicone mixed.  Much like baking, it’s all about correct measurements and patience. At this point in the process, we’re all under strict instructions to not disturb our dildo maker  – or we could cause a batch of ruined dildos!

Translucent silicone was used for the special edition Pride dildos and this is hand-poured into the molds, which hang upside down from the special dildo table.

Dropping-heartsThe tiny rainbow hearts are all dropped in by hand – and occasionally poked with a long, thin wooden stick (precision work!). It’s time-consuming but the end result is definitely worth it.

The dildos are then left to cure for 2 days, with our dildo maker watching over them like a worried Mother Hen. 🙂

Silicone is hypoallergenic and non-porous, making it the perfect materiel for sex toys. Silicone toys like our dildos are very easy to keep clean and all you need to do to keep them in tip-top condition is to spritz with toy cleaner or wash with antibacterial hand w and warm water. We recommend using water-based lubricant to ensure the surface of the silicone dildos remains non-porous.

Dildo tableOnce the silicone is firmly set, the dildos are released from the molds and inspected for flaws. Of course, being handmade, they are never going to be as perfect as dildos that are churned out of machines dozens at a time, but we want our customers to be able to trust that a Sh! dildo is going to be excellent quality, durable and ready for hours and hours of fun.

Once the dildos have passed the inspection, they are ready for their first meet & greet; i.e we get to see the finished product!

Say hello to our beautiful Pride dildos here.

Pride-Dildos-For-Blog

Choose from three of our most popular dildo designs:

6 inches long, with a rounded head and curvy, tapered shaft delivers a winning combination of perfect penetrative pleasures

6 inches long with 1.75 inch diameter shaft and rounded head, ergonomically angled for hitting the G-spot

7 inches long with ample 1.75 inch diameter shaft that delivers rhythmic and deeply fulfilling penetration

All in all, there are only 12 of the special edition Pride dildos made and ad stock is very limited, make sure to order yours now if you want to snap one up!

Last But Not Least: A Pride Event at Sh!

Whilst we’ve got your attention, we want to highlight a fabtastic Pride event on 6 July, when we’ll welcome poet, writer and all-round sex goddess, Immani Love to Sh! for an erotic reading and fun slumber party. Immani will be sharing snippets from her latest tantalising page turner– Adventures in Eroticism: Workplace. We’ll be serving up bubbles and French fancies and you can bring pyjamas and a pillow to get comfy!

Tickets for the Immani Love book release show, which will take place at Sh! in London on Friday 6 July 2018 are priced at £7.50 and can be purchased here: Immani Love

 

 

Immani-Love-Blog-Post

Immani Love – Book Release Show at Sh!

Author, Erotic Poet, Love Goddess

Immani-Love-POetryJoin Immani Love for the celebration of her new volume of erotic work: Adventures in Eroticism: Workplace. The evening will include music, poetry and of course readings from her exciting new book.

Immani Love was born in Philadelphia, Pa and is currently making her home in Florida, regularly performing in several places in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia when booked.

Named 2013 Erotic Poet of the Year by the National Poetry Awards and invited to perform in the UK Black Pride in London, England, as well as EuroPride 2014 in Marseille, France and EuroPride 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, now her popularity has grown! She has traveled throughout Europe every summer since 2014 and includes stops as far as Australia, England, Spain, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, and Greece.

Currently booking the 5th national and international annual tour.


The ticket price of £7.50 includes Bubbles & French Fancies.

Copies of her new work will be available for purchase and signing!

Guests who want to enjoy the full Immani Love-experience are welcome to bring pj’s and a pillow (pyjama party!). Our changing room will be available for changing into your comfy’s before the event starts.


Adentures-in-Eroticism-Workplace-Immani-LoveBOOKS: Immani Love’s 1st book series “Adventures in Eroticism” beginning with “Adventures in Eroticism: Four Seasons” is a collection of themed Lesbian Erotic short stories that places you, the reader as the main character allowing you to experience things not dared to be typically imagined. Adventures in Eroticism: Workplace is the 2nd in the series. With vivid imagery and tantalizing scenarios, these stories allow you to live out your fantasies.

