demonstration, transphobic

Leila’s Story: Harassed on the way home

I was walking home from an event only a few blocks from home. I cut through a parking lot and saw a couple guys getting into their car. I was at least 30 feet past them when I heard someone call out ‘hey’ a couple of times. I ignored it and continued walking quickly but he got louder and finally yelled out ‘you with the orange scarf’. I turned to see a guy leaning out the passenger side but I was still walking fast. he said ‘you better look at me when i’m talking to you’. I had already turned my head back around and kept walking. I was right at my back gate but I didn’t want them to see where I live, so I kept walking as if it weren’t my house. At this point I was out of their sight so I walked around the corner to head to my front door, thinking I was done with them. About halfway down the block, a car pulled over to the curb, the passenger window rolled down, and the man said ‘I found you’.
they had gone around the other side of the block. I kept going, this time straight for my front door, wishing i had pulled out my phone. when I got to my front gate, I turned to see the car was gone.

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demonstration, transphobic

Cycling across a bridge

I was cycling back home at stound 8pm tonight, after helping my boyfriend move house. The route home is well lit but usually quiet. As I cycled across a bridge a group of 6 middle aged men walking towards me started cat calling and yelling. They then obstructed my path forcing me to slow down and veer to the the other side. I tried to ignore them and cycle away as quickly as possible but I felt intimidated and scared as no one else was around. This is just one example of something that happens regularly but it’s started to effect my behaviour and I want to do something to prevent this insidious attitude happening

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demonstration, transphobic

Harassed at the City Centre

I’m 36 weeks pregnant and single. A few weeks ago I was walking into the city centre alone and a guy appeared beside me and started talking to me. It must have been obvious from my body language and responses that I was uncomfortable, but he continued to talk to me and walk alongside me regardless
I stopped and got my phone out in the hope he’d take the hint and carry on walking but he stopped and waited for me despite my obvious discomfort. He asked me if I had a boyfriend and I lied and said yes. Only at this point did he apologize and leave me alone. It made me angry that he only left me be because he thought I was involved with someone, not because he was making me feel uncomfortable. I felt unable to ask him to leave me alone because I was scared he might become aggressive towards me and my unborn son.

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demonstration, transphobic

Harassed on the bus

I was 13, and was on the bus with my guy best friend. Our relationship was always platonic, and I felt comfortable with him. On the bus, I was tired so I decided to lean on his shoulder and sleep. Just before I dozed off, I felt a hand on my chest moving down to my breasts. It felt foreign, and I was terrified. Then, he put his other hand on my thigh and moved up to my crotch. I was too scared to do anything. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I pretended to wake up, and the hands shot back. Till this day, he still doesn’t know I know what he did to me. He completely betrayed my trust, and I never went out with him again.

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demonstration, transphobic

Waiting for the train

About a month ago, I was waiting for my train at 10 in the morning, and an older gentleman at the bus stop started complaining about the safety of train car joints. Whatever. I try to be polite to older people, so I nodded along and said things like “Sure.” Then all the sudden, the conversation completely changed: “You have pretty green eyes. Not like the blue white devil eyes.” This is getting awkward, so I started using all the stances to put up more physical distance. Another man walks up. Good.At this point I could use help. Then the older man makes another awkward comment and the new comer walks away from us to the other end of the platform. The older guy steps uncomfortably closer. “You have honey green eyes. You can be my honey.” I glared at him and said no. He took a step back, but kept up a steady stream of comments till the train came. It wasn’t my first instance of harassment at that train stop. There’s a pattern. So I reported it to the metro and asked that they contact me in response to discuss options for women’s security on that route. I have never heard back.

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demonstration, transphobic

“Are you following me?”

One evening I was walking in downtown and I noticed this car was going straight, then turned and a man got out- he clearly was following me and I yelled “Are you following me?!” he said that he just wanted to talk to me. I yelled at him to stop following me and he kept walking after me once he saw that I got on my phone he stopped and went back. The fact that this man went completely out of his way to follow me was scary!

