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Hi. I am a pre-op transsexual woman living in West Hartford, Connecticut. I shared my story in 2011 and shared a follow up story this year (2013).
I was reading Hollaback’s #HarassmentIs and felt inspired to share more experiences.
I was pumping gas at a local gas station when a young man pumping gas in front of me read that I looked like I didn’t work. He turned to another young man, whom he did not know, who was at a different pump and said, loudly, “How was work?” To which the other young man replied, sarcastically, “Oh, It was great.”
I was at the local post office and accidentally, momentarily, messed my transaction up while there were several people waiting. While my transaction resolved itself, two men, at least one of them younger, who were behind me in line, were able to finish before me. When I got back to my car, someone had put an additional 4 quarters in my parking meter. Evidently, they somehow knew which car was mine, which felt creepy, because they had to be watching or keeping track of me getting out of my car, which is bizarre, because who does that?
In #HarassmentIs only one page was devoted to street harassment based on class, and it only talked about people who are, or are perceived to be wealthy, harassing people who are, or who are perceived to be poor.
I look like I have money and I have received a tremendous amount of verbal abuse (in a predominantly wealthy area), for being perceived to have wealth.
Two weeks ago, I made a trip to West Hartford center on a Monday mid-afternoon. It is a place where wealthy appearing women will occasionally walk around. I got out of my car, put a couple of quarters in my meter and began walking toward Starbucks. I had not planned to go inside and was going to walk by and, eventually, cross the street. Less than halfway to Starbucks I came upon a man who was already harassing a woman because she had a nice car (black Lexus? SUV). She was responding to him, it seemed she was trying to comfort him. When I encountered him he was saying to her in a very loud and angry tone of voice “thousand dollar a month car!” Then he saw me and his eyes went to my shoes, which were nice booties and he became even more angry the moment he looked at my shoes. He turned back to her and said, even louder. “Thousand dollar a month car payment, thousand dollar a month (unintelligible)! You’ve got car insurance, health insurance, while the rest of us are eating popcorn. By this time I was pretty distant, and he called after me – “Yeah, keep walking!” Needless to say my trip to West Hartford center was very short. Just before I got into my car I saw him sitting himself down angrily outside Starbucks.
In 2010 I was at the cafe at Barnes and Noble and I sat down in the back of the cafe to read. As soon as I sat down, a man who was seated diagonally across from me, who was talking with a woman, bristled. He was looking at me and he said, loudly, “Spain. Yeah Spain’s got problems. My mother in law is from Spain.” He kept talking and getting louder and I had to leave the cafe.
Also in 2010 I had three separate experiences which were so similar they were shocking. In May, I was in West Hartford center and a young man who was with another man said loudly to me “That’s not real!” In August I was at the DMV in a neighboring town and a young woman who was with her male partner said, as she passed me, “That’s unreal.” Lastly, sometime later in the fall, a young man working at Whole Foods, said to me as he saw me “Is that real?”
– to clarify – Yes. It’s real.
I was in Blue Back Square on a Sunday recently and I sat down on an out of the way bench. A car of young boys drove by and I heard one of them shout “It looks like you have a secret life!” And then drive on.
Earlier this year I was at the Barnes and Noble cafe (which I do not go to any longer) and an unstable woman had an outburst. She perceived me to be gay (which I’m not), and started asking an employee if he was going to be a “Boy Scout troop leader?” He played along with her and offered “Did I tell you that I’m rich?”
– I think what is interesting about the harassment based on classism is that a few years ago I blended right in, wearing some of the same clothes. Everyone here looked like they had money (whether they actually did or not) and no one ever bothered me for looking like I had money. Recently I’ve received a tremendous amount of flak for at least appearing to be wealthy. So it was understandable that when I read the #HarassmentIs booklet that Hollaback depicted examples of wealthy people harassing poorer people, however, it ran completely contrary to my experiences. I have never harassed someone verbally, for any reason.
Gender Identity Photo-Op –
As I said, I am a pre-op transsexual woman, so I dress the part. I have a wonderful wardrobe with lots of shoes, beautiful dresses, a fair amount of jewelry and plenty of color.
I have had my photo taken, with my knowledge (but without my consent), 5 different times.
