Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October 2008

Hi Poppets! October is always a difficult month for me to be a columnist. Without very strict guidelines about what I’m supposed to write, there are simply too many choices. Even in a non-election year, it’s easy to get political and socially aware.

See October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. How easy would it be to write about how domestic violence within the community is ignored so often? The fact that it is seen as a straight problem. How it is often considered a betrayal of the community to out an abuser. Or simply because the abuser is the more femme one in the relationship, so it can’t possibly really be abuse. Or how a fight between two people of the same gender automatically makes it “fair” so it can’t possibly be abuse? And how so many people go without getting help from counselors, police, shelters, hotlines, their friends and family, simply because domestic violence “doesn’t exist” in the community. It would be so easy to reassure you, Poppets, that if you feel you are in an abusive relationship, you don’t have to hide. That there are indeed services available to you, right here in Washington. That if you are male, female or transgendered, you can contact the North West Network at PO Box 18436, Seattle, 98118 or call them at (206) 568-7777 and they will listen, they will believe you, they will help. It would be easy to write about how you are not alone and you do not have to be afraid.

But it is an election year. One of, if not the, most important election years many of us have ever seen. If you are liberal or conservative, Democrat, Republican or Independent, there are certain facts that are undeniable. Financial institutions are going under. Unemployment is rising. The Supreme Court justices are getting older. The next president of the United States will be in a position to sign or veto: the Matthew Shepard Act; nondiscrimination laws that protect all members of our community, including transgendered peoples; a bill amending the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. He will also, most probably, appoint as many as three Supreme Court justices to the bench, where they will serve for the rest of their lives. If you have a good, stable job, it’s easy to ignore the economy. If you aren’t connected to anyone in the military, it’s easy to ignore the war. But the rest of this, these are issues that affect us and our lives directly. These are the issues we cannot afford to ignore, whatever side of the aisle we are on. So how much easier does this election year make it to write a socially aware, political article?

And yet, in spite of all that, it’s Autumn. My favorite season. There’s that fabulous smell in the air. The leaves start to change. It becomes cool enough during the day to warrant a light sweater and cooler at night so it’s perfect for snuggling in front of a fire. Seattle hosts the LGBT Film Festival. Harvest festivals spring up at local farms and farmers’ markets and even the zoo. Haunted houses and corn mazes are put on by high schools and in parking lots. Decorations from fun and witchy to gentle reminders of Harvest show up. Pumpkins and apple cider and hay rides, all leading up to the fabulously over-the-top night that can be Halloween. The time for parties, revelry and festivities that will last through the New Year officially begins. How can I not write an article about my favorite season?

Yep, Poppets, it’s true. October is the most difficult month for me to be a columnist. Too many choices, too many articles begging to be written. So, I won’t choose. I’ll simply remind you that you’re not alone, to be aware and to enjoy the onset of Autumn.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you.

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