Memories of Helen G

Following on from the sad news about Helen G, we have collected some memories of Helen from a few of her friends.

For us at The F Word, Helen was a core part of the team for many years and although we found her online through her blogging, she became a true friend both online and in real life. We are devastated at her passing.

We have heard that Helen’s funeral will be held on Friday 26 April 2024. The funeral will be in person in London but also available to watch online via a secure link. If you would like the details please email [email protected].

We can continue to update this post with additional memories, so please feel free to email us at if you have any you’d like to add your own.

Ruth
It’s hard to know where to start. About 16/17 years ago I first got to know Helen through blogging – mine, and hers. I was a ‘mummy blogger’ with a feminist angle and she wrote her amazing Bird of Paradox blog. We linked to each other. We used to chat online and we were part of a large group of bloggers who all regularly talked to each other too and became online friends. We were both regular tweeters too, back in the later-00s before twitter went completely dreadful. Her blog was excellent. The feminist/activist blogosphere back then was a wonderful place in some ways. We were all very earnest and genuinely believed we could make a change. There wasn’t the same cynicism as there is now. It really felt like an exchange of ideas. But in fact yes, Helen did make a difference.

Helen’s blog was about feminism with a focus on the experiences of and difficulties faced by trans women. I thank goodness actually that hers was one of the blogs I came across when I started blogging myself – I do think in a way some of her writing – and that of the wider, progressive blogosphere – served almost as a kind of inoculation against the transphobia and ‘gender critical’ beliefs that seem to plague much of mainstream journalism in the UK at the moment.

Early on in our friendship, I remember having a hair-dying disaster. Helen – even though she’d not known me for that long by that point – offered to send me some money to have it fixed. In the end I just shaved it off instead but that honestly tells you so much about the kind of person Helen was. If she could help, she would, always.

My husband (then boyfriend) and I went down to London in 2012 (we live in Merseyside) and were lucky enough to meet up with Helen. It was great to be able to meet her face-to-face. She was just as warm and lovely in ‘real life’ as online, if not even more so. Also she was very beautiful with bright grey/blue eyes and a soft voice. We talked a lot about music in particular.

She went through a very difficult period after she lost a job. I don’t feel it’s my place to say much about this but I was incredibly relieved when at last she came out of that very dark place.

Helen was also a talented musician. She’d had a musical career to an extent in her past I think, and I dimly remember her talking about using tapes and the like (similar to Delia Derbyshire!) as well. She was also very knowledgeable about it, with a vast, almost encyclopaedic awareness of a variety of genres. She focused at first on folk music and wrote many reviews for the website Folk Radio UK. I had pretty much abandoned blogging by this point but was part of an acoustic music duo with my husband, and Helen wrote us an amazing review of our album. She was incredibly supportive. Once, I received a message from her about a last minute drop-out from a gig supporting Kathryn Williams in a large cafe bar in Liverpool – she was looking for a replacement support act – could we do it? We could (I didn’t have childcare but the bar was okay with my son tagging along). It was the best gig we ever played. Nerve-wracking but brilliant.

We actually stopped playing music not that long after that as my second child came along. As she grew, it became apparent she had a lot of needs, and co-regulating with her and supporting her took up almost all of my time. But I still kept in touch with Helen. Less often than before, but I made sure she got a card every winter and we would email too from time to time. We talked about music, politics, and especially the state of the planet. Helen was very concerned about climate breakdown and was involved in some level of eco activism too I think.

She was also getting really into using modular synths to create music. I kept an eye on her Bandcamp and listened to her music. I most recently bought her album that was fundraising for Peace in Mind, a charity set up in the wake of Brianna Ghey’s tragic and horrible murder, with the aim, set by Ghey’s mum, to bring mindfulness into schools. As with everything Helen made it was beautiful, warm and thoughtful. Just like Helen.

I honestly think the world has lost someone great, a genuinely GOOD person.

Jonathan
Goodbye, and travel well to my friend Helen. We met via blogging in the mid 00s, and maintained a friendship on a number of different social platforms and via email, from different parts of the world. We connected first through our interests in feminism and social justice (the trans blogosphere), then through music and audio art (many shared albums, a couple of small collaborations, and her contributions to Queer Out Here), and a love of Wales. Helen was generous with her politics, her time and her resources, and she put so much good into the world. It was always a joy to receive an email from her, often a link to new music or an article she knew I would enjoy, with some kind or funny words attached. I am grateful to have known Helen for almost 20 years, to have met in person once, and for the ways in which she enriched my life and the lives of others. May her memory be a blessing to all who knew her.

Fiona
In around 2010-11, life was rough for me and I didn’t have a lot of friends. Helen became a cherished friend via this site and twitter mostly. Time passed and life moved on, but I’ve always kept her in my heart. Her support helped me at a time when I really needed it.

Maddie Harney
Helen was a close friend who saved my life in 2010. She was also a co-blogger for Questioning Transphobia along with Queen Emily, little light, and Katherine Cross. I miss her a lot. I mostly remember her for helping me at the worst point of my life, and I’ll always love her for that.

m williamson
I’ve only known her via social media these last few years but always felt a connection – we share memories of the dance music in the 90s and a lot of other musical commonality too. Not very exciting I know but her death has really thrown me so just wanted to add _something_

Lynne Miles
I met Helen through the F Word blogging collective. She joined us first as a guest blogger and then as a permanent member. We became good friends, meeting frequently both online and in person for several years. When I think about Helen I remember how much she made me laugh. She was so quick witted and funny. I loved opening her little quippy emails and funny links. I will forever remember her “pink sparkle hammer of deconstruction”!

And she was so kind. She would help anyone in any way she could. When my first daughter was born Helen was struggling financially, but she gifted her own childhood teddy bear which still sits in my daughter’s bedroom today. She also once gave me an incredible wood carving that she did herself. She was so creative and talented. She was an absolute music fiend and loved making music of all kinds.

It’s really hard to overstate her impact on me and my feminism and on the site. When I look back to the late 00s and early 10s The F Word became known, I hope, as one of the more inclusive and intersectional parts of the feminist blogosphere and that’s in no small part down to her. She was unbelievably patient in explaining her perspectives and experiences and basically doing Trans 101 with us. I’m ashamed she had to teach me so much, but I’m forever grateful that she did. I genuinely think she made the world a better place. Mostly, though, she was my friend and I loved her. Rest peacefully, Helen.

zohra moosa
I first met Helen through TFW blogging collective and I remember she immediately made an impact on the site and our work together. In the early days of the collective, we sometimes struggled to make decisions, to negotiate with each other, and to even figure out how we should be a collective. Helen was so important to our process, with her patience with us and yet also her determination to do the right thing.

I remember always feeling we could count on Helen as a collective member; she was very much a ‘team player’, and in for the collective effort. She was a guide for so many of us, with our many basic questions and fumblings re trans, gender etc. And she was completely committed to supporting the site and our work to be intersectional. TFW was as inclusive as it was in huge part because of her commitment. I remember many conversations with her talking through racial justice, trans rights, how far feminism served us…

Helen was also a true friend. She asked questions about our lives and tried to get to know us, on our own terms. She was always one of the first to offer support, both emotional and practical. I always loved that about her. I will always remember her gentleness, her passion, her hilarity. She had such a wit, and some of the best quips, and was (mostly) not at all bothered about being irreverent. The internet is forever better for having met her, and so too the feminist blogsphere and me.

Rest in power, friend.

The featured image is by Gary Paakkonen and is shared under a Creative Commons Licence. It shows three pink lilies.