tiistai 13. kesäkuuta 2017

Oh my May 2017

In my last blog I hoped for a warmer spring from now on. It didn’t happen: May 2017 was one of the coldest as long as I can remember. There were a mixture of sleet hail, snow and water mostly available.

Luckily some days were warmer, including the Mayday when it was possible to enjoy sunshine at the garden. But it didn’t last long... 

The other exception was 19th of May with 26 centigrade warmth. We were at Hauho meeting and I took an advantage in going to swim. This time the water was really freezing after so long cold period so I didn’t swim very long time. 

However I didn’t feel myself cold after swimming and I also enjoyed the warm and pleasant evening outside - the only one of this kind in May, unfortunately.

The Hauho meeting was sort of normal and the program was mostly based on our own activities. I gave a couple of lectures according to my blog articles which also paid quite a lot of attention.

Our oriental dance group decided to do some costumes by ourselves so we had a sewing session at Leppävaara library. There is a facility for sewing with a couple of sewing machines and a broad board for cutting fabric. Our master seamstress Katri even brought two sergers with her. First we went to a fabric store to choose the right material. I chose dark lilac velvet-like fabric for a skirt. Our leader Marinka had patterns which I had tested earlier. I also bought some satin ribbon to fix a top which had a hole under the armpit.  

                                               Photos by Marinka Nyqvist

I have had bad Karma with sewing machines so I wanted to have some support with using it. With the help of two Katris I managed to accomplish my goal, a skirt, mending the top and also shortening a long skirt. We had fun and the library audience was interested in us. A member of personnel wanted to take pictures of us and she published some of them on the library Facebook site.

Katri (the one mentioned first) had been busy with her serger: She made white tops for many of us. This made some nice unity to our appearance when we danced Myrskyluodon Maija based on a story of a Finnish woman in the 19th century. 

                                             Photo by Marinka Nyqvist

The performance in our spring show was a co-production of two groups, our Marifet and Hile. Marifet also danced a more traditional dance Mish Fadilak. We had quite a hurry in the dressing room because we had to change the costumes and jewellery and even strengthen the makeup between the dances. Hile had even less time for that so we had to help them to change.

Photo by Monna Timonen

Partly because of that hurry and partly because my long lasting flu I got my dance didn’t gospecially well. I’m still happy with the dance season and I decided to go on with it by taking part to the summer course of Marinka.

I also visited The Helsinki World Village Festival. It was situated partly in the park and partly at the square in Helsinki Downtown. There had been a refugee demonstration camp from February at the square. A racist organization The Finns First also had their counter demonstration camp at the same square. The police did allow the place in spite of the fact there would be some provocation between the demonstrators. The Finns first camp situated on the area The World village rented for their purposes. First some Helsinki official decided to chase both camps – for equality reasons! The decision was repealed and the both camps were allowed to stay. So when I went to the festival area I happily walked through the refugee camp but for some reason passed the nazi camp with distance.

There was nice ethnic music at the festival but because my flu I had to restrict my desires to dance along it. Instead I stayed some time at the table of the LGBTI organization Seta to talk with people about this kind of issues. 

maanantai 1. toukokuuta 2017

Chilly and versatile April 2017

This April has been full of different things, some somewhat usual and some not.

One of the items of the month is the trans legislation. As I have told before, there are some severe defects in the current law which regulates the change of official gender. The worst is the one which demands a person to be castrated/infertile before the legal gender change. This is the one international civil rights authoritative have blamed Finland. The other one is the age limit of 18 years. The third is the connection of legal gender change to medical studies which makes the whole process really long – and also very expensive to the society.  

The previous government made a paper for the initiative to change the two first defects. However the Christian Democrats blackmailed the other parties in the government to stop the process. The current government is not willing to do anything to the matter due to the True Finns, very populist racist and anti LBGTIQ party.

But we won’t give up...

Last summer a network called Translaki.fi (Trans law) was founded. It has been active in this matter to promote better trans legislation. Actually the goal has been thrown even further, to the right to totally determine one’s gender – as it is allowed in Denmark and in Malta.

