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September 5, 2013 / mmpomegranate

Why Wednesday was a bad day.

I haven’t written here for a long time. Other things have got in the way. The main topics of conversation; roller derby and baking have taken a back seat in the past year. And I certainly haven’t written anything like this here, or ever really. But I feel like I need to say something.

Yesterday, while sitting in the park having eaten my lunch, I was attacked. I’m not sure that it’s beneficial to go into a huge amount of detail. It was not the most violent or serious of attacks but it was unprovoked, aggressive, deliberately intimidating and physical. This attack happened because of the way I look, or because of the way a group of people interpreted the way I look.  As far as I can tell, this attack happened because a group of people took it upon themselves to and were unable to define my gender.

In the past day, I have been sick and exhausted and unable to go about my life as I want to. I have not been able to work. I’ve felt unsafe in the town I work.

I’ve only recently started a new job and have moved to be closer to my place of work. So already I’m new in a strange place. In the past couple of months I have been physically intimidated and heard people make comments about me several times, but this is the first time a person or group of people have addressed me. (Maybe I have been spoiled having spent most of the last year in the socialist republic of South Yorkshire, surrounded by loving friends and community… but no, this shouldn’t be allowed to happen anywhere.)

It shocked me that people would do something like this to me, it upset me, it made me angry. One of the things that made it worse was that it happened in a very public space, in plain view of many other people. And no one helped me. No one did anything. Well, that’s not quite true, I saw more than one person laughing.

But then I didn’t do anything either, I just did my best to ignore them and calmly walk away. But I could feel the tears in my eyes, and panic rising in my chest.

So I suppose I wanted to do something about it, after the fact, past getting it logged by the police only to be ignored. I wasn’t really sure what. So I’ve written it down here so that people know that these things are still happening. And how it makes people feel.

Why should I be made to feel intimidated and unsafe, to not be able to go about my daily routine and catch a short hour of calm on a small patch of grass, in the middle of my work day? Well I shouldn’t, and neither should anyone else.

Positive steps have obviously been made but these days it often feels that society is taking steps back in terms of LGBTIQ rights, what with, amongst other things, draconian laws in Russia and the rest of the world’s disappointing response, and section 28 style policies in our schools. We need to fight against this worrying trend and there is a lot that can be done.

Speaking up, making people very aware that attacks like this can and do happen every day, and that it isn’t acceptable is an important part of this.

If anyone is better at the practical or the advice side of this comments would be much appreciated…

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