The Past Two Years…

It’s nearly two years ago that I put all my worldly possessions in a box and moved my pretty little face to Leeds without a penny to my name or confirmation that I had a degree. But guess what, it’s been a bloody good adventure so far!

At first I thought I was going to be stuck in some mediocre job on a mediocre wage, working for some mediocre company doing mediocre tasks (yes, I am making a point) that are enough to drive anyone with an inquisitive and driven mind to insanity. I’d done the odd temp zero hour shift here and there, done the signing on thing and claimed housing benefits (never again), I’d tired endlessly to find a job that would take on a graduate-to-be without any relevant experience and without confirmation I had actually got my degree.

My luck paid off, I received confirmation that I had  been awarded a place on the IT Trainee Scheme for one of the UK’s largest banks. I’d been selected to work in the Security Engineering function providing expert support and guidance as a security consultant to projects throughout the bank. I couldn’t have asked for a better job. Not only has this job given me the depth and breadth of knowledge within IT Security, but it has given me a whole host of transferable professional and inter-personal skills that can be applied to every day life. Hell, it sounds like I am writing a CV…

This wasn’t the real reason behind my blog though, you thought it was all going to be about me… It’s not. One of my many problems is I rarely show gratitude to the people who deserve it. Not through choice, but often I am incapable of making people aware how grateful I actually am. I often don’t realise this at first, but it is often too late once I realise how stupid I have been. Yes, you could argue that you don’t always have to show physical gratitude to the people who care about you, but sometimes you do to let them know how thankful you actually are.

There’s a few people who have helped me become the person I am today, who have shaped me into the Keiran you all know (or don’t), who have pushed and pushed me to achieve something I honestly thought I was never going to achieve, and those who have put up with me when things got rough.

The first person I would like to mention my mother. She had to deal with my tantrums, my sorrows, my anger, and my frustration. She was there to help me pick up the pieces when my father passed away. She helped me out when things got rough and made me realise that you don’t have to be rich to have a good time. She showed me that there are plenty of people out there who are absolutely rotten to the core, and you’ve just got to get on with your life and forget about these pathetic people constantly trying to get you down.

My mum supported me financially throughout my last year at university. She helped me out when things got a bit tight by lending me money when I needed it, or a lift into University when she was free. My mother is one of the  most important people in my life, and it’s very rare how much I actually show how much I love her.

The first year after moving away from home was pretty hard. My mum was always there for me, and going from having a mother at home every night, to having a mother 70 miles away in another county was pretty hard. Low and behold, I got through it, but that was only because I was in such amazing company. Without the amazing Layna, I wouldn’t be in Leeds at all.

I was trying to decide whether to move out of Lancashire to find new prospects to put my degree to some good, and there was one person in the world who I knew it would be an amazing idea to live with, Layna. So I sent her a text simply saying that I’m moving to Leeds. Layna supported me financially (bills & cigarettes) for 3 months until I got my first pay check.

She put up with my constant whining about not having any money, my constant whining about not having a job and being at home all the time, and my constant whining that it was annoying having to walk to the job centre just for them to screw my appointments up. But we got there. By December, I had a job nearby that would help me settle my debts, offer me financial stability, and open up new prospects for my career in the future.

But, it didn’t just stop there. She helped me out of dark times, she showed me that it’s not all doom and gloom, and that give things a bit of time and everything will be just right in the end. We spent so many nights drunk, found a damp sofa and basically became rednecks for the evening. We made cheese on toast at 3 o’clock in the morning (because why not – and frankly this is one of my best memories in the world). We’d sit and have highly philosophical conversations after seeing something on television, and most of all, we’d sit in the same room silent but know that everything’s okay!

Yes, things did get rough over the past couple of months. Yes, tensions frayed and tempers were tested, but that never changed the fact that I still loved her as my best friend from the bottom of my heart (and I still do to this day). We may have gone our separate ways, but our friendship will always be there, and you know how I know this? Because a true friendship was kindled at 3 o’clock in the morning on Fishergate on Valentines Day when I fell over, Layna found this hilarious, so I pulled her over too, and from that moment, I knew it was a forever friendship.

