:— Grrls on top?
From September this year the female | lest it buckle up'or dislodge, which. condom will be available in Britain — all seven soft, pink, prelubricated, disposable, polyurethane inches of it. Something like a tubular plastic bag, it has a ﬂexible ring at each end: the first, at the closed end, is designed to fit over the cervix. and be held in place by the pubic bone, and the second to remain outside the body, protecting the sides of the vaginal opening. According to the manufacturers of Femidom, it allows greater sensitivity for both man and woman than male condoms; and unlike these, it can be inserted any time before sex, and removed when it suits. Above all, they say, it is the only form ofcontraception controlled by the woman which prevents pregnancy and the transmission of venereal diseases, including HIV.
Any new form ofcontraception is welcome — particularly one which offers an alternative means of protection against AIDS. But is this really the answer?
One of a group ofwomen persuaded to test Femidom by New Woman magazine said the sight of it provoked the saddest case of wilt she had ever witnessed. Others found inserting it cumbersome; they also said they were constantly aware of it,
exuberant and tried something other than the missionary position. It is also rather expensive at £3—£4 for a packet ofthree. The manufacturers themselves can only claim that of the 30,000 involved in their trials, most women found Femidom ‘satisfactory’, although their suggestion that you may have to ‘guide your partner‘s penis into the sheath‘, and use lots of ‘runny lubricant’, sounds troublesome.
As far as putting women in control is concerned, isn't one of the advantages ofthe traditional condom that it puts some ofthe responsibility onto men? Also. as Dr Valerie McGregor of the Brook Advisory Clinic points out, if your reason for wanting to be in charge is that you are too embarrased to get your partner to use a condom, this is hardly going to be an improvement. You would surely need just as much. if not more, cooperation to make a success of Femidom.
It must be said though, that no one has really had time to get used to the female condom. Who knows, with perseverence it could turn out to be great fun — as the Doctor says, ‘You would certainly have to laugh ifyou were using this great windsock of a thing!‘ (Catherine Fellows)
The Declaration ot Calton Hill to commemorate the 100th day at the vigil tor a Scottish Parliament will be signed at 2pm on Saturday 18 July on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Democracy Ior Scotland, the non-party political campaign tor a Scottish Parliament is inviting all those committed to democratic change in Scotland to attend and become signatories. In Glasgow, Scotland United are calling a mass meeting on Sunday 19 July at 5pm in the City Chambers, Candieriggs with the title ‘Democracy tor Scotland- How’. (Thom Dibdin)
worryingly, it did when they got a bit '
:— Tieared ribbon...
A simple twist is all it takes to turn an ordinary piece ot red material into an internationally recognised symbol that is uniting everyone who cares and understands about AIDS and HIV. Launched in Britain at the Freddie | Mercury memorial concert in London, ; the Red Ribbon campaign made its first i Ioray north of the borderto coincide with the week-long Erasure residency at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Although the symbol has its American origins in large scale media events oi this nature Andy Butteriield, managing director at Red Ribbon International is keen to stress that this is an ongoing campaign with education on AIDS and related issues its main goal.
‘We're hoping that, it you see someone wearing a ribbon in the street, it will keep the brain ticking away,’ he explains. ‘The ribbons are not mass-produced, they’re made by hand for a purpose. We've had thousands oi people making them, trom all walks oi liie— kids, mums, dads, people living with HIV, people living with AIDS— and it’s an important point that it you get a whole load at them together, you cannot tell which has been made by which person, just as you can’t tell by looking who is HIV+ and who isn’t.’
Despite the lact that Red Ribbon
international is as yet uniunded, the ribbons are distributed tree to anyone who wants to wear one, although voluntary contributions are more than welcome. The campaign is being backed by The Names Project and Lothian Health Board’s Spittal Street Centre, ensuring that the symbol has a permanent presence in Scotland.
‘We should get away Irom all the images oi quarries and volcanoes that have been portraying AIDS in the past,’ concludes Butteriieid. ‘When we start as kids, belore we even learn the alphabet, what we understand is colour and shape. We can't start to light a world battle unless we have a symbol that takes the stigma away from minorities on the principle that AIDS aliects everyone.‘ (Alan Morrison)
Edinburgh University researchers are looking for people who have experienced unpleasant eitects irom using Ecstasy to help with a study into the use oi the drug.
The Alcohol Research Group are
hoping to provide an overview oi the extent and effects of Ecstasy use in Scotland, alter serious iii-etiects were reported.
Individuals, whose details will remain anonymous and confidential, may contact Ms Kellie Anderson at the Alcohol Research Group, the University oi Edinburgh, Morningside Park, Edinburgh EH10 5HF. Tel 031 447 2011 ext 4760, Monday to Wednesday.
_ Aliez au
Given the success of the likes of Cyrano (1e Bergerac and Delicatessen on UK screens in recent years. it‘s hardly surprising that the auld alliance has played its hand by bringing a festival of French films to Scotland. Although the festival itself will not hit the Edinburgh Filmhouse
and Glasgow Film Theatre until the end ofOctober. some details of
events have already emerged. Cinematic highlights will include screenings of(‘laude Chabrol‘s Madame Bovary. which has not yet been seen on these shores. as well as Bertrand 'l’avernier‘s medieval drama La Passion de Beatrice and his acclaimed 1977 work Des Enfanrs Gates. Directors 'l‘avernier and Diane Kurys have indicated their willingness to attend the festival, which will also feature a special tribute to the Lumiere Brothers in celebration of their pioneering work
i at the birth ofcinema almost a " century ago.
A disturbing increase in reported racial incidents in the Lothian region is highlighted in the Lothian Racial Equality Council’s annual report. Reilectlng the council's increasingly challenging role, they are launching a poster campaign aimed at workplaces
and schools. For a copy at the poster
phone 031 556 0441.
Meanwhile, Scottish nationalism comes under the spotlight oi the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism in the latest edition 01 their magazine CARF.
Copies oi CARF, which also includes a Ieature on the Muirhouse Anti-Racist Campaign are available Irom BM Box 8784, London WC1 H 3XX price £1.50. (Thom ledln).
4The List l7—30July1992