One of the branches of the network is an informal LBGTI network consisting of members of parliament. Together with it the panel discussion about the matter was held in the beginning of the month. All the parties in the parliament was present in the discussion where the representatives were asked if the back our aims. Surprisingly only the Christian Democrats were strongly against and their representative even tried to use her authority as a gynaecologist to assure the gender dysphoria could probably be just a phase in young people’s life – I hope she’s never going to meet such a person at her professional practice! Even the representative of True Finns was for our initiative, though she had to admit she’s one of the very few people in the party thinking this way.

                   At the Parliament promoting the better trans legislation.

In the end of the month the network organized open discussions in Helsinki and Turku. The main issue was what kind of official gender registrations we should need to avoid problems. In Finland we have the end of personal identification number indicating the gender male or female. For some transgender people present in the discussion wanted to continue this practice because it is so important for them to have this code number changed. On the other hand non binary people didn’t like the idea because these two codes don’t indicate their identity and they can have severe problems with such misgendering almost daily. So the next proposal was to add “other” or “gender X” to third alternative. But this practice would out some people who don’t want to be outed. For me the best solution would be a personal identification number without any gender codes – gender things for example for statistical purposes could easily be in background data and not showing in the identity card. This kind of practice would also be in coherence with international aviation regulations and would not threaten people’s safety when travelling in LBGTIQ-unfriendly countries.

                    Kasper Kivistö as a speaker at open discussion session  

What comes to another political issue, implementation of non discrimination legislation at workplaces, I was interviewed in a labour union magazine. The brief version is here. I have prepared material for education in this issue and quite soon I could educate shop stewards and HR personnel. I only have had difficulties in finding partners for it’s quite hard to do it totally on your own.

My personal life has had night and day activities. What comes to nights, I’ve been at Mummolaakso (The valley of old ladies) ball and at the theatre seeing a piece with drag ingredients called Jemina

                              With Thea at Mummolaakso ball

                        With Tuija, Hannamaria and Susanna at Jemina performance
The biggest day activity has been my new bicycle. So far I have used my spouse’s bike but I wanted to have my own. We went to the bike store to buy it. There were two trainees who mostly wanted to hide from us. Finally I managed to nail one of them and found a nice lilac DBS with seven gears. The regular sales person was also a bit confused and asked first to whom the bike will be registered – the thing which was more than obvious. He also managed to spell my male name in a way it was not Finnish at all!  
After all the bike was nice and I will use it when biking to work next time.

There also was another incidence in April which wasn’t particularly pleasant. But maybe it just belongs to women’s life these days...

When I was shopping in a big market at a mall I hear a voice behind me. The voice came from a rather small black guy dressed in a dressy white suit jacket and a baseball cab. The voice said some flattering comments of my look and proposals to do something more with him. I tried to ignore the incidence. 

When I went to my car some fifteen minutes later in a car park hall I heard the same voice: He had followed me all the way! I replied that’s something like "Hey, now I don’t like the situation" but he wouldn’t stop. So finally I turned to him, looked straight to his eyes and said: "Beat it!!"   

It worked.

However I felt very uncomfortable after the incidence. But maybe someone would say: "Welcome to women’s world!"

If he spotted me as a trans person it may have showed the sad situation of the sisters in some other countries where trans women are regarded as free chase. Afterwards I thought I could have spared a little of my time to make a conversation with him to make some facts in Finland clear about the rights of women and especially of trans women. But the situation in big car park with no one near us was too creepy so maybe it was better just to get rid of him.  

And to close up the month.... 

The weather has been chilly and there has been a lot of showers of water in every possible forms. At the end of the month even the ground was covered with about five centimeters layer of snow. My spouse had been ill quite a long time and she was too impatient to just be at home. So we decided to go a bit southwards and took a ferry to Tallinn. 

The First of May is one of the big events in Finland. It's celebration starts on 30th of April - the student may start it even a week ahead. The day is both for students and workers. The tradition has it's nice parts but on the other hand it is celebrated mostly with lots of alcohol which makes the celebration rather unpleasant every now and then. In Estonia First of May is not such a big event: The students go mostly to the university town Tartu and the tradition of worker's day is not very popular due to not so happy reminiscence of the Soviet era. So Tallinn was rather peaceful and the celebrators there were mostly Finns.

Because the weather forecast was awful also in Tallinn we had organized a sort of indulgence day for us. It included mostly indoors activities like some shopping (naturally...), different kinds of care literally from head to toe, ...

