Listen to this Episode of "Coffee with Gringos" here or on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher.


Paige: You’re listening to Coffee With Gringos. I’m Paige Sutherland. And Mariah is not joining us today. Sadly, she is back in the US permanently. So, we have Stephanie back from Dynamic English. Thanks, Stephanie, for coming on again.

Stephanie: My pleasure. What is up everyone.

Paige: So, me and Stephanie today will be talking about Pride Month. Stephanie, you’ve been here about a year?

Stephanie: Yeah, this is true.

Paige: What was your first perception, before you arrived in Chile of the culture around Pride?

Stephanie: First of all, I just got that Madonna song in my head, “Celebrate.” Do you guys know that song?

Paige: Yeah, yeah I do.

Stephanie: Yeah, she’s a great figure to represent Pride. Okay, honestly, my perception before I came here… I was checking out Chile, and one of the things that stuck out the most was, I remember seeing La Moneda lit up in the Pride colors. I was like wowww cool, I can’t believe this! A country that embraces this, how awesome! So… that was my perception.

Paige: So you came here thinking, “no problem, ya know, the rights are the same.” You’ll have this thriving culture. It will be great.

Stephanie: Ahh, I’m not sure that I necessarily thought that, but I thought it was something more positive than I and many people experience in the US. Like, I can’t really imagine the White House being lit up in rainbow colors. In fact, like one of the things happening right now is the US banned the Pride flag from being displayed with the American flag at US Embassies. And that- that was pretty embarrassing. So when I saw this, I was hopeful and I was happy. And that combined with environmental things that were happening here was a nice thing to see.

Paige: Yeah, I think I actually had the opposite. I felt, from doing some of the research… I’m also a journalist by trade, so I was looking at some of the laws before I came here thinking of story ideas, and I saw that gay marriage is not legal here. And that there aren’t really a lot of rights for that community and so I thought, ya know, it might be difficult to be gay here. And then I came here in Santiago and I felt like the community was very accepting. I feel like there’s a huge community. And it seems that it’s thriving here, which I was surprised. But I don’t think- like most cities in the US- what exists in Santiago does not exist for the whole country. I think if you go south, if you go on the north you’re not gonna get as accepting of a community as you do in this kind of bubble of Santiago.

Stephanie: Yeh, I think that’s definitely true. I mean, I can’t say I’ve first-hand experienced that from traveling in Chile, but I always edge on the side of caution when it comes to PDA and things like that. What you were saying about the laws is something that does stand out to me and concern me about being here cuz were the rainbow lights a facade? Is that just for display for the world?

Paige: The laws reflect what the people want, right? Because, when you’re in a democracy, you vote for that person, and that person is supposed to be voting for you, right? So when you have a country that doesn’t have equal rights for a certain type of community, the assumption would be that the people want that, right? So, it makes sense to be a little cautious when you’re like, “oh well there’s these Pride lights, but we don’t have equal rights for this community though.” What is kind of the perception? I think what’s interesting is, it’s almost the opposite effect in the US, because I think when I talk to a lot of my students, they say, “Oh! Gay marriage is legal.” It’s federally legal in the US, you can get married in all 50 states, and so they think that that community is equal, right? Everything’s fine, you know… it’s a very embraced community. And I would say no. I think it depends completely where you live. I’ve from the northeast. We were in Massachusetts, actually, the first state to pass gay marriage, and I think it’s been very accepting there. But if you go down south, I think you’re gonna have; you might have some issues. Just because the federal law gay marriage is equal doesn’t mean everyone is very accepting.

Stephanie: I totally agree. So, in many ways here, I do feel more comfortable, because there’s like a humility that is not like… One of the things about the US is that, yes you can represent yourself pretty much any way that you want. But, that being said, you’re out there for attack on every front, and assumptions are constantly being made. Yeah, those laws exist, but just what you said, from my experience in the south, it’s like, “well those laws exist, but we don’t talk about them.” And on the day-to-day basis, especially with family interactions, “it’s probably just better for you to stay silent.” So, the silent power of discrimination is something very tricky to try to navigate.

Paige: The US is huge. It’s so diverse. So I think it would be wrong to say that everyone’s accepting of that community. That’s just wrong. I think it depends on the geography where you are. But I definitely think compared to you know, countries where you could be killed!

Stephanie: Ah, absolutely

Paige: Right? I mean, US is definitely in a much better place with some of the laws and the treatment. I mean there are countries where literally

Stephanie: It’s a crime!

Paige: It’s capital punishment. Or you just have people who are so passionately against it that you would literally be physically harmed. In Santiago, obviously there might be, like you said, some discrimination and everything, but do you feel like you’ve ever felt unsafe?

