A bowl of personal identity served with blueberry pie
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.
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