What is Endometriosis? Endo Warriors explain the illness to EN4 News

 

Across the globe, the month of March has come to be known by many as Endometriosis Awareness Month.

Endometriosis is a condition which occurs when the tissue that lines the womb grows outside of where it normally should. This results in pain, ranging from mild to severe, especially during menstrual periods.

It can sometimes be so painful that it causes real disruptions to the sufferer’s day-to-day life.

Worldwide, it is estimated that 1 in 10 women are affected by Endometriosis, and the disorder is also the leading cause of infertility in women.

Despite the number of sufferers being comparable to diabetes, there is still only a fraction of the awareness of the condition and help for those afflicted.

Two people who understand just how Endometriosis can affect your life are Candice McKenzie and Claire Beattie. Candice and Clare, both Endometriosis sufferers themselves, run Endo Warriors, a group based in West Lothian.

Endo Warriors‘ mission is to educate people about the condition and break down the stigma surrounding period pain.

Candice spoke to EN4 News about the difficulties she faced in getting an Endometriosis diagnosis.

“It was a really, really challenging journey. I was diagnosed at the age of 21 after being turned away all those years at the doctors where I was told I had anxiety, I was told I had IBS or some type of chronic bladder problem etc. Eventually, through laparoscopy, I was told that I had ‘deep infiltrating Endometriosis’ and, at that point, I didn’t appreciate how severe that was.”

It can take anywhere from 6 to 10 years on average to diagnose Endometriosis. Candice spoke about how important it is to change people’s perception of Endometriosis and get an early diagnosis.

“The only way to change the perception is through education, giving people the right tools to arm themselves with the correct language so that they can get a diagnosis. If you are living with this condition and it’s undiagnosed, it’s certainly not going to get any better.”

However even with a diagnosis, there is currently no cure, no one knows what causes the condition, and the tissue almost always grows back.

Unfortunately, many women still have their pain written off by medical professionals as simply being a symptom of menstruation. So why is Endometriosis not taken as seriously as other conditions?

“It’s all to do with stigma,” Candice continued. “I think men think there’s an ‘eek’ factor to it. Up until a few years ago we were living in a man’s world. I think now with social media platforms people are becoming more courageous and are now prepared to stand up and say ‘no, this is not okay! I don’t want to live my life like this and you must listen to me!”

A topic which has been frequently debated in parliament in recent months is the treatment of Endometriosis sufferers in the workplace.

“Workplace-wise, it’s always a challenge for women with Endometriosis. Being in the workplace as a woman is a challenge in itself but to have a gynaecological condition like Endometriosis or PCOS can make your work life very difficult.

“You don’t necessarily have constant access to toilets, you might be on a telephone where you are monitored for the amount of time you are on a call or at your desk, you might not have access to sanitary products in that environment.

“So flexible working needs to be considered, endometriosis-friendly employers, access to sanitary bins, it just should be happening.”

And it’s not only your work life that Endometriosis can disrupt, but it can also cause issues in your personal life.

“You start to exclude yourself from certain things because you’re just not well enough to be there. Your friends don’t understand and think you’re being pathetic, so you start to lose friends and it is incredibly sad.”

“It can cause problems in a romantic relationship as well because Endometriosis affects women’s fertility in such a huge way. I think when you’re preprogrammed as a woman, you grow up dreaming about your wedding and having children. But when that plan doesn’t fall into place, it can have a huge strain on a relationship.”

Over the past few years, Endo Warriors have been campaigning to get Endometriosis Awareness Month recognised all over the world through their ‘Light up Yellow’ project.

The campaign focuses on getting buildings to shine yellow lights in honour of the 176 million people living around the world with this invisible, life-changing condition.

“When we see the buildings lit up, we still get incredibly moved by it even though it’s a few years on. We get totally excited, we get goosebumps, we cry, we become emotional because it stands for something and it means a lot to us. We are just two mums from West Lothian who wanted to make a difference.“

Democrats Abroad: How an event in Edinburgh helps sway the US Primaries

As Democrat party members went to the polls for Super Tuesday in hotly contested states such as California and Texas, a somewhat less grand affair was taking place on a global scale.

From Singapore to the Czech Republic, Little-Americas popped up around the world allowing US citizens who live abroad to cast their ballot for their preferred candidate.

Since 1976, Democrats Abroad has sent a delegation to the Democratic Primary Convention and this year, they are running 220 events across 45 countries to facilitate the global primary.