                                                 ...a nice dinner, ...

                              ...swimming at the hotel spa pool... 

                                       ...and some Fresita for a recovery drink or night cap.

Unlike the forecast has said the weather was not that bad and in fact the sun started shining which made the spa warm like in summer. The nice thing in this kind of spa swimming was that we could go there straight from our hotel room and avoid any confusion concerning the dressing room.

It seems we managed to bring the sun and warm air with us while the weather has totally changed while we made our trip back to Finland. So I hope May will be warmer and better for any kind of outdoor activities.

                                         Waiting for summer at home at First of May 


The blog may be commented in English. 
Blogia voi kommentoida myös Suomeksi.
Bloggen kan kommenteras också på Svenska. 

perjantai 28. huhtikuuta 2017

Ihmisten välisen vuorovaikutuksen sukupuolittuminen ja transihmiset

In Finnish this time, an abbreviation in English added...

Linkkasin tekstin kohtia Piin mainioihin sarjakuviin, jotka antavat sille toisen tason.

Ympäristössämme valllitsevassa cis-heterokulttuurissa ihmisten välinen vuorovaikutus on koko ajan hyvin voimakkaasti sukupuolittunutta. Tästä syystä esimerkiksi puhe on usein hyvinkin erilaista puhekumppanin sukupuolesta riippuen. Tässä suhteessa on olemassa kaksi eri tasoa:

1.      Puhutaanko vain miesten tai vain naisten kesken, neutraalisti sekaporukassa vai kuin mies naisille tai nainen miehelle.

2.      Mitä olettamia puhekumppanin sukupuoleen kohdistetaan  

Ensimmäisestä esimerkkejä ovat

-         äijäporukassa siekailematon pohdinta liittyen urheiluun, metsästykseen, autoihin tai naisiin (”Sellasia ne naiset ovat”, ”Se mimmi on kyllä aikamoinen jakorasia”… )
-         naisporukassa siekailematon pohdinta liittyen vaatteisiin, meikkeihin, vauvanvaippoihin ihmissuhdesotkuihin tai miehiin (”Sellasia sikoja ne kaikki miehet on!”, ”Aattele, että se kyseli aluks mun horoskooppia ja alko sitten heti kyseleen puhelinnumeroa!”, ...)
-         mies-naisporukassa aiheiston rajaaminen neutraalille alueelle, jossa oman sukupuolen yllä mainittuja sisäpiirijuttuja ja asenteita kartetaan ja sävy voidaan vaihtaa hyvinkin jyrkästi toisen sukupuolen edustajan tullessa paikalle.
-         naisten muuttuminen ”blondimmaksi” miesten seurassa.
-         miesten ja naisten välinen soidinpuhe tilanteen niin salliessa.

Toisesta esimerkkejä ovat mm.

-         naisoletetulta kysellään lapsiasioita, ehdotetaan kahvinkeittäjän roolia, ohitetaan mielipiteet…
-         miesoletetulta kysellään armeija-asioita, hänen oletetaan toimivan, hänen mielipiteitään kuunnellaan, …

Nämä esimerkit edustavat toki stereotyyppisimpiä tapauksia, mutta ovat kaikki bongattu elävästä elämästä. Niitä voisi myös kutsua cisnormatiivisiksi, mikä tarkoittaa, että ne edustavat niitä odotuksia, joita on syntynyt sen ympärille, miten miesten tulisi käyttäytyä miehinä ja naisten naisina - ikään kuin muita ei sitten olisikaan.

Transihmisiin kohdistuu usein näitä vääriä olettamia. Nämä olettamat voivat hankaloittaa vuorovaikutusta ihmisten kanssa jo sinällään. Sen lisäksi ne voivat osua transihmisen kipupisteisiin, jos puhe ei tunnusta heidän kokemustaan tai se muistuttaa heitä jostain traumaattisesta kokemuksesta.

Väärä olettama voi olla täysin tarkoituksellinen. Henkilö voi olla siis totaalisen haluton mukautumaan ajatukseen, että hänen pitäisi ottaa huomioon muutkin kuin yksioikoiset cis-normatiiviset sukupuolen hahmotusmallit. Ajatus muiden mallien huomioon ottamisesta saa hänet ahdistumaan ja hän voi sen ilmaista aggressiivisesti.

