Major Major Trigger warning.. Tonight I am really upset and I am going to go there. Don’t read if you aren’t in a good headspace.
When the living fuck are people going to wise up about transphobic/homophobic bullying? When? I rode my bike to work for the first time on Monday since moving to Fairfield (living on my own, yay!) I went into the bathroom to change and shower as it was a long hot and sweaty ride. Please keep in mind that when dressed formally for work I pretty much pass. I am known as Matthew at work and have never been known as another identity. However, a male colleague of mine, also a bike rider that day saw me in the change room before I dressed formally. Essentially, in my still very female body. He asked me if I was a cross dresser. I said no. I said I was a transman going through transition. I thought it was better to voluntarily out myself rather than lie about it. I also asked him to keep it to himself. I didn’t mind him knowing but it was none of anyone else’s business.
in less than 4 hours… the whole fucking library knew… You know that “i’m going to stop talking just as you walk into the coversation to make it look like i’m not talking about you” thing that high school kids often did to really badly hide the fact they were gossipping. yeah. that. all fucking day. One of the women said to me that she’d “have a word to the manager” when I asked her what that meant she said.. well, you know, families come in here and stuff. These are librarians, relatively progressive people with knowledge, but clearly now they know my “secret” i’ve changed from being just an ordinary bloke, to somehow deviant and wrong in their eyes. I still go to work. I still do my job, but it’s pretty evident the people who i once thought of as colleagues and friends aren’t anymore – apart from one girl, who’s sister is a transwoman and said she was very much on my side. Glad. I feel deeply depressed and betrayed by these people. I no longer consider my work a safe place to be Matthew.
I guess the point is this is where hate crimes come from.. These are the kinds of attitudes that foster hate in our community. There’s a link between physical and sexual assault and verbal harrassment in the street office and school… It’s a fine line between what I experienced this week, and what I experienced two years ago.
This is the part you stop reading if your head space isn’t wonderful.
It was a relatively busy saturday night in Acland Street. I was dressed, I had a full confidence that I had not experienced in weeks, having just moved to the area and not really known anyone. I was dressed and passed, the man who served me dinner even calling me “sir”. There were a group of drunk tourists, St Kilda being famous for them one of them in particular began taunting me and calling me a tranny and asking me if i was a “real boy”. I ignored him, finished my food and left. what i didn’t see was that he had followed me, proceeded to grab me, and physically and sexually assault me,in a brutal and fucking horrible way, taunting me with transphobic slurs the entire time. No one came to my aid, despite the area being visible to many a passer by. When I reported the crime to police they did not take it seriously as a hate crime despite my obvious situation. The assault made me doubt everything about being transgendered, about my male appearance, and for a very long time, untill just recently, I went completely into the closet. I still fucking dream about this man.. I still, on a really bad night, see him in the corners of my bedroom even though I have not lived in St Kilda for many months.
I guess the point is that do not, under any circumstances, treat your transgendered friends, loved ones, colleagues, and people close to you as though they do not matter. Outing has a consequence, and for some it can be deadly. To the colleague who outed me, I am pretty sure you will not be employed for too much longer, but the damage is done. Think twice about your actions, think about the horrible depression and anxiety you have caused by what you thought was a joke. Work is a safe place, a place where people spend most of their time. I want that back.
if you’re sex and or gender diverse (trans, intersex or gender variant in any way) call the gay and lesbian switchboard in victoria. if you’re having issues. Help definitely out there. Also if you are considering reporting a hate crime to the police, ask to speak to a Gay and Lesbian Liason Officer (GLLO) present at every station. If you do report and you are not afforded one, don’t be afraid to ask. It makes a difference. Google search to find out where they are near you.