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Monthly Archives: March 2014

At the Equinox, just for a day, the world is united in a way that has nothing to do with human agendas or ideology, nothing to do with environment or climate, nothing to do even with season of the year: there is the same amount of light and darkness everywhere. It’s a kind of creative equality that fascinates me.

This time, as the sun crossed the Equator, I got the image of an adult leading an art project for some kids. Each child had a nice clear workspace, some on the floor, some at tables, some standing in front of a wall. The atmosphere was calm and full of anticipation. She hands out a big sheet of sturdy paper to each child, and then distributes sets of brushes and two identical jars — one of light and one of darkness.

“Okay, everyone,” she says to the eager kids (and I’m one of them — I’m so excited!), “today you have exactly the same amount of daylight and night to work with. We’re each going to paint our pictures, which will be the map of our lives for the next six months.”

I knew right away that some pictures would have more daylight and some more night, that light was not good and darkness evil, that there was no battle between day and night. I could feel the beauty of each, and the sacred gifts of each — inwardness, outwardness, communication, introspection, giving, receiving — I won’t go on, you know them already. What each painting looked like wasn’t the point.

The point was that at this time of the year whatever we paint stays with us until the sun crosses the equator again, giving us another identical set of jars of light and darkness.

Paint from the heart, which is to say, paint wisely.

On this date Germany’s Paragraph 175 was finally revoked. Originally adopted in 1871, Paragraph 175 was a provision of the German Criminal Code that made homosexual acts between males a crime. The statute was amended several times. The Nazis broadened the law in 1935 and increased §175 StGB prosecutions by an order of magnitude; thousands died in concentration camps, regardless of guilt or innocence.

East Germany reverted to the old version of the law in 1950, limited its scope to sex with youths under 18 in 1968, and abolished it entirely in 1988. West Germany retained the Nazi-era statute until 1969, when it was limited to “qualified cases”; it was further attenuated in 1973 and finally revoked entirely in 1994 after German reunification.

Noteworthy is that the gay men in the concentration camps were kept in German prisons after the end of the war because they had violated this law.