Posts Tagged lgbtq
My maternal grandmother, bless her, is almost 73 though despite being an ardent Catholic and her age and hailing from a mining village in northern Europe, she’s remarkably worldly-wise and tech savvy; she owns a blackberry, which yes she does know how to use, and is on Facebook, and even has the two things set up so that any time one of her 19 grandchildren post something on Facebook, she gets a text telling her about it (I’m exaggerating slightly; there are indeed 19 of us grandchildren on that side of the family but not all of us are on Facebook). Today, though, I took the unusual step of deleting my own grandmother from my friends list on Facebook. Let me explain why.
Though her opinions on non-heterosexual, non-cis people seemed to have undergone something of a metamorphosis since mum outed me to her two years ago (hint to any parents of LGBT* people out there, don’t out your kids to the rest of the family, it’s not your story to tell and it’s hugely disrespectful). She even recently took the unusual step of trying to set me up with her friend’s gay grandson, though with a five year age difference and 500-plus kilometre distance between us that was never really going to work out now, was it? (We do talk though, and as he is now single as of yesterday we’ve established that the next time I’m home we’re probably going to hook up.) I thought, perhaps naïvely, that the “gay people can never lead a normal life” grandmother I remembered from my high school days had been replaced with a more open-minded version. I’m starting to think I was wrong.
As my flight back to my university town (I’m on the plane just now, I seem to be composing a lot of blogs late at night on large modes of transport these days) lands quite late and, as I’ve said before, the airport isn’t in my city, I’m staying at my boyfriend’s tonight, also because I haven’t seen him in 9 days and could really use a cuddle right now. Two days ago she asked me if I would be able to get back to my city so late at night; I replied that I can’t, and that I’d be staying at my boyfriends because he lives closer to the airport. She stopped talking. And today she asked me if I was still planning on “staying at your friend’s tonight?” to which I replied, that yes, I am, and that he’s my boyfriend, “I told you the other day.” “I know, I remember” (and since facebook displays for all the world to see, I’m in a relationship with him). No apology, no correcting herself, nothing of the sort. Conversation just stopped. So, I deleted her from facebook, because I’m quite annoyed, and I think I’m right to be. Deleting someone from Facebook, of course, isn’t exactly a terrible thing to do to someone, but the message that”you are not someone I want to have information about my private life” I find appropriate here.
If she doesn’t condone relationships which don’t fit her religious ideal, that’s not great but it’s vaguely understandable, yet my oldest cousin has a live-in girlfriend which doesn’t fit the Catholic ideal and she refers to her as his girlfriend even though she dislikes her intensely; my brother and his partner aren’t married, but his girlfriend is afforded the same respect of being acknowledged as being so, and their newborn baby is acknowledged as her great granddaughter. My younger cousins’ three-week long relationships get to use the title of girlfriend or boyfriend too; so why won’t she acknowledge my boyfriend as being such?
The only explanation for it I can see is that she doesn’t seem to think that a relationship between two people of the same sex is as valid as one between two people not of the same sex. I’m aware that this is a fairly common perception among people, though I doubt it makes up the majority opinion in my country any more, but I don’t associate with people I know think like that if I can at all help it. And so I’m choosing to take a step back from her as well. I don’t get on with most of my extended family and rarely see them but my gran is one of the few relatives I feel particularly close to and so knowing that she thinks of me, rightly or wrongly, as somehow being worth less than the rest of her family or the general population – since my choice of partner isn’t afforded the same respect as everyone else’s – is extremely hurtful. If she’d met my boyfriend and decided she didn’t like him at would be one thing (though as I’ve said she does call opposite-sex partners she dislikes by their proper title) but that’s not the case. I find this insulting and hurtful and I’m sorry, no. If you don’t think my private life and relationships should be afforded the same basic fucking respects you pay everyone else’s, then you can’t be privy to it or part of it.
Part of me feels like I’m being really harsh here but most of me is angry, upset and, having decided to cut out a close relative from the bulk of my private life, I also feel a bit bereaved. What do you guys think? Am I being petulant? Is my anger justified? What about my actions? Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get a dialogue going on this.