Earlier this week one such event was held here in Edinburgh at the Quaker Meeting House. EN4news went along to get a sense of what voters over here make of the race so far.

Among the cowboy hats and American flags, we sat down with Alex Goetz, President of Edinburgh’s Democrats Overseas and one of the managers organising the days event.

“I’ve seen a huge amount of voter activism that I don’t think I’ve necessarily seen in every type of election. I know that Democrats abroad tend to be fairly politically active.

“If you’re joining an organisation of Democrats and you’re living in not the United States you will just by definition be a little more active.”

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Asked whether the same type of enthusiasm found on the campaign trail in the US can be found out here Alex explained: “I mean we’ve got a room full of people who have just come out to vote today in Edinburgh, Scotland so I would say that’s a pretty good sign of some pretty good enthusiasm”

Photo Credit: EN4 News

Later that day we caught up with some of the voters taking part in the Democrats abroad primary and asked them how they manage to stay engaged with the primary process living across the pond.

“It’s a funny thing because I do feel a connection even though I live here. To me if you’re an active citizen it’s your responsibility to stay engaged” one voter told us.

Another said she “feels removed” from the process out of choice. This voter went on to explain: “I could cry at the top of a hat. I’m not a crier but when I think about what’s going on [in the US] its beyond, it’s extra.”

The Democrats Abroad primary will last until next Tuesday as votes are tallied from around the world. While this primary produces a total of only 13 pledged delegates, a miniscule number compared to the 415 available in California, they may prove vital in a tight two-horse race such as this.

A walk through the Women’s History Museum

Being seven days into Women’s History Month and only a couple of days from International Women’s Day, EN4 News headed to the Glasgow Women’s Library to learn more about what we are celebrating.

The library, situated in the city’s East End, is the only accredited women’s museum in the UK that is solely dedicated to celebrating the work of women.

A firm favourite within the library is an umbrella stand at the reception that was painted by suffragettes.

The library provides several services including free membership, book borrowing and events for women across the year.

We were fortunate to witness an event called Story Café, an intimate gathering of females reading to each other.

Archives from magazines, newspapers, posters and memorabilia of women throughout history are held upstairs in the library.

The Glasgow Women’s Library is a well-loved community hub for women of all ages and backgrounds to congregate, share ideas or simply have some alone time.

21st Century Land Girls: Celebrating women in agriculture

In the past, women have played minor roles among the agricultural industry, but they are now being celebrated for their crucial involvement within this traditionally male-dominated sector.

Angela Huth’s wartime book ‘Land Girls’, set in 1941, highlights how women proved their value and capability as farmers as a way of supporting the country. Now, 78 years on, women’s voices are increasingly being heard.

This International Women’s Day, as a way of recognising and celebrating women working in agriculture, EN4 News spoke to some inspiring females to find out why a career in this field is proving to be more popular among all ages.

Janet Mcquistin – (Photo Credit Caroline Mcquistin)

“I love my job because I enjoy working with animals and being outside,” said beef and sheep farmer Janet McQuistin.

“My secondary school guidance teacher was horrified when I said I wanted to farm, as she said it would be a waste of my qualifications. I’m so glad I followed my passion.”

Janet farms with her husband and is widely respected in the local area and beyond due to her involvement in Scotland’s livestock industry.

“I have never faced any discrimination in the livestock world and have judged shows and served on committees equally with other men. There are fewer challenges physically for women like me now in that everything can be mechanised.”

Mrs McQustin went on: “Many also have the opinion that women should be trained in doing farm books, feeding calves or running diversification businesses such as holiday lets. Why can’t some people just see that we want to farm?”

When looking to connect with other female farmers, Janet finds Instagram a particularly useful platform for networking.

“Instagram is brilliant because there are so many female farmers posting about their daily work on the farm. Making these connections helps remove the isolation and solitary nature of our occupation.”

Gemma Sloan, 23, farms alongside her father, grandmother and sister on the most southernly farm in Scotland.

“Farming is something that I’ve always known and is in my genes. I help run a livestock and arable farm, as well as a diversified café on the cliff edge at the Mull of Galloway.

“My granny was also brought up in wellies, surrounded by sheep. She has certainly inspired me to get involved in the family farm,” explained Sloan.

With women now heavily involved in all aspects of the industry, Jane Craigie from Aberdeen runs a marketing and communications agency, specialising in agri-food and rural issues. She employs six other females from across Scotland.