The third person I would like to thank is my university lecturer and personal tutor, John Dempsey. John gave me a lot of time and patience when it came to my degree. It wasn’t easy – my father passed away in my second year, and I had an illness which saw me out of university for over a month, but he gave me all the support I needed and once I was ready to get back into the swing of things, he provided me with all the necessary resources.

Without John’s proverbial arse-kickings and his infamous “Do-it Club”, chances are, I wouldn’t have made it out the other end alive (or at least in one piece). It was also the little things, like the random conversations walking to the lectures, and the big things, like blasting it down the hill on a bike that was too small for me screaming at the top of my voice something about my arse and being used to it…..

I should point out here that these aren’t the only three people. There are far too many people who have shaped me into the person I am today. People who have accepted me and taken me under their wings. People who saw me as an outsider and let me join them. People who have given me a chance.

Mum, Layna, John, Vicky, Ryan, Sophie, Josh, George, Zoe, Derek, Carl, Timmy, Michael, James… you’re all amazing people. Thank you for everything!!

If I didn’t mention your name, I’m sorry!

For that, I would like to thank every one of you for everything you have done to make the past two years of my life one of the best adventures yet, and I am hoping that the next two years are an even bigger adventure.


Digging Up The Dead

You all may have seen in the news over the past few days that new theories over the location of Nefertiti’s final resting place have been developed, and that they think that her tomb is just a stone’s throw away from the final resting place of Tutankhamun.

While this is good news in the sense that it helps us further understand ancient civilisations’ rituals especially when it comes to their beliefs of death and the afterlife, one morally important question still stands: Should we still dig up the dead?

Traditionally in exploration of burial chambers and tombs, explorers went in and documented everything they found, and then stole it to put it on display in a museum for everyone to glare over, but do we really need to do this these days? With technology as advanced as it is, do we really have to violate the dead by moving their mummified corpse from the sanctity of their final resting place into some museum tens of thousands of miles away?

For example, Google has the largest collection of 360 degrees panoramic photos ever created on their Google Street View platform. Google is able to build three-dimensional models of cities using crowd sourced photos, basic architectural data, and street view panoramas. Traffic Incident Investigators use technology to build three-dimensional views of collision sites using GPS and laser technology.

So why can’t we use this in building three-dimensional models of the tombs of those that died thousands of years ago? Why do we have to violate the sanctity of the dead just to put them in a museum for a snotty 10-year-old without an interest in history to just sneeze all over the glass?

While some people believe it’s important to show to the world the way the ancient civilisations lived, do we really have to move them away from their native lands? What happens to them after the exhibition has finished? Do they get back to their native lands, in the exact spot they were found, to be laid to rest again, or are they kept in some cold store in a monstrous warehouse for greedy aristocrats?

I believe we should be using the technology to build three dimensional maps of their chambers, tombs, and sarcophagus’, and building three dimensional interactive images of the items in there. Just because it belongs to a Queen of ancient times, doesn’t give us the right to move it. How would these people feel if their final resting place was violated for the entire world to look at?

Call me prude, but shouldn’t we be having a little more respect for the dead? I certainly don’t think I’d enjoy my rotted remains being displayed in some museum thousands of miles away by unappreciative prepubescent snot rockets (I know I’ll be dead and there’s not much I would be able to do about it, but at least for the sakes of the argument, go with it).

I like the mystery of thinking that there’s some ancient treasure under my feet, and why should a museum make money from it by keeping it behind glass? Let’s not forget that these people shaped our world, helped modernise the way we live and pushed civilisation through multiple technological advancements, so why can’t we have a little more respect for them?


How alone are we in the Universe?

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe, or we are not. Both are equally as terrifying.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Life on Earth is an absolute miracle. We are here purely through chance, only because the conditions were “just right”. We are not part of the master plan of some higher deity. We are not the product of a religious fairy tale (see below #1). We are here because when the sun was born, it ejected the right amount of elements in the right combinations and amounts to product a planet suitable of creating and sustaining life.

