A few words about this ‘gender thing’, and other prejudices.

I grew up in the red light district of Hamburg, with my grandparents. Most of the women around me, my mother, aunt, etc. looked more like glamorous transvestites than ‘real’ women. Beehives, bleach, eyeliner to the ceiling– glamour in a child’s eyes. ‘Who are these people, and what is their connection to me?’ I wondered, when they would visit. Where do I fit in? In the ‘hood’ I came across every type of mix of sexual orientations and gender combinations. Wide-eyed, I dreamed of another world I sensed was out there, where these people somehow had the key to something I had yet to encounter. (My song ‘Legends that die’ is about this.)
On the staircase… rumors whispered…’you know, he’s the other way around’ (German polite term for gay)’. ‘What does this mean?’ I would ask, finding it all rather interesting. My gran wouldn’t tell me.
My aunt went with girls. She looked like a cross between Jayne Mansfield and Marlene Dietrich but with a very masculine touch in those fierce eyes (covered in eyeliner) as well. My grandmother, not amused, kicking her out of the house. Me: Confused, missing her.
I had a removed cousin Ronald (no pun intended), who became Regina.
When Regina turned up at his gran’s house, who was then 86 years old, she said: ‘You come here looking like that, ok get it out I want to see it then.’ Thus said, she touched his newly created ‘parts’ and said: ‘Ok, now take me shopping’.
Although sexual orientation was all hush-hush with my gran, something not spoken about, I lived in a kind of semi-exotic Hollywood world of peroxide and pearls, made in Hamburg, and I sensed a hint of something bigger out there than my gran would let me know about.
Our Sunday walk along the Reeperbahn, past the neon signs of naked girls, women strutting in their heels, doors to establishments I did not know the interior of, all just part a normal Sunday out and about. Needless to say the exact gender of people encountered in my childhood, was often hard to establish, and no one worried about this, not even my gran. It was simply part of living by the harbour of Hamburg, with its whiff of the world of sailors, and exotic journeys only dreamed about.

These circumstances are probably the reason why I have never spent one minute of my time worrying about what sexual orientation or gender someone happens to inhabit in their lives. The thought of judging someone or even wondering about who they happen to be sexually or/and in their wider identity, was always, and is today, alien to me.

Yesterday I posted new photos of myself and Aerea Negrot hugging while showing a bit of skin. A couple of people started analysing if I am a lesbian or trying to be controversial or if, in fact, I didn’t mind being ‘seen as something I’m not’. Someone from an Arab country posts: ‘Satan’.
Naively, I stared in disbelief. We were two people on a photo shoot, having a great time fooling around spontaneously. No agenda, no intentions and certainly no thought that this would even raise an eyebrow in this day and age.

Hence I decided to write a few words about this. I happen to be straight these days, so you can stop wondering. I would also mostly rather have the famous cup of tea than get my nickers in a twist. I have no issues hugging with males, females, queers, transgender people of all variations, nor do I think about who or what they ‘are’.
Everyone should get over placing too much attention on a.) Sexuality and b.) Gender or sexual orientation, and instead enjoy life in all it’s richness and support anyone who differs from the norm; a norm that still seems to exist in people’s heads, although not in mine, nor, luckily, in 90% of my friends’. Do we really need to point this out in 2014? Apparently so.
Let’s support each other in our potential and in what we have to give. Let’s comment on what we did well, how we touched someone or were touched by something someone did. The planet is going to pot and we don’t have time to piss about, let alone wonder about unimportant details concerning others. This goes for all of use, gay or straight. Just let’s have fun celebrating each other in the face of a dysfunctional world that tries to stifle our individuality at every moment. Sexuality and gender orientation is only a part of who we are, not all of us. We need to start looking beyond, and find ourselves, not lose our wigs shading others.


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