Yesterday, I was tossed off my pink cloud again. Went to a friend’s birthday party and think I felt I was in the “safe zone” so to speak. You know these places where you let most of you guard down and can relax and be yourself. Then after 20 minutes or so the blow came from nowhere. A person from work just suddenly said something which was really offensive to me and transsexuals in general. Probably without really thinking at all but he should really know better. It is just as releasing a racist joke in the face of a colored person.
First it is offensive to the group but it becomes even worse when it is someone you know. What happened later is possibly even worse. Despite that I very clearly stated that it was offensive to me all of them quickly pretended as if nothing happened. Sure, Swedes are in general afraid of conflicts but it is a very obvious example of how saying “I don’t discriminate anyone” is not enough. Instead people need to really understand their own behaviour and what they need to change which in turn usually requires knowledge to “see” where sometimes unconcious values comes into play.
I decided to tell them I could not stand this and left the party. That felt much better than staying and feeling real sad but try to hide it since nobody wanted to discuss what happened. Something I did not do last summer when the same person said a similar offensive thing to me in my face. Then I stayed but of course I could not avoid thinking about it all the remaining time at the party. This time the worst feelings gradually drifted away as I drove home.
Lessons learned is again that it is vital to have strategies for what to do when people do stupid things to me. The hard part is that some of the people around me probably have to develop their own in order to know how to stand up for me. For those who have done that it has so far worked like a charm.
Today, I got an apology over SMS. I need to figure out what to say back.