Photo Credit – Jane Craigie Marketing

“Women play a vital role in all aspects of agriculture, and the industry has dramatically moved from a male-dominated one to an increasingly inclusive sector. I am completely pro-talent, not pro-women,” she told EN4 News.

“In my experience and as an employee of all women in my own marketing team, I feel that women are natural communicators, innately curious, empathetic and creative, which is crucial in the future development of the industry.”

Being the first women to be appointed to the Ringlink Scotland board, one of the UK’s largest agricultural business rings, Ms Craigie is enthusiastic about encouraging more women onto the agricultural board as a way of recognising talent irrespective of gender.

These women are part of the push to create diverse career opportunities with the farming sector. Despite the industry still being male-dominated, females more respected than ever and celebrated equally for their work.

For more information on women in agriculture organisations, follow the below links:

https://www.womeninagriculture.scot/

https://www.ruralpayments.org/publicsite/futures/topics/all-schemes/women-in-agriculture/

Podcast: International Women’s Day special

Listen to some of EN4 News’ female staff members discuss the gender pay gap, stereotypes in sports, sexual harassment and so much more on International Women’s Day.

 

Inspiring women: Jade Paterson

As part of international women’s day, I was tasked with finding a woman I found ‘inspirational.’ At first, I thought of politicians and celebrities and those in the media. After a lot of consideration, I realised the women who inspire me the most are everyday women. The ones who choose to make a difference in the lives of others without much in return.

EN4 News spoke to Jade Paterson, a 21-year-old woman who is a student at Edinburgh University, but also works as a psychiatric care assistant.

In a study in Scotland last year, the Fair Work Convention found that those working in the industry were faced with ‘excessive shifts’ and unfair working conditions for an extremely low salary.

Credit: EN4 News

Earlier this year Jade’s job was classed by the British Government as ‘Unskilled’ and after a long shift looking after patients, Jade was outraged and took to twitter to express her anger.

 

 

Jades outrage was shared by over 400 thousand people. Her tweet resonated with those in similar positions and lead to those who’s lives had been helped by carers.

 

Jade was inspired to go into the field by a woman close to her and believes that there should be more recognition for those in the industry.

 

Jade came up with the idea of ‘People of Edinburgh’ as a space on her University Hockey club’s Facebook page for members to be open and transparent about their mental health.

 

Due to her work on this project Jade is being nominated by Edinburgh University as one of the top 20 influential women of 2020.

 

Jade will take part in a photoshoot, along with the other 19 women nominated. Their portraits will then be shown, along with their accomplishments, at an exhibition for International women’s day on Sunday at Teviot House.

Get ready to ‘LOVE Gorgie Farm’ – Beloved family attraction set to reopen this weekend

Gorgie City Farm is set to reopen its doors tomorrow under the new name LOVE Gorgie Farm.

Improvements have already been completed to the beloved family attraction, after the farm was bought over by Scottish mental health charity LOVE Learning in January 2020.

This was following the farm announcing its liquidation in November 2019.

Speaking exclusively to EN4 News, Lorna Murphy, LOVE Learning’s Project Manager of Education services in East Lothian and Edinburgh City, explained what visitors can expect to see upon Gorgie Farm’s reopening.

“We’re making improvements to tie in with our ethos of inclusion. We are completing the disabled access to make it accessible for everyone,” Murphy said.

He plans to have a rotation of the animals on display to allow them to retire at an older age with the security of having younger creatures to bring in and grow up on the farm.

LOVE Learning has also proposed introducing animal and forest therapy as an educational package for children and those suffering from anxiety and mental health issues.

“People gain a lot of nurture and comfort from animals and by caring for something else – their mind can be taken off of personal issues,” Murphy continued.

Gorgie Farm will reopen to the public this weekend (Credit: EN4 News)

The reopening celebrations are due to take place tomorrow afternoon.

Tickets sold out rapidly and some of those in attendance include Hibs and Hearts footballers, rugby players and politicians.

Edinburgh Charity, Dads Rock, have been asked to assist LOVE Learning in reopening Gorgie Farm to the public tomorrow.

Thomas Lynch, the service manager of Dads Rock, told EN4 News of how they were frequent visitors to Gorgie Farm.

“Like most people in Edinburgh, we were devastated when we heard the farm was closing; the farm has meant so much too so many people over the years,” Lynch said.

In terms of what those attending the reopening celebrations can expect, Lynch says there is a lot to look forward to.

“We’ve got magicians, entertainers, face painting, a tombola, raffles, there’s a singer coming and we’ve got a piper. And that’s not even the half of it!”