Stephanie: I think this goes into a broader subject of gender expression and what the experience is for a female or a male, or someone who is in between. For example, a lot of my female counterparts have experienced cat-calling and things of this nature. And that’s only happened to me a couple of times, but I definitely ride the androgyny line. So, on that note, that is where I sometimes feel uncomfortable. I feel like while this community is very accepting and progressive in certain ways, it is also very conservative, and women and men have very defined roles. So, when I’m out, and feel like I look like something in between, I’ve experienced vibes that feel hostile. And I feel like I need to get back to the safe area.

Paige: I completely agree with what you said. I think in the US we have a lot of work to do when it comes to women’s rights. But I think, here, even more so. I mean, like you said, the roles of what a man should be doing and what a woman should be doing is so defined here. And when you cross those, you will get judged. You see it so often, obviously in the workplace. You’re seeing it right now in the Women’s World Cup.

Stephanie: Absolutely.

Paige: To play soccer here in Chile as a woman is looked down upon because that’s a male sport. Men play soccer, the women cook, right? They clean. They have their own stuff. They knit. They’re not supposed to be on the field getting hurt, getting dirty. So, you see it right now. As these women are playing in the World Cup, that they’re not living in their defined gender role.

Stephanie: And that awesomeness makes people really uncomfortable.

Paige: I love that the “me too” movement, this whole like age of women in the US is been

Stephanie: It’s like blasting off!

Paige: Exactly. I love that it’s transcend borders. You have seen it and experienced here in Chile, with the women’s march. I mean historic records of people came out and are really fighting for their rights and you wouldn’t have seen that a few years ago.

Stephanie: No.

Paige: So you’re really seeing this movement spread everywhere, and it’s really just absolutely amazing. I think things are changing. I think it’s gonna take time, obviously to change culture, but I love that it’s happening.

Stephanie: Yeah, it’s exciting. Like, all the women running for president in the US right now… so that election is gonna be an exciting time for sure.

Paige: The biggest thing I noticed when I came here was being objectified. I think in the US, obviously, cat-calling by construction workers- it happens. But, here it happens almost everyday. Something a little more accepted in the culture that if you’re a woman and you’re on the street, and you’re wearing a certain outfit, or, ya know walking a certain way, you’re gonna be looked at. You’re gonna be talked to. You’re gonna be approached and given extra attention. And I think that’s something that has put me off when I first came here, as I was like, “Whoa! I just wanna be left alone.”

Stephanie: Do you think you’ve adapted to it now? Or you’re just like, “ah ok yes, now just moving on?”

Paige: I think unfortunately, changing culture is so hard you just, you have to get used to it. I don’t think it’s become a problem. I mean, I’ve never been like really harassed, it’s just been like, “oh ok haha, gracias ciao.” But it’s definitely something that happens more frequently here than in the US. And it’s funny my boyfriend will get upset because the concierge in our building- they always say hi to me, they give me extra, extra smiles and waves, and my boyfriend gets mad. He’s like “wow, they never wave to me, they never say hi.” And I was like, “you know why they’re doing this,” and I was like, “and I don’t like it.” I don’t want them to give that extra attention. I wanna walk into my building and just say, “hola” and just leave. So it’s funny, as the guy, he’s like offended. And I’m like, “you can have this extra attention. I don’t want it.”

Stephanie: Yeah, exactly. I’m always thinking about the fact that women are encouraged and allowed to go first here. Like getting off the micro, or in line, or something like that, because this is a very traditional type of behavior that in the US you don’t see as much, cuz of this thing of “Ay, I can open my own door. Or I can do this myself.” But I really like it. I don’t know what it means overall. Like what is the larger statement being made by it? Except, I know how I like to see it- which is: well, men, you get to go first all the time. So, it’s really nice for someone to let me just, walk out.

Paige: Because of the super-charged women’s movement in the US, there is kind of that, “I can open my own door. I don’t need you to let me go first” kind of mentality. But, I agree. I mean I think I take it as a nice gesture. Obviously he knows I can open my own door, and I can, and willingly will. But it’s just. I just think it’s a nice gesture. Sometimes, too often, it becomes over-analyzed. Right? Let’s fight for women’s rights. I completely agree. But, opening a door, I don’t think is; he knows we’re capable.

Stephanie: Yeah. It’s fine. Actually, there’s always this funny experience; I have a couple of different classes at the same location. But, we have to, like, walk around some nooks and crannies to get to the classroom. And, I’m familiar with: you let the person leading you go first. Because, I have no idea where I’m going. So, there’s always this little battle where like walking side-by-side with confused faces because the students are male and are like “wha- you need to be going first” and I’m like “yah but, you’re taking me somewhere. You should go first.” So it’s a funny little experience in transit that actually allows us to have fun. And, start up the conversation.

Paige: I have had that same experience where it’s like “ahh, I know you’re trying to be nice, but I’ve no idea where I’m going.”

Stephanie: Right.

Paige: So, today we talked about some heavy stuff. Obviously, when it comes to equal rights for all different communities, there’s a lot of work to be done. Whether in the US, Chile, or anywhere else in the world. But, the best part is to keep talking about it. And, fighting for equality.

