It all boils down to respect, from both sides.
those who are different from you in whatever manner, by not degrading them through words or actions meant to set them apart as somehow inferior in some way.
And respect by
those who choose to live their lives outside of some random social "norm", by not constantly challenging everyone else to change to fit their own perceptions.
Joe's and his boss have a relationship based on some level of mutual respect, so a bit of kidding around isn't taken seriously on either side. But if Joe walked up to some random couple of guys and jumped in with that level of "joking", it would be offensive, and rightly so.
Ask yourself this: If it was a female on the back of your bike, would you make the same exact comments about her keeping her hands and body parts in check, or would it quickly devolve into some sort of crude boob joke? Or if the above pic had two girls riding, what would your comments have been then, and what would the undertones have been? Now tell me there's not a difference there . . .
Because words matter, and they have meanings and context beyond a mere string of letters or sounds. What
you say is important, of course, but so is how
you say it, and how you present
it, in any situation, especially if you're interacting with a relative stranger with whom you haven't had the chance to build up any history that might help temper your "jokes".
People react to you based on how you treat them. So no, you're not completely responsible for every single person that you interact with and how they might possibly take every single comment that you utter, but you are responsible for participating in society in a manner that respects others, including not spouting stuff that is known to be demeaning and derogatory, even if you think "it's just
a joke, jeez . . . "
And yes, I also know some Fabulous people who feel the need to remind you just how Fabulous they are. And when I actually sit down and talk with them, I find their outer persona is a direct reflection of them getting hassled and harassed and even attacked over many, many years, just because some people took offense to their personal choices and constantly let them know it through various passive-agressive or downright obnoxious ways.
So their outward response is more akin to Hans' position on the matter, which is to say "This is who I am, and if you don't like me expressing myself, then it's your
problem . . . "
Basically, it really just comes down to Live and Let Live. If we all did that, the world would be a much simpler and more peaceful place for all of us.
And yeah, Happy New Year to y'all. I'm sure we can all use a great one this trip around the sun . . .