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.
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.
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.
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.
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.