Yesterday I went to a rooftop dance party with a girlfriend of mine. We met up with a co-collaborator of hers and hitched a ride with him downtown. He was sort of low key sexist from the beginning. The kind of comments that are clearly a huge part of his sub-conscience because he was raised this way in a society that only fuels this type of thinking.
Him: “So you guys meeting up with some boys at the party?”
No. We are just two friends that want to dance the night away on a beautiful rooftop, in a beautiful city.
On the ride to the party he was discussing things with my friend in the front seat and I was in the back. We had the debate on, so I couldn’t hear what they were discussing. Later she told me it was along the lines of him complaining that women DJs are getting all the gigs now. (BIG EYE ROLL.) I didn’t know it but the party we were headed to was featuring a bunch of awesome women preforming!
When we got to the party I headed right to the bar. I needed water and a beer sounded good too. So I asked them what they wanted and ordered it all up. I paid for the three drinks. I always go out in this style. I think it’s just easier if we buy things in rounds. He however was mildly offended I had bought his drink. Later I was buying myself a street taco and he was also offended that I didn’t let him buy me it. ANYWAY. I’m just trying to eat tacos, drink beer, and dance my ass off.
Speaking of dancing my ass off, the party was so awesome! The DJs all played a lot of Afro/reggae/ house and dance hall music! Stuff I love and would love to know more about. There was a female rapper named Horsepowar spitting lyrics while Mtooray played African drummed along to Maieli’s track. So much female power, so much female awesome. We danced for a few hours.
Then the group of people we had met up with through her co-collaborator wanted to head out. We were getting tiered so we decided to join them for one last round at one of the guysplaces within walking distance and then lyft home. We walked about ten minutes over to his place as we walked up to the front of the building he put his key fob onto the door, I happen to be closest to the door so I opened it. Both the women I was with thanked me and entered. Then the first man insisted he take the door and I go in.
Me: “No thank you, I’m holding the door for you.”
He was immediately annoyed. He reluctantly entered, same as the next. The third dude however really wasn’t having it. He told me I was being rude. The person who was holding the door open for him was being rude. I thought about leaving then.
Finally we all got inside and we’re headed tothe elevators. As we made our way up the conversation continued.
M: “So I as a woman am being rude by holding a door open for men?”
H: “No I’m a gentlemen so I hold doors open for ladies.”
M: “Being a gentlemen and holding the door are not mutually exclusive. Just because I am a woman that does not make my door holding less valid. We should all be polite people and hold doors for one another.”
Basically this conversation was accumulating to the fact that my feelings on the door situation were radical and less valid because their feelings were how things had always been.
As we got to the door it became clear just how sober I was compared to the three men.
Apartment guy: “Come on it’s one am, I just want to party.”
M: “it’s actually nine forty five…”
As we walked in the other continued to tell me how rude the “stunt I pulled” was. This man was a black man so I decided to ask him this,
M: “Don’t you think people of the black culture have been made to feel how I am feeling right now by people of white culture all through out history? Don’t you see you are oppressing me based on my gender just as my ancestors oppressed yours based on skin color?”
H: “That’s not the same thing.”
M: “But isn’t it? I believe in intersectional equality, it’s all connected. Every oppression must stop for oppression to end. Race, sexuality, sexism; all of it is connected in hate.”
H: “Being a lesbian is a choice.”
M: “Specifically being a lesbian?”
M: “A woman wanting to lick pussy is no different then you wanting to lick pussy. Licking pussy is choice, just as all our actions are. But the desire to do so is not a choice. It’s an inherent want.”
H: “Being black and being a lesbian are not the same.”
M: “I agree, but you wanting pussy and a woman wanting pussy are.”
Then he starts screaming.
H: “NO IT IS NOT!!! WOMEN CHOOSE TO NOT BE WITH MEN, THEY DECIDE TO LIKE WOMEN!!!”
He then moves across the room still screaming stuff I can’t exactly remember. All the while my disposition has not changed. He knocks over a big, heaven, glass container at this point and it shatters to the ground. Clearly he is embarrassed, this is not his home it is his friends and he broke something because he went from adult discussion to crazy in under five minutes. So now he’s really screaming…
As soon as the glass hits the ground, M: “I’m going to go.”
H: “YEAH YOU BETTER GO YOU RUDE BITCH!”
M: “K I am.”
As I am walking out…
H: “GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE YOU RUDE RACIST WHITE BITCH!!! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! YOU COME UP IN HERE AND DISRESPECT ME!!!”
The screaming continues but I’m halfway down the hall now. My friend of corse leaves with me.
Here are some thoughts and feelings I’ve had since:
- Clearly these men expected me to not push back on my opinions. They could act and say however and whatever way they please. I however should not have disagreed if I didn’t want it to escalate.
- I as a woman am not allowed to be polite in the way men are. If I was a man me holding the door would have been a non-issue.
- We just spent the whole evening amongst women he is hoping to book for events and work with. I would speculate that most of them were lesbians or bi based off of their interactions with the other women around them. You know kissing and hugging and being in love. I wonder if her would say all this in front of them…
- This man had no idea what my sexuality was. He just assumed I was straight, which in it of its self is a problem.
- In this mans eyes I was raciest. He truly believes that sexuality for women is a choice and is so much so that comparing the choices of a woman’s sexuality to his plight as a black person is racist. Which really, really, really sucks.
I know nothing about being either gay or being black. I have never faced either oppression directly. But what I do know is I am against all oppression. What I do know is I will always stand up for the oppressed. What I do know is what people from these cultures express to me. When gay people tell you being gay is not a choice, you believe them. They are the people experiencing it. You think about your own sexuality and consider if you think that is a choice. No? So why would you assume that other people are out there choosing theirs? When people of color tell you they are being oppressed, you believe them. You look into the oppressions they face. You don’t just say “Well I haven’t faced those so no one has.”
Equality is so intertwined. Intersectionality is key to change. We must work for equality for all or we will never be equal.