Here's hoping that you all might have some time off to enjoy a break. Happy Easter. It is also the sixth day of Passover as I write.
Me and my husband have two blissful days off. The market we trade in generally is closed today as well as Monday. We were working till 5pm yesterday however and it was still so cold!
There's no doubt it's Spring here in Manchester though. A cormorant has taken up residence, fishing on the Marina. The geese, in pairs are so noisy right now. The swans are nesting on an island in the lake and a pair of goldfinches were seen by the nest boxes in the lane. The cowslips are out and the bats have started flying out in the evening. Love is in the air, passion, new life in the freedom of the outdoors.
Easter and Passover are religious festivals. Though there's a religious basis to the holiday, the retail focus here in the UK is largely chocolate and sweets. You can't escape it, there is never any shortage. I've too have served a good deal of delicious hot chocolate recently, sweet indulgent coffees with fragrant syrups and offered pain chocolat to my customers. 'Naughty but nice' is often used to describe them. It's also a phrase we use for taboo sexual indulgence too. Sinful or not? Some would say were conceived in sin. Does that make sex sinful? I'm a chocolate addict myself, I love good coffee, I see no harm in a little pleasurable indulgence but then I see no sin or harm in consensual, joyful sex either. I also see no harm in someone's sexual choices, their sexual expression, orientation or gender identity. Not everyone sees things this way.
It is nearing the end of Passover and the Easter break. Unlike the Christian message of resurrection, Passover is, in essence about celebrating freedom. It is a message I'm taking to heart this year. Like others, I've watched in horror as in Chechnya Gay men have been rounded up, killed or placed in concentration camps. It made me think about freedom.
Passover recalls the flight from Egypt of the Jewish people and the regaining of freedom; freedom from slavery. The U.K. doesn't have slavery but freedom isn't exactly equal even now. You are free to be openly Trans or Gay but don't expect to enjoy quite the same rights as others. Some may feel compelled to complain about you, attack you, call you names or find ways of excluding you from jobs, deny your right to be male or female or bizarrely, to use toilets. In spite of inequalities however, I'm left, once again, reflecting that I'm lucky to live in here Western Europe. In many countries I would not even be recognized as a woman and my marriage to my husband Mart would be not certainly not be legal.
Let's celebrate the freedoms we have, fight hard to maintain them but also campaign for more. Trans people will only be truly free when we have a society that includes everyone and celebrates difference.
Much love and peace this Passover and Easter,
HUGGS Jane xx
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