The new face of male courage and righteous indignation
On May 19th 2015, some three or four hours after mercury went retrograde; A likely drug addled late twenty something white cis male rode up to me on his bicycle and extended his arm parallel to the ground while making a fist and proceeded to joust with me without prior notification.
His fist struck me in the right cheek while he was riding at a not leisurely velocity. The force of the rude and cowardly blow to my innocent visage sent me into the concrete where both of my knees took the most damage. He had struck me while I was situating objects in my backpack and attempting to zip it back up. I was entirely unaware of this person until he was about six feet away from me. I was in the process of looking up from my backpack to smile at “entity approaching on bicycle” when I felt the blow.
After I went to the concrete and he had rode around the corner of the theatre on 4th Ave where it happened I dazedly stood up and located my backpack and looked around to see if anyone had witnessed it. As luck ( and the likelihood that there were multiple people downtown ) would have it there was someone around who had seen the act.
I had just met this person the day before, literally. He was over at a friends house who just happened to roommates with one of my friends. This is the kind of “coincidence” that happens in a town sized similarly to Olympia.
Anyhow; Robert agreed to stay with me until after he and I had filled out reports with the local law enforcement dept. We walked towards the corner across the street, near where egy-hop usually posts up next to vita. I ask people there if they had seen the person on the bicycle go past moments earlier. Just as I finish briefly explaining the situation he rides by on the other side of the street and calls me a faggot.
Having just explained the events of the recent past and with the help of his cowardly epithet, I point him out and say as loudly and confidently as I can to everyone there “That’s the guy that just punched me in the face. That’s him. Remember his face.”
He rode away around the corner again and back down 4th Ave, and I continued to look for the number to the police, call, and wait for the officer.
The officer was pleasant.. The filing and the effect uneventful.. Like I had imagined they would be. This story isn’t about the officer though. It’s not really about me, and it certainly isn’t about an ignorant coward.
It’s about the state of affairs that brings us to a society in which a person decides it’s acceptable and worthwhile for them to punch a person in the face. Because that person happens to be wearing a skirt.
This is about the fear a small minded person can have labouring under the assumption that if a person is wearing a dress they must be attracted to men and are out to get them by tricking them into sex.
This is the thing that infuriates me the most. The blatant insecurity and self absorption the homophobic male mind can exhibit. I began to notice this increase drastically after Pride in Olympia. The hotter it got, the less layers I would wear and the bigger my tits got from my recent growth spurt the more confident I would be in my clothing choices.
I would ride around.. happy to be on the bike I had recently finished building and these bitter old perverts would stare at my ass, clearly angry that I was turning them on and yell to the closest male they could find “That’s a man!”. As if they had a right to make a blanket determination on my gender. Solely based on the cues that made them look at me in the first place..
If I was a man.. If I was a man, these insecure little globs of shit wouldn’t have noticed me in the first place.. They wouldn’t have noticed me if I was the most stealth gay man in the world. They would not have noticed me if I was the most flamingly queer diva in the world except to mumble fag under their breathe, and they sure as shit wouldn’t have noticed me if I was Joe Blow regular cishet guy.
They sure as hell notice quick when it’s a queer as fuck transbian who wouldn’t touch their odiously homophobic cishet ass.
The idea that it is right in any way to call out the assumed gender or sexuality of a person; A person that is paying you no attention whatsoever is a symptom of the diseased society we live in where men believe they own the sexuality of any woman they see in public. We live in a society where men believe if you don’t measure up to an arbitrary mans standards of what female is and isn’t, you should be called out and made to feel ashamed.
We live in a society where people think it’s ok to punch others in the face.. for wearing skirts.
So.. to courage.. I would say that wearing a skirt has nothing to do with courage.. I would say that there are probably countless examples of women being courageous in the face of death while wearing skirts. I would also say that punching a person in the face from a bicycle while they were unaware for nothing so much as wearing a skirt, having tits, and a light facial shadow is the absolute depth of cowardice.
It was honestly the first most overt symbol of trans and homophobia I had ever felt. I had left Idaho a number of years before, come to Seattle to live in the big bad city for roughly five years.. and yet.. It was charming little Olympia where I faced my first experience of homophobia on a physical level.
That’s not to criticise or shame Olympia. Far from it. In Olympia I had found my home. My community. An astounding number of people ready and willing to welcome me into their lives.
I’m merely pointing out that these examples of male privilege, insecurity, and bitterness can happen even in the most casual and progressive thinking cities in the world.
I saw him again yesterday. As it’s the beginning of the month he has money and is moving around.. I learned his name. At least his first name, and was witness to a bit more of his character.
I was enjoying a beverage at vita just across from where he assaulted me, when I saw him ride by on his bicycle. I went outside and started following him. I saw the street he turned down and went back to get my girlfriend so we could follow him more and see if we could find out any solid information.
As I approached Sylvester Park I slowed, figuring he would be in the area. Sure enough, just as I got to the corner I saw him to the left of me. He was talking with someone so I had my partner get out her phone and try to get pictures of him. He said something insulting and forgettable to the person he was speaking to and started to look like he was making moves for an exit.
I called him a coward and asked him why he was running away from me. I asked him if he wanted to finish his problem with me. Actually, somewhere along the way I just started screaming at him and calling him out as loudly as I could.
Predictably, He did everything he could to get away while trying to act like nothing was happening.. Like he had done no wrong and I was accosting him without reason. Unfortunately it’s a little harder to do that while one is screaming “Go ahead and just die faggot.”
He rode away after a bit and eventually we decided to go over to a friends house. We had walked about three blocks in the direction of our friends when We saw him riding by again apparently trying to scope us out or return to the downtown area. We again confronted him and began calling him out and running him off. At some point during this confrontation he accused me of raping his wife at a local grassroots organisations center.
We again started back in the direction of our friends house and once we got there visited and discussed the situation. After looking at the pics my partner had taken and texting them to key people we found out his first name is Josh and he is apparently not closely in touch with reality.
Be that as it may, Me, My partner, and our friend all deal with mental health issues. None of us have ever assaulted a person because of our delusions. We are also free of trans, and homophobic fear and hatred. The three us also being gender divergent.
I have no interest in seeing this person in pain. I have no interest in creating more suffering in the world. The importance of getting this person the help they need is obvious though. If not for his sake, which I honestly have little interest in; But for the other trans and queer people who live in this city and call downtown their home.
I have a responsibility to them first, my siblings in a struggle that continues now even after we’ve all gotten the right to marry who we wish. As a trans woman, I will not back down from the face of ignorant transphobic hatred even if that means that I will get bloodied in the experience.
I’m not fond of reintroducing anyone to the legal or judicial justice “system”. However, Neither do I care what happens in the long run to a white male hetero homophobe. His people created and fuel the governmental bodies that we have to deal with. My opinion is let them sort it out.
That may not be buddhist, I suppose it would depend on who you spoke with. But it is what I have to do as a person to feel ok with myself. If he takes the opportunity to get help, more power to him. If not, those are his choices. I struggled through similar issues, if he wants to change he can. If not, It’s not my responsibility to care. It’s my responsibility to do whatever I can to protect those I do care about.
I feel as though this situation is coming to it’s logical conclusion though. We have a definite ID on his face and a name to go with it. It’s just a matter of time before the issue comes to a close.
I however will continue to work towards a safer and more tolerant world for trans and queer people long after I’ve forgotten this person’s name and face.