Lesbian erotica has never had an avenue like this to explore sexuality with a sensual yet witty outlook on intimacy. Typical professions like Police Officer and College Professor get an enticing overhaul and allow the reader to explore the hotter side of the Workplace. Be on the lookout for the next in the series, Adventures in Eroticism: Holidays and Adventures in Eroticism: World Travels. Coming soon!

CD: “Immani Love … Sensually Speaking” – This is the inaugural CD of Immani Love erotic poetry. One of the few strictly LGBT erotic poets around, Immani Love brings her sensual voice and imagination stimulating words for the long awaiting ears and hearts of the world. Not for the virgin ears, but definitely for the arousal of loins and the wetting of panties, she delves into the world of sexuality with a spirited, no holds barred sense of fantasy and reality.

Follow Immani Love on Twitter.

View videos on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/8j0UJJ-ByXM

https://youtu.be/Wv55dujPMQ8


Enjoy A Free Excerpt from Adventures in Eroticism: Workplace, “Duty Calls (Police Officer)”

…As she led the way to her bedroom every thought you had about self-restraint went out the window and it didn’t help that the thin silk wrap-around dress that swayed as she walked, hugged every curve yet flapped open occasionally to show her thick thighs. The sun danced through the sheer curtains onto the walls of her very feminine pale pink bedroom, and as she sat on the edge of her bed the rays of sun shone on her thighs while the dress slid open gently. The phrases “ex-girlfriend” and “fresh start” rang in your ears like a dinner bell and she was a delectable main course meal. Your every being felt the urge to just snatch open that dress and ravage her body, but instead you just simply said, “Oh, that’s cool.” Once again, kicking yourself for not being more valiant in your approach. You removed your gear and weapon and began to take off the wet clothing. Although her head was turned away you noticed her watching you undress in the mirror. It delighted you that she blushed as you removed your tank top to reveal the lacy bra that enveloped your ample bosom and as you removed your pants she stifled her smile as she almost whispered, “You should take those off too,” referring to your damp undergarments. “Are you trying to get me naked?” You quipped, while unfastening your bra.  “Yes!” she replied and swiftly added, “We wouldn’t want you walking around all day dripping wet, would we?”

Her deliberate wording was comical and she chuckled as she gathered your clothing and left the room. “Too late,”

you muttered as you stood there nude deciding whether or not to put on the flimsy robe. The idea of standing there naked

and vulnerable while she tended to your laundry was unnerving and you decided a thin robe was better than no defense at

all but as you slipped into the silky garment you turned to see Saraya walking towards you almost as if in slow motion,

holding a glass of PINK LEMONADE.  It was literally like your dream was more of a premonition except you knew for a

fact that no angry husband or boyfriend would come and attack you. As she entered the room you stood there motionless

trying to make sure you didn’t assume your fantasy was coming true. Saraya walked past you without a word, set the glass on

her bedside table and beckoned for you to come to her. As if in a trance, you complied and as she spoke her words sent chills

through your body, “I’ve been waiting for this.” she whispered as she untied her dress and let it drop to the floor.

(excerpt from Duty Calls)

 

Immani Love Logo

 

 

 

VQ blog

VQ: A Women’s Health, Sex & Pleasure Shop

As part of International Women’s Day celebrations this month, we are thrilled to be part of VQ, a one-day pop-up sex & health shop taking place in Birmingham on Thursday 22nd March.

Vagina Quotient, or ‘The VQ,’ will bring together some of the country’s best female-led independent sexual health businesses and organisations to Birmingham’s city centre, providing a fun, safe and sex-positive space for women of all ages and backgrounds, to learn and talk about their sexual health and wellbeing needs.

A UK first, academics at Birmingham City University are opening a pop-up sex and health shop as part of IWD. The project is co-led by Dr Annalise Weckesser, a medical anthropologist whose research explores issues of gender and health, and Dr Keeley Abbott, a critical social psychologist who specialises in sexuality, gender and sex education.

Many products available at the VQ are only available online; the pop-up shop offers visitors an exclusive chance to see these products in-person and to learn more about them from the experts:

  • Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, the UK’s longest running, multi-award winning female-focused sex boutique from London will be around to talk sex and sex toys, and we’ll round off the day with one of our popular erotic classes.
  • OMGYES – trial  (or even purchase!) this research-based app (championed by actress Emma Watson) that teaches different techniques women use to find pleasure.
  • Precious Stars – check out these eco-friendly reusable sanitary products – a social enterprise started by Bryony Farmer who runs a popular YouTube channel on menstrual health for young people.
  • A unique opportunity to take part in an original art piece with Kaye Winwood Projects:  make a cast of your hands in the positions you use to masturbate. Anonymised casts will be used to make a display representing the diversity of women’s pleasure techniques (we love this!).

