Actually, I love the word faggot, as long as it’s not used in a derogatory way. But I get called faggot by assholes much more often than your average dancing queen. I think it’s because my sexual identity is confusing to people. Part of me appears incredibly straight, while the other half is so dandy I may as well be vogueing on a pink cloud that pisses glitter on fire hydrants. I can often be found jogging in the city streets soaked in sweat and sporting the worlds tackiest gym gear. I wear baseball hats and well-worn running shoes and I smell vaguely like I pissed myself while doing a triathlon. Basically I dress like a frat boy from 1998. But then there’s often a flock of dirty blonde hair that can only be described as the worlds gayest new wave hairstyle. I also have a slightly surprising “effeminate way of speech”. And after googling around to find a semi-decent descriptor, wikipedia alerted me to the phrase “gay lisp”. I find that incredibly offensive and homophobic, and also sexist as shit. But I’m too busy/lazy to protest it. Anyway. I can see how people get confused when I wander around looking like a jock-douche and then I open my flapper and out pours my inner fancy boy. Words like “gurrrl’ and “okaaay” flow freely. I’ve weirded out every straight-dude convenience store clerk within a five mile radius from my apt by forgetting myself and calling them sweetheart. I’m also very motherly. I am a nurturing caretaker mama bear and often pet peoples heads while soothing them. Also, if you cross the street with me and I see a car even remotely close by, my arm will instantly slam itself into your gut in total soccer mom style.
But even if I were the worlds gayest dude, it’s still pretty shocking to people that I get harassed so much. My wifey prances his homo ass around in leopard print booty shorts and a fanny pack with a tiger on it, and rarely gets shit. There must be some sort of “douche whisperer” pheremone that emanates from my body. A good friend suggested that it’s because I walk the world looking incredibly approachable, which is a very realistic possibility. I am so fucking friendly that it’s almost obnoxious. I’ve developed close relationships with every barista in every cafe EVER. When I take my friends to the cafe by my house, they all mention that this one curly haired girl that works there and I seem to have an intense “thing”. I’ve been chatting her up while sipping coffee for months now, and I sometimes wonder if we are in a relationship (although I don’t actually know what her name is). And I can’t even meander into the neighborhood movie store without getting sucked into a ten minute conversation with one of my “pals”. My favorite dudely-friend at this video hole gets really excited to see me and pushes terrible anime movies into my tiny hand just because we once talked too long about my favorite japanese director . I’m such a people pleaser that even though I know I won’t watch these low budget flicks, I rent them anyway and just allow them to collect dust next to my tv. Which is probably for the best since I feel that tv is a soul sucking sack of shit activity that is only good for once in a while escapism and killing any kind of sexual life with your partner.
But I’m really dragging this story on far too long without actually getting to the point. I get fucked with almost every day of my life. Creepy mother fuckers will shout out homophobic slurs to me on the regular. And ninety percent of the time I turn an almost bored, blind eye to it. But sometimes it gets out of hand. This happened saturday night when I was working the door at a sex worker benefit for the Saint James Infirmary.
“Hi there, we are asking a 5-10 dollar donation”, I politely informed a strange-eyed straight bro that walked into the old-school dyke bar. His eyeballs bugged out a little bit and he got about one inch away from my face to begin his fun-times banter. “Why do you smell so much like sweat?”, he quietly and creepily asked me. I could smell the cheap beer he had been drinking and feel his rank breath literally breeze onto my skin and up inside my nostrils. I told him that most likely it was due to the heat, even though the real reason is because I’m a dirty jock douche that never remembers deodorant. He didn’t like my answer and asked about my sweat stench again, and then asked me if I had done pushups that day. I started to get really weirded out due to his inappropriateness combined with his uncomfortably close proximity to my face. I decided to ignore his sweaty beefcake questions and once again told him what the cover for the door was. That’s when he sneered at me and called me a faggot. That’s also when I thought to myself “not tonight, fuckface”. In an incredibly smooth and almost beautiful ballerina-style move, I picked fuckface up off the ground and swooped him right out the bar. With not even a tiny fidget or verbal protest from his angry and homophobic ass, I slammed the door shut behind him and pressed my foot against it so that he couldn’t come back in.
The old school butch dagger that owned the bar came over to check and see if I was okay. She told me that she has had to kick this guy out on multiple occasions, and then went outside to make sure he was gone and that I was safe. After my new butch daddy (I wish) made sure everything was clear from creepies, we all went back to watching the dolly parton talent show that was happening. A few hours later, which were all spent watching dirty queers tongue-fucking on the dance floor, I realized that fuckface had returned. The fact that F.F. had decided to come back to torment me hours later showed me that he was not just a fag-hating asshole (just) who maybe would punch me and move on with his day. No. Now he was someone who was obsessing and had something major against me. There was way too much thought about me going on in his head and I started to get freaked the fuck out. He stood outside the door and I stared at him for a minute. With a crook of his finger beckoning to me, he said calmly that he was back to kick my ass.
There were friends milling about outside that stood by me as I walked towards him. Now, a smarter man may have shut the door yet again and called the cops. Unfortunately, I barely cheated my way through my midwestern alternative highschool. So there I was, standing outside on the street, and interacting with the crazy.
