Tag Archives: Gay community

I went to Hamburg Pride 2013 and it was awesome!

Hello, rainbow friends!

As part of my summer holidays/travel shenanigans this year I went to Christopher Street Day Hamburg (or Pride for short) and I have lived to tell the tale! And show you lots of pictures, of course.

Let’s start with some stats: Hamburg is a city in Northern Germany and is known for having a big-ass harbour (one of the 20 biggest world-wide). Tourists tend to forget about Hamburg, because Berlin exists, even though it is Germany’s second biggest city as well as the biggest city in the EU that is not a capital. So yes, it does have a respectable gay scene. 😉

Another fun fact: Hamburg had a gay mayor from 2001 until 2010, Ole von Beust. He was outed in 2003 accidentally by his father, but he didn’t mind. And apparently it also didn’t harm his political career, as he was re-elected twice afterwards. He also participated in Hamburg Pride 2009!

But let’s move on to this year’s Pride, shall we?

This was actually the first proper Pride March I had ever been to! I have been to CSD Münster last year, buuut it was rather small affair, so I was pretty excited to see what a “real”, big Pride looks like. And what can I say… It was absolutely amazing! The weather was really nice (eventually), there were fantastic costumes, the music was great and people were dancing in the streets. I really don’t have much else to say, other than that I had a fantastic time and was really happy to see so many diverse, proud and politically active people.

So without further ado, why don’t you have a look at the pictures below to get a better impression? You could just scroll through them, but I also wrote some extra info in the captions and translated all the German signs and banners, so just click on the first photo to start a slideshow and learn a bit more about the event. Enjoy!

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Born this way?

Coming out is a process, I admire those who have – I can openly say that I most certainly haven’t. We struggle and struggle, often in silence, and then we have our moment where we just know. Whether gay, straight, bisexual, or whatever, we are born this way and we will die this way. Or maybe not that’s not quite right? Surely this can’t be the only explanation.

I believe that sexuality is fluid.

 When you are discovering who you are and who you want to be with, you go through phases of trying to find exactly what you identify as. Trying on different labels until we find the one that fits. It’s not that our sexuality is fluid, it’s that we haven’t found the right label yet.

But what if our sexuality could continually change throughout our lives. I mean everything else does: our tastes in clothes, or music, or food. But more to the point, our own personalities change throughout our lives – I believe that our sexuality is one of the biggest aspects of our personality.

I always knew from a young age that I wasn’t straight – and that was fine, more than fine! As I had an interest in both men and women, it was right to assume that I was bisexual, right?

fuck gender norms and barriers

And I was bisexual. For a while. As I grew up something started to not feel quite right. I had fully accepted myself  as bisexual, that had felt like a perfect fit, but now I wasn’t so sure. I had completely returned to square one of the ‘Who am I, really?’ path. Upon much more contemplation of what I potentially am, I completely broke down. It drove me nuts as I, like so many of us, had to deal with such disgusting discrimination. I felt dirty, I was hurt – I could hardly look at myself in the mirror. It took me over a year before I spoke to anyone about sexuality again, even now; most people have no idea that I am not straight.

I think that sexuality is something that changes and develops as we get older.

Our needs, wants and desires change throughout our lifetime – once again, take this with a pinch of salt (or perhaps a bag). Some people’s needs, wants and desires change little throughout their lives and then other’s change so dramatically. I think this is a really normal thing to happen to everyone who is ‘queer’ in one way or another. After years of wondering, ,  questioning and after many tears were shed, I identify as a pansexual. It was after several years of meeting new people of new genders and sexualities, having seen their beauty individually I began to notice things like gender less and less, it is now something that doesn’t even occur to me. Ever since trying on the pansexual label, I’ve never felt more comfortable in my own skin – even if you and only a few others know it.  Who knows – my sexuality could change in the years to come – I highly doubt it though – I think that my preferences might shift to a certain extent, but within the pansexual umbrella.

Sexuality, along with so many other aspects of our personality change and develop with time. If you are lucky enough to just know, and understand who and what you are, then I am rather envious. For those of you who are still searching for yourself, it’ll come with time.

Keep talking.

Keep reading.

Keep thinking.

You’ll get there in the end.

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I’m not homophobic but…

Last week I experienced lesbophobia in a space I had previously thought of as ‘safe’. Big deal, we’ve all been there. However, this was different. It wasn’t violent – they expressed their hatred in words and they were good enough to speak at a reasonable volume so that’s a plus. What was different about it is that this person didn’t think they were homophobic.

I’ll summarise this conversation for you briefly.

Her: yadada yada yada relationship chat.

Me: Oh yeah I live with my partner.

Her: Oh how long have you lived with your boyfriend.

Me: I’ve lived with my girlfriend for just over a year. Recently we moved together which felt like a bigger deal than moving in together or maybe it was just more stressful haha.

*awkward pause*

Her: Oh I didn’t like to presume *looks at me quizically with a face that says ‘but you don’t have horns – you look just like me!‘*

Her: *insert awkward rant about sin* followed by this line

I have lots of gay male friends. I get they can’t help being gay but you know it’s different with them *pointed look at me*

So I cut that down and paraphrased a lot but the gist was that it’s ok to be a gay man – they just can’t help themselves because, you know, men are pretty or unstoppable sex machines or something. On the other hand, women should know better. Lesbians are doubly deviant. They have the audacity to be women and always banging on about equal pay or some other awful fight for rights and they are lesbians always asking to get married. Married! ‘The nerve of them’ heteropatriarchal society says to me.

Is lesbophobia homophobia I hear you ask fictional reader?

Well yes and no. I often use the term homophobia as a catch-all term for lesbophobiatransphobiaqueerphobia and biphobia as well as the traditional use of the term for homophobic attitudes to gay men. However, using it as a catch-all term may not work when it is also used to refer to one group of gay men.

After experiencing this lesbophobic abuse I text my girlfriend to tell her I’d just experienced homophobia because my first thoughts were that’s what it was. I don’t believe this lesbophobe’s discussion of gay male friends was a simple ‘Oh I can’t be homophobic because I know this gay/met one once/saw one on TV and wasn’t repulsed’. It was much more disturbing. She was telling me that men have the freedom to love who they like but women should be grateful to be loved by men and stop messing things up for all the other women.

This got me thinking that maybe I shouldn’t use homophobia as a catch-all term because there are times when we aren’t all in this together. Don’t get me wrong, I love the inclusivity of the queer and LGBT communities but sometimes I experience specific lesbophobia and queerphobia. When I’m told I don’t need a smear test because I’m a lesbian, that isn’t homophobia. When I’m out with my trans friend and we need to find a different pub because there isn’t a bathroom they can use (or they get kicked out of one), that isn’t homophobia. When I hear for thousandth time that so-and-so is ‘actually’ gay but they think being bisexual is more socially acceptable, that isn’t homophobia. When I have to defend my definition of queer lesbian yet again because I’ve been too honest with someone that likes the gender binary more than real people, that isn’t homophobia.

Of course we should tackle homophobia but we should remember that there are situations that homophobia doesn’t always cover depending on your definition. There is also a bigger issue here that knowing that one gay person or being gay doesn’t mean you can’t be biphobic, lesbophoic, queerphobic, transphobic or homophobic. Although I love queer communities, I have found LGBT groups can be pretty biphobic, transphobic and queerphobic.

Are we all in this together?

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