This month’s Ethioqueer podcast brings Yordanos, a masculine-presenting lesbian who lives in one of the regional capitals. Redefining gender to what makes sense to her and living in a country that does not value a variation in gender identifications or gender expressions, has taught her valuable lessons in how to navigate Ethiopia as a butch presenting lesbain both in the larger society and within the queer community.
We hope you will listen to the podcast which will be released on November 10, 2021. Following are excerpts of our discussion:
“I know that people think being a lesbian is not ‘normal’. I knew that I needed to find a way to defend it even when I was in elementary school. Being masculine was one solution that I thought could work. … and the situation started becoming easier.”
“Being masculine-presenting comes with a lot of risks. For instance, people on the streets feel free to say things that are uncalled for and sometimes they even move to physical violence. It also leads people to assume certain things about you and to easily judge you.”
“Those of us in the queer community also expect certain behaviors that we have learned from men to apply to masculine-presenting women. Let me give you an example of something that is rather very simple: Some expect masculine presenting women to fix things. Some masculine-presenting women could be good at fixing stuff, I like to fix stuff as well but people should not assume you know how to fix things just because you are masculine presenting. Even when it comes to your behavior and character, you are told to hide your vulnerability and to not be emotional in the same way that men are taught to do. This expectation comes not just from outside but even from people who you think of as your own and who are a part of the LGBTQ community.”