It was also announced earlier this week that the money raised in a public fundraiser to ‘Save Gorgie Farm’ would be given to LOVE Learning upon the farm’s reopening.

Over £100,000 was raised in an attempt to prevent Gorgie Farm from closing indefinitely back in November 2019.

There was some deliberation over whether or not the money should be given to LOVE Learning, but on Thursday morning, it was announced that the charity would receive the entire sum to invest into Gorgie Farm’s upkeep and renovation.

Among those who campaigned to save Gorgie Farm, the Scottish Greens were very vocal in their desire to protect the attraction.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, fought particularly hard in defence of the farm. Johnstone spoke to EN4 News about her delight at Gorgie Farm’s reopening.

“It is fantastic to see such a widely valued, much-loved community asset re-open, and so soon after it closed,” Johnstone added.

“This is a testament to the special place the farm has in the community and the hard work of everyone involved.”

Gorgie Farm will reopen tomorrow and remain open seven days a week with entry free of charge.

Ruby Rare’s guide to non-monogamy

Non-monogamy is something many of us view as completely foreign.

The concept of being in a relationship with more than one person at a time is paired with so many negative assumptions.

Primarily, cheating.

Ruby Rare is a sex educator for The Brook Trust, the UK’s second-largest sexual health charity, and has made it her mission to open minds across the country to the idea of polyamorous relationships.

“Non-monogamy is meant to be fun- if it isn’t, you’re doing it wrong.”

Based in London, with a following of over 39,000 people on Instagram, Ruby uses her platform to shed light on taboo issues.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

IT’S BI VISIBILITY DAY BITCHES! 💗💜💙 💥 This year I’ve noticed the growing visibility our community is experiencing, which I’m obviously loving and am proud to play a small part in 🥰 💥 I’ve always been bisexual, but because there was little to no visibility as I was growing up, it took me until my twenties to realise that could be a viable identity. And once I realised it myself, it took another few years to banish the imposter syndrome and build up the courage to openly live, date, love, and fuck as a glorious bisexual being. 💥 It makes me so happy to see the increase in visibility now: from the growing number of public figures coming out publically, to the growing and evolving variety of labels we can identify with, I’m thrilled that being bisexual in all its forms is being celebrated. I hope this continues! 💥 I often feel like I exist outside of straight as well as gay worlds, and have really enjoyed nurturing my bi/pan/queer friendships this year. Finding your community is the most important piece of bi advice I can give – whether that’s online, in the real world, or hopefully a combination of the two, connecting with likeminded people where you don’t have to constantly explain yourself is a true joy and will help you on your *queer journey*. 💥 Remember that YOU ARE BISEXUAL ENOUGH! Regardless of whether you are 100% out and proud, quietly figuring it out, bi but in a hetero-presenting relationship, bisexual but hetero/homo-romantic, your sexuality is VALID and BEAUTIFUL. Go forth into the world with confidence as the sparkly, queer as fuck human that you are 🏩

A post shared by R U B Y 💗 (@rubyrare) on

She travels up and down the country doing talks on sexual pleasure, porn, body positivity and non-monogamy.

Last night, EN4 News attended ‘Ruby Rare’s Guide to Non-Monogamy’ at Teviot House.

The event was a collaboration between Sexpression Edinburgh and the EUSA Women’s Campaign as part of LGBT History Month.

Identifying as queer and non-monogamous, Ruby expresses the privilege we hold living in a country where attitudes are evolving:

“We have a responsibility to be more inclusive and make this conversation warmer”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

PRIDE APPRECIATION 🧡 swipe right to see the identities each flag represents. 💥 I love pride month; I get all gushy about how far we as a queer community have come, and celebrate by throwing on some trashy drag and parading around London (and any other city that’ll have me for pride weekend). But along with the celebration comes the responsibility to look at the challenges we continue to face. Slapping a rainbow flag on something does not solve problems, and all too often many ‘lesser known’ sexuality and gender identities are ignored throughout pride and made to feel isolated and unimportant. 💥 This Pride, I encourage you to learn more about a variety of sexuality and gender identities. Each queer identity is unique, with it’s own set of challenges and prejudices, many of which you may not experiance and may not have even considered. Let’s use this month to educate eachother about our struggles, and to find ways to celebrate in inclusive ways 💖💖 💥 P.S yes, in my queer utopic world everyone wears pink, deal with it 🙃

A post shared by R U B Y 💗 (@rubyrare) on

By asking the audience who identified as polyamorous, Ruby has an insight into the various reasons everyone has for attending.