One was a photo taken by a young teenage girl from a car that she asked her friend to slow down as I walked down the street.
A second was a young twenty-something taking my photo as I sat near a statue in West Hartford Center.
A third was another young twenty-something taking my picture as I sat on a bench in West Hartford center.
A fourth was, yet another young twenty-something, taking my photo at the same spot as the previous.
Lastly, this Sunday a grown, middle-aged woman snapped a photo with flash in Blue Back Square. She was with her family. (I hear it’s a great way to teach the kids).
– It is interesting to note that all of the people who took my photo (over the last 3 years) were women, and four of them were twenty-something or younger.
I must be a Facebook celebrity, but I don’t know it.
I wanted to write these things because that is what came to mind after reading #HarassmentIs. I think that our current culture is about punishment and critical judgement of others. When a person doesn’t fit in to generalized norms, they are immediately criticized, judged and then punished.
Speaking for myself, I am just trying to relax.
It does not matter where you are or what you are trying to do, you shouldn’t be punished for it, unless it causes avoidable harm to others.
I am very sorry for my length, and I hope you can include this on your website. Once again, thank you for providing a place to express these things.
Locked my bike up in its usual spot outside the home of a dog I walk. Some guy on the sidewalk was crossing the street in the same direction I was. He sat on some steps on the far side of the street, and I passed, just going about my day. He called out “Hey!” in a low tone. I figured he was just saying hey, as people around here often do in passing, or was making an attempt to beg for money (which happens so often I do tend to ignore it/pretend I didn’t hear). When I didn’t respond, he added “I want to shove my c0ck in you.” I was shocked and thrown off. I’ve been whistled at before, but never victim to verbal attacks like this. He further added “I have to punish you” in an even softer tone.
I hurried to my destination and sat inside for about ten minutes, hoping by the time I went out again to walk the dog, he’d be gone. Thankfully he was.
This happened at an intersection across from a school, which makes it even scarier. I’m trying to find a way to report it, but I didn’t even get a look at him.
My biggest concern is being too afraid to respond in a reprimanding way for fear of being physically assaulted as a result. So how, then, does one go about combating this unacceptable behaviour?
In July 2010, while returning home at around 7:30 pm, I felt like I was being watched.
I realized that these were the same people who always seemed to hang around that place when I returned from my Language studies at the nearby institute. That particular night, I had walked a little forward to catch my bus home. The area was dimly lit and no one was around. There were three men. They started to sing and cat call. I turned around to confront them and was chased and later stabbed with a throw knife. I had to run for my life and I barely made it out. Fortunately, there is a police box very close to that place now. But there are countless such dingy and dark alleyways in our city where people keep harassing women, making them feel unsafe.
It is not about wearing clothes since in our city, most women wear salwar or saree anyway. The fear also arises because mostly who revolt are either beat up badly or in worst cases, shot or stabbed. People are afraid of raising a voice or even share their stories. I feel that if the support behind these harassers is destroyed, our city’d be much safer.
Group of guys shouted at me from their car as they drove by.
This man followed me around the boot sale, leering at me and trying to catch my attention. When I told him to leave me alone he started calling me “fat cow”. This was in front of my mum, boyfriend and several other people. I then took a photo of him, and as a response he flicked me with a hose and called me “piggy”.
Pride in the Park is a day we all should be able to enjoy.
Some out of state people showed up to prance around with signs and verbally attack Pride-goers.
One man, bible in hand decided me and my friend looked homosexual and proceeded to keep asking why we look as we do. “WHY ARE YOU DRESSED LIKE THAT?!? ARE YOU A HOMOSEXUAL?!?”
They harassed many people present and even brought a bullhorn. So you travel states just spread hate in the name of your god? Logical…
I just moved to Las Vegas about a month ago to pursue a performance career, I am a fire dancer.
I finished my shift at Paris casino (handing out voucher tickets for the Eiffel Tower experience), and was walking back to the MGM where I parked my car. For those who don’t know what the Vegas strip is like, 11am is no quiet time. Every part is brightly lit up and there are hundreds of people.
As I’m walking, this tall man comes right off my left side behind me and says, “Hey girl, how are you? What are you up to?”