This is going to be a bumper week for you, since (if I stick to what I’m planning to write) there’ll be three posts; two about my week away, and one about my weekend. Enjoy!
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, or have trawled the archives extensively, you’ll remember my friend Magenta who lives in the popular European capital of Berlin. (Have I just sacrificed my anonymity?). I hadn’t seen her in an eternity and, with some expected time off uni, I found some reasonably priced flights in November and went to visit her for the last week of January. What a week!
My flight out was delayed so she picked me up at the airport; we went by hers to drop some stuff off and for me to shower and change, before heading out to a club called House of Shame. You can imagine what kind of stuff goes on at a queer club called House of Shame. There were a lot of drugs going about by the looks of things but I didn’t partake, there was a band and a drag show and the place – which was huge – was really busy and there were a lot of attractive people going about. I like androgyny at the best of times, so when my thought pattern looking at someone goes something like “Oh he’s cute… oh no wait she’s probably not into guys… and that’s their partner anyway I think”, it’s a good sign.
The next day saw us turning up at the feminist sex shop Sexclusivitäten. It’s a really awesome little shop located in the owner’s house, they have a little bit of everything going on. I wanted to buy myself some wrist restraints and found some I really liked, priced a very reasonable 15€. The salesperson saw me looking and said that they had a collar that matched them, which I’d already seen but which was a prohibitively expensive 65€ – making the set 80€. So I told her I couldn’t afford it and she said she’d see what she could do. I don’t know whether I was just quite charming or they were in a very good mood but in the end I got the wrist restraints and collar together for 50€, quite a bargain! This was followed by a very weird sort of gathering. It was a bit like a book group but instead of discussing a book, the group of maybe twenty or so people watched a lesbian porn film (as in by women for women, not two women having sex in a video marketed to men) together and then had a discussion about how it differed from mainstream porn and what could have been done differently or what could have been improved upon. It was hosted and run by Laura Méritt (unfortunately the article about her is only available in German) who is a really cool person.
Following on from this Magenta and I, accompanied by a group of four other first timers, headed over to a sex party. It was fairly well attended, 39 people according to the list I saw when we were leaving, which for a place the size it was is enough. The space it was in was really cool; on the floor you go in on was a small bar and lots of deep, comfy sofas, cushions and space to relax. Upstairs from that were two rooms, one much the same and one with mattresses and space for sex; and the basement floor, which was all for sex. Nooks and crannies full of mattresses and cushions with veil-y curtains between them to offer a façade of privacy, the odd box of condoms, lube and rubber gloves dotted around the place. There was a sort of ice breaker game that we were given a slip of paper about on the way in; the theme of the party was supposed to be light (hence, glow sticks on the way in) and you were given the name of an object that related to light. I was originally a glowstick (Knicklicht), worth 2 points; and you had to talk to other people to try to find das Lichtwesen (Hard to translate into English, it’s like an angel or celestial being or entity made of light). If the person you were talking to wasn’t the Lichtwesen, and their points were worth one more or one less than yours, you swapped slips of paper (and therefore also characters) and if their value was the same as yours, you could kiss. It was good for getting people to talk, and because the party was invite only you have to know the right people to go, so there were no creeps or weirdos that I encountered and everyone was really cool (and there were a lot of seriously, crazily hot people there, including some of the staff… one of whom Magenta had a cheeky little kiss with early on in the night).
Despite it being a sex party, I didn’t actually have sex with anyone (I know, shock horror. I’m as surprised as you are, believe me). Not because I didn’t want to, I think I just didn’t move quickly enough. I did however kiss a few people and also realised that my German is good enough to have all the kinds of conversations you would need to have in a scenario like that, which is quite encouraging. It was a really fun night even without sex, and it’s another reason to go back soon – and now that I know quite how quick off the mark you need to be to get that cute French girl, I’ll be better prepared!
That’s all I’ll write about in this post, but part two will – fingers crossed – be out on Wednesday and there’ll be another instalment about this weekend, on Friday. Happy reading!