I told him to go away and to stop harassing me. Tough as shit queers quickly flanked both sides of me like gay soldiers, and we asked him to leave. He just kept staring at me with his crazy pupils and going back and forth between calling us faggots, and saying he was going to hurt me. The situation escalated after he hunched down and made a motion like he was going to bulldoze right through my tiny transsexual ass. I watched him reach into his pockets and that’s the point when my heart pretty much pounded through my chest It was thump-thumping so hard and so fast that I wondered for split second if I would have a heart attack. I was worried he was so crazy that he would yank a weapon from his pants pocket and shoot me on the spot. We kept telling him to go home and to stop threatening us, when my friend put their hands up and he shoved them. And that’s when I lost my mind.
My fear and anger rose all the way up and out of my throat and I thought I was going to explode or burst into flames. Up to the moment where he touched my friend, I was merely petrified that the guy was crazy enough to do some serious damage on me. But when you touch someone I love, I will flipthefuckout. I immediately rushed towards him, but luckily someone grabbed me tightly around my waist and held on for dear life. I screamed a chorus of “I’m going to kill you’s” combined with “You homophobic psycho” over and over again for about thirty seconds. Then my senses came back because a few people had dragged him away, and I was rushed back inside the bar. Wifey and another pal sat there and held my hands, calming me down as best they could. I was scared-angry-helpless and so full of adrenaline that I was visibly shaking. Just another saturday night in gaytopia.
The next day an old friend from highschool called and I mentioned my shitshow of a night to her over the phone. Instead of pretending to be sorry for me, she immediately talked about how non-violence is imperative in her mind. And then informed me of what I should and shouldn’t have done in that situation. “I just don’t understand people who identify as queer, and respond with violence. They should know better”. For a split second I felt shamed. From her words I knew she was implying that I had fucked up. I felt like a starved attack dog with a hot dog looming in front of me. But a split second later I remembered that she hadn’t even come close to experiencing one ounce of violence in her life. The reality is, until you are in this sort of intense position yourself, you have no idea how you will react. You can tell yourself all day long what you would do. You could have a well-formed plan of action that involves high kicks or fleeing the scene or pissing yourself in an attempt to weird them out. But until you are there, in that intense as hell moment, you will never really know just what you will do. And no matter what anyones opinion is, in my mind, there is no right or wrong way.
I’ve had my ass kicked so many times that a fist smashed in my face is almost a familiar feeling. My skin welcomes a closed hand like an old friend, and I rarely even bruise. Out of dozens of street brawls, I have won a total of one fight (Unless you count the asshole I sparred with in my boxing class, but he was probably thirty years my senior and walked with a distinctive limp). I can wrestle decently and have a magical superpower of being able to headbutt. But since wrestling doesn’t work with street fights, and I never remember to use my skull of steel for the greater good, I consistently lose. And I am still unashamed/unafraid to fight back. In the probably close to 27 years of getting the shit kicked out of me, I have not once thrown the first punch. And I can’t think of a time when I ever would. But if I want to fight back, if I want to defend myself, or my loved ones, or in one case two elderly dachsunds on the street, that is my fucking business. I’m not required to adhere to anybody’s ethical standards but my own. And until you have been gaybashed over and over again, until you get so used being punched in the face that it doesn’t even wreck your day, I don’t want your opinion.
You know what I’d like to see happen? Instead of queers shaming each other and creating books of rules for one another, I’d like to see more action done on how to protect ourselves. The one lovely bit from my almost fistfight last saturday was that I got to see homos banding together. I feel so loved and protected and grateful about the people that lined up next to me. I wondered to myself if this was a small taste of what stonewall felt like. Why has some of our community grown so vapid that fashion and dance parties have moved up to the top of the list? It sometimes feels as if people forget that we are still discriminated against. Our complacency due to slightly less visible abuse has created a problematic stagnancy. We are tolerated, but we are still not equals. It’s almost easy to forget that we don’t have legal rights and that transsexuals are being murdered, when we get to see episodes of Ru Pauls Drag Race on tv. The reality is that we are still being harassed and beaten and raped and treated as inhuman every single day.
I’m tired of being called a faggot. I’m really over fighting random dudes that are threatened by my soft face and prancing muscular jock douche body. I’m sick of hearing about my community getting shit on in a thousand different ways. But I’ve grown used to it. What I’m more concerned with is that we have created such a stockholm syndrome around ourselves, that we don’t even realize just how poorly we are still being treated. I wish everyone would remember that we have a huge fucking brawl looming around every corner. That we are not equal, but merely tolerated and objectified. And it’s not that we can’t enjoy skinny jeans and skinny ties and all sorts of flufftastic amazement. I truly adore shit talking the dude wearing toe shoes in the gym just as much as anyone else would. And I’m not ungrateful to the person who got me to stop wearing baggy camouflage cargo pants ten years ago. Believe me, I will forever be indebted to her keen eye, for she is the reason I actually get laid once in awhile. And to the people that suggest I attempt at using hair products once in awhile, you also have my sincere thanks. You too get me laid. Which helps make my world a better place). But besides helping me get drilled while simultaneously looking stylish, we are far from the end in our struggle to be recognized as humans. So whether or not as a community we slam the bar door and call the cops, or we use our god damn gay fists to protect ourselves, we should know that we still have one hell of a fight in front of us. And I hope we all can line up right next to each other just like those queers did with me the other night. While wearing tiny shorts and fanny packs.