Tämäntapainen asenne on usein taustalla erilaisissa konservatiivisissa suhtautumisissa transihmisiä kohtaan. Asenteen tueksi toki on sitten rakennettu erilaisia teoreettisia viitekehyksiä kuten Raamatun yksisilmäinen tulkinta ja Perussuomalaisten ”Pojat on poikia ja tytöt tyttöjä!”-kampanjateoretisointi. Se on myös takana erilaisessa transihmisten kiusaamisessa koulussa, työpaikoilla ja vapaa-ajalla.

Miehisen kulttuurin ajatusmalli vuorovaikutuksen sukupuolittumisesta on naisten vastaavaa jäykempi ja sen sisältämää valta-asetelmaa puolustetaan usein melko aggressiivisestikin. Miehiä hämmentää myös se, että vuorovaikutuksen pitäisi vahvistaa sitä hierarkkista kuviota, missä miehet keskittyvät muun miehisen yhteyden ja statuksen vahvistamisen ohella ”naarasjahtiin”. Ja tässä jahdissa on fataalia epäonnistua niin, että joko jahtaa väärää sukupuolta tai joutuu itse jahdattavaksi.

Naisten vuorovaikutuskulttuuri vaikuttaisi olevan mukautuvampi ja se on ikään kuin valmiimpi joustaviin käytäntöihin. Hierarkian paine ei ole niin voimakas ja sukupuolinormin rikkoutuminen ei aiheuta niin usein aggressiota.

Ihminen, jonka identiteetti on joko tai, saatetaan ottaa lopulta oman sukupuolen porukkaan niin, että asiaa ei edes lopulta muisteta. Tällöin asiaa helpottaa se, että omaa ryhmäkoodia ei tarvitse muuttaa: Transnaiseen suhtaudutaan sosiaalisesti naisena ja transmieheen miehenä omassa porukassa. Tämä adaptaatio lienee yleisempää  naisten kuin miesten keskuudessa. Sukupuolten välisessä vuorovaikutuksessa vaihtoehtona on tällöin käytännössä sen neutraalimpi vaihtoehto, julkinen flirttailumoodi on näissä tilanteissa äärimmäisen harvinaista. Muunsukupuolisten kohdalla ongelma on vielä huomattavasti hankalampi, koska ei ole sosiaalista sukupuolikonventiota, johon heidät voisi "adoptoida". Heidän kohdallaan "ongelmaa" käsitellään käytännössä vain sukupuolien välisen vuorovaikutuksen neutraalilla alueella.

Väärä olettama voi olla myös täysin tahaton. Tällöin virheensä huomaava väärinsukupuolittaja voi ahdistua ja kokea asian vaikeaksi, vaikka tahtoa asian huomioon ottamiseen olisi. Hänen kohdaltaan asiaa ei helpota se, että sukupuolikäsitteet ja niiden merkityssisällöt ovat todella monimutkaisia ja identiteettien henkilökohtaisuuden takia ristiriitaisiakin: Sama käsite tarkoittaa eri ihmisille eri asiaa. Sellaisina ne muodostavat melkoisen miinakentän, kun vähäiseltäkin tuntuva virheellinen olettama voi aiheuttaa voimakkaan reaktion. Pahimmillaan tämä reaktio on puhtaasti poliittinen, jolla halutaan voimaannuttaa omaa joukkoa/egoa ilman, että oikeasti on koettu virheellistä lausumaa traumaattiseksi. Tämänkaltainen asenne ei yksinkertaisesti auta ketään transihmistä selviytymään arkipäivästään tai lisäämään uskoaan siihen, että siitä selviytyy.

Ihmiset, jotka ilmeisen vilpittömästi haluavat tukea asioittemme eteenpäin ajamista, ovat arvokas voimavara. Heidän suhteen olisi viisasta, että automaattisen mielensäpahoittamisen sijaan voisimme olla armollisia niitä kohtaan, jos he sattuvat tekemään virheitä olettamissaan tai termeissään tiedonpuutteen takia. Hänelle identiteettien moninaisuudessa usein käytetyt ”Älä oleta!” ja "Anna hänen kertoa itse!" ovat tässä hyödyllisiä neuvoja. Se, joka ei kauniista huomautuksesta opi, ei ole tämän armollisuuden arvoinen.

