Today was a beautiful day. Early rain gave way to a cloudy day gave way to bright sun in clear air. Paul and Ryan and I walked around Echo Park, the lotuses growing tall out of the water. Behind a big spray of water downtown Los Angeles glittered in the sun as it started breaking through the clouds. We walked up a public staircase. In a dirty, graffitied alley, we found a trio of girls in yoga clothes doing yoga for, presumably, instagram. We walked on. I took pictures of so many flowers, hibiscus, passion flower, the lotuses. I watched a grandmother with her granddaughter. I watched a man teaching his kids to fish. A whole group of people who belong to the Angelus temple lined up two by two to let us pass. We walked under a row of many kinds of palms. We went up into Angelino Heights and pretended we could distinguish a Queen Anne from a Victorian. One home in beautiful condition had a disturbingly ragged lace curtain in the front picture window. Others were suffering, rotting porches, flaking paint, doors entirely boarded up. A dog with the face of a small child watched us from a window. One big house almost completely missing any paint, with empty window frames that looked into rooms crammed with junk, with a lackadaisical pinwheel creaking in the front yard. Mystery is thick anywhere you choose to look.
We walked past a house with a bountiful flower garden and a big rainbow flag and I said something cynical about how I don't do parades and Ryan said he thought for solidarity he should be there today. We talked past each other for a moment until he realized we had not heard about Orlando. As we strolled down Douglas, surrounded by wild banana trees, monstera, magnolia, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, he told us what happened and there's not really anything to say that matters.
We kept walking and looking at homes both beautiful and rundown. Homes that have been here a hundred years and are settled into their foundations, look a little wavy, homes with carriage steps for people getting in and out of long-lost phaetons. We walked along the 101, under date palms, looking out at the golden domes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church now in full sun.
You know, this will be unpopular, but the public conflation of love with queerness makes my skin crawl. I understand why we do it, why we hammer home the point again and again. Love! Love! Love! It expands the mainstream umbrella to protect more of us. Talking about marriage makes people who don't like sex more comfortable. Love is so undeniably good, the only tool we can use over and over again.
But isn't it important also to say sex is okay, that we're not just fighting for neutered marriages and adopted children, we're fighting also for bodies coming together for any goddam reason they please. That's also important.
We are all lonely bodies with strong desires, however those desires appear, and I am thankful for everyone who has ever publicly specified the things their body wants, because it made it easier for me, even though I mostly disappear into assumed straightness. It is worth coming out here, again, in case the memo got lost under the pictures of me and my male partner on facebook. I don't look queer anymore, if I ever did. I don't go to Pride or write about queerness. Even my dance career, forged by my queer identity, now looks more like telephone lines than drag queens. But it is there in me as it always has been and always will be, no matter what you or I or anyone else thinks. It is there in me and Orlando feels personal in a way that San Bernardino does not, even though it's been a few years since I've gone to a gay club. I have found the rough outlines of my gender and sexual expression, although I will be feeling out the finer details for the rest of my life (see: my new, de rigueur queer lady haircut). And that is largely because a whole ton of people came before and said things out loud. The kind of people who were out last night having a good time in Orlando, with their lonely bodies dancing and reveling, seeking and finding.
Bodies matter, and love matters too. Love is for donating blood and calling your friends. Love is for all of us as we learn to appreciate each other more and to help those who need help and to put the sharp things out of reach and to hold hands and to walk together in the sunshine and to play pinball and to drink a beer and to talk about white ducks. Which is what I did today.
An eclipse is dark as it blots out the sun--but the light still comes, so bright and strong you can't look directly at it.