A “dyke” on a bike
Yesterday I rode around the city with my camera, stopping to take pictures every now and then. I wasn’t binding: I needed the full capacity of my lungs, plus I didn’t plan on meeting anyone. I guess I looked like a girl, because while I was stopped, a car went by and a kid shouted from the backseat: “torta!” Torta means cake in Spanish. In Argentina, it also means “dyke.”
For a second I was petrified, watching the car move away, the kid still looking at me through the back window. Then I waved. He waved back. I wasn’t offended by the remark; I consider it an honor to be compared to my dyke sisters (except for the whole being-a-woman part). Waving was a way of showing him that he hadn’t affected me; a way of showing him that, for some people, gay is okay. Plus, it’s a friendly gesture. You can’t stop hate with more hate.
But I wonder what his waving back meant. Was it another mean gesture? Why did he shout at me in the first place? Was he really homophobic, or was he just having fun without thinking about what he was saying? What did his parents do about it? Was he imitating them? If he was mimicking something he had seen, maybe he didn’t mean to hurt me —maybe he wasn’t thinking about my feelings at all— so maybe when I waved, he just responded to my friendliness.
This is the first time I’ve been called “dyke” while on my own. When I was with my (ex)girlfriend we used to hear it sometimes. But this kid didn’t see me with anybody, so he didn’t really know my orientation: it was gender-phobia more than homophobia.
I waved to prove that I hadn’t been affected; but on my way back, it was getting dark, and I pedaled faster whenever I crossed a group of young people, especially if they were mostly male (and therefore stronger than me). So homo-trans-phobia ended up causing ageism/sexism on my behalf. Where does the chain of fear stop?