Briefly in English:

Interaction between people is heavily gendered. The two layers in the interaction are

1.      Who are involved: Between men, between women, between men and women in neutral context and between men and women in more sensual context.
2.      Assumptions concerning the person you are interacting with.

Many people just don’t want to accept other gender thinking instead of cis-normative for many reasons. My guess is it is connected to the interaction described above. And trans hate is also connected to it. The conservative political views seem to have this origin in their anti trans attitudes despite the other theoretical or religious explanations.

It seems to me men are more reluctant to take account of the diversity of genders, probably connected with the status in the patriarchal hierarchy they are afraid to lose.  Women seem to be more flexible in the interactions and it seems to be much easier to break gender barriers in many women’s groups.

There also are many people who are pro trans but cannot handle the jungle of gender terms and identities. We should not be merciless if they make mistakes. Of course we should tell them if they use wrong or even offensive words or misgender someone. For those who won’t learn there is no need for mercy.

The blog may be commented in English.
Blogia voi kommentoida myös Suomeksi.
Bloggen kan kommenteras också på Svenska.

keskiviikko 1. maaliskuuta 2017

Glamorous February 2017

As you already may know, February is short. For me it had some highlights anyway.

At the beginning of the month I decided to visit Glamour Party arranged by a cultural club K-40 for all kinds of ladies over 40. Actually I had not heard of it before. They also promised the trophy for the best dressed lady of the night. I decided to put my blue cocktail dress on but I just seemed to have lost it completely after several attempts to find it. So finally I had to do another plan and I put on my red gown. I wondered whether I would have been heavily over dressed because the majority of the audience was lesbians who don’t very much care of super feminine outfits.
When I arrived to the party place, an old and romantic pavilion restaurant Kaisaniemi I noticed that some other ladies had invested in their outfit. So I thought it would not be my evening in that sense and I could concentrate in other things, such as listening to chansons and poems and looking at nice dance numbers, chatting with other guests and dancing a little. While doing it someone of the organizers asked my name. Near the time I had decided to do my Cinderella trick and vanish the ceremony for the trophy started. Of course the announcing of the result was delayed... and finally I hear my name!! I was given a cup with engraving and a bunch of roses. 

So I couldn’t do my fast Cinderella trick because I had to be a queen of the evening for a while. I was asked to dance and during the dance I felt the pain on my foot: Someone hit her stiletto on it and broke my skin and my pantyhose, and I think I’m just lucky that there were no broken bones.

The winter has been cold and mild in turn so as a result there has been very little snow. The second weekend of February I still wanted to go skiing. The skiing tracks were in bad condition then so I had to go a bit further to Oittaa district where the tracks were in good condition with the help of some extra snow. It was my first skiing trip on many years and the first one as Anukatariina. I made a 5 km tour with some rather steep uphills and after a couple of days I felt I haven’t used some my thigh muscles for a while...

 The Dreamwearclub coffee evening was a day before the Valentine’s day and we had our friend Maimu as a guest to perform some of her brand new poems. 

We also had a pop up nail studio arranged by one our guest so some of us got brand new gel nails that evening. 

I had an idea to ask friends to do words to my old salsa style song and Maimu was busy enough to send her first version next day – she told that she had sung and danced the whole day along my song.

At the end of February we had our skiing holiday. Even though there would have been some nice days for skiing with enough snow we had another plan: We flew to Madeira, an island we had never visited.   Our hotel was named Monte Carlo and it situated a kilometre from downtown on a hillside. It was a really romantic though rather shabby place with a beautiful view to the city and the sea and with low water pressure and poor air quality. But maybe we wouldn’t feel us comfortable in modern bulk tourist hotels, either.

We made many trips along the island and to the sea. The sea trip was for whales, turtles and seals. We saw numerous spotted dolphins which were mostly too fast for my camera extension. The pilot whales were a bit slower and I got more pictures of them, not just foam from their tail.

Pilot whales

A spotted dolphin

The trips to the inner island and to the North coast gave us another view to the island. The mountains were rather cold and windy so we had to have some extra clothing there. 

Also the North coast was colder than the Southern part of the island. The waves would have been awesome for surfers – except the volcanic coastline would have been too dangerous for that kind of hobby (and that didn’t mean I would have done any surfing....).