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demonstration, transphobic

My boss’ favorite customer

I have a new job that I love with an incredibly chill, great boss. It’s customer service at a food joint and the vast majority of the customers I interact with daily are men and they’re perfectly polite, lovely people. My job is a small business, so my boss loves any regular customers and one in particular is so beloved, he get’s everything free. When I first started a few weeks ago, I enjoyed chatting and joking around with this (significantly older) man when he’d come by for his coffee and I had some downtime. I thought he seemed rather sweet.
I’ve mentioned the fact I’m in a long term relationship with my boyfriend numerous times, but somehow he used that subject the first time he said something that made me uncomfortable. I said something about how it sometimes irked me we always have to hang out at my place since I have the luxury of privacy while my boyfriend doesn’t and this customer said “Well, he always wants to hang out there so he can fuck you”. I quickly brushed it off with an awkward chuckle. Since then, he would make inappropriate comments regarding my sex life with my boyfriend from out of nowhere, but I continued to brush it off.
He started greeting me by calling me “Gorgeous” each time he came by for his daily coffee and, while at first I thought it was harmless, there’s a strong, flirtatious tone to his voice as he says it. Last week, I said something about having just turned 28 and he admitted he had thought I was much younger. I explained that I got that a lot from people, that I guess I must look closer to my early 20’s than almost 30, but despite being constantly carded for cigarettes, I doubt I pass for a teenager. His voice took on an even huskier, more flirtatious tone when he replied “No, you definitely look like a teenager, you could pass for 17, without a doubt!”…the way he said it was as if this was an incredible turn on for him and it absolutely made my skin crawl.
The next day as I was leaning over the counter, he abruptly pushed his face uncomfortably close to mine, as if he hoped to kiss me, but I quickly recoiled and just gave yet another awkward chuckle. By this point, I’m not trying to actively engage in conversation anymore, I’m just doing my best as my boss’s sole customer service rep to be friendly to the favorite regular. I use work I need to get done as an excuse to leave the conversations, but he still insists on hanging around the counter in silence, just watching me.
He’s even coming by without any interest in the promise of free coffee now, this man is swinging by more often and clearly just to visit me.
For work, my boss knows I’m an artist and asked me to draw something for the business and I happily complied; I drew a neo-traditional style pin-up girl who is wearing just a cook’s apron draped across her front, tied at the back with red high heels as she smiles and holds a tray of food. It is pretty racy, but the customers are not offended and I’m personally just a fan of old pin-up artwork. The other customers regularly compliment the drawing, telling me I should become a tattoo artist (something I’d once wanted to do, truthfully), but it stupidly hadn’t occurred to me the sexy nature of the pin-up girl drawing would make things worse with this one man.
Today, the man came by for his regular visit, right when he knows I have nothing to do for awhile, and despite my clear disinterest in chatting, he wouldn’t give up on trying to get his daily chat with me. I don’t even know what prompted him to say this, but he said “That drawing’s very good, you’re very talented. That’s a very sexy woman, she’s HOT…” and as I was about to give a lukewarm thank you, he continued with “I bet business would seriously pick up if YOU started coming into work dressed like that! Just an apron, nothin’ underneath!”. His tone and vibe were without a doubt in full on ‘hitting on you’ mode, this wasn’t a casual joke.
He’s expressed the fact he thinks I’m “gorgeous”, that I could pass for an underage girl (and that it’s ‘hot’), he’s made lewd comments about my boyfriend and I having sex and now he straight up tells me he wants to see me come to work in nothing but an apron and heels. I step away from the counter, give my now standard awkward chuckle and mutter “No, no, I’m good wearing dirty flannel shirts, jeans and boots…” and I quickly add, hoping he’ll finally get the hint, “Plus, it would really suck to come to work and get sexually harassed. I’m really not trying to have that.”
He just laughed, said something along the lines of “Oh c’mon, I think you’d look pretty hot” and “It’d be fun! For the business!”, but I was so uncomfortable and embarrassed that…I don’t know, my mind kind of blocked him out. I quickly excused myself, citing certain work that needed to be done and got away from the guy.
Tonight, I logged onto Facebook, see I have a friend request and, lo and behold, it’s him. I’m FB friend’s with my boss, he must have found me through his friend’s list. I’m deeply uncomfortable, I’m thoroughly creeped out, his behavior is just escalating despite how clearly NOT into it I am. I do NOT want him as a FB friend, god only knows why he thought it’d be appropriate to seek me out and send me the request, I just want the guy to go back to being a polite, friendly, chatty customer.
I’m afraid to complain to my boss because of this particular customer being one of his buddies and a respected regular. I’m also, frankly, embarrassed by the idea of creating ‘a scene’ if my boss did decide to confront this man and demand he cut out the gross behavior. I don’t know if it will be seen as me making a big deal out of nothing…I don’t want to mess up this job, I sincerely enjoy everything else about it. I don’t know how to handle this. Creeps on the street, you can tell them to f*ck right off. I can’t do that with this man.

