check out "Hard Gay" in YouTube. Work safe - nothing bad will happen to you, I promise.

So, when I named this blog, it seemed like the right thing to describe me. But the truth is, since I packed up my stuff in London 8 months ago, there hasn't been much queer stuff going on in my life, not on a social, sexy times and cultural level.

I came out when I was 14 and living in a small town. I thought was would be it in terms of coming out. After this, I moved to big cities where coming out to people consisted of no more than saying I was a lesbian and a nod from the person I'm telling it. All this changed when I started travelling.

lesbian movie from South Korea. Need I say more?
In East Asia, I barely came out to anyone. Out of all the people I met in Japan, including people I consider friends – I told exactly one person, and surprisingly one I barely knew at all. I had a few sad attempts of trying to get into the Osaka gay scene and thought it was my lack of Japanese preventing me from meeting women – nope, they only have one „for ladies“ event per year, the rest is all for guys looking for easy sex. In Korea, there was no gayness at all. In Taiwan, I fared a little better because I friend hooked me up with a local lady who took me out to a regular cozy little rainbow bar/café. It was the only time in Asia where I felt being gay was just normal (and also, she forced me to eat lots of dumplings!).

South East Asia? Yeah right, women here have way other problems but being a lesbian. It's tough enough for most of them to get recognized as a full human, in the first place. There are ladybodys and Bangkok has a teeny bit of a lesbian scene, but it's Thai only, and if you don't fit into one of the local butch/femme („tom/dee“) boxes, you are fucked. There was absolutely nothing gay about my time in SE Asia except the friend I travelled with for some stretches of time (who felt pretty much the same as me, as a gay but not camp dude). In all of Asia, you won't get into trouble if you say you're gay, but people probably won't react to it at all.

And now, in South America? There's a much more upfront culture and none of this saving face stuff. People are much less catholic than I expected and locals seem to be cool when I come out to them (I've only tried this with artsy citifolk, though). But again, the gay scene seems to be a male thing, and something that's only acceptable when you're from a rich family.

Outside the rich industrialised countries, if you are accepted as a gay person, you still have to fit into a box. I had plenty of fitting into boxes as a teen, and was pretty butch for years, mainly out of teenage protest. I'm tall and have short hair, yet I wear dresses and sometimes make-up. I can drink and swear like a sailor and am hopeless in high heels, yet I'm bad at “roughing it” and will swoon at pretty jewellery. I have no trouble about hitchhiking with a total stranger yet I will cry over a pretty painting. In short, I'm no gender stereotype, and not a lesbian stereotype, and in Europe, that's perfectly ok. In Asia and South America, I am just a straight woman to everyone and it's ticking me off, because I'm not. I've met a few other solo lesbian women during my travels, and we all agree on this (I have no clue about the guys – I would probably tell nobody I was gay either when I was sleeping in the all boys' dorm).

I'm sick of being an invisible minority.

And anyway – I don't want to be somewhere where I can only be „in the scene“. I had plenty of that as a teenager when I tried to keep my head down during the week and went clubbing in Cologne and Düsseldorf on the weekends. I want to be somewhere where people can be openly gay in the streets, where gay events make the local news, where there is „a scene“, but one that spills over in many other parts of society.

And that's why, although Japan is calling me and India is calling me and Africa is calling me, I will return to the UK/Europe, at least for a little while, and cover myself and everything around me in rainbow flags.


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