Living in “Equality”
Growing up and living in a place like Germany, certainly comes with certain privileges concerning the choices I made in my life and the opportunities I am given.
The motivation behind the high level of tolerance here is something I do not want to go into detail about, since it will not change the actual problem that not only me but a lot of others do face each and every single day.
Anyhow the term “equality“ and “open-mindedness“ is not really something that everyone is entitled to, neither to being a proud owner of these qualities nor being granted with.
Whenever I stroll around through the city with my girlfriend, (here the shocking news are revealed: I am with a woman and being a woman myself) merely holding her hand, we become prey.
Prey to men, who all of a sudden seem to enjoy a certain liberty to openly harass us because… well yes, simply because we are a gay couple and shockingly may not fit the stereotype presented.
We live in a city which is commonly known to be “gay friendly“ and seems to be very proud about it, some citizens though, should reconsider their stand I guess.
Only recently we walked through a crowd of people on the sidewalk, 3 men passing us, doing a clear check from head to toe and taking a particular interest in the fact that we wereholding hands.
Then he looked at us and merely asked: „So who is f***ing whom tonight?“ To be fair, 2 of the other guys did not say anything, trying to rush by it seemed.
Luckily my girlfriend did not quite get what this guy just had blurted out, because knowing her temper, he probably would have gotten what he deserved.
I, however, was definitely too stunned to come up with a witty answer and just ushered her along to get away from those scrutinizing looks and blunt harassment.
I am unfortunately not kidding, those really were the exact words he used.
Just a moment later, after leaving those behind, I was wondering how a heterosexual couple would have reacted, but let’s be honest here, this would have never happened to this kind of couple. I even dislike it it to differentiate here between couples, because I used to be under the impression that this was utterly unnecessary, at least what I had come across until this point.
Imagine a man holding his girlfriends hand, those 3 guys passing them and asking the very same question.
Here is what would have happened: The boyfriend would have let go of his girlfriends hand in order to hit that foul mouth with. And to be fair, (and I am not a person who supports violence) I would have considered this as something that could have been anticipated.
An other incident happened after coming home on a Friday night, leaving the subway — my girlfriend noticed a man following us. Personally, I am (probably quite unfortunately) oblivious to such things, she however kept turning around until the guy noticed that we had in fact noticed him.
Instead of him backing off, feeling caught he started screaming at us, if we wanted to have a threesome with him. We ignored. He followed. Repeating his very question. We climbed up the stairs, he followed, still the same question.
Now we were getting close to home, we walked faster, he increased his speed as well, I knew that I certainly did not want him to know where we live, so I somewhat did what seemed rational to me in that very moment. I stopped, turned around and screamed as loudly as possible at him, asking what his damn problem was?! Telling him quite clearly that if he didn’t back off now, I would not hesitate to call the police and let them deal with him.
Either the message or my volume shook him back to his senses, finally turning around and leaving us alone.
So what is it that triggers such a reaction in people and seemingly specifically men? Before continuing my elaboration, I do want to state very clearly that I am not one of those women, who protest against men and hate them for the very fact that they are breathing. I do not feel victimized, or jeopardized out of chances because I am XX instead of XY. Particularly stressing this in regard of recent events particularly!
Nonetheless, after becoming more aware to this over the last couple of months, I have not had a single incident where another woman had such a reaction towards us.
Since living in this city for about 7 years now I was under the impression that the overall acceptance of whomever you choose to love was genuine here, but maybe this does not apply to all of us.
I started to wonder if we were overly provocative, but hardly ever would we do more than holding each others hands or the initial kiss as a greeting, which hardly can be taken for an invitation to harass us or feel overly bothered about.
Maybe we seem to pose a threat to the cliché that lesbian women are of short hair and rather manly in gestures, appearances and overall everything, which we are far from. So could it be that two not fitting a certain idea of a, in this case, sexuality, makes it all the more difficult to understand and brings up the question in certain people’s head that it seems irrational to be with each other? I cannot answer nor understand, but do I and do we have to accept such a humiliation because we are a minority and according to some people, something that society did not and does not intend us to be?
Anyhow, this question may only be answered by each and everyone individually, I, however, believe that everybody deserves the same respect that one would like to receive.
My reactions so far have been to ignore, to shake my head, or feeling threatened, but maybe I should have not done that.
Maybe it is about time to speak up and stand up against those harassing us, harassing others and being disrespectful, simply because they feel entitled to.
Supposedly there is no other way than beginning a change and actually it begins with me in the first place, escaping the grip of fear that a possible confrontation may have and stand up for what I believe in and not only live within my comfort zone. Maybe this would make some understand that I do not demand to be accepted by their ideals, but merely expect respect..