Rainbow

I’m struggling through the interview transcript that I need to parse for themes and insights. The subject matter is dark and difficult, but even beyond that there’s a level of dramatic irony (literarily speaking) that is hard to stomach. The person I interviewed is a good friend, and I found out just weeks after talking with her – the night before we left the US for Albania – that her marriage was imploding. Knowing what I know now, it’s incredibly hard to read the transcript of our conversation, which took place at a point in time when neither of us knew what was happening in her husband’s life, or how it would shortly unravel her world, or how hard it was to find a way to support her emotionally as I adapted to a new life 6 time zones away.

I need to maintain a professional detachment – but my stomach is uneasy and I need to take a break.

I’m also feeling a little queasy because my kids are at the pool with the babysitter, and it’s their first time going there, and I can’t help but fret just a little. It’s a kids’ wading pool, of course, and I know they are in excellent hands, but I just worry – is Illyria allowing herself to be sunblocked? How are they faring with the new nap-free zone we’re experimenting with?

And I got my period last night, early, and with it the splitting headache that seems to develop in the day or so leading up to the start of a new cycle. This aging thing, wow. I can feel it.

~::~

So I’ve been wrestling with something recently. I can’t remember now when exactly it was – mid-March, maybe? It was a rainy day, and I had scheduled Oz for his vaccines which is a really complicated process in Albania if you’re not an Albanian citizen, so I wasn’t about to re-schedule. But I found out that the same day there was going to be a Celebration of Diversity on the main boulevard, where every important public event takes place.

Generally speaking, Albania is not a very welcoming or friendly place for LGBTQ people. In fact, when the Pink Embassy announced this event, one of the government ministers said publicly that the only right response to the event would be to beat all the participants with truncheons. Immediately afterwards, the Prime Minister made a very strong statement against this minister, most likely in hopes of preserving Albania’s chances (which are rather slim at the moment) of joining the EU someday.

I saw the announcements about the event linked on Facebook, though in a backhanded kind of way – members of the church we attend making very strong anti-LGBTQ statements like “what’s next, equal rights for pedophiles?” and the like.

It hurt my heart. And I wanted to go to the event. But I had this medical appointment for Oz. So in the end, I kept the appointment. Actually I walked along the main boulevard on the way to the appointment, and saw the miniscule handful of people – maybe thirty – standing in the rain or sheltering under the festive summer tents where tables were stacked with books and pamphlets. A balloon rainbow arced rather sadly over the park where they were set up, and a line of policemen stood facing outward, scanning the faces of passers-by implacably.

And I thought how incredibly brave these people were to come out in the rain in such a hostile environment, making a statement for tolerance and peace.

And what a coward I am that I couldn’t even say something affirming this group in my Facebook status, for fear of being rejected by the church people.

Two blocks down, another group was gathering. Coming back from our appointment I saw that probably around 200 people – many visibly Islamic – were gathering at another park, with huge red-lettered signs that I couldn’t translate for you because I didn’t know all the words, although the intent was clear enough. It was the anti-rainbow. It was the thundercloud. And it was scary to me. I pushed Oscar’s stroller past them quickly.

I am still ashamed that I did nothing that day or that week. That I didn’t even walk over and say hello to the people standing with their umbrellas under the rainbow, behind the police. According to my belief system, that makes me complicit in the violence against people of different sexual orientations.

I am confessing this to you not so that you can absolve me, nor excuse me, but because I want to come clean, and I want to draw strength from somewhere to have more courage next time, to be clear about my convictions. I want to continue to belong to the Christian community, and it can be hard when I disagree with so many of them about things that are actually really important. That are, sometimes, matters of life and death.

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4 Responses to “Rainbow”

  1. Tarable Says:

    I find that it’s sometimes harder to “do the right thing” when I have my kids with me. Any sense of potential danger or clash and I just want to be gone as fast as I can. I have ducked out of many situations where I would have otherwise spoke up or spoke out but being a mom sometimes puts things in a different light.

    It’s unfortunatate that the world can’t just be a more peaceful, accepting place. I find it hard to believe sometimes that anybody should care who we love.

  2. Heather Says:

    Thanks for the useful link on my blog about the baby language.
    I think life is never clear cut and you do the best your can…
    I also get headaches with my periods..

  3. jjiraffe Says:

    Tough stuff. All I can really say is I’m sorry that the reception for the project (Celebrate Diversity) was so disturbing. Maybe there’s something you can do now, after the fact, to support them? It’s never too late.

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