Come to a Sex Class!

For one night only, Team Sh! will spread their message of sexual empowerment and pleasure to the women of Brum!

Enjoy a guided tour of pleasurable peaks and orgasmic delights. Learn how to locate and stimulate the G-spot, and how to tell the time on your clit-clock. Learn about anatomy, hot spots and female ejaculation.

We’ll finish with Q&A session so you can ask any questions you have about increasing your orgasmic ratio.

Full of practical advice and sexpert tips, this class is playful whilst still providing insight and information. You’ll leave feeling inspired and empowered, ready to take charge of your next orgasm.

Book your ticket to our one-night-only sex class in Birmingham here. 

Pouring Bubbly

 

Win Prizes!

A raffle will also be taking place on the day which includes prizes such as limited edition Eros candles, gift vouchers, Spa vouchers and a voucher for two macaroons and a glass prosecco for two people at Miss Macaroon’s patisserie in Great Western Arcade.

Miss Macaroon

 

Donate Sanitary Products!

Donations of sanitary products will be collected on the day for The Bloody Good Period and Homeless Period.

Bloody Good Period

Here’s What the Organisers Have To Say

Dr Annalise Weckesser, Senior Research Fellow at Birmingham City University, said:

“We have communication taboos around menstruation, sex and menopause in Britain. Time and again, research shows that this silence and stigma leads to negative consequences and health risks for girls and women.”

“With this initiative, our hope is to create a space for open conversation where we can help begin to break down these taboos.”

Visitors to ‘VQ: A women’s health, sex and pleasure shop’ can speak with sexual health and women’s health experts while they discover and purchase unique sex and health products.  Such products include the latest sex apps and toys, alternative sanitary products (period pants, mooncups and more) and aids for menopause.

Dr Keeley Abbott, Lecturer, Birmingham City University, added:

“We rarely talk about the sex and relationship education needs of adults.”

“We need to start discussing the needs of women, and in a way that acknowledges desire and pleasure. We want to hear about women’s sexual, menstrual and reproductive health needs.”

James Roberts, centre manager at Great Western Arcade, said: “We are always eager to partner with unique events and refreshing projects, and this is no exception. VQ is a fantastic initiative and serves as a great way to push the boundaries surrounding women’s sexual needs. We are really looking forward to welcoming VQ and its visitors to the arcade.”

 

#beboldforchange: How Sh! Helped Change the Female Pleasure Game

#beboldforchange: How Sh! Helped Change the Female Pleasure Game

This year’s International Women’s Day theme of ‘Be Bold for Change’ got us thinking about the times in Sh!’s herstory when we were bold, when we were determined to make a change, despite men ( and yes, mostly it *was* men) telling us that this was not a mould to be broken.

The sex industry today may be filled with women-led crowdfunded sex toy designs, female-focussed websites and couples-friendly packaging but 25 years ago it was a very different matter…

‘We don’t get many women in here Darlin‘ leered the moist male shop assistant on our first ever preamble to a sex shop…

We’d gone on our little shopping trip because as young, liberal women, we believed it was our right to explore our sexuality and I just wanted a nice vibrator and my friend wanted a strap-on!

Turned out that wasn’t to be. There were no nice toys, let alone female-friendly ones…

It also turned out to be the defining moment that spurred us to #beboldforchange.

For millennials, who have grown-up and honed their sexuality in a post-Sh!, post-Lelo, post-Agent Provocateur world, it’s difficult to explain to just how bleak and ignorant was the world towards female sexuality, 25 years ago.

It was 1992. At once both an age, and also a nano-second, ago.

It may have been 40 years after Dr Gräfenberg identified ‘an erotic zone [that] always could be demonstrated on the anterior wall of the vagina’ –  the famous G-Spot of his namesake.  Yet it would be 6 years until Helen O’Connell discovers that ‘the vaginal wall is, in fact, the clitoris’ in 1998 and a whopping 16 years before the first ever 3D sonography of the stimulated clitoris,  in 2008, reveals its true size and intricacy.

