Passport Control

Some weeks ago, I came back to Germany from having been abroad.The woman at the airport, wanted to see my ID Card in which is a photo of me without a beard. She looked at it and said:

“Well I think you are in a transition and this name tells me that you are female, but as you are having a beard which is a male feature, you need to change the picture in your passport.” I told her, that men do not have to change a picture in a passport if they are wearing a beard. She did not want to accept. And insisted that I soon need to change my passport.

I was tired and not in the mood of discussing, and I must admit I was scarred that if I did say anything wrong it could end in a difficult situation.

I passed the control and felt disappointed. A woman had told me this. And I had expected her to be supporting. I have traveled many countries in the last years, but never anyone dared to say something about my photo in the passport and my beard. They did look confused, or did ask, but never  told me to change the picture!

I got angry, and thought typical for the Germans! Some time ago they told the Jews to wear a star on their clothes so they could recognize them, and now they tell me to have the bearded picture in my passport so that things are more clear and sorted. I think people need to be informed in order to understand that there are not only two genders. To understand that between the two genders there are so many variations possible and that some people do not fit in any of the boxes. And that this is ok. No fear. Just a variation. To be curious instead to be scared. Well a lot to learn a way to go……

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4 Responses

  1. Woah! Hold ye horses.
    I do agree with your argument that it is silly to ask some one to change their picture just because they started to grow a beard or decided to shave it. But as you said, people are not informed about more than two genders and first have to get used to the idea of some blurry lines and new genders. And as such, one has to be patient and tell them about it.
    But when you get angry over her request and start saying that this is typically German, hence splitting Germans into: 1. Those who don’t say anything and are still properly subdued, and 2. They say something and therefore must clearly be like those Nazis, you are actually doing the same thing, you know? That’s like calling every white American a bloody murderer, because we know what the settlers did to the Native Americans some time ago. Or all the other countries who’s earlier people had their hands in slave trade and took an interest in establishing colonies and trying to assimilate the local people to their own, against their will.
    Maybe she just doesn’t understand the new things in this world, probably clings to the safety of what has been instilled in to her by society and it has nothing to do with her being German.
    So please do refrain from liking modern day Germans to Nazi-Germans just because they speak their mind. Every one in this world does it and no one bats an eye at it.
    It’s not like she asked you to board a train to a concentration camp.

    • Hi mehrfachkeks, thank you for your comment! Yes you are completely right, thats why I did write (or did I not,just in the german version perhaps?) that I have to work on my judgements. I just observed how my mind, by feeling attacked by her, went into attacking her, by accusing her to have Nazi ideas. And I am sorry for my minds thoughts. It is amazing, to watch the mind, and why do I feel attacked? Would wish to just be tolerant and say ok, this is new to her, keep calm and explain. In that moment I did not know how to explain, being tired and not having clear thoughts….and I thank you for your words, hoping that next time I am able to explain with a few words and not to feel attacked by people thinking different.
      I guess it is a human issue, feeling attacked and then to attack back, even the one who did do something was not meaning to attack, just said his opinion…and then the war is starting. So if each of us is working on himherself to be peaceful in the mind, then the world will be more peaceful too. And I am not yet there where I would like to be, in a constant understanding and peaceful state of mind, but working on it.

      • Nah, you didn’t write that you had already realized that you wished to work on your judgement of people. In that case my whole blubber up there is kind of not necessary 🙂 .
        Anyway, I’m happy that you did not hold on to the thoughts that you had at that time. And I wish you the best of luck in the future and that you will succeed with your education of the world. Because beards look awesome, and not only on men 😀
        Fare thee well

      • Hi mehrfachkeks,

        thank you, and no it was not just blubber, I like what you wrote!! Thank you!! It is sometimes difficult to translate from German to English. Somehow my thoughts and what I would write in english are different from thinking in German, so while translating the first published text that was in german I did slightly change …..and left out an important part…..anyway….might be interesting to read for others…. 🙂
        Thank you for your good wishes! All the best for you!

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