There seems to be an endless sea of people like us,
wakeful dreamers; I pass them on the sunlit streets
in our rooms, filled with laughter;
We make hope from every small disaster
When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.
The International Action Center (IAC) is an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-war organization founded in 1992. This photo was likely taken during one of their ‘Trans Day of Action’. The background resembles Union Square so I’m assuming this is in NYC.
I backtraced the image but had no luck finding the source.
Recent research suggests that young gay men, young lesbians and other women who have sex with women are up to three times more likely to be involved in a teen pregnancy than heterosexually-identified young women.
(Planned Parenthood Toronto, 2009; Saewyc, Bearinger, Blum, & Resnick, 1999) (via McClelland et al. 2012)
I grew up reading a generation of American and English people like [Saul] Bellow, [John] Updike or [Martin] Amis. Everybody’s neutral unless they’re black — then you hear about it: the black man, the black woman, the black person. Of course, if you happen to be black the world doesn’t look that way to you. I just wanted to try and create perhaps a sense of alienation and otherness in this person, the white reader, to remind them that they are not neutral to other people.
words can be misleading
Words that have the same sort of semantic shape can mean radically different things. It doesn’t matter what they logically should mean. It matters what they actually do mean.
For instance: “pride”
- Gay pride means asserting that gay people are legitimate and have the right to live and love
- Straight pride means asserting that straight people are better than gay people
It’s important to understand how words are actually used. If you rely too much on logic rather than actual usage, you can end up inadvertently saying really hateful things.
Except when “gay pride” means asserting that white, cisgender, monosexual men who are relatively educated, upper-middle class, able-bodied, westernized, English speaking, and comfortable with the drinking/casual sex/partying scene are better than all other queer communities.
Is everyone who opposes same-sex marriage a bigot? If a photographer declines to participate in a same-sex wedding, should she be held legally liable, on that basis alone, for discrimination? I don’t think so.
We’re stereotyping and vilifying opponents of gay marriage the way we’ve seen gay people stereotyped and vilified. This is a deeply personal moral issue.
But maybe the rest of us need to broaden our experience, too. Maybe we need to talk to people who accept homosexuality as an orientation but believe marriage should be reserved for couples capable of procreation, at least in theory. Or maybe we just need to take the self-description of a Christian photographer as seriously as we would take the self-description of a gay friend.
Today in the news: Self-identified Christians need you to respect their identity
But then, other people’s relationships are always mysterious. A relationship is a closed world, and it’s impossible to see clearly into the interior from the outside. St. Bernard of Clairvaux: Only the singer hears it and the one to whom he sings. Only the external details are clearly visible: once there was a young and passionate poet who fell in love with a married man, and the affair inspired a magnificent work.