It’s not just the ignorance around female pleasure that’s shocking to look at within the last 25 years.

Within the last quarter century there has been a massive shift around sexual identity along with a rejection of limiting binary labels. The fact that half of all millennials don’t identify as 100% straight is beyond brilliant to those of us honing our own sexuality 25 years ago.

In 1988, Section 28 had been enacted; the nasty little law that stated local authorities ‘must not intentionally promote homosexuality’ and it would be a long, out and proud fight to get it repealed in 2003.

It was this fight that led, in a lovely rainbow line, directly to the equalisation of all relationships within the law and legalisation of gay marriage in 2013.

A time, when Madonna released  Erotica and leather-clad lesbians ran their own SM sex clubs  and yet when Operation Spanner was criminalising consensual SM and if you were a ‘proper’ feminist, you argued against porn, sex work and penetration.

It was a time of glimmers of sex-positivism amidst the oppressive gloom of the anti-sex brigade.

Radical was the concept of a sex shop where women were not only not only welcomed but were the main deal.

But we were bold. We wanted change. We opened one anyways!

‘I hereby charge you with running an unlicensed sex shop…’

The Licencing team from the local Authority had come armed with clipboards, counted up all the  ‘sexual articles’ in Sh! and decided they constituted a ‘significant degree’

[ The legal definition of a ‘sex shop’ is a place that displays/ sells ‘sex articles’ to ‘a significant degree’ ]

Oh dear. Either we were to pay the sex shop licence fee of £17,000 per year, or they would see us in court.

A licenced sex shop is legally allowed to sell R18 porn videos, which in a pre-internet world was a super-lucrative business within male-focussed sex shops.  We were already being radical by creating a shop for women to explore their sexuality, in a world that frowned upon or just plain disbelieved that women should even want to. But making up our sales with porn for women ( where precious little even exists, now as then) was asking too much!

Financially it was tantamount to closing us down.

But the bigger issue was around the meaning of a ‘sexual article’ which is legally defined as anything that ‘stimulates or encourages sexual activity or the force or restraint  associated with it’

Gosh! First off, how strange to place equal emphasis on  ‘force and restraint’ when F&R (or S&M as most of us would put it)  is quite a specialised sexuality. But no mention of spanking which is historically  La Vice Anglais (or perhaps that’s force and having it enshrined in law has somehow created a self-fulfilling  prophecy of kinky Englanders?) What about feet or food or silk? Oh dear but no – that would mean that Clarkes, Tesco and the haberdashery counter at Selfidges could be deemed to have a significant degree of sexual articles and were thus sex shops.

Definition surely always exists with context and  within the context of Sh! surely anything could be deemed sexual.

We purposefully rejected ‘realistic’ toys and porn-star packaging. There was nothing overt or ‘obscene’ ( another scurrilous legal definition) on our shelves precisely because these type of toys were made for the male gaze and had nothing to do with female-friendliness let alone female-pleasure.

‘They could all be electric toothbrushes!’ we retorted somewhat cheekily,  as the Council officials surveyed the brightly coloured, non-phallic vibes on our display table.

Which of course is true, because before Sh! and before Lelo ( who in 2003, were one of the 1st companies to design female-friendly sex toys) a lot of women used there trusty Braun to get off.

Sex and health are, of course, intertwined (which is how come you see vibrators in chemists & drugstores these days!), but back in the dark ages of the ‘90’s few businesses or institutions shared this healthy attitude to sex.

We were determined to bring sexuality out of backstreets of seedy-land and into the light of everyday life. But we had a fight on our hands if we were to even survive long enough to get our message out. There was nothing for it – we had to go to court. There followed a hysterically scary few days as we all pondered the precise nature of a ‘sexual article’ ‘Is THIS a sexual article Madam, …or this?’ quizzed our barrister of the magistrate as he flourished a feather duster or a length of chain around…

The case was thrown out, perhaps as much as on a technicality as on principal, but the bold issues had been raised and change was on its way.

IMG_5724

‘This is Mr Listen to Me from *much bigger sex toy company than yours love*….’

Sh! must stop calling your rabbit ‘Jessica Rabbit’ because we have bought the rights to that name and it’s ours, ALL ours!’

