We are serious people doing serious things, but it was a lot like a party for two thousand people going on for a week. S complained about looking like a little old lady, and was not reassured when I said she was a lot more impressive after one had talked to her for five minutes. Her hippy coloured trousers did not help: the eye passing over a “little old lady” does not notice them.
In the bar I would see couples chatting away, recognise the style of name badge, and ask if I could join them. I was not rebuffed. I talked to a big burly man with a thick, wild beard about the Salter Lecture, the “Socialist rant” as he called it. I was disappointed last year in the talk on co-operatives. It was on tax justice this year. He says law must follow opinion: tax avoidance must be seen to be Wrong before we can make it unlawful. I disagreed: the discrimination law was ahead of public opinion.
The Quaker Lesbian and Gay Fellowship would not change its name to a longer acronym, but a bisexual man said he was not recognised. So they have the slogan “Accepting all sexualities”. A woman challenged me on this- what about paedophilia? Well, Adam is a sympathetic paedophile. The act is abominable, the person tempted to it is not. I have experience of the Normal People pointing at the Weirdos Over There- me; and being unable to do anything but transition despite its weirdness and difficulty; so have sympathy. Bestiality- can the animal consent? I have read those who do it say the animal does, and bestiality is also compulsive. Necrophilia? Er-
She also said that if trans women really were “the shock troops of patriarchy” we could find a better way of going about it.
A woman told me about the historical Jesus- definitely Not God, definitely Jewish. She had been reading Geza Vermes. Oh, OK.
Two women talked of “our children”. Hmm. Are they a couple? It feels like they are, though the phrase does not make it certain, and I feel unable to ask: being lesbian is entirely normal, one doesn’t make a thing of it.
The last time I met Sue, I felt excluded. She did not want me there, and I thought- “But I’m not the Bad Person”. On the last evening I joined her and her husband, and we talked of how their children were getting on, and R’s children, and Cardiff meeting, which is growing, with more younger people. She was at the meeting with H and felt there was movement towards reconciliation. I have now facebook friended her. It was a gentle conversation. We hugged. I would not want to discuss previous issues, though perhaps “worship sharing” would be possible- saying how we felt and what we thought had happened, without discussion or dispute. Here at least we can take pleasure in each others’ gifts and happiness.
I noticed that what I remember of these conversations is what I say. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for it can help me get things clear in my mind to articulate them, and I respond to the other speaking at the time. However I thought it would behove me to listen a bit more, and try to remember.