Are we gender obsessed?

“I feel that when I speak, more people tend to ignore me. Even when I’m making a critical point about something I know a lot about. It’s as if my voice simply doesn‘t count as much.”

Ever since I came out as trans, a few years ago, I’ve been asked over and over again: “Do people treat you differently now, than they did before?”

Not to put down the efforts of those who wholeheartedly support trans people, but due to my keen senses (and the fact that some people just flat-out say so) I think what most of them are actually trying to ask is: “Are women and men treated differently?”

And that is one Goliath of a question.

I guess I could just say YES! and be done with it. But that would only be about half-right, I think.

You see, even though I am quite good at many things (you should see me tie a bowline knot!), I don’t think I’m a very good measuring tool in this sense. Let me explain:

• Most of the people I hang out with have known me since long before I came out. Including my family, of course. To most of them, I’m more or less the same person, regardless of gender, so I hardly ever notice any change from them. There is the occasional tiptoeing around me, as if I need special treatment, and then there are the times someone really stands up for me. Or for the concept of transgender people, because of me. And that makes me very proud.

• When I meet new people, who didn’t know me before, I don’t have the comparison. That is to say, I don’t know how they would have treated me before.

• However, words travel fast and I sometimes have the distinct feeling that people have been “warned” before they meet me. As a general rule, I don’t mind that much. It’s just that some people get very awkward, while trying too hard not to be awkward. (Every now and then they skip the awkward part and go straight to creepy. That’s always interesting, but seldom fun.)

• Not being one to dedicate my life to looking like a Barbie doll, I think I get “read”  a lot (when people figure out I was born with only one X chromosome). Maybe not every single time I go grocery shopping, but spend half an hour with me, and you’ll figure it out. So, no matter how politically incorrect it is, I think that sometimes I’m not really being treated as a woman, but as a transwoman. Let me be clear when I tell you that I don’t claim to have specific rights to more than that, but I know a lot of trans-people do.

So, as you see, there is a lot of fine print in my answer to the question above. But taking all these disclaimers into consideration, I must say there have been some changes in other people’s attitude towards me. The problem is, it’s very difficult to describe it.

From “man” to “minority”

Let’s begin with the fact that I lived through my twenties, posing as a white, heterosexual, Western European male. That’s a species that doesn’t know much about limitations. I’ve since learned the true meaning of words like discrimination, equality and minority. In my honest opinion the white, heterosexual, Western European male doesn’t have the tiniest idea what those words mean, and is therefore unable to understand when he discriminates against someone else. I generalize, of course, but I hold this to be the rule, rather than the exception.

So, having donned the male mask, I became increasingly aware of small limitations around me. I’m not saying I’ve been denied access to places, or anything like that. It’s much more subtle. I feel that when I speak, more people tend to ignore me. Even when I’m making a critical point about something I know a lot about. It’s as if my voice simply doesn’t count as much.

When I’m either suggested for a difficult task, or accept one, I feel that fewer people believe in me. And that the expectations are lower. And I notice that those who do support me, sometimes have to justify their opinion. If anything, I’ve become better at most things with age (as most people do), but somehow it’s like people had more “blind faith” in me before.

It slowly dawned on me how much division there is between the binary genders. How many people still consider it a woman’s job to keep the house clean and cook, while the man fixes

"It slowly dawned on me how much division there is between the binary genders."
“It slowly dawned on me how much division there is between the binary genders.”

the car and barbeques the steak on weekends. I really hadn’t noticed how few men turn up in the kitchen to clean up after a big party. And how many women seem to be offended by the idea that they should change their own tires. And how many of them distrust all men.

I do now. But when I played a different social role, I had no idea how much the genders discriminate against each other. As a rule, the society favors men and I sometimes wonder if that’s why women are much more accepting to transwomen than men are. Because we chose to leave our rehearsed male identity, even though it means taking on more discrimination. Who knows?

It’s not all bad though. When I’m being assisted in shops by men, they tend to be nicer and more helpful. Some might see that as condescending, but I normally like it when people are nice.

I feel women are generally more comfortable around me now, and I sort of get a glimpse of something that could be described as a universal sisterhood. I actually think many men are now more at ease around me, as well. As if they can just relax and be themselves. perhaps it’s because the idea of an alpha-struggle is completely off the table?

I also feel less pressure to be aggressive in conversations (males tend to constantly try to outdo and make fun at one another, in my view) and I actually enjoy more meaningful conversations now, with people of both genders. But – this could have to do more with me letting down my guards than anything else. So maybe it’s just me that has changed, and other people are exactly the same?

If I’d work my butt off, I could probably be even more passable than I am, and get deeper into the „female-experience“. But for me, self-image is more important. And I’ve noticed that while rebuilding mine (you really need to, after coming out), my own attitude towards me has changed as well.

I used to be shy, but speaking publicly was not a problem. Now it is. I think I’m more aware of myself, and I don’t really like to be the center of attention. And I feel the constant need to dress off the very little figure that I have. I don’t know if it could be considered positive, but I’ve been told that both come as “standard equipment” for most women.

Primal needs and posting online

So, yes. I have noticed some changes. But some of them are within myself, as weird as that may sound. And I’ve had my eyes opened up to many things, as well.

I know that I’m quite lucky, in the sense that I’ve never been publicly offended or mistreated, never been assaulted and never been told to my face (by strangers or not) that I’m disgusting, unworthy or anything along those lines. And yes, I’m lucky, because many trans-people have had such experiences.

That’s not to say I haven’t lost contact with friends, been overlooked when I want something, or been very much aware of how my gender-bending can make others uncomfortable.

I don’t know any transwomen who frequent bars and lay down [...] traps for [men].
I don’t know any transwomen who frequent bars and lay down […] traps for [men].
Men tend to have greater problem with the fact that some women were born males. And if you dig deeper, it usually turns out they’re disgusted by the fact they could “accidentally” have sex with one. I don’t know any transwomen who frequent bars and lay down those kind of traps, but I still don’t understand the problem. If you fancy someone enough to bed them, shouldn’t that be enough? Or, perhaps, if you feel your way of life makes you vulnerable in this way, and it makes you so scared that you’re disgusted by the thought, maybe it’s time to reconsider how quickly you sleep with people, after meeting them for the first time?

Having gone through all that I have, I obviously care a great deal about what’s between my legs. But why on earth should others? Apart from myself, and my fiancée, it really shouldn’t matter to anyone if I’m a man or a woman. Or even if I were somewhere in-between.

Why does it matter so much to us if other people are of the sex, or gender, that we prefer to sleep with, or not? After all of human evolution, are we really still so dominated by our primal needs, that we can’t just accept people for the person they are? Are we truly obsessed by other people’s gender?

In my experience, yes. And I’ll prove it.

Find a web-forum or a facebook group you’re interested in. Set up an account, under a name that would be typical for the opposite sex, and join. If you’re a man, register as a woman, and vice versa. Try not to make any comment on your gender, and try to avoid gender-specific pronouns when writing about yourself.

Take part in the group conversation, comment a lot and befriend other users to the point you’re having private conversation online.

Then slip into the conversation that you’re really the opposite sex from what your profile suggests.

Sit back and observe.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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