Life evolved from the simplest of organisms over millions of years to survive and adapt to the ever-changing earth to produce the animals, insects, and organisms that we know today. Life wasn’t simply dropped onto earth, it had to adapt to survive. Animals of a hot climate had to learn how to keep cool, and animals of a warmer climate had to learn how to keep warm. They simply were not created with a woolly coat to protect them from the harsh arctic winds.

So, if life on Earth was purely through chance, what are the chances that we are alone in this Universe? Could there possibly be a planet millions of light-years away that underwent similar changes that promoted the creation and evolution of complex life forms? Could there possibly be a planet sustaining life which is completely different to ours where the creatures are made in a completely different way (instead of the usual elongated, grey, big-eyed things created by science fiction [Roswell]) to ours on Earth?

Can we indefinitely say that we are the only planet in the entire universe that is capable of sustaining life? Absolutely not. Can we say that there definitely is a planet out their capable of sustaining life? Absolutely not. We could very well be alone in the Universe, and the creation of our human forms are merely the chance of the creation of the earth. Several earth-like planets have been located in the further reaches of the universe, but we cannot say for definite whether they’re capable of creating (let-alone sustaining) life.

Like Arthur C. Clarke said, the thought of sharing the universe is as equally as terrifying as being alone in the Universe. The thought that we are alone in the Universe really puts life into perspective, that life is too precious to spend it belittling people based on their orientation, gender, and race. Life is too unique to spend it destroying others with weapons and devastating bombs. Life is too short to spend it worrying about “first world problems” and ensuring that we have the most expensive items that others could never possibly afford. Yes, certain aspects of life are a luxury, but this shouldn’t consume us as humans. We should make sure that every human on the planet is capable of living a simple life without having to worry about whether they’re going to die from drinking contaminated water, and not spending it worrying about a cracked screen on an iPhone or Samsung phone.

On the opposite side of the coin, we shouldn’t simply assume that we are alone in the universe. We shouldn’t discredit that it’s possible just because it hasn’t been proven yet. It’s estimated that there’s roughly 100 octillion (that’s a 1 with 29 zeros after it) stars in the universe, and can you honestly tell me that out of these 100 octillion stars that we are the only planet capable of sustaining life? Chances are we’re not the only things in the universe, and chances are there’s a life form that’s been occupying their space in the universe for billions of years. Does this make us more important? No. Does this make us superior beings? No. What if this life form isn’t advanced like we are, does that make us more important than them? No.

Humans seem to think that they are the most superior of all the things in the universe. We think that we own the moon, and just because we’ve been there doesn’t make it ours. The Earth isn’t ours, we simply occupy it, and we’re residents in this galactic hotel with trillions of rooms. Life is too precious to spend it destroying the planet with industrialisation and pollutants. Once we’ve destroyed our home, there’s going to be nowhere else to go. Evolution is a slow process, and evolution can’t keep up with the rate that we’re changing the planet.

Just because you’ve got money, education, property, or businesses, doesn’t make you more important than someone else. Just because you run a country or are part of the democratic powers keeping a country running doesn’t make you more important than someone else. We are all equal, we are all human, and we are all the same thing. Just because someone is less fortunate than you or I to live in four walls with running water, doesn’t make them less important than ourselves.

Where am I going with this? I’m basically saying that life is too short and too unique to sit there morally judging someone who is less fortunate than you, who looks different to you, who hasn’t got clean running water, or a single scrap of food. People who sit there on their high horses belittling people because of their gender, orientation, race, or disability have no place on this planet. We are all equals. We all evolved at the same time, we all evolved from the same species. We are all responsible for the planet we occupy. Spend your time doing something good instead of wasting it making someone feel shit about themselves.

Don’t waste your life being a dick.


