Excerpts from a Diary: Navigating perceptions

This is our “Excerpts from a Dairy” series. We publish excerpts of thoughts and reflections from emails, dairies and journals of people from the queer community. These excerpts could be complete entries or uncompleted and unstructured excerpts that show our personal thoughts and reflections about our lived experience. 

We welcome submissions and they can be sent to etqueerfamily@gmail.com

The below excerpt is extracted from a longer conversation about being queer in Addis Ababa.

“And to be fair, I think your Mama has a very valid point. I am masculine presenting. I identify as queer, and walking the streets of Addis doing gender the way that I do, I cannot say that it is completely easy. But there is something to be said as well about how people are able to see beyond that. So in a sense, I would say maybe five, six, or seven years ago, people would just read me as a tomboy or whatever. Now, the sense that I get is that people actually see me and read me as queer, as a lesbian, as a dyke, or whatever.

Because 10 years ago, people were talking about the stereotype of being a lesbian, a dyke, or queer. Whereas now that we’re becoming more visible through the media and people are on Facebook and TikTok and all that, So the conversation about queerness, although in a very limited sense, is about feminine gay men and the stereotypical lesbian. There’s no gray zone. And when you bring in nonbinary, trans, or whatever, it gets even more complicated. But, in the most fundamental sense, gender and sexuality are understood today in Ethiopia in the same way that they were understood in the West perhaps 30 years ago.

And so, I think the sense of not feeling safe that your mom is talking about, I feel that more now than I did, say, five years ago.

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