Queer Quakers

I distrust the idea, but still would call the Woodbrooke garden a “holy” place. I stood contemplating bees at a rhododendron, in my sensory experience in the moment, which is a brain state that I will still call a “spiritual” experience, though I have not progressed to a Tao-like “flowing like water”, responding in the moment as an integrated being. People progressed through the garden like meditators in a labyrinth, seeing.

I am dissatisfied. It was beautiful, and insufficient, as am I. Had I had particular encouragements this week I might be less depressed now than I am, but I am depressed because of it. I feel insufficient, I fear I have made things worse, doing my best. I don’t understand and I hate not understanding, particularly when things are important to me. Writing this clarifies that for me. Of course I knew it, but now I am conscious of it. And if we were -no, we were– in a holy place, with time to hear and see each other and ourselves, which makes our coming together as good as it could be. And still I fear I am blundering. Good intentions may not be enough. Am I letting people down?

There was more, there, than I could possibly take in. There were lovely gay men whom I hardly noticed. The programme was flexible enough for us to fit it to what we needed. We had planned whole group work and ended in small groups: that means I got more time to talk, so could clarify my thought that way, and fewer people to listen to. Listening to more people might have been too much to take in.

You looked at me and I saw such misery on your face. And I don’t know it was misery, or what it meant, but I guess. I don’t know because I approached you then could not talk to you, and fled. We are in a place of peace and reconciliation, and it was not enough. I saw and heard of your attempts to come together with us trans folk. I was there, some of the time. I was impressed, even surprised, by some people’s reconciliation work.

We started combatively. One came for the opening session but not to any after. Others missed sessions. A gay man and a trans woman had planned the weekend, and someone asked what lesbian involvement there had been in the planning. That matters if lesbians have different interests. Someone said there had been tension in the past between lesbians and gay men.

We shared our traumas. We cried and hugged, sometimes, but also spoke them into the air. If I felt we had ended in a place of loving understanding, I would feel those traumas were heard and acknowledged, glad they could be spoken. As it is, there was incomplete understanding. We agreed not to disclose personal stories told, and I won’t, however long I remember them, and I hope no-one regrets speaking them. Someone walked out as I was speaking. I can guess why she did, but could not have predicted it beforehand. My attempts to comically self-deprecate about my experience were heard as- insulting, perhaps.

There is a “we”. I can define it, but, basing it on “gender diversity” know others might find my definition meaningless or insulting. I can state what I think are common interests, common experiences. I am wretched that we might be against each other. I am glad we could come together and not sure it is enough. If this is a gender and sexual diversity community it should feel- more-? Will we just split?

This is my definition of gender diversity. Sex is man and woman, gender is the stereotypes culturally attached to them, masculinity and femininity. So gender diversity includes people who are “gender non-conforming”, who do not fit those stereotypes even if they are quite certain they are the sex they were born with. No, it does not “erase lesbians”, or Stonewall would not be supporting it with a lesbian chief executive.

I am accepted, or at least tolerated, in enough places. Like others with very different views about trans, I am concerned about particular kinds of people. Some are phobic, and some are acting on conflicting principles. I wish trans was not an issue. While it is, our “community” is an arena for thrashing out these issues, which can be a difficult place to be.

All comments welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.