  1. I am an atheist. I do not believe in a higher being. I do not believe that we are the product of a single man and a single woman. I do not believe that the Earth was created in six days (and then God decided to boss it out on the seventh because he is all so amazing at his job…). Evolution has been proven in many cases to the point where the evidence is irrefutable. Any school, college, or university that rejects Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution” as a foundation into the evolution of human beings, and promotes the creation of Adam and Steve Eve is absolutely idiotic, and their license to offer an education to a modern western civilised country should be revoked indefinitely.

Conversion Therapy…

Conversion Therapy is essentially a pseudoscience to which a person (either medically trained or not) sets out to attempt to “cure someone” of their homosexuality. Conversion Therapy is still widespread throughout the United States and Britain, and with no pure scientific proof that these therapies “cure” homosexuality, law makers and gay rights activists are fighting for it to be outlawed as unethical and potentially harmful to a persons physical or mental well-being.

Many organisations (including religious groups) believe that homosexuality is a disease, and like any other disease, it can be cured. Fundamentalist Christian groups use religious belief over scientific study to encourage homosexuals to endure conversion therapy.

The History

There are some key people who believe that Conversion Therapy is a tried and tested method of “curing” someone of their homosexuality, including Sigmund Freud (who believed hypnotic suggestion worked), Sándor Ferenczai (who believed that a gay man was confused over his sexual orientation but did not come up with any method – only stated it may be possible in the future), Anna Freud (who published various articles on why she believed people came out as homosexual), Melanie Klein (who believed that a man can diminish his homosexuality by overcoming the “need to adore the good penis”), and Edmund Bergler (who claimed that a child who reacted violently to being weaned often became homosexual).

America has also had a massive part to play in the popularity of gay conversion therapies. Many studies were prompted by the works of those above, and often leading to producing poor experiments with less than ideal results to try and prove that conversion therapy works. Even the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (published by the American Psychiatric Association) classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Many of the psychiatric establishments across the States approved the use of conversion therapy, with various techniques coming into use which attempted to cure someone of their “mental disorder” – some with obvious consequences. It was only in the late 1980’s that the APA removed homosexuality as a mental disorder – though this did not slow down the promotion or use of conversion therapies.

It was only in the late 21st century that the United States began to disprove conversion therapy, claiming that “there is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed” (Satcher, 2001). Later that year, a paper published by Spitzer stated that conversion therapy could cure homosexuality in a study performed on 200 people. He redacted his paper in 2012 after apologising to the gay community. President Obama has come forward and stated that he wants an end to conversion therapies.

Continue reading Conversion Therapy…

Before I’m 30…

I’m 30 in just under three and a half years and I’ve realised that I’ve not really done that much… Yes, I did get my degree in Forensic Computing (2:i). Yes, I did get an amazing job working for one of the largest financial organisations in the UK. Yes, I did move to Leeds without a job or any money and made something from it (thanks Layna 💖 for putting up with my broke ass for 3 months…). But that’s pretty much something that the average university graduate does when they leave university. Granted I didn’t exactly have it easy while at university, yet still made it through, so I guess that’s something to write home about.

As 30 is approaching faster than ever (remember when those 6 week school holidays felt like a week, that’s what being 26 has been like so far) I feel that I need to achieve something more, something significant, something I can write home to my mother about and tell her that I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I think one of the best ways to do that is with a bucket list, and not one of those stupid bucket lists (“Things to do before you die”); something that’s realistic, achievable, and rewarding.

