It was my first night out in months. About an hour in, I found myself in my third activist related conversation. Suddenly I received a text message from an unfamiliar number.
“I sincerely hope you aren’t thinking you can pass as a man with that pink hair. You look like a dumb fucking lesbian.”
It was like getting punched in the dark.
My first reaction was to brush it off. I didn’t even know who this person was, so why should I care what they think? They’re just some cowardly, transphobic jerk. I was sure I should ignore it, but my defensive nature got the better of me. I finally came up with an empowered reply:
“I don’t care who you are or what you think. You clearly don’t understand genderfucking.”
The response message said it was from someone who’s phone had been “messed with” after leaving it on a table. I didn’t respond because I didn’t know if I believed it. Either way, I wasn’t going to find out who it was. There would be no chance for me to defend my place on the genderqueer spectrum, or discuss the oppression of gender norms, or assert my political position of gender non-conformity. It was over.
The rest of the night, I was determined to continue having a good time… but I couldn’t help thinking about it. I still can’t help thinking about it. I still feel scared and shaken, like I’ve been though a fight. Curiosity quickly paired with paranoia. Who would send me this? How did they get my number? How did they know how to get under my skin? Who can’t I trust?
I’ve decided to get over it. I’ve always known it was a matter of time before something like this happened. Its not like I’ve never been hassled before; in the bathroom, at the bar, in school, at parties… You’d think it wouldn’t bother me anymore.
I’m sticking with the attitude that this isn’t a big deal. I’m gonna make it not bother me. In the grand scheme of things, an offensive text is nothing. Really, I was lucky. I was lucky to get the anonymity of a text instead of face to face intimidation. I was lucky it wasn’t a punch in the stomach or an assault in the bathroom. I was lucky to walk away with only hurt feelings and shaken nerves. I was lucky to walk away at all.
cross-posted on AmplifyYourVoice.org