Questioning eyes, hurried looks, smirks on faces that are barely noticeable. No, these are not the memories of high school bullying, more like everyday reactions you get when you walk into the ladies changing room as a masculine girl. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. But what can we do about it? Do we have to keep walking towards our locker sneakily till the end of time?
Stepping into the sweet scented changing room, it takes a man to be able to walk past all the naked bodies covered in towels, flashing breasts and the ladies dressing slowly. Even those who are not typically lesbian-looking would be blushing, so what do you do if you’re the out of the ordinary, non-femme looking person who is constantly receiving strange looks and judgement from society?
If you go to a gym, you definitely can’t avoid locker rooms where “me” and “you” and our personal spaces are constantly colliding. There’s always tension in the air, a sense of being an outsider, people are wary and distrusting.
But just like heterosexual women are not prying on the men at a beach, lesbians are not there to pry either. We just have to change somewhere too, you know.
With quite some personal experience behind me, I can certainly say that you will get looks in a changing room if you are a lesbian*, well, to be more accurate, if you “look like a lesbian*”... We all know there is no typical lesbian* look, but having shorter, “boyish” hair, extreme clothing or a casual sporty outfit does not help you to fit in at all. It’s enough to be seen as gay. And despite all the effort you put in, no matter how strongly you know yourself or how comfortable you are in your own skin, in a locker room you still feel like a child that everyone is whispering about.
So, is it better to look up or down?
Banal misunderstandings, hurtful words and assumptions are all coming from the stereotypes beneath our subconsciousness. We are not going into a ladies changing room to look at boobs secretly, this is just as false as the theory that lesbians are girls who couldn’t get themselves a man. It would be worth a try to get to know each other first, and not judge people only by taking a look at them. This way, having to get undressed in the same room would be a bit less uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Translated by Éva Csermendy