  • Whistle Stop Tour of Europe – One thing that I have wanted to do as long as I can remember is to visit every European country at least once. Now doing this before I’m 30 is probably going to be far too expensive to do in three and a half years, but I can at least visit as many as possible. One idea that I had was a European Transit Challenge. The challenge is as simple as it sounds – visit as many European countries as possible in 10 days without missing the return flight home at the destination, while sticking to two simple rules: 1) Don’t run out of money, and 2) You’re only allowed to use buses and trains to get between cities.
  • Obtain at least two professionally accredited qualifications – At the moment I just have my university degree under my belt. While some people may think this is enough – the industry I am in is extremely competitive, and qualifications and experience combined often distinguish between getting the job or not. I’m currently studying for my CISSP – but this is not enough. I need an area of specialism, either incorporating my degree into a professional accreditation, or picking a new area of specialism to qualify in. Either way, I cannot rely on experience alone to advance my career.
  • Launch PridePlace – PridePlace has been one of the many projects that I’ve never been able to finish, and I feel that putting this in my bucket list will encourage me to finally get it launched. PridePlace is designed to be a social network away from the big ones where members of the LGBT community can create an account and interact in a safe environment. It’s absolutely nowhere near completion, but hopefully in the next 6 months I can get it to some form of ready state for it to be launched.

While my bucket list is not exactly huge, being able to tick off the three items above will give me a great feeling of self-worth and make me feel like I’ve achieved something more than I set out to do leaving university. Just because there’s a bucket list, I won’t feel like I am obliged to complete them before my 30th birthday, nor will I feel like I’m worthless for not being able to complete them. They’re targets, not requirements.


What’s so “FREE” about an EXCLUSIVE Pride?

Over the past couple of days, I have been made aware of a website that boasts that Pride should be free for everyone. However, a couple of posts that they have made have forced me to question how “Free” their pride actually is.

Let’s take a look at their Manifesto:

* Anti-commercialisation – Pride is for people not for corporations to make themselves look LGBT friendly and make profit off us, however, our frustration is aimed at the commercial forces at work in Pride and not the LGBTQIA+ who participate in what has become.

* Inclusivity – We want to create a safer space that prioritises the voices of the most marginalised and is accessible to all.

* Pride is a protest – From the harassment and violence levelled at the Trans community to the treatment of LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers, we are continually reminded that society isn’t for us and that needs to change. Pride should be a platform to demand and make that change, not just an opportunity to be sold things and promoted to.

After reading this, something doesn’t feel quite right.


How many Pride’s in the UK are commercialised? Out of all the Pride celebrations in the UK, how many of them set out to make a profit? How many of them are registered companies? How many of them charge people to enter the pride celebrations without giving anything back to the people?

Leeds Pride for example accepts sponsorship from local companies and runs fund raisers through the coming months up to pride. Blackpool Pride is a registered charity. Manchester Pride does require a paid entrance fee, but being a registered charity, they pump all moneys raised back into funding the next pride celebrations.

The very definition of commercialisation is to make something available on the mass-market, after moving it away from niche markets. I think the idiot that wrote this section of the manifesto is worried that pride will become a festival for everyone…


Is this even a word? Pride is already inclusive. I think the only people that are generally not allowed to go to Pride events are the people that have been barred from entering the city centre by the police under court order. What makes these fools think that Pride is becoming an exclusive event?

I mean yeah, Manchester Pride has an element of exclusivity due to the fact that a wristband has to be purchased, but this is purely for crowd control. Do you think the event organisers look at someone and go “You’re not gay enough to be a part of Pride, go away” or “Do you even go here?”… I don’t think so Free Pride – your views of the Pride world are obviously jaded by experiences of time gone by…

Pride is a Protest

What are we protesting? Let’s use Equaldex (Crowd Sourced LGBT Rights Database) and see what is to be protested…

  1. Homosexuality – Legal
  2. Marriage – Legal
  3. Adoption – Legal
  4. Housing Discrimination – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  5. Age of Consent – Legal
  6. Discrimination – Illegal
  7. Military – Legal
  8. Donating Blood – Banned (1 year deferral)
  9. Employment Discrimination – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  10. Changing Gender  – Legal (requires surgery)
  11. Conversion Therapy – Ambiguous

Okay, so out of these 11 data points (collated/verified by various members of the LGBT community) it is clear that being gay (and everything attributable to being gay that straight people can do), 1 is banned with a 1 year deferral (which essentially means that to give blood you’re not allowed to engage in any sexual acts for a minimum of 1 year), and the other is ambiguous (meaning that the law is not very clear).

