The day I came out as transgender was a life changing experience. It was the day I would soon learn what street harassment was all about! The previous 47 years I managed to go about my daily business without apprehension and fear. It’s fair to say I faced little abuse and physical violence. I certainly faced no sexual violence. On December 2nd 2014 that was going to change.
From then on there’s been plenty of abuse, threats of violence and rape, I’ve been threatened with being stabbed and on numerous occasions the police have been involved. Street Harassment is a serious issue and one that affects many women on a daily basis worldwide. In the UK it is particularly bad and very little seems to be done about it.
You can read my thoughts on street harassment in my last blog by clicking HERE.
Yet despite all this I’ve found many people supportive. Mainly women who have been supportive on the streets right through to social media pages such as Face Book and Twitter. Women who have accepted me as one of them. Many refer to me as ‘She’ and call me ‘A Woman’.
My neighbours and local businesses have been very supportive since some decided to launch a transphobic hate campaign against me as I was part of a small group of residents that opposed a street closure in regards a Xmas event put on by a local Labour councillor. Since then the Labour Councillor has been warned by the police to keep away from me. He hasn’t been near our street ever since either! He’s frightened of the reception he will get from my neighbours and some of the business owners.
When I came out as transgender I knew the path wasn’t going to be easy and I wanted to record my experiences with this blog both good and bad. I also didn’t want to make myself out to be a victim. I was and still am a survivor to all the hate that has come my way. It hasn’t always been an easy thing to do especially with recent events but I didn’t want to become another victim sinking into depression where I’d end up in dark places. No way was that going to happen! No way!
I’m generally a happy person. I love to have a laugh. I’ve just left my hairdressers. Janine my hairdresser and neighbour has been very supportive. I spent a fair bit of time in the shop having a laugh with her and the other customers. It’s where I’ve found much older women being very supportive. They all refer to me as ‘She’ and often compliment.
While some shop staff are very slow to deal with I’ve always found the staff at Lush and Schuh very helpful. In fact they can’t do enough for you. This makes shopping a very positive experience.
Lush in particular I find a very safe space to be in. There’s lovely staff there and the people who shop there tend to be trans supportive. It’s where I feel like I can do woman stuff without the hassle. There’s also the pleasure of looking through their cosmetics which I know on are cruelty free and they smell lovely.
I’m now at the point that all the women around me see me as a woman. I try not to use the term ‘Trans’ and simply just say ‘female’ when I’m asked. While I may never experience periods or giving birth that some radical feminists believe makes you a woman other women have seen me not shy away from supporting the feminist struggle and see me as one of them.
I’m still of the principle until I go through surgery I will still use the male bathrooms etc. There’s the argument that male bathrooms aren’t a safe place for me but I’ve found out more men are freaked out with a woman being in their bathrooms. Never once have I experienced violence or hostility in them. On a plus note I’m still going to get out of a male bathroom quicker than that of a women’s bathroom.
I’m also finding that the more confident I look when I go out the less hassle I’m going to get from men. Only the other day I went out giving members of the public Mr Right / Mr Wrong cards to hi-lite domestic abuse and the Freedom Programme. On most part this went well. It seems fewer transphobes want to take on a positive woman.
It’s great being me. I aim to enjoy the rest of my life living as a woman. It’s taken a long time to come out and live life as I truly identify. I also intend to spend the rest of my life speaking out especially of feminist and trans issues along with the other causes such as animal liberation etc.
Life is too short to let the haters destroy it! Finding hope amongst the hate is the way to go!