Transgender Day of Remembrance : Harassment Is

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.”

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.”


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