Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I have too many stories of this nature but I will tell you the most recent. I get out of work at 9pm twice a week. I have a bus pass from school but it expires during the summer. To save $, I walk as its only a half hour from work to home. I was on my cell and 6 young men walk past me. A few of them start catcalling me. I just keep my eyes forward and ignore them. They keep walking their direction but call me “a bitch with a attitude.”
So I was at a restaurant with my friend. She went to the bathroom and this guy, who was at least 25, came up to me and started hitting on me. I told him I was 15, but he wouldn’t back off. There was barely anyone in the seating section where I was, so no one saw. He kept sliding towards me on the booth, saying how hot I was, rubbing my leg. The other side of the booth was a wall, so I couldn’t climb out. My friend finally came back and she threatened to tell the manager. He finally backed off.
I was shopping at a thrift store with my 1 year old son sitting in the cart and I noticed a guy would show up at whatever aisle we were in. He would brush by the cart staring at my son so I would randomize which aisle I was in and sure enough he followed. I hid in the furniture section and I saw him looking down each row. I figured that if I stood in the women’s section there would be no excuse for him to follow me there. I waited a bit and saw him run out of the store looking angry.
I was staying in shelters when I was 18 and I would read the newspaper inside cafes until the shelter opened up at night. One morning a sailor from out of town who had been out all night clubbing asked to sit down at my table. After a ten min conversation not only had he suggested that I “party” with him but made unwelcome comments about my tongue ring, called me a bitch when I refused him. He ripped the paper out of my hand and crumpled it on the ground giving me a death glare. Creep.
This was years ago, but it wasnt until now that I had a venue in which to share it safely. I was on a very crowded Q train when a man boarded at a stop & squeezed in behind me. As soon as the train left the station he started rubbing against me. After a few stops I turned, looked him in the eye & told him to stop & he didnt. I couldn’t move away it was so crowded but a man saw my discomfort & heard my plea & stepped in between us to protect me from the guy. I can never thank him enough!!
So today I was trying to help one of my teammates with a project and this fucker blatantly stares at my ass, gets his buddies to look, talks about it like I’m not there then asks if I’m a lesbian when I tell him to stop!
This is fucking humiliating! He was throwing shit at people, mocking classmates, and now this? It’s /disgusting/. I want to fucking clock him.
I was walking back to where my boyfriend was working on the truck, hoping no one would yell at me, but then some guy starts talking to me from behind. He rolls up in a bicycle asking me questions. I try to ignore him but finally tell him to fuck off. He, of course, doesn’t. We both yell and curse at each other for a minute, during which he tells me he’s going to kick my ass, and also that I should learn to respect people. I keep trying to walk a different way but he follows me on his bike.
At 13 years old I was harassed. I was walking with a group of friends to a school dance when these four men pulled over and whistled at us- a group of young girls- cat calling and saying things like “cute ass”, “what’s your name, baby?”, and “come party with us”. It made me and my friends very uncomfortable, so I flipped them off and replied with “sorry, I don’t have daddy issues” and promptly hearded my friends away. Not the best comeback but it worked.
VA-bound yellow line at about 1:15am Sunday: a slightly tall male of average build in his mid-30s followed my fiance and me onto the metro. He stared at me on his way onto the car, sat down across from us, and continued to stare for about 15 min. Then, he got up, while staring, and sat closer to us, just across the aisle. He turned toward us and continued to stare until we ran off the metro to switch cars.
This excerpt is taken from Vitamin W, with permission.
Once I became a man, I was finally legally married. A few years earlier, while still a woman, I had married my wife, but the backward state where we live didn’t recognize our union. Once my name was changed from Mary to Mark, we were legally man and wife. Well, a trans man and a lesbian wife. Nobody checks your chromosones.
That was the first indication that many things were going to get better for me. Better on the street, at school, on the job or even at the grocery store; life is way easier when you’re perceived as a seemingly straight man.
As a man you’re:
ALLOWED TO WALK WITHOUT CAT CALLS
As a butch lesbian, I’d get harassed. I was the ubiquitous coffee house dyke and had to walk just three blocks to my job, but I had to lace keys through my knuckles, I’d get three guys in shitty cars offering to give me the ride of my life as I walked to work.
Not having those interactions anymore is so relaxing. The ability to walk around in this world without fear of harassment or violence is something I am fully aware is an enormous privilege. I knew this was part of the journey, but I had no idea how much stress would be alleviated by not having to be a woman out and about in the world.
For the full article, click here.