Every day for the past ten years I’ve been walking on streets and riding on public transportation along with people from all over the world, with heterosexual and queer couples, with women wearing scarfs, men wearing make-up, with people of all shapes, colours, sizes and sexual orientations. As this is a norm I never question, I was delighted when a friend of mine asked about a nice place to take her girlfriend for her birthday. I was sure I knew the perfect spot for a romantic weekend: Budapest.
This city is, in my eyes, a great combination between Eastern and Western Europe, with Western amenities, but Eastern atmosphere and much lower prices. I was excited to tell her about the vintage shops, the best parlour for couples’ massages, the thermal baths and romantic restaurants, when I realised that all of those things would not come as easily to them as they would to me and my partner.
Black & Queer in Central Europe?
As black, queer women, people would undoubtedly stare at them on the street if they were to walk hand in hand, hug or make out in the pool (like most heterosexual couples do), because I was sending them to a country led by a government which puts up literal fences against people who are “different”. My answer to her question about going to Bucharest was the same. If I were a queer black woman, these cities would be the last places I’d choose for a romantic weekend.
On the one hand because we are talking about capital cities of EU countries that are supposed to adhere to European values like tolerance and not-staring-at-people-or-whispering-behind-their-back-because-they-look-different-than-the-norm-you-are-used-to, on the other hand because I live in a bubble which isn’t at all representative for my surroundings (on a third hand, because they’re really cool cities to visit).
Back to the 1930s?
In my neighbourhood, where I hardly ever hear German, election banners for a party which was part of the Austrian government attract voters with hateful and offensive messages about foreigners, and huge Mc Donald’s billboards point out that if you go to Thailand on vacation, you’ll eat rice for ten days, so it’s better you stay in Austria and eat regional bacon in an American bun.
Es kotzt mich an…
It makes me sick, and yet it’s reality. I get that people are afraid of what they don’t understand, but the reluctance to at least try and understand brings me at my wit’s end. Not to mention when I say that I’m a foreigner too and they tell me that I am OK, one of the good ones (which means white and educated).
Problem is, everybody had an ok Jewish friend in the ’30s as well…
I used to be a fixer, a control freak, a millennial woman with great ambitions and little self-esteem. Now I just am. And it’s marvellous! I teach Zumba, Pound and Yoga; I read, write, travel and do my best to enjoy life. Follow to hop in for the ride! Instagram: andra.cd View all posts by andra.cd
Originally published at http://mollyhund.home.blog on March 12, 2020.