A lot has happened this week. First, we went on a day trip to Bath. Where I visited the Bath Abbey, Guild Hall, Assembly Halls, and the famous healing hot springs. The first few places were beautiful, but by far more interesting was the hot springs. It is a Roman bath house built on top of a sacred Celtic spring of the Goddess Sulis. Walking through the ruins and seeing so much ancient architecture still in tact was incredible. At the end of the tour, you’re given the opportunity to drink from the healing spring which has been believed to have magical healing properties for thousands of years. I can see exactly why. At first, it was earthy and very metallic tasting, then without warning, I felt a very strange tingling, glowing sensation that radiated outward from every point of contact in my body. It was exactly what you would imagine magic would feel like. Fortunately, I don’t have any illnesses that I know of, so I can’t speak to whether or not I was healed. But that experience was a bit otherworldly. My friends speculate it must be loaded with lithium or something. I don’t know, but it was cool and I recommend it.
I finalized my travel plans for this coming midterm break. I’ll be going to Edinburgh (no specific plan for activities yet) and Krakow to visit Auschwitz. I’ve always wanted to go there. To see it for myself. The Holocaust was spoken of a fair amount throughout my childhood. I’ve read many books from survivors and historians and recently took a Holocaust history class. I’m not exactly sure what I intend to get out of the experience. But I want to pay my respects to the dead, the people whose tragic stories were shared with me through the survivors. All my life I have struggled to understand what happened there and how it came to be. This may be something I can never understand.
In school this week, not a lot happened as classes were canceled because of the Tube strike. We tried to function the first two days, but with delays on buses and everyone trying to drive cars, it was taking people 4+ hours to commute anywhere. But we did manage to see two plays: A Taste Of Honey and School For Scheming. Other than that, it’s been all about the midterm essays.
At my internship, we took the young people to go sees a theater performance that was a butoh/contemporary circus mash up (reminded me of Portland). The project was put together by professionals working with LGBT young people (including one of our own!) to express their experiences. I think it was a bit high concept for some of our folks, but they all had fun and found inspiration in seeing their peers on stage.
For our weekly session, I was selected on short notice (under an hour) to present for the evening. It was the 15th anniversary of the Admiral Duncan bombing (a gay pub in Soho). The bombing was carried out by an organizer from the British Nationalist Party and Nationalist Socialist Movement. It killed 3 people and critically injured 79. This bombing was one of three; the other two were in ethnic minority areas: Brixton and Brick Lane. This story definitely shook them up. I shared the story of how this almost happened in my community too (a fact that made researching this story particularly emotional for me). A fascist group was preparing to bomb a gay bar in every city along the I-5 Interstate. If it had not been for an antifascist organizer infiltrating their organization and discovering this group’s plot, it would have happened to us. Police picked them up on their way to carry it out, bombs in the car. The young people had many questions, revealing their fears. I was not fully prepared to answer them all. I’m not confident that I adequately helped them process this heavy information. I wish that I was given more time to prepare so I could have had more affirming and reassuring things to tell them, to help them feel safe. How can we share these ugly truths and prepare our young for the hatred in this world, without crushing their spirits and adding to the layers of alienation already imposed by hegemonically homophobic societies?