I was born female and prefer dressing in a more “feminine” style, but I do not identify with any gender. Because of my looks, people in other countries assume I am a girl, just as they do in New York. In Italian, though, gender is literally built into the language. Every noun has a gender. Some past participles change based on whether the subject is male or female. There is no gender-neutral pronoun – or if there is, I haven’t’ heard of it. Since all of my teachers were Italian, I was afraid to admit my gender-nonconformance to them for fear that they just wouldn’t understand. In retrospect, I’m sure they would have at least been respectful, whether or not they understood. It was just hard for me to bridge the awkward gap.
– Anah, Florence
The LGBT community in Paris is much like that of NY. My boyfriend and I were out all the time holding hands and never once did we get a grumble or a lingering stare.
– Gary, Paris
I was a minority since I am both Jewish and gay, but I never felt like that made me stick out. The people tend to be very accepting and look down on people more for disrespecting others than sexuality or religion.
– Jeremy, Prague