Stephanie: Absolutely.

Paige: But, Stephanie, thanks so much for joining us again. It was really a pleasure to have you on the show.

Stephanie: You’re welcome. Happy to be here.

Paige: And as you know, students, or anyone else who’s listening, if you get lost, there will be a transcription on the website as well as a vocabulary guide. Thanks again for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Vocabulary Guide

Pride (noun) - here referring to an international holiday and established time intended to celebrate, honor and advocate for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender peoples (LGBT)

Example: What special events are happening at GAM for Pride month?

Perception (noun) - an understanding or interpretation based on experience

Example: My perception from class was that he had not completed the homework.

Rainbow (noun) - a display of colors, usually a result of sunlight in rain or mist; symbolic of Pride, and the LGBT community

Example: Did you see the rainbow after the storm today?

Lit up (phrasal verb): past tense of light up, to cast light or fire

Example: The sky was lit up with fireworks for the New Year.

Embrace, metaphorical (Verb)- to accept, welcome, or receive a person or philosophy with an open mind; like a hug

Example: At first, dealing with the new teacher was difficult, but as our fluency increased, we embraced her new methodology!

Thriving (adjective): to be alive, vibrant and active

Example: The vegetable garden was now thriving from the combination of sun and rain.

Banned (adjective): prohibited or forbidden by law

Example: Many forms of media are banned in China.

“Bubble” of Santiago - (noun) - specific place or community that is insulated from the outer world

Example: We stayed safe in our bubble of friends.

First hand (adjective) - to experience personally, rather than from outside information

Example: I experienced poverty first hand when I lost my home.

Edge on the side of (caution) (verb): to act in a way that is influenced by a particular direction

Example: It was almost midnight, so I edged on the side of caution and got an Uber instead of waiting for a micro.

PDA (noun/abbreviation) - Personal Display of Affection

Example: Santiago parks are well know for lots of PDA in spring.

Cuz (abbreviation) - because

Example: I don’t need to go to the salon, cuz I have scissors at home.

Facade (noun) - an appearance or front that is artificial or manipulative

Example: His suit and confidence were facade, as he lacked any real qualifications for the job.

Pretty much (adjective) - mostly, more rather than less

Example: We were pretty much ready for the party. We only missing candles for the cake and some napkins.

Discrimination (noun) - action or policies which specifically put a person or group of people at a disadvantage

Example: The history of racial discrimination in the school system required immediate action.

Tricky (adjective) - difficult, and usually requiring a special skill or knowledge to overcome

Example: Learning Spanish in Chile can be tricky because there are many words specific to the culture.

Gender expression (noun) - physical and behavioral signs of masculinity, femininity, or androgyny such as clothing, speech, and body language

Example: His decision to wear a dress was part of his non-traditional gender expression.

Gender roles (noun) - typical expectations and responsibilities for males and females based on society and culture

Example: The couple operated in traditional gender roles, as he worked in the office, and she stayed home with the children.

Cat-calling (noun) - Whistling, yelling out or making animalistic noises at a person when they walk by; usually sexual in nature

Example: She wore headphones so as not to hear the cat-calling as she walked to work.

Androgyny (noun) - the quality of appearing neither specifically male or female

Example: Because of her androgyny, she was often directed to use the men’s bathroom.

“Ride the line” (idiom/verb) - to follow a path or take action that is neither black or white

Example: He usually rides the line between drinking just enough, and drinking too much.

“On that note” (idiom/preposition)- following a signal, sign of a transition, “because of,” “and so”

Example: The bright lights came on at the bar. On that note, we moved to a new location.

Hostile (adjective)- inhospitable; unwelcoming; aggressive

Example: The crowd became hostile when they were denied entry to the game.

Judged (verb)- to form an opinion, usually negative, based on assumptions

Example: We judged the restaurant unfavorably as it was empty but on a busy street.

“Looked down upon” (phrasal verb/idiom)- To think negatively, and usually visibly upon a specific person or group of people

Example: The pregnant teenager was looked down upon at school by her classmates.

“Transcend borders” (idiom) - an idea, philosophy or social norm that uncontrollably travels from one country to another

Example: The effects of climate change transcends borders.

Harassed (verb)- to unethically give unwanted attention to another person without consideration

Example: The security guard harassed the couple by checking their bags every time they came home to their apartment.

Super-charged (adjective)- to carry an electric quality, full of energy and potential

Example: The air of the women’s march was super-charged with hope for positive change.

Gesture (noun) - a motion made as a sign of intention, attitude or formality

Example: My landlord brought me a slice of lemon pie as a gesture of kindness and approval.

“Nooks and crannies” (noun) - corners or spaces infrequently visited, but might have hidden surprises!

Example: Searching the nooks and crannies of the house, I found three chocolates, a vintage bottle of wine, and fifty thousand pesos!