I hope your mother/girlfriend/sister/friends/everyone asks what happened to your nose. I hope you have to explain that you thought it’d be funny to joke with your friend about raping the drunk girl across the street. I bet you didn’t think that the girl who was walking in front of you would turn around and punch you in the face. You’re a filthy piece of shit and I don’t regret this at all.
So, here’s a thing that happened last night:
My boyfriend and I have been on a mini-vacation, riding bikes south from San Francisco to Big Basin for a few nights, then on to Santa Cruz for some fun beach-town times. We went kayaking and swam and had dinners at lovely restaurants. It was great. Walking down Pacific Avenue back to our hotel on Saturday night, I impulsively took his hand in mine.
My boyfriend thinks I’m weird about hand-holding. Because I really really like it, but at the same time I’m very shy about doing it in public. But hey, we’re on the main commercial street of a liberal California town less than 2 hours away from San Francisco, the gayest town on earth. What could go wrong, right?
And really, nothing serious did. A bunch of people noticed and there were several double-takes — a couple friendly smiles, in fact. But there were also two guys in their early 20s, walking in the opposite direction, who spotted us from twenty feet away and whispered to each other. Then, just as we passed each other, the one nearest to me jabbed his head within an inch of mine and yelled loudly in my ear (just a noise, not a word), then laughed as I flinched away.
I didn’t let this go entirely — I turned and shouted “fuck you too!” They didn’t turn around, and we didn’t stop, and nothing more came of it.
But what I really, really wish I’d done was what this girl did. I wish the moment he invaded my personal space, instead of flinching away, I’d brought my hand up and punched him while kicking his legs out from under him. “Sorry!” I’d have said, as the back of his head smacked into the pavement, “I thought you were going to attack me and I just reacted.”
Because there’s no doubt in my mind why he chose me and my boyfriend to be a dick to. It’s because we were two guys holding hands. He wasn’t yelling at anybody else on the street, either before or after. And even though all he did was yell and laugh, and nothing was hurt but my feelings, the next time I think about holding my boyfriend’s hand I’m going to think about some asshole like him deciding to yell, or do something worse. I’m going to be just that little bit more intimidated, and he’s going to be that little bit more encouraged to do it again. And I’d prefer it be the other way around.
Punching that guy would have been an over-reaction, but it wouldn’t really have been a reaction to that particular incident, it would have been a reaction to a pervasive culture of minor slights, tiny insults, small fears and doubts and injustices, that accumulate a mental weight over time, one that stops me from always doing what I want, like hold my boyfriend’s hand just because I’ve had a lovely night out and I like him.
I live in one of the most gay-friendly parts of the entire world, and yet still sometimes people yell at me just to watch me flinch, because I’m gay. It makes me deeply, deeply angry. And sometimes enough annoying little things like that happen that I want to lash out and hurt someone.
For nearly everyone nearly everywhere else, things are much worse than they are for me. This is why gay people have Pride parades and support groups, to make us feel good about ourselves, and also why we have high rates of alcoholism and suicide, to try and stop feeling bad about ourselves. This is why, even in countries where we are very nearly equal like the USA, we still fight for the rights we don’t have, like marriage and adoption. Because you have to get the big, symbolic things right in order to fix the little things.
So I think this girl over-reacted, and I wouldn’t really have punched him. But I understand where she’s coming from. Sometimes you want to hurt them back.
Update: ignitemythoughts, the OP, has deleted her account after receiving threats and harassment because she took a stance against rape culture. That is all kinds of fucked up.