We also walked some parts of so called levada walks to see the nature closer. Levadas are a special kind of small water channels to bring water from the mountains to the South coast and there are trails along the levadas to walk. The sub tropical vegetation is very rich and it was so relaxing to walk in the forests hills and parks. The flower season was not as it best yet but still it seemed the whole island seems to bloom.

The height differences were big and every now and then you could see wonderful views over the steep valleys to the opposite side mountains.

We used guided trips to avoid driving a car instead of enjoying the view. We had some discount when we were introduced to a vacation option of a local hotel chain. We were transported to the hotel in a hotel car. When we stepped in to the car the driver asked: “Where’s the husband?” – he was worried about there would be no one to decide whether we would buy anything. I just replied laconically that I am.

The food was mostly the same everywhere: grilled pieces of meat in a stick called espadas, a local fish black scabbard with bananas, trout, sea bass, crabs, shrimps and many other kinds of seafood. Once I ordered a crab meal for one (my spouse is allergic to it) and really got it!

 We also ate many kinds of fruits and vegetable. The Madeiran wines are not very special, except the strong wine Madeira itself. There had been a lot of sugar cane fields before and as a trait of it the local strong drink is rum made of it. Actually it  tasted a bit like a mixture of brandy and rum. The very popular drink was poncho, a mixture of rum, honey and different kinds of local juice.  

              The old town of the capital Funchal is famous of its painted doors.

At the end of our visit the Carnival was about to start. We were on different inner time zone so we took part to it in very moderate amounts. 

This bottle of Madeira was brought to our table for free and we had to escape from the restaurant after the third glasses of it to be able climb our way up to our hotel.

The only thing I bought to myself was an apron made of the traditional Madeiran garment. The flower selling ladies wore skirts made of that kind of garment. 

Well, I also bought some Madeiran rum and some poncha, of course.  

sunnuntai 29. tammikuuta 2017

January 2017

January 2017 has felt like a long period for me, containing several things to tell about.

This year Finland is celebrating its 100th year as an independent state.
For that reason I’d like to tell some facts and opinions on our independency. The concept independence has some special ingredients in Finland and one of them is willingness to use power with some stronger factors.

The story started during the First World War when Finland still was a part of Russian Empire. Finnish boys escaped to Germany to get military education. In summer 1917 the Finnish parliament (yes, we already had such) declared the independence. But because the parliament had left wing majority, the right wing politicians asked Russian leader Kerenski to dissolve the parliament. And later in autumn when the new parliament had turned to right the Finnish government announced the declaration of independence.  It was just after the Russian bolshevist revolution and part of the Finns wanted also to make Finland socialistic. So for that reason a very bloody and bitter civil war took place. The reds relied on Russian troops still maintained in Finland. The whites organized their troops with help of the lads who came back from Germany and finally had big help from a German division. The independent state wanted to have a king – and he was planned to be a German Prince Frederick Charles ofHesse as a king Väinö the First. Unfortunately (for them) Germany lost the war and the Constitution as a republic was provided.

The first decade of Finnish Republic was a bit wild with dreams on the Great Finland which included big parts of Russian Carelia. Officially the Finnish state kept its hand out of such project but secretly supported the raids to Russian side of the border. BTW the current Secretary of Defence is a fan of some wild guys from that era – not a very good merit for him as a representative of the peaceful country!   

What comes to our independence, that era was probably the most independent. The reason was there were no friends to rely on. The Finnish government tried to make co-operation with other Nordic countries but the material results were not very massive. When importance of Germany increased again with Hitler there were people who wanted to deep co-operation with him. Anyway Finland was mostly on its own during the two first decades of independence.

Consequently Finland was left almost alone in the Winter War 1939-40 when Stalin invaded to Finland. Stalin was stopped but he managed to take big parts of the eastern Finland as result. The traumatic episode lead the Finnish Government to seek companion with Germany which lead to the second episode of the war when Finland took part in the Operation Barbarossa.

Finland happened to be the only of the German allies that remained unoccupied. However Soviet Union dictated the severe peace terms including huge war reparations. The Soviet commission lead by the right hand of Stalin, Andrei Zhdanov was controlling almost everything in Finland. Finns lived their lives with the motto “recognition of facts is the beginning of wisdom”. And of course the situation was used to someone’s benefit during those days and also much later when the Soviet commission was not here any more. This kind of behaviour has even its own international name, Finlandization.   

