Pink Pearls Magazine Issue Nr. 1
presents the European lesbian scene
Column Alice Verheij
Here I am. In the middle of the bush around Birgunj, in the hot Terai in the southeast of Nepal. At a wedding ceremony. I look at the women around me and see myself stand out because of my length and light skin, the absence of a golden nose piercing and not having a husband. I can’t deny that the show of a Hindu wedding is absolutely wonderful. All the attention the women have for the bride, who is taken care of as much as possible so she can shine on her big day. I can’t say that I recognize all the traditions, but next to the beauty of it all, I also feel the tragedy.
The tragedy of the bride who has to leave her own family today and move to the house of her husband with the dowry. The sadness is visible in her eyes, as the farewell is difficult for her. Fortunately the new family is good to her, which can actually never be taken for granted.
There is a big party and the women invite me to dance on the stimulating rhythm of drums and clapping hands. The bride, who is sitting in the little open-air temple next to her husband, is also smiling. She seems happy with him and he with her. Not much later I’m asked if I have a husband. My negative reply is answered with a pitying look. “But you have children?”, a woman with beautiful eyes asks me, not understanding the connection of the two facts. “Did your husband die, maybe?” The hostess tries to understand how my life is organized, as she hardly ever speaks with someone from the West. When I say I’ve never had a husband, she seems relieved for a moment. In this country, a widow is cursed. But soon she gives me that worried look again. I’m in doubt. Do I tell her that I’ve been married to a woman? That I don’t want to live with a man, but rather be with a woman? That I used to be a man? That I’m really the father and not the mother of my children? I remain silent.
The next day we speak again. I tell her that I prefer living with women. She looks at me, smiles and asks me if the behavior of her little son is like that of my children when they were young. Her boy is so busy! Just a mother who talks about the children with another mother. She tells me that women in Nepal often find it difficult to adjust to the rules of the family and the religion. That they would often like to do things differently, that they would like to have more freedom.
Later that day we fly to Kathmandu together. My hostess has to go to town with her son, as she is working there as a journalist. She is living between the traditions of the countryside and the slowly westernizing city. The red sari is replaced by a light blue Nepalese outfit. Only the red stripe in her hair shows that she is married. When we say goodbye, she kisses me on the cheek.
What else is in this issue?
Now that fall has arrived in The Netherlands and winter is just around the corner, I look back at last summer. With a good feeling, because the summer was beautiful and lovely in many ways. » Read more
Carmen Lothmann is forty-two, and born in the catholic Bergstein, a village near the city of Düren. She grew up in a very traditional family. » Read more
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In September, this year, hundreds of lesbian and bisexual women visited the International Eressos Women’s Festival on Lesbos, organised for the 12th time by the Greek organiser Sappho Women. Women from all over the world… » Read more
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