You’re having a great day. You’re going to class, or to work, or to hang out with friends. Someone yells an obscenity at you from a car, or sits down next to you and starts asking you personal questions, or grabs your clothes as you walk by. Why? Because they assume you can’t do anything about it. If they thought you could overpower them, they would leave you alone.
If you don’t think that public harassment would bother you, that is great. It really is. It probably means you’ve never experienced it, or at least never been frightened by it. That’s what we wish for everyone.
But if you do find it frightening, you’re not alone, and your fears are valid. The reality is that any response you make can escalate the situation. Harassers hate–not you, but who you represent to them–and that makes them dangerous. It’s not personal, but that doesn’t help when you’re the one they’re targeting.
We’d like public harassment to stop. Everyone would be safer. But until then, we’re here. We understand how harassment makes every public space feel dangerous. We’re here to offer support and compassion. We’re part of an international movement. And we’ve got your back.
There is nothing ‘special’ about being singled out for harassment on the basis of your (actual or perceived) sexual orientation or gender identity. There is nothing ‘privileged’ about being part of an underserved, under-represented population that frequently has its fundamental rights restricted or challenged.
Seems pretty straightforward, right?
We wanted to highlight that fundamental fact in response to a comment we received a couple of days ago. This comment from William calls out Safe Streets AZ and programs like it as being unfair and non-inclusive. This person argues that programs geared towards a specific population –in this case lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified youth and young adults– provide ‘special privileges’ to those people. Continue reading
Friday, August 3rd, 2012, 2:15pm: “It was at 9th St. and 3rd Avenue and it was a gentleman who pulled up in a truck, blocking my way, and he started calling me all sorts of things including, like, faggot and things like that. I continued to walk, and as I continued to walk he eventually sped off, so that was the extent of the harassment. About me, I’m 24, gender queer, and my sexual orientation I identify as queer.”
Location: 9th St & 3rd Avenue, Tucson, AZ
*transcribed from Google Voicemail