Scene: It’s lunchtime, Monday. Helen is wandering around the area where she works. As she nears a block of flats she spots three cis men – Real Men™ – putting up some scaffolding. Passing by, she hears the following exchange:
Real Man™ #1: Fuck, that’s scary.
Real Man™ #2: It’s a geezer, innit?
Real Man™ #3: Fu-ckin-ellll…
Real Men™ #1 & 2: Hur hur hur
Street harassment happens. To me and to other trans women. Every day, everywhere.
It’s cissexist and trans-misogynistic. It’s hate speech and it’s violence.
Me, I’m fortunate: I have various privileges – such as white privilege, class privilege, TAB privilege, possibly even age privilege – which, so far, have protected me from the beatings and/or rapes and/or murders that have been carried out on other trans women in similar circumstances, where the verbal violence has escalated into something far worse than the familiar humiliation of the public ungendering that I experienced today.
Possibly the worst thing about it, in those moments when it happens and in thinking about it later, is the sense of helplessness coupled with the awareness of just how exposed, how vulnerable, how much of a minority we are. It’s depressing that cis people feel entitled to lash out with such casual violence in the first place – because, for them, there are no consequences for their hate speech. They’re not the ones who have to try to make their way through a life where they’re outnumbered by a ratio of thousands to one, a life where hostile scrutiny of their every move is the default.
I posted earlier today about this incident and took it down, rewrote/reposted it and then took it down again. I’ve been feeling alternately depressed and angry all afternoon – but I just don’t know if there’s any point in going on about it – whining/ranting on the internet changes nothing. I only wish I could think of something, anything, that could be done to practically improve matters.