Gender Bending Part 1: Stop. Think. Accept

(This post was originally published on 8 April, 2011 on my first blog).
It was a nice summer afternoon. My girlfriend and I were invited to a gay friend’s party, a different crowd than we normally hangout with. As we walked into the door all guests– who were all gay men –  stared at my girlfriend, their eyes full of interest, curiosity, and lust. They were pretty much undressing her with their eyes.
Something wrong with this picture? They’re gay, why are they lusting after my woman?
Because they think she is a young sexy man, just their cup of tea.
My girlfriend can be classified as butch, although she is such a girl beneath the tomboy exterior. People on the street call her “Mr”. Wherever we are, I hear people asking each other “is this a man or a woman?”
It does not bother my girlfriend, but it drives me mad sometimes. I get upset that people regard her as a freak show. They give themselves the right to point and snigger amongst themselves. They give themselves the liberty to laugh at what is different, and at what they do not fathom.
Their responses baffle me when they find out she is a woman. For example when women try to kick her out of the women’s carriage on the metro, they always give two reasons for their confusion about her gender: She has short hair and no earrings. Is that all it is to differentiate between a man and a woman? Hair and earrings?!
It intrigues me that, in Egypt at least, people are not able to explain why they really think she is a man and not a woman. Earrings and hair is just an excuse to vocalize what they are unable to comprehend and digest. Their gender perception is very narrow.
My girlfriend friend really pushes the gender boundaries. Does this affect how LGBTs are accepted? Perhaps a blurry line between genders can indeed make our acceptance more difficult. All over the world, transgenders often fall of the LGB”T” wagon as they are thought to give “LGB”s a bad image. Tolerance amongst members of the LGBT “community” is worth a post of its own!
I know we are not about to be accepted today or tomorrow, but on the long run, people fear and dislike what they do not understand, and would probably have a harder time accepting our gender-bending brothers and sisters, and by default the rest of us.
Regardless of annoyances, my girlfriend has no problem being accepted by whom she works with and the straight community she lives in. She is successfully shattering images of what women should look and dress like. She makes people think about how they perceive genders, and although the average citizen might not have the mental mechanism to really think it through analytically, they still give it a thought.
She makes people stop, think, and eventually accept. This is what we really need.
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