Doin’ More Time in Cambridge

Cambridge Botanical Garden

Cambridge Botanical Garden

I spent yet another lovely day in Cambridge, the highlight being a stroll around the Cambridge University Botanical Garden. Spring is at its height as you will see from the following photos.

Earlier in the day I got to meet up with two Cambridge students to discuss Romans chapter one (and two). This text has been used against lesbians and gays, but it doesn’t take too much of looking at it in context to understand that it does not in any way address two women or two men in a relationship together that includes romance, intimacy, companionship and yes even sex. (I blogged some about this yesterday.)

If you want to check out a wonderful essay on the topic read James Alison’s “But the Bible Says..?” A Catholic Reading of Romans One.

Cambridge Canal

Cambridge Canal

My friend, Esther, showed me around the gardens and amused me throughout the day (she has a wicked sense of humor).

I met Esther back in 2005 I believe at a Courage event, (once an ex-gay group, Courage transformed itself into an LGBT-affirming Christian group. See change is possible!)

Esther currently studies at Cambridge tooling around on her amazing power chair making her the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a Transformer. She is a disabled person NOT a person with disabilities. She has had to sort me out more than once about this.

Esther ATTACKED by plant

Esther ATTACKED by plant

A strong advocate for herself and other disabled people, she has taught me a great deal about disability issues. No doubt I have much more to learn.

I’m reminded that the path of an ally is one fraught with mistakes, missteps and mis-statements. I know that I have had much to learn about transgender issues, and still have much to learn. I’ve written before that allies need to have a graceful resiliency, bouncing back when corrected, not letting our egos get bruised when we get it wrong and corrected. In a world where I have been privileged in so many ways, I have blind spots.

Esther entering King's College

Esther entering King's College

I remember one time I was with a dear friend of mine in Sweden. Alex and I were walking around Umeå discussing abortion (not sure how we got on that topic.) I said something like,

“Well, men can’t really understand what it must be like for women, so I think that men can only have limited say in the matter.”

He gently disagreed with me (although it didn’t FEEL gentle at the time) and informed me that I was being close-minded about the issue.  He stated that not all men have no personal knowledge of these matters and that some may have important insight on the matter of birth and abortion.

Peterson & weird green plant

Peterson & weird green plant

Alex then reminded me that I know of at least one man with a uterus who has given birth at least three times.  hmmm, right. I forgot about that.

I have since met several others.

Graceful resilience–knowing that I will get it wrong, and that I will need to be corrected.  This is the path to becoming an informed and hopefully effective ally.

I left Cambridge late yesterday afternoon and write this blog from Bury St. Edmunds, a town to the North of Cambridge in Suffolk. Ruth Ann and Ken are being lovely hosts letting me lounge about blogging and reading Middlemarch. Tonight they want to take me for my first every Qigong session, a sort of core strengthening martial arts. They warn me that I will be sore for days, so if you hear me worrying about aches and pains and possible swine flu, you know it was really the Qigong.

Enjoy the photos.

Old door in Cambridge

Old door in Cambridge

Cambridge Blossoms

Cambridge Blossoms

Meadow in Cambridge

Meadow in Cambridge

Fountain at Cambridge Botantical Garden

Fountain at Cambridge Botantical Garden

Flowers in field

Flowers in field

Insectavore Plant

Insectavore Plant

Cambrige Botanical Garden

Cambrige Botanical Garden

This post has 8 Comments

  1. Beth on April 30, 2009 at 7:57 pm Reply

    Hi Peterson,
    Still thinking of you in Hartford.
    I have to say, if ever we reach a point in time where social justice performance artists are no longer needed (and what a day that would be) I have no doubt you would have a fabulous future as a photographer. Cambridge looks beautiful, especially through your eyes. I’ve been following your threads and gorgeous photographs from England and finally had a moment to comment.
    Looking forward to seeing you when you get back.