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demonstration, transphobic

Harassed in the supermarket

I work in a supermarket, and this morning a decent sized group of builders from another city came in. You could hear them halfway across the store being loud. I was the only person down my aisle, and no managers were close enough to see what was happening. They walked by the end of the aisle and I heard one yell ‘ey let’s go down this one!! she’s fit!!!!’ – they all started cheering and came down, then said hey to me and they all started laughing about how I wouldn’t even smile at him.
I so wish I could’ve retaliated, shown him how what he’s doing sucks, but being an employee it’s my job to be nice to customers, and being a new starter I didn’t want to risk getting into trouble for it, so I had to just walk away.
I’ve had a lot of anxiety issues the past two years and although I know I could handle any situation and not be in harm, I was still shaky afterwards because it truly sickens me to know some people still behave in such a misogynistic, desperate way.

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demonstration, transphobic

Followed on my daily walk

I walk from Saint Nicholas Avenue on 149th street in Harlem toward Broadway almost everyday for work. One beautiful summer day, I began that walk to catch the 1 train in order to get to an audition downtown by 1:30.
I’ve always been able to trust that walk. Tune out and focus.
When I crossed Amsterdam, a man, about 5’3/ late 20’s, caught my attention.
Since I work in the area, I know the majority of people who live on that block. There’s always at least four people I get to say hello to on that block.
As I walked past this man sitting on the white bench next to the very first stoop, I hear, “Wow! Look at this thing not wearing earbuds! Today must be my lucky day.” This line brought me crashing back to reality and I suddenly realized I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings. I wasn’t doing what I had done every day since I moved to New York City. And I was so angry with myself.
As I quickened my pace, he stood up and began to follow me. He asked me where I was going and why I was walking so fast.
I told him that I had somewhere I needed to be and if he could just leave me alone.
His response was, “What? I’m not doing anything. Just walking with you.”
He began to walk very close to me. To the point where he was walking behind me but leaning into my left arm to talk to me.
I continued to ask him to leave me alone, but he persisted.
I could feel myself shutting down. This had never happened to me and I wasn’t able to find the strength or knowledge to get away.
He then told me that he had a friend in the Bronx that could “hook me up” and I could “make a lot of money.”
I couldn’t even respond. I remember a man passing us and looking at me with that “that doesn’t look right” look on his face but said nothing.
My plan was to make it to the coffee shop and ask for help.
Thankfully, a woman I know from the neighborhood was walking her dogs and said hello to me. When I couldn’t respond, I began to cry and she was able to get me away from the man and told him to get lost. He then walked a little farther down the block, sat on a stoop, and watched us. When she threatened to call the cops, was when he finally left. By then, I was sobbing and couldn’t thank her enough.
I haven’t walked down that street since.

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demonstration, transphobic

New submission from Clary

It’s a tradition that me and my mother, as creative writers, go to Barnes & Noble every Sunday. Once we arrived at the rather busy place, we found our seats, settled down, and my mom went to get in line to order some food. I had started typing on my laptop when a very suspicious elderly man (60-70’s of age) was awkwardly walking past me. I was wearing an appropriate kind of tank top with a plaid shirt and leggings. I am always vigilant of strangers and I do have trust issues. The elderly man whispered, only loud enough for me to hear, “Nice tits.” All the heat literally drained from my body. This guy had his wife with him for Christ’s sake! This was my first experience of harassment, and my first instinct was to see that he was alone and straight up kick his ass. I wanted to leave. I lost my appetite. I lost my will to enjoy my time. I lost my creativity. I’ve never felt so vulnerable or scared. I’ve developed a form of insomnia, even knowing that I will not see him again, but also knowing that this is only the first round of harassment. And I’m only sixteen.

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