Gore Vidal once said that every time one of his friends succeeded, a little piece of him died. But, there again and let's be honest, Gore Vidal, though he may be a genius, is a tiny little bit of a prick. I have never quite been able to muster this level of antipathy towards those friends of mine who succeed, perhaps because I lack the killer instinct which beats in the heart of the true man of letters, or then again it may just be that I actually like my friends and would rather see life as a colaboration than a contest. From what I understand of ecology the idea of nature red in tooth and claw as some kind of Hobbesian war of all-against-all is a very selective view of affairs formed by people who only watch nature documentaries during Shark Week. It's the Spirit of the Blitz that rules down on the jungle floor. Even your own body is a collaboration between armies of bacteria which keep your digestive system ticking over.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that one of my online friends, Helen G at Bird of Paradox, has won the Gender Trust's NICE (Not-offensive, Interesting, Clear and Educational) Award for Good Journalism on Trans Issues, and I couldn't be happier for her. If you aren't already reading Helen's blog, then you should be, because she's performing a vital role in drawing peoples' attention to the abuses being visited on the most marginalised people in the world on an almost-daily basis.
That isn't a pleasant job. It's not even Helen's job: like millions of bloggers, she does it in her spare time, because she knows it's the right thing to do. And it's a good thing she does, because when people try to report on the truth about trans issue in the mainstream, so-called 'professional' media, they can face heavy penalties.
Helen is exactly the kind of person who should be winning an award like this. She's reporting on an issue which too many people ignore, and she does it consistently, day-in, day-out, no matter how tired she is or whatever her emotional state. Allegedly 'proper' journalists are fond of looking down their noses at bloggers, but as far as I'm concerned, what Helen is doing is far closer to real journalism than the sort of churnalised crap or lazy, bigoted opinion which fills up the papers these days. So, Gore be damned, I'm happy for the girl.