Today I had just another conversation on the bus where I convinced an older male that no, I am not married, and it’s not legal for me to marry in this country anyway, and that yes, I am gay.
Him: “Have you thought about trying to have a boyfriend?”
Me: “Trust me, I tried. It wasn’t for me.”
Him: “But I mean, haven’t you felt the desire to experiment with a man?”
Me: “No, have you?”
Him: [Laughs and shaking his head] “Haha, no, no, never. You are funny.”
We ended up talking about traveling, politics, and other things, but so far I’ve become pretty used to making men think critically about what they are asking me, and helping them understand my orientation is something that shouldn’t be put into question any more than theirs is.
A year go I felt overwhelmed and defeated at having to explain myself to strangers, but now I’m so used to it that I just see these as teaching moments. I’m not just teaching them, they have tight me that you can change peoples’ minds in respectful ways, just by connecting with them. We connected over our love of Romance languages, so that facilitated the more impactful part of our conversation.
Let’s be real, how often do they get to chat about gender with queer feminist Mexican Americans who are spending two years in their country? Most of my job is about building relationships anyway, whether they are with my coworkers or with strangers I may or may not see again (this is a small country, so I probably will!).