The rabbit vibrator may seem like it’s been around forever but it was a revolutionary design when it first hopped onto the scene, since when it has revolutionized possibly millions of women’s orgasmic capabilities.

We received this ‘order’ at least a decade after discovering a rabbit vibrator on the shelves of our local sex toy warehouse, re-naming it Jessica Rabbit Vibrator and telling the world about this fabulous new discovery.  The rabbit has had many guises, but this was one of the earliest, before Rampant, and was called (in the same vein) Roger Rabbit.

‘Did you recommend it in a 1993 Cosmo article?’ we asked.

That was the last we heard from any late-to-the-party sex toy company lawyers. We have proudly, boldly, and with a certain ‘so, sue us!’ righteousness to call our rabbit vibrator; Jessica Rabbit, ever since!

‘The tortilla chip strong enough to support guacamole'

On Tortilla Chips, Ellen & Gold Medals for Fab People!

‘The tortilla chip strong enough to support guacamole’ How President Obama perfectly, if somewhat bemusedly, describes international treasure Ellen De Generes before clasping around her neck The Presidential Medal of Freedom, THE highest civilian honour in the US

He was ‘choked-up’, she was gleaming with tears, both understandably emotional as Mr President says;  ‘It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far … just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago…’

The Big Gay Journey

Like any journey, it IS easy to forget the getting there once we’re lying on the beach, even when the journey was long, hard and squeezed into cattle-class.

20 years ago in the UK, we were still in the midst of fighting Section 28, which forbade local councils from ‘intentionally promoting homosexuality’

Representation on mainstream telly tended to show gay peeps as either victims, mentally deranged, camp or de-sexualized (little change there then?)

George Michael was forced out after being arrested for ‘lewd behaviour’ in a Beverly Hills park public by an under cover cop.

Equalization of the age of consent was defeated not once, not twice but THREE times by the House of Dinosaurs, until it was forced upon them and into law in 2003.

Certainly 20 years ago not everybody was skipping out of the closet, 100% of the time. Often for safety or sanity it was prudent to keep a little bit hidden, whether from estranged families, pervy bosses or simply for a cloak of anonymity walking to the night bus after a night at the Fridge Nightclub

Fighting back against LGBTQ injustices

But, like Ellen, we weren’t taking it any more. Lesbians abseiled into the commons and stormed Sue Lawley on the six o’clock news protesting against section 28. George smashed it, with his f**k-you homoerotic cop-infused music video ‘Outside’ and marches were loud, proud and all about visibility.

To paraphrase the Afican Proverb it takes a whole Gay Pride Rally to raise a sea change.

The journey isn’t finished yet – not by a long pink mile!  ‘Proper’ gay marriage may have finally been legalized in the UK and US,  but it’s still not allowed in In Australia, that most apparently liberal of continents.

And, of course, in many countries  across the world, LGBTQ rights have much of their arduous journey in front of them, whether within that’s countries where it is actually illegal to be gay  or simply where it’s dangerous/ humiliating to be ‘out’  Other places, such as in Russia and India, gay rights are actually backwards.

LGBTQ Visibility goes hand-in-hand with liberation.

Visibility and liberation go together like gay-marriage & rainbow-flag. Without one, we can’t have the other.

That’s why events such as the British LGBT Awards as so important.

They’ve has been recognising LGBT+ achievement and inclusion for half a decade, borne of the want to promote greater acceptance and reward those who have demonstrated a commitment to equality, opportunity and fair treatment for all.

These our our very own gold medals for fab people!

About the British LGBT Awards

The British LGBT Awards represent a growing base of 21,000 LGBT+ voters and currently has the largest media reach of any LGBT+ awards event in Europe, helping to increase awareness of LGBT+ issues and encourage greater acceptance.

 

love is love image

It’s #NationalComingOutDay, share your stories

Hey friends,

Today is National Coming out day so we feel like sharing a few happy coming out stories, please add yours in the comments or tweet us @Shwomenstore.

 

I told my mom I’m bisexual when I was 15. I was super nervous, I was having a hard time accepting it myself. She looked at me and said, “I know.” To this day I have no idea how she knew before I did.