  2. p2son on April 30, 2009 at 8:47 pm Reply

    Thanks Beth. It feels like I have been away much more than a week. A good week, but a long one. I have a little bit of a break for the next week, much of it I will spend in the Cotswolds with friends, so it should be relaxing and I have a good book!

    see you in June. Thanks for visiting and checking in.

  3. Brittanicals on May 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm Reply

    Gorgeous pics! You seem to know how to frame the flowers just so.

    I hope you get some rest.

  4. Sheria in South Africa on May 1, 2009 at 6:39 pm Reply

    Peterson, just got back home, tired but with little energy left to visit your site. Oh, how I love your photos; mesmerising…Now, do you go looking for these beautiful flowers or they just pop up on every street of cambridge? Also, you make laugh when I read the caption carrying esther’s “photo, “Ester being attacked by plant!” Come on, Esther seems such a SWEET lady, as such no plant would be willing to “attack” her…Wait, do plants have feeling? Love your wicked humour! You talk about abortion here, Petersn, ever wondered why abortion is justified in many circles, when the Bible says, do not kill? (an embryo is human being)… Now am putting you on the spot here. oops!

    • p2son on May 2, 2009 at 12:00 am Reply

      As I am a man with NO uterus, I think I will defer. One thing I think is that no one can be anti-abortion without being pro-women meaning equal pay, full medical benefits and full maternity leave and child care. We have to first provide for all of the needs of a parent.

  5. Sheria in South Africa on May 1, 2009 at 6:59 pm Reply

    Okay, I know some people terminate their pregnancies due to a combination of factors; such as baby putting the life of its mother at risk, or single mother has no means of looking after its child etc. My point, rather question is, why does society deem certain sins as less serious, and others as more serious, yet all sins are sins before the eyes of God?? Trust me, a lot of my girlfriends think abortion is cool, especially if there is “legitimate” reasons to carry it out! Hmmm..What do you think?

  6. Oliver Danni on May 2, 2009 at 4:42 am Reply

    As a person with no functioning reproductive system to speak of, here is my take on who’s allowed to have an opinion about abortion:

    Everyone!

    And here is my take on who should be allowed to make the final decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy:

    The person who is pregnant!

    It doesn’t matter what gender someone is…if you’re talking about a specific person’s specific pregnancy, that decision is up to that person (and, to some degree, their doctor…but ultimately, if that person wants to have an abortion without a doctor, there are ways to do it which are WAY safer than coat hangers that people with uteruses who don’t want someone else living in their uterus for nine months have been utilizing since the dawn of time). But when talking about abortion generally…everyone is entitled to an opinion on it. This idea that men aren’t allowed to have an opinion about abortion comes from the stereotype that if men are allowed to have opinions about women’s rights, they will automatically oppose them just because they’re men. This is not only totally unfair, but it’s totally not TRUE. Plenty of women are against abortion, for one thing…it’s a huge mistake to assume that if someone had a uterus they would “understand”. And plenty of people who do not have uteruses are perfectly great allies for people who want to have abortions — unless they think they’re not allowed to have an opinion!

    Peterson, have you read the book Cunt, by Inga Muscio? You will seriously love this book, I think. I would lend you my copy if I could physically reach to hand it to you, but you’re probably better off getting your own, because my copy is totally covered in all the comments I scribbled in the margins during my hardcore radical feminist days when I was a women’s studies major at Earlham (that lasted about a year, and then I quit school 😉 )

  7. Sheriah in SA on May 2, 2009 at 10:54 am Reply

    Oliver Danii, very realistic comment…I loved reading your comment. I quite agree with you in the sense that, sometimes in life, drastic measures or decisions are made due to the gravity of the situation. Some decisions may even appear “sinful” or going against God’s word but are done in good faith. Frankly, I hate abortion, but if my doctor insisted my pregnancy be terminated because my life would be in danger, I would have to go along with his my doctor’s decision. Reminds me of what Peterson and I discussed earlier via email about abortion. His conclusion? The world is a complex place and women choose abortion for different reasons). I agree, maybe we just have to cuddle up to the classic saying, “rules were meant to be broken…” In life sometimes, you have to do what needs to be done…

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