EllusiveID: when IDs are illusive and elusive.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I am an androgynous. Although I did not know about the existence of such a concept, but I always confused people regarding my gender/sex. On one of my school trips a friend, who had a crush on me then, saw me jumping from one rock to another and asked me “are you a boy or a girl”? I answered him I am “shakar” or (شَكَر). "Shakar" is a word in Arabic that closely refers to someone who has both sexes or genders. Surprisingly enough, some Palestinian friends of mine did not know this word, which makes me think that it might be a very colloquial word that is used in one region or another in Palestine.
I am an androgynous and I “lost” my virginity with my fingers listening on Oum Kolthoum’s (أم كلثوم) song “This is my night” (هذه ليلتي) while imagining myself walking with my lover, from school, and telling her how beautiful she was. She knew that I loved her but she also had a boyfriend then, and still, once we met in my village and I had my first kiss, with her, and she had her fist kiss with a girl. Four years after, when we were students in same university we delivered a militant feminist flyer in the campus titled “Maqas” in Arabic (مقص) or “Scissors” in English, and I declared in it: “I ‘lost’ my virginity listening to Oum Kolthoum’s music”.

I always confused people about my gender/sex, and I enjoyed that a lot, while they expected me to be embarrassed, so some would apologize and others would wonder and ask why I do not look like a girl. Sexual harassments, as awful and terrible as they are, were the most interesting part of my whole performance. Living in Jerusalem is never boring due to the Israeli army presence, add to that the fact that I was confused to be a Palestinian boy by the Israeli army, which made me feel always on the edge of being confused to be a suspicious Palestinian militant, and then find myself being chased by a whole troop.

Army/police Scenario:

My ex-partner, a FTM boyish anti-Zionist partly Moroccan-Jew, and I look like two gay boys, especially at nights. When roaming around the old city of Jerusalem we occasionally get harassed by Israeli soldiers, who apparently saw from far two suspicious Palestinian boys walking happily towards their direction. On one midnight walk, the army shouted on us from far “Hey boys! Come and bring your IDs”. My ex shouted back “What the hell you want! Do not shout at us”! “Come bring your IDs” again one soldier shouted confused, this time from her French accent in Hebrew. We brought our IDs and showed them to the bored soldier, who might be sitting in his militant jeep wondering why the hell he is so unlucky to spend the nights chasing kids or maybe not, and here is some excitement, maybe an argument that will pass his hours of shift. He looked at our IDs with a stupid confused look at his face: here is a Palestinian dyke walking with supposedly an ‘Israeli’ dyke, who just shouted back on them.
Same incident happened when my ex and I were walking, again after midnight, to my ex’s home. We were about to cross the street leading to her home and I saw a police car accelerating towards my direction. I was almost in the middle of the street, and out of fear to be run over by the car, I returned to the one side. Two cars of police stopped violently in front of us. One policewoman and one policeman, both came out of their cars: “Give me your IDs!” using the masculine pronouns in Hebrew. Not knowing what we did this time, we pulled our IDs and showed them. The confusion on their faces was mind blowing. “Where are you going?” the policeman said to my boobs, trying to verify if I have any, although I have and they are not particularly small. “Home!” we answered. “Why you rushed back when you saw us coming”? The policeman asked. “Well, I saw a car coming very fast and I did not want to get run by a car (at that moment, because I did not mind that at a different stage in my life) so out of fear I returned. “Ok! Sorry mam, we were looking for two Palestinian boys who were trying to steal some cars from this neighborhood”.

Sexual harassment scenario:

The old city of Jerusalem gets really busy on Fridays. Many Palestinians come from all over, those who succeed to cross checkpoints or dangerously smuggle themselves to Jerusalem, to pray in Dome of the Rock mosque. The market that leads to the mosque become insanely crowded and the flow of people become very slow. This is the best time for Palestinian boys to send some hands to some asses, vaginas or boobs, and this is also the time where Palestinian girls learn how to resist these harassments. One girl told me once that her pregnant cousin was harassed by a man who told her “I wish I was the one who blew you” (نيال اللي نفخك) , and she answered him (yet another patriarchal comment) “Now I will ask the one who blew me to blow you up!” (هلأ بخلي الي نفخني ينفخك) and that’s was the end of it.
So on one of these crazy Fridays I was in the market and I passed near two boys. One of them was staring at me stripping me with his gazes. His friend, shocked that he is looking at me like that, told him: “what are you doing, don’t you see that he is a guy”. So it could be that his friend was really gay and he lust me as a boy, or that he saw the girl in me and he liked her, but as life is, nothing is unpredictable.

Western Jerusalem, the Jewish side of Jerusalem (occupied by the Zionist in 1948), I was on the bus and a guy, who looked like gay and he did not knew about it, sat near me. He looked at me confused and told me “nice bag”, I said “thanks”. He then asked me “it is girl’s bag, you know”. I said “yes I know”. Some moments passed by, and he still troubled and puzzled, asked: “do you like girls or boys?”. I answered the most boring answer “none of your business”. However, today if I were to be asked same question I would have answered I like "girls who are boys who like boys like they are girls”, paraphrasing Blur’s amazing song Boys & Girls.


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