18 October 2010

Galloping Against Their Bodies

What is it about October?

I know that it's fall and leaves are dying and, oh, they look so beautiful doing it.  And I'll admit that I've taken trips just to see vast tableaux of that happening.  Well, I did other things, too--like biking and, um, visiting Ben and Jerry's and Chabot's.

Those of you who know me well might say that the way I feel about October is my personal reaction to the deaths I've experienced during this month:  my grandmother and an uncle.  And a few other things have ended for me in October.  

On the other hand, I feel energized, even if I get sick or some other inconvenience or a tragedy befalls me.  There must be some weird dialectic (I hate that word, but it's apt.) between death and creative energy.  I can't think of things that have begun for me in October, but there were times when, in October, I realized that I was into, or on my way to, something I'd wanted.  Seven years ago, I was a month into living full-time as Justine.  There was something about that milestone; I guess a month is a fairly significant amount of time.  Plus, it represents a cycle of the moon.   According to much in religion, mysticism and even some more empirical pursuits, the moon is a source of creative energy.  And, of course, the tides--and, for some of us, the cycles of our bodies--are tied to the lunar waxings and wanings.

The flip side of creative energy is whatever causes people to do stupid, crazy or terrible things.  Why else do young men risk their futures and lives to play a game?  I really hope Eric LeGrand recovers and lives a wonderful life.  But, really:   Why risk one's self in such a way for...what?...the glory of your team?  Your college?  Your country?

I think James Wright put it best at the end of his poem Autumn Begins In Martin's Ferry, Ohio:  "Their sons grow suicidally beautiful / At the beginning of October / And gallop terribly against each other's bodies."

I know, I'm un-American (and, as some of my peers and colleagues used to tell me, not "one of the guys") because I just don't get what's so entertaining about guys hitting each other as hard as they can to move a ball a few yards down a field.   

Anyway...Could it be that a certain kind of guy really has to "prove" himself at this time of year.  Everything around him says "fall;" that's exactly what he doesn't want to do.  He wants to show he can stand tall; that he is indeed "the man."  But even if he is, he won't be forever.  So he needs something to assert himself.

Maybe that's the reason why there's so much violence against LGBT people at this time of year, and why the perpetrators of them seem to be trying to outdo each other in viciousness and brutality.  I've mentioned some of those crimes--Even those few I've mentioned are too many!--in previous posts.  And, it seems, there's a new one, if not every day, at least every other day.  

One result is that, even with anti-discrimination laws and even with workplaces and other settings where people make the effort to understand people who are different from themselves, there are still unspoken, unwritten versions of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, as "Diana" relates on her blog.  And for everyone who is silenced by such practices, many more--especially young people-- will silence themselves out of fear.  After all, if you saw your teacher or some other adult in your life lose his or her livelihood--and suffer other kinds of grief-- simply for being honest, what would you do?

I can tell you this:  It does nothing to stop the cycle of hate and violence.  After all, we know that people gallop most violently against the bodies of the enemies they find within themselves.