@covygo / South Africa
Too many Flavours in one spoon
“We are from South Africa and not all the pics of The LGBT community you see are visible violence. Given such a historically racially charged country and patriarchal society, our lives are a source of constant discrimination. At first there is the double take on the inter racial relationship, then a closer look on being two women, then of course two women holding hands. No one can put us in a neat categorical box, but it’s also a great opportunity to challenge societal norms by just being visible, and that our relationship is a possibility.
For me the biggest discrimination I constantly face in South Africa is the lack of diversity. The rainbow nation does not exist in the country as often in the streets people would call out “china china”, guys in the street would often shout ” nee hao” or one time someone called me “gangnam style”. for south africans asian is Chinese and to differentiate between countries is an impossibility. I often think to myself if we are truly a rainbow nation how we could we be so ignorant that asia is not a country, similarly Africa is not a country.
As a couple, there was one guy who shouted at us saying “why are you lesbian?” his tone demanded answers and was very interrogative. This is a constant task when holding hands in public, that we must explain ourselves. It feels as if we owe everyone an explanation for being together.
Another time we hear whispers of “stabane” which is a zulu vernacular and derogative term that all is encompassing for gays and lesbian. In Zulu there isn’t a word that differentiates between gay or lesbian, “stabane” is used interchangeably for intersex, gay or lesbian.
Also, as a couple more times than blatant derogative terms, we often get asked “is she your friend?” which is to imply, who is she to you? again asking why are you together? It is in these times people often reveal their inner prejudices. Sometime my girlfriend gets ask if I am her “chinese financier or business partner”, which often typifies perception that asians have money, or could provide opportunities with jobs.”
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