Wearing a Dress to Make a Point
The Canarian Island of Gran Canaria is well known for its ‘live and let live’ attitude to life, which is one of the reasons why I love this island so much. Whether you are straight, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or just plain confused, it really doesn’t matter. If you happen to want to wear a dress instead of trousers few folk will raise as much as an eyebrow, although you would be well advised to have a decent hair do and a full facial to go with it.
Gran Canaria is not adverse to a little cross dressing from time to time, and the right to be flexible when wearing clothing is firmly defended by most generous thinking people on the island. However, a campaign by the taxi divers in our capital city of Las Palmas did raise a few eyebrows recently.
Sadly, the taxi drivers in Las Palmas have been a little upset, because of the policies and demands of the City authorities. They were also more than a little peeved at being asked to wear smart uniforms, which the city authorities felt would improve their presentation when greeting tourists arriving at the airport. A number of other issues also meant that the taxi drivers felt that their work was not valued and that the authorities were undermining them. Anger built up and the taxi drivers felt that the only way that they could protest was not to strike, work to rule, or go on a protest march, but for the male taxi drivers to start wearing dresses, or a skirt and blouse.
Initially, the protesting taxi drivers announced that they would cross dress on Mondays and Wednesday, leaving the rest of the week for them to recover, as well as giving them the opportunity to refresh their wardrobes, or return items borrowed from wives and girlfriends.
Feelings ran very high, since the taxi drivers felt that this was the only way that would command the attention of the City authorities, as well as a, hopefully, sympathetic public. Many drivers commented that they thought there were far more serious issues to be concerned about than wearing uniforms, as demanded by the city authorities. Indeed, the drivers felt that the area manager, whose Spanish name interestingly translates into ‘Mr Tasty’, should resign in favour of someone who could resolve the drivers’ many grievances.
The president of the taxi drivers’ association, who is a woman, commented that she was very proud of her members’ actions, as it had started a street movement. In any case, as all holidaymakers to these islands are acutely aware, wearing a skirt is much more comfortable in the Canarian climate than trousers. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, seemed to be the general view of these latest cross dressers.
So there we have it. Be warned that if your taxi driver is a friendly, but macho, hairy Canarian sporting a moustache and beard and a broad grin, but also wearing one of the latest frilly numbers from Zara, please don’t panic. Just smile and tell him where you wish to go in the usual manner. Please also tip generously, because he may well be saving up for an extension to his wardrobe.If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com or read his book, ‘Expat Voice’ (ISBN: 9780992767174). Available in paperback, as well as Kindle, iBooks and Google Play editions. iPhone/iPad and Android Apps: ExpatInfo, CanaryIsle and CanaryGay now available. © Barrie Mahoney