I really wanted my next post to be about intersectionality, to create some sense of continuity between my artwork and this blog. Unfortunately, your behavior has brought something much more relevant to the forefront of my mind. Street harassment, whether it happens on a subway, in a supermarket, or on a sidewalk, is never okay, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.
To the folks on my commute home last night; did it make you feel clever, to [mis]reference the bible, and loudly express God's disdain for Sodom and Gomorrah while I made my way home?
To the young folks on my train two days ago: did it make you feel powerful, to laugh at me all the way to your train stop, and try to snatch my bandana off my head as you left the train car?
To the man at the supermarket a week ago: did my presence confound you so much that you felt the need to sneer and do a Double take as I made my way through the store?
To you, these are probably isolated incidences where you ran into some fag on your way home, or in the freezer aisle at the grocery store, and felt the need to comment on it. But to me, these occur all too often. I constantly worry that these words will turn into violent acts of aggression. I worry I won’t be able to make it back to the front door I leave every morning. I worry that the policing of my sexuality will turn from heckling to physical violence.
I choose to see these occurrences as the result of your ignorance, and recognize that they're merely feeble attempts at bullying, a behavior that you apparently did not outgrow in high school. Sadly, I consider myself lucky that this is all I have to endure. But what about the folks who aren't so lucky? What about the transfolk whose bodies and gender identity you feel the need to police more severely than mine? With the recent wave of hate crimes sweeping through our nation and our city, I have to be grateful that all you're throwing is words, not punches or bullets.
But here's the thing about words: it doesn't take much to turn them into actions. These actions may not be yours, but your words certainly endorse them. Whether you recognize it or not, you're contributing to a violent cycle of hate, and there's blood on your hands. Violent manifestations of hate don’t come out of nowhere, and they don’t exist in a vacuum. Your words and actions sanction them, they tell the perpetrators of these crimes that not only are you okay with what’s happening, but you want it to happen. You encourage it. Think I’m being dramatic? I’ll keep that in mind the next time I hear of another queer brother or sister who has been hospitalized or murdered simply for being themself.
So here’s the thing: Don’t want to contribute to this cycle anymore? The solution is simple: keep your fuckin’ comments and snickers and hands to your damn self. It ain’t that hard, I promise. And if you choose to continue to perpetuate this cycle, please know this: I will not be bullied, verbally or physically, into conforming to your standards. I will not sacrifice my identity to appease you. I will not alter my mannerisms, speech, or dress to compliment your expectations. Because everybody deserves basic human decency, respect, and autonomy, regardless of whether or not they fit into your definition of normal. I will, however, continue to paint my nails and wear my short shorts and hold hands with boys and in general be queer and fabulous. Because there’s power in my silent resilience, and I will cling to it even if it kills me.
An unapologetic queer