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Walking back from the fast station, I refused to give six individuals a cigarette so the group decided to follow me all the way home, all the while being screamed at and threatened. It was horrifying.
I was walking to work from my garage when a car pulled over and the driver, a middle-aged man, rolled down his window to catcall at me. This is soooo not the first time this has happened, even in the last week. But I lost my temper today and I stopped to say bewilderingly “does that work for you?!”
The guy got angry and defensive, shouting about how I wouldn’t pay attention to him otherwise, and I shouted that it was rude and I didn’t want to talk to him, so don’t talk to me. He rolled up his window at that point and drove away, and I continued into work.
It sure would be nice to be able to go a week of the one-block-walk from my garage to my office without this happening.
I was walking to work and a man in a green sweater started talking about my thigh length socks. I told him I didnt want to talk to him and kept walking. He screamed bitch and whore at me as i walked 2 blocks.
I WALKED TWO BLOCKS TODAY!!! I HATE IT. I CRIED AND HAD TO LEAVE WORK. I CANNOT TAKE IT!!!! WHY DO THEY DO THIS?????
Today, in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, we’re taking some time to read over a section from our #HarassmentIs publication. These stories highlight many of ways that transfolks experience violence and discrimination in public spaces. At Hollaback!, we believe that everyone should have equal and safe access to public spaces. This Transgender Day of Remembrance we encourage you to share your stories and stand up against street harassment. Let’s work together to make spaces safer for everyone.
From pages 29-31 of Harassment Is: An Exploration of Identity and Street Harassment
“I always fancy myself one of the bros. I’ve struggled with the idea of being transgender, but have a deep rooted belief in loving my body no matter what….but [once I was harassed] ..I didn’t feel fear. What I did feel though was humiliation and disconnect. In one comment a complete stranger disrupted my place in my group.” – Hollaback!’er
Transgender people may feel that their assigned sex at birth does not match their internal sex or gender. Trans identities, like most identities, exist on a wide spectrum.
Many people exist outside of the either/or of man or women, or come to those identities in different ways. Sadly, a lot of people who identify as trans and/or gender-non conforming face violence, harassment, sexualization, fetishization, and discrimination. Sometimes this violence can be physical, and sometimes it can also be psychological. Imagine what it feels like to not be seen for who you are.
The story below highlights some of the anger, sadness, and frustration that can come along with not being seen as your gender and experiencing street harassment. Elizabeth writes,
“I was walking out of Starbucks and two college-age looking guys yelled “faggot” at me. I am a transgender woman and I have no problem with people noticing that I am a transgender woman. I am very offended when people call me things that I am not. I was so angry that I threw my coffee to the ground and just got in my car and left.” http://bit.ly/15U0qMs
The next story sheds light on the very real threat of violence and escalation of street harassment as a trans* person. One Hollaback!’er writes,
“I think often when we speak about transgender issues, that human voice and visibility is missing. Therefore, I feel it is important to share one of my own stories with bathroom harassment. Often when I first was transitioning, I would do my best to avoid public restrooms…When you are transitioning from using the female restrooms to male restrooms a lot changes. You fear going into female restrooms because women constantly tell you that you are in the wrong restroom. They yell at you, and protect their children like you are going to hurt them…See, because as much as we fear that verbal harassment, I now fear the physical assault upon entering the men’s restroom. It’s hard to confront those who know you or strangers when they state you don’t have a penis, this means you are not a man, get out, freak, etc…It’s not only the physical threat that scares me when this happens, but the mental damage of constantly feeling threatened or fearing another assault as I choose what uniform to wear any given day: is it the straight male, the gay male, the butch female that will cause me the least harm, and more so why must we choose what option means least harm. Which option will disarm those directing assaults at me.”
My partner (a guy) and I enjoy making and wearing costumes (and in my city there is no shortage of costumed events). For Halloween, I had decided to be a video game antagonist known for the huge helmet he wears. While the helmet covered my entire face and most of my torso, anyone could still tell I was a woman because the rest of the costume was an A-line undershirt and a butcher’s apron over leggings -not skimpy but you could see my shape.
Because I have a good case of bitch-face and a fast aggressive walk, I rarely get hassled in daily life but while I was an anonymous woman wearing a mask on Halloween, I got the most harassment of my life. Even with my guy standing next to me, randoms would come over to touch me (like I was a Real Doll), to tell me how hot I was even though they couldn’t see what I looked like, and when I tilted the helmet to peer at them they would tell me to leave it on, as if I were a fetish object for their pleasure and confronting them with my personhood would ruin their good time.
Even when my partner would intervene they wouldn’t stop trying to pick me up until we relocated. Of course, when we had successfully gotten away from one jerk, another would take his place. It’s not even as if they knew my character! The worst offenders had no idea what I was even supposed to be, only that I was a woman’s body without a visible head. I have never felt so much like a piece of meat in my life. I’ve never been to a Con but think maybe now I know how the women that attend those might feel.
I was walking to go get some coffee in my neighborhood, when some guy driving by yelled “YOU’RE GONNA GET RAPED!!!” extremely aggressively.
It was terrifying and I started crying.
I was waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up after class, near the entrance to the parking lot. I was looking at my phone and into the parking lot, wondering if he had parked and I had not seen him. I wondered around a bit and didn’t see the car, so I started to walk back towards the entrance. As I was walking, a man sitting in a parked truck whistled at me and made some other noises. At first I thought he was calling a DOG, I looked around and then looked at him. He made the same noises along with a come here hand motion. I shook my head and he continued to make the noises and whistle.
I was so offended that he thought it was not only acceptable behavior, but that it would work. I ended up shouting, “I AM NOT A F**KING DOG A**HOLE!” Flipped him off and walked away. Perhaps not the best way to handle the situation, but I was mad. Still makes me mad thinking about it.
At my bus stop a man came up and asked me what school I went to, my name, my age…so I gave him short responses and hoped he would leave.
He got on my bus, sat away for me at first, then moved beside my seat and began making kissy noses at me, snapping fingers, waving hands, trying to get my attention until he grabbed me. I yelled loudly “DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME”. He got off the bus. No one said anything to me. He was on my bus home. I live by him. I was so scared
Me and my friend were just getting out of a concert and started heading to this marketplace across the street. It was pretty empty by then and we just sat down, having some drinks, looking over our pictures from the concert when some guy started walking towards us. The way he looked at us made us really uncomfortable so we got up and started walking away. We took a turn thinking he would go about the rest of his night but he kept following us. We ended up speed walking until we found some security guards and stood by them. Then we turned around and the man was gone. We were so frightened and I honestly thought we wouldn’t be able to outrun him.
My old neighborhood, the slopes, was awful for street harassment!
One of the worst was when I was having a bad day, trying to keep to myself on the street, and finally perked up and smiled looking at a friendly text, and someone yelled from their car that I had a beautiful smile and was gorgeous.
He probably thought he was being so nice, but that smile was for me, and I want to reclaim it!!