Dining with Lesbians

A bowl of personal identity served with blueberry pie

Being a Man like Tony Stark

My partner just started working in Bangkok last week and her boss is visibly gay.  She was telling me about him last night when she said,

“I can’t stand his squeaky voice and feminine gestures.”

My heart sank.  I told her that gay men become victims of hate crime and boys get bullied at school just for displaying the two characteristics she dislikes in her boss.  It’s called homophobia.

“I’m not homophobic.  I don’t discriminate against gay people, but how my boss speaks is just so annoying.”

That’s what they say at 明光社 (a Hong Kong religious group that respects but hates LGBTI people).  I don’t think my partner has anything against gay men, though she’s yet to call one a friend.  If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that my partner doesn’t see herself as gay nor has she ever gave much thought about her identity (yes, yes, I wish there were no labels and no identity politics).

It suddenly occurred to me that my partner has internalized homophobia.  Maybe it’s not to that extent, but I was very disappointed by how insensitive she was towards her boss’s gender expression.  I have to say when I first got to know gay men, it took me some time to get use to their “different” gender expression.  But I soon figured out that I’ve been so used to the “normal male expression” as portrayed by the princes in Disney cartoons, Joey in Friends and Tony Stark in Iron Man, that I was blind towards the ocean of gender expressions beyond these screen characters.

I don’t think I can convince my partner to accept her boss’s voice pitch and delicate hand gestures any time soon.  I just don’t hope she’ll continue telling people around her that she hates these characters in her boss.


7 comments on “Being a Man like Tony Stark

  1. rebbit7
    July 25, 2015

    Wow, your partner was pretty harsh with her comment. I’m not disparaging her, but it’s interesting that she, who is queer, has this “internalized homophobia,” despite the fact that almost all members of the LGBTQA community have at one point been discriminated against for being, well, non-heteronormative. I especially find it hard to fathom that Hong Kong religious group that “respects, bit hates LGBTQI people” can even exist; its stance on the queer community sounds contradictory in itself; how can one say that they are “okay” with someone being queer, but dislike them at the same time…for being queer? Perhaps I’m getting too heated with my opinions, but i hope you and your partner come to terms with your different perspectives over time. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ellen Hawley
      July 25, 2015

      I think we all internalize it to some extent. It’s in the culture around us, in the air we breathe–even now, as much as things have changed in some places. We can notice it and change what we do with it and how much we accept it, but my best guess is that it’s in there, in all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rebbit7
        July 25, 2015

        Perhaps you’re right. It’s not fair, but that’s life. 😦


      • nmwords
        July 26, 2015

        It’s true that it’s hard to break free from what we’ve been taught and unconsciously absorbed which is why I find awareness campaigns very important in asking people to see that we love and live in a variety of ways rather than the ways we’ve been accustomed to.


    • nmwords
      July 26, 2015

      My partner puts so little thought into her identity and other people’s gender orientation/identity, that she didn’t realize that her comments were discriminating towards gay people at all…This is an ongoing topic between us that will need a lot of time to change.
      The group in HK say they do not discriminate against LGBTI people and that they respect us but continue to stick up signs and ads that accuse us of destroying “proper” family values. They also have an ongoing campaign against anti-discrimination laws HK was trying to adopt to protect LGBTI people. They are very obviously contradicting themselves but a lot of people still support them which is why we still haven’t been able to pass those anti-discrimination laws.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rebbit7
        July 26, 2015

        Yes, i can see how it can be so difficult for you to understand your partner, and for her to understand other people of the LGBTQI community. Her reaction just surprised me, because for someone who sees herself as liking women, I would expect her to be open-minded to other individuals of non-heteronormative status. Hope things work out between you two, though.

        Ah, that Hong Kong group is definitely contradictory! I don’t see how they can have supporters, especially when their stance is so convoluted. Again, I have strong opinions about these kind of organizations; it’s terrible that they exist.


      • nmwords
        July 26, 2015

        Thanks, we’re fine with most other things, nothing to worry about.
        That group is strong but we can be stronger when we stand together for our community!

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 25, 2015 by in Gender, Identity, LGBT, LGBTI and tagged , , , , , , , .

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