I give him that “oh haha yeah you think I’m cute thanks I’m gonna keep walking bye now smile” and move away from him. I’m sure you ladies know which smile I’m talking about.
He says, “What, you afraid of guys? You afraid of me? You don’t wanna talk to me?”
And, in the same ‘aha yeah sorry I’m just on my way please excuse my rudeness’ fashion, I say, “Sorry, I just don’t talk to random guys I don’t know”. I’m doing that dismissive smiling thing because I’m conditioned to brush guys off gently, to not anger people, to make it seem like I’M the rude person for not responding.
He starts screaming at me at the top of his longs, chasing me for about a block as I try to get away from him as fast as I can.
“FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING GOD DAMN UGLY SLUT, FUCK YOU!!! FUCK YOU!! YOU FUCKING UGLY CUNT WHORE, I’M GONNA KILL YOU, YOU FUCKING UGLY GOD DAMN SLUT! FAGGOT! FAGGOT! YOU’RE GONNA GET RAPED, I HOPE SOMEONE RAPES YOUR FUCKING UGLY ASS, YOU FUCKING DISGUSTING SLUT! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FAGGOT, FUCK YOU!!!!!!”
….and so forth and it just got more angry and colorful from there.
As I’m getting away as fast as I can I’m shouting “Leave me alone! Get away from me!”
I dive off into a food court and hide as soon as I feel like I have enough distance, but I don’t know how far behind me he is because he was screaming so loud I couldn’t gauge the distance very well.
Thankfully there was a police officer in the food court and he was kind enough to call in a couple of security guards to escort me to my car.
I was shaking and crying and I felt ready to puke. Of course it was terrifying. I didn’t know if this was gonna be the one guy that instead of responding with the usual, “Whatever, you’re ugly anyway” that happens when I refuse public advances, he was going to be the one that had a knife or a gun. Because YES that happens to women and YES women have died when they refuse cat call advances.
This is the outfit I was wearing.
Yes I’m flipping off the camera in the photo. I’m angry. I’m angry that this person felt he could treat me this way for simply NOT WANTING TO TALK TO HIM. I’m angry that this is not an isolated incident, that women all over the world experience this every day.
I’m tired of being scared outside. I want to feel safe and free. HOLLABACK.
The other night, I was standing on my porch when a man stopped his car in front of my building. He said something that I couldn’t make out so I asked him to repeat it. When he said it the second time, it sounded like he said “Please tell me your middle name.” Confused, I asked “You want to know my middle name?” He shook his head and replied “No. Please tell me you are good in bed. Like, you ain’t got a boyfriend or nothin?” I told him that I do, in fact, have a boyfriend. He sat there for a few seconds and then sped off in his car.
I was traveling in Paris, making my way to the Eiffel Tower one bright afternoon. I was looking around, trying to make sure I was going the right way, and, as a result, I made eye contact with a man that was walking past me on the sidewalk.
A few minutes later, he had turned around and caught up to me. He followed me. I was nervous, trying to be polite yet distant while he tried to engage me in conversation. On the way back to the underground, he grabbed my hand and tried to kiss me.
I moved away from him, told him to stop, but he just laughed and kept walking beside me. We were in a part of the park that was virtually empty, so, even though I told him to leave, I didn’t want to stay where I was, with no one else around, until he did.
All the way back to the underground, he continued to try to touch me. I tried to push him away, but didn’t want to strike him. The last thing I wanted was for the situation to turn violent.
Finally, I made it back to one of the main stations, walked over to the police booth and stayed there until he left. Some people have said I should have expected it, traveling alone… Like the unacceptable behavior was mine. But what makes it okay for him to harass me, touch me, stalk me? Why does walking somewhere on my own in broad daylight mean he’s not to blame?
i live in florida and go to the beach frequently. earlier this year i went with my aunt’s friend and her two children, aged 4 and 7. we were on a stretch of sand next to the highway so we could leave the spring breakers alone because it was too crowded on the beaches further down the island. some young, college aged men came driving down the highway in their car with penises drawn all over their car and honked at me and my aunt’s friend, yelling things like “nice asses” i was 15 at the time, and even then i was aware that catcalling was wrong. i wanted to say something but they drove away too quickly