Some of us were just curious, some were confidently polyamorous and other wanted to learn more to begin exploring themselves and their needs.

Recently non-monogamy has been discussed across the media more and is appealing to increasing numbers of people.

In 2018, healthcare group, ‘Euroclinix‘, conducted a sex study that found that 1 in 5 of the 2000 participants in the study, identified as being polyamorous.

Information: EuroClinix
Infographic: EN4 News

Non-monogamy is most commonly understood to be intimate relationships which don’t strictly adhere to traditional standards of exclusivity.

Monogamy refers to having only one person whom you exchange feelings of love and affection, as well as sharing a physical relationship.

Ruby explains there can be different relationship structures that fall under this category and it is about finding a set up that works for you.

Friendships are beautiful forms of love, often too much emphasis is placed on sex as a relationship definer.

She warns that it is “more complicated and more work than monogamy” and requires “smart Communication” to be successful.

“You are going to feel something wonderful but also hurt.

“If you’re in a relationship and your unhappy, non-monogamy isn’t going to fix it”

Ruby Rare (Credit: EN4 News)

One issue, in particular, that is often a deterrent for monogamous people is the green-eyed monster.

“Jealousy is an umbrella term for loads of different types of emotions” Ruby said, and to combat it, you need to get to the bottom of what is behind it.

A frequently used term in the poly world is compersion, the idea of finding joy in seeing your partner/partners experiencing happiness with other people.

Rhiannon Ramsey identifies as polyamorous and explains how she feels when her partners are with other people, along with all other issues discussed in this article, in our EN4 News Podcast: Poly special.

Ruby using her platform to open up the conversation on non-monogamy and challenging views of what a healthy relationship is, whether it be sexual, romantic or purely platonic, hasn’t gone unnoticed.

She has been nominated for the Diva influencer of the year award 2020.

The final piece of advice she offered us was to be kind to ourselves, forgive when we make mistakes and recognise that things are not black and white.

“You are your own person, don’t let the people around you define who that person is.”

Podcast: What is non-monogamy?

On Thursday evening, we attended ‘Ruby Rare’s guide to non-Monogamy’ talk which sparked a discussion about polyamorous relationships.

Taylor Campbell, Beth Murray and Iain Leggat talk to Rhiannon Ramsey, who identifies as non-monogamous.

 

 

Check out the full article on polyamory and what Ruby Rare, a sex educator, has to say about it here

Pictures from Afghanistan – An interview with David Pratt

David Pratt insists he has always had a connection with Afghanistan, even before he visited for the first time back in the 1980s and Glasgow Film Festival’s premiere of ‘Pictures From Afghanistan’ gives us the opportunity to look back on what he has experienced over numerous years.

When asked to tell us about the film, Pratt describes it as “a look back over the last 40 years of my relationship with the country and the reporting that I have done there”. He feels that it gives him a great opportunity to tell the story of Afghanistan that hasn’t been heard before.

Despite travelling across the globe, Pratt holds Afghanistan in the highest regard of those places and thinks that in some way or another, any foreign correspondent will have a “special” relationship with a country, whether that be from the people, to the landscape or simply experiences that has happened to them. For him though, it’s a combination of those things and the fact that even before visiting, he was always fascinated by the country.

“Even before I went to Afghanistan in the 1980s it was a place that had fascinated me, I’m fond of wild places and mountaineering when I was younger so that was an attraction.”

 

Pratt describes the natives as “people who are not good to make enemies of but are wonderful to make friends with” and feels that he has a duty to tell their story from an eyewitness perspective.

“There is a distinct dearth of eyewitness reporting these days. It doesn’t get more eyewitness than photo journalism.”

He continues to describe the fact that with modern technology, civilians have the ability to tell different stories. However, he insists that while it is great to see more eyewitness journalism, it doesn’t really help explain what can be happening in that moment.

“What we’re being inundated with is elements of people on their mobile phones. That doesn’t necessarily help explain what is happening.”

That being said, David agrees with the fact that editors are now reluctant to send reporters to war torn areas due to the potential backlash and having witnessed it himself understands with the reasoning behind this.

“Many news organisations are conscious of putting their staff into these situations due to what can happen.”

While it is difficult to put his love of the country into words, Pratt hopes that the film, which launches on Sunday 1st March at 1:15pm, will be able to tell the story. The film will be followed by a Q&A chaired by Allan Little and tickets are available on the GFF website.

 

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