Simple and straightforward, with supportive parents. Was in the back garden with my step-dad, my parents already had an inkling I was gay, and we were talking about a family member’s relationship with someone, and we started talking about what I want in life, can’t even quite remember how the conversation went, but then he just turned around to me and said “You know, I reckon you’re about 80% gay, and 20% you’re not quite sure”. I just said, “Yep, you’re probably right”. I was 16 at the time. He just walked over to me, gave me a big hug and said “I am so proud of you. You’re the best son anyone could ask for.”

My two stories from coming out (context: I am bi)

  1. Came out to two mates of mine, to which one exclaimed “That’s so cool; you can get a hard from anyone!”
  2. Came out to another friend of mine, to which he replied “Wait, your tell me you like women as well?”

I’ve got good friends.

 

Our favourite:

 

I told my dad. He said “Oh, I know! You’ve always loved musical theatre and brunch!” Then he gave me a huge hug.

For the record, I’m a lesbian and those are all the wrong stereotypes ( I do love them), but it made it very funny and much less nerve wracking to tell the rest of my family. Who were just like “yeah okay we know”.

Pride Alert: We raised $1,058 for the Pulse Victims Fund

Pride Alert: We raised $1,058 for the Pulse Victims Fund

Thank you so much to everyone who bid on our Pride Dildo’s or who donated or spent money with us over Pride Weekend.

 

We promised to donate all the money raised along with 20% of our sales from Pride Weekend to the Pulse Victims Fund are we are so pleased and proud to have been able to donate $1,058 to the families and victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. We have so much love for everyone who helped us to achieve this.

 

It’s now a month on from the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and reports are coming in of another attack on a nightclub in Florida. Though the immediate attention might have died down we have all been deeply affected by this tragedy and it is still very present in our thoughts.

 

It was an event that was caused by an inability to accept difference, when we are inflexible and uncharitable in our attitudes towards others we are opening the door to hatred and violence. The only way to fight this is to be accepting, to be loving, to be brave and accepting of ourselves and others. To show in through our acts that we stand opposed to the values that cause such unimaginable pain and suffering. By donating to this cause and showing your support you are doing just that so, again, thank you.

 

We would like you take a moment to remember all of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting and their families. The money you have donated will go to the families and survivors of the attack. The names of those killed in the shooting are listed below.

We believe it is important to remember the names and stories of the victims of this terrible event. They are the people who deserve to be remembered, forever, when we think of this tragedy:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23

Amanda Alvear, 25

Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21

Martin Benitez Torres, 33

Antonio D. Brown, 30

Darryl R. Burt II, 29

Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28

Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25

Luis D. Conde, 39

Cory J. Connell, 21

Tevin E. Crosby, 25

Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50

Deonka D. Drayton, 32

Mercedez M. Flores, 26

Juan R. Guerrero, 22

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22

Paul T. Henry, 41

Frank Hernandez, 27

Miguel A. Honorato, 30

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40

Jason B. Josaphat, 19

Eddie J. Justice, 30

Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25

Christopher A. Leinonen, 32

Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49

Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35

Akyra Monet Murray, 18

Kimberly Morris, 37

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27

Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

Eric I. Ortiz-Rivera, 36

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32

Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24

Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24

Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, 35

Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34

Shane E. Tomlinson, 33

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25

Luis S. Vielma, 22

Luis D. Wilson-Leon, 37

Jerald A. Wright, 31

Sh! Wins Best LBQ Business Award at Planet London Awards.

Sh! Wins Best LBQ Business Award at Planet London Awards.

We are so honoured to have won Best LBQ Business Award at the Planet London Awards.

The awards have been running since 2013 and exist to celebrate  the hard work of  grass roots event organisers and community businesses who are committed to improving the lesbian, bi and queer scene.  This year almost 4,000 women cast 47,523 votes to decide the winners across the 40 categories.

We beat some strong competition in the form of Barberette, Pink Lobster Dating, Pretty Pink Pearl, Square Peg Media and That’s the Spot.

Our own Kate Frank was there to pick up the award for the Sh! team. She gives us her thoughts on the night:

“It was an absolutely fabulous night, well… late afternoon!

Broadway Theatre was full of empowered, inspiring women. I was sitting there, in full #powerlesbian mode, next to Sarah Waters! (Yes, I was fangirling hard, as was everyone else in the room – reading ‘Fingersmith’ in my early teens  was a major sexual identity breakthrough).