What is there to protest about? Being gay is legal, being able to fight in our armed forces as a homosexual is legal, being able to apply for funded housing is legal, adopting is legal, employment discrimination is illegal… Are you honestly considering protesting because we’re not allowed to give blood? This is NHS red tape that under the current management structure is likely to stay (and to be honest, I agree with the deferral – though various changes should be made to enable a strict screening process and allow people with rare blood types to give).


Now that we’ve seen their manifesto, let’s have a look at what they want to do to Pride…

Their Free Pride Performance Policy Response is an entertaining read (to which I’ve had various discussions around other social media outlets about).

The first paragraph is somewhat bog standard for setting out their intentions. The second paragraph, however, is somewhat shocking…

This is why, after much discussion, the trans and non binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event. This does not mean that people of any gender can’t wear what they want to the event, we simply won’t be having any self-described drag acts perform at our Free Pride Event on the 22nd August. We hope people can understand and support our decision. However we feel it important to fully explain why we came this decision.

This paragraph makes it sound like Free Pride is fronted by a small group of Trans people who have something against drag artists. “Self-described drag acts” – seriously? I think anyone who lives their life as a male, and performs as a female is entitled to call themselves a drag act. They don’t claim to be a member of the opposite and recognise the fact that they are a female while under the limelight. They then move on to explain why they made the decision…

The decision was taken by transgender individuals who were uncomfortable with having drag performances at the event. It was felt that it would make some of those who were transgender or questioning their gender uncomfortable. It was felt by the group within the Trans/Non Binary Caucus that some drag performance, particularly cis drag, hinges on the social view of gender and making it into a joke, however transgender individuals do not feel as though their gender identity is a joke. This can particularly difficult for those who are not out and still present as the gender they were assigned at birth.

They claim that drag acts make the members of the trans community at Free Pride feel uncomfortable and that the drag acts make a joke of their gender and identity. I can kinda see where part of their argument comes from, but I’ve never met one drag queen who makes a joke of their gender/identity. Their gender is still male, and they still identify as male regardless of the fact that they are performing as women.

While it was discussed whether we could have trans drag acts perform, it was agreed that as it would not be appropriate to ask any prospective drag acts whether or not they identified as trans. It was therefore decided that having no drag acts perform would be the best option as it would mean no-one would feel pressured to out themselves. This also adheres to our Safer Spaces Policy, where we ask that no-one assume anyone else’s gender identity, and to always ask people’s pronouns.

Basically they’re putting a blanket ban on drag acts, regardless of whether they identify as their assigned gender or not (so much for inclusion… huh?). Also, their safer spaces policy? Where is this policy? Where is it published? What does it entail.. I mean they can’t mention a policy that’s not publicly accessible. Does this mean that people have to go around asking what their gender is? Because frankly this seems like it’s a bit insensitive. “Hello, are you cis-male, cis-female, trans-male, trans-female, gender queer, unsure, none of the above?”. If someone came up to me and ASKED me what my gender was so that they could use the “proper pronoun”, I’d get very pissed off, very quickly. What’s the point in having an inclusive pride event if you’re going to ask that people don’t assume someone elses gender identity? You’re effectively putting people on the spot who are UNSURE of their identity, and making them feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Honestly, this sounds like some organising committee members have had a spat with the drag queens over some bullshit politics at the event which has mean that everyone has to lose out on some potentially excellent entertainment. While drag queens are extremely entertaining (in most circumstances), many of them are impressive vocalists or world-class dancers. Just because you’ve had a spat with one of them doesn’t mean that you have to completely blanket ban potentially world-class entertainment.

I hope you have many successes in your future of organising Pride events in Glasgow, but with your current view of the world, I fear that you’re destined only to fail.



Why do we need private communications?

Over the past few weeks, more reports of the government have emerged that they want to prohibit the use of any messaging application that uses end-to-end encryption. This means that applications like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and WhatsApp have to remove the end-to-end encryption or remove them from the market.

Continue reading Why do we need private communications?