After the fall of the Soviet regime Finns were very busy to rely on west. We became the part of the European Union, European Monetary system, Euro and so forth. Many Finns are so keen on join NATO as well. And of course there are so many people playing games behind the European organizations, for example telling the false claims that we are not allowed to do this and that because of EU regulations.

But maybe it’s time to come back to my January 2017:  

Because the past 100 years there was an exceptionally big New Year event in the Helsinki City. Many national pop stars, aged from seventeen to seventy, were on stage. Even the Prime Minister made a pop up visit there. That was not a big success he heard booing and whistles instead of applauds. The weather was quite warm as a Finnish New Year Eve, some plus degrees.

                                 Celebrating the New Year Eve in the Mannerheimintie Street

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _

On 4th day we made a short trip to Stockholm. It takes one night to go there and another night to go back so we had six hour to spend our time there. The ferry was Viking Mariella, an old boat with some renovations. The most pleasant was the Viking Lounge, a nice place to have night cap without noisy music.

                                           Starting the voyage at the Viking Lounge

The Viking terminal is pretty close to Stockholm centre but we decided to take a bus. The weather was a bit chilly but beautifully sunny so we walked along the streets for a while. Our main destination was the art museum Moderna Museet. We have visited there before but every time the destination has been a visiting exhibition: Munch, Picasso... This time we decided to see the basic exhibition which was a really interesting cross-section of modern art during the last hundred years.

                                       In the sunny and windy streets of Stockholm             

                                                     At Moderna Museet

After Moderna Museet we walked through the Royal Palace region to Gamla Stan, the old city. There we did some shopping - otherwise there are almost the same shops in Stockholm as in Helsinki. We also had coffee, tea and pastry in the oldest cafeteria in Stockholm.

                                                Shopping in Gamla stan                                               

                                            Eating a very sweet and sticky pastry

Because Gamla Stan is so near the Viking Terminal we decided to walk back. The problem was there’s a huge construction area in Slussen between Gamla Stan and the terminal. So we were a bit mislead to walk some extra steps.

                  The reconstruction of Slussen area led us to some exotic sideways...

We had ordered a buffet dinner on board. I tried to avoid eating too much and I almost succeeded in it.
Back onboard

The way back to Helsinki was quite wavy because of the strong north-east wind. However we were back in Helsinki being late only fifteen minutes.

                      Quite a strong wind from north east delayed our journey back home.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

On 14th January a friend of us Gisela came to Helsinki for a visit. We met her for a late lunch at the Maya restaurant. There were also some other friends. Maya is a restaurant specialised to different South American cuisines. After the lunch we went to Kanneltalo concert hall for a drag show performed by newcomers of the drag queen school of Lola Vanilla. The performances were quite high quality for newcomers. Some of the performers were genetic girls and performance resembled partly the burlesque show. Anyway we had a lot of fun and continued our evening at GLounge bar in Helsinki city.

                                             At the Maya restaurant

                                              Lola Vanilla drag school newcomers

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

My oriental dance lessons also started with two rehearsals. The sessions are a bit longer than before, 70 minutes instead of one hour. I hope it will help us to do things more intensively. Before the dance season I did a intensive gym period to gain some extra fitness and loose my extra kilos gained in Christmas time.

                                                        Gym time

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

On the last Sunday of January I went to Kiljava Institute to lecture on gender plurality at workplaces, based on the inquiry we made last year. The audience was young labour union and left wing political activists. I’ve known young people in the preceding party in seventies and I must say the difference of awareness on such issues is enormous – I didn’t have to explain the basic concepts which is a very common case in average discussion.

After my lecture we had a workshop on things what should be done to promote the rights of the gender minorities with the help of the new legislation.  One of these would be the education of shop stewards (what a word, one could think that such a person is rather sneaking whether you have stolen something at a shop...). This will hopefully effect both to labour union locals and employers and superiors. We have been promised that also the employer organizations produce education to HR personnel to support positive development. The good educator combination would be one who knows the law and practices and one who is a real trans person with his/her own experiences. Now we have to find these persons and start advertising the education after that.