I was amazed by the supportive and warm atmosphere. Katie and Naomi did wonderful job, not only by inviting such an inspiring
crowd but also by creating a fun yet professional event. I was surprised and flustered when Sh! was called to collect an award for the most inspiring business serving the Lesbian, Bi Queer & Questioning community. I thanked everyone on behalf of the whole Team Sh! and invited everyone to join us for a Spank You Very Much Class.

Every day we are working hard at Sh! to create an empowered and safe space for women to explore their sexuality.  Such a rare and precious space is worth protecting.  It is one of the few sex education platforms that not only sprung from the queer community, but has many LBQ staff and continues to base its practices on the experiences and life stories that queer women share with us.

Working in a family-like, women orientated small business that has been focused on sexually empowering women since the 90s’ (some of our Team Sh! girls are younger than our shop!) is one of the best jobs a girl in London can have. That’s why I am always dying to talk about Sh! to anyone who would like to listen… and on that night I had a full room of gorgeous, powerful LBQ women who were very eager to let me do so.”

The nights other awesome winners were:

ARTS AND CULTURE

Independent Author – Kiki Archer

Publishing House Author – Sarah Waters

LBQ Book  – Too Late I Love You by Kiki Archer

International Festival – Pride In London

LBQ Comedian – Rosie Wilby

LBQ Live Performance Event – Coming Out of my Box by Emma Stroud

Musician – Solo Artist – Lucy Spraggan

Musician – Group/Band – Playing House

Live Performance Performer – MIRI

Recorded Performance Performer – Lucy Spraggan

AWARENESS AND PROMOTION

Voluntary/Community Project – Love Human Rights

Journalist – Katie Bennett-Hall

Photographer/Videographer – Laura Dixon

Local Network/Forum – Gay Women’s Network

Best/most effective LBQ focussed politician – Sandi Toksvig

POSITIVE WOMEN

Role Model – Rosie Spaughton

LBQ Blogger/Vlogger Rose Ellen Dix

Volunteer – Sarah Lavender

MEDIA

Radio Show or Podcast – The Girls Hour

Web series – She’s in London

Independent Film – Crazy Bitches

Short Film – Life in Colors

Media Outlet (online or print) – Diva Magazine

SCENE: LONDON

DJ – Carmen London

Inclusive event – Project X

LBQ friendly space –  SHE Soho

Event organiser – Nikki Chubb

Bar staff  – Bex Smith and Cressida Lawlor

Security staff – Anna Georgiou, Pinx Security

Most Creative Space or Event – Sink the Pink

SCENE: BRIGHTON

DJ – DJ Lady Lola

LBQ friendly space – Diva Cafe

Most Creative Space or Event – Brighton Pride

SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY

Social Group Organiser – Jennifer Lorrimer, LezBeSocial

Social Group – Lesbian Book Readers Club

Dating/Network Service – HER App

Corporate Network – Freshfields LGBT Network

 

 

 

UK Equal Marriage

Equal Marriage…Despite being absolutely *freezing* cold, February is also the month of lurve. We’re all too well aware of this at Sh! and have been running around keeping our pink shelves stocked with goodies to keep you lovebirds happy this Valentine’s Day…

But, as we’ve mentioned elsewhere on the Sh! blog, February is also LGBT History Month! This month is a time for everyone to reflect on the successes and achievements of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans* and queer people all over the country, over time!

February is already shaping up to be a landmark moment in the struggle for global equal rights…Earlier this year the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was brought to the house of commons, getting its second reading on February 5th, and passing by a majority of 400 to 175!

This exciting news means that the UK is one step closer to having equal marriage available to all its citizens, a political imperative that, even if you don’t personally want to take advantage of, should be accessible to all.

The reason why we believe that equal marriage is so important is simple: inequalities widen the gap between different types of people, validate homophobia and encourage ignorance about minority groups. The introduction of Equal Marriage is just one of the ways that we can start to break down the harmful barrier between ‘normal’ and ‘other’ in British society.

This Valentine’s day, as you cuddle up with your loved one(s), take a mo to think about how important it is that everyone has the ability to publicly express their feelings for whomever they love, and that these feelings be legally recognised. Hopefully by this time next year the bill will be in effect and Valentine’s cards for lovers of all genders and orientations will be common in Clintons!