Showing posts with label personal safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal safety. Show all posts

Sunday, November 20, 2022

While my Blog Gently Weeps

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance when we pause to remember all of the transgender women and trans men who have tragically lost their lives this year. Just trying to live as their authentic selves. In addition to the thirty two deaths reported in 2022, the news of the mass shooting at a Colorado Springs Sunday morning (CNN was reporting) a shooting at a LGBTQ nightclub which left five people dead and at least eighteen injured which will surely increase the total.

Just saying this is sad and tragic is not enough of course. Too many of the deaths come from the ranks of transgender women of color and some of them were engaged in the sex trade. Mainly because of family problems when they came out and couldn't find employment because of discrimination. Most had two strikes against them before they ever had a chance to live.

 The lessons to be learned from the Transgender Day of Remembrance are few and impactful. Without living in fear due to potential violence, there are plenty of common sense rules you can follow to help insure your safety. First of all you have to remember when you leave the boys club to play fulltime with the girls you immediately lose a certain amount (or all) of your male privilege. The most important privilege you lose is access to personal safety. An example is don't leave yourself open to being accosted in a dark deserted parking lot, when you enter the world of cis women everywhere. All cis women of course know the possible dangers they face in certain situations. It's why cis women travel in groups when they have to go to possibly dangerous situations. 

Whatever excuse you may try to explain what women go through, very simply neither gender should have to go through violence often perpetuated by toxic males. The moral to the story is to never live scared but learn to watch your surroundings and simply know women have much more to be careful of. Plus,  the extra sad part of transgender murders comes with the element of surprise is thrown in. Or, when a guy is negatively surprised when he is suddenly attracted to an attractive transgender woman. 

Every year this time I hope the new year brings a huge decrease in the number of transgender deaths due to violence. Sadly, it seems a whole political party has dedicated itself to restricting LGBTQ rights, so change will be difficult to come by. Even still, in the future, I hope to weep fewer tears. 

Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Mean Streets

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When you get down to it, many streets or parking lots just aren't safe for women. All women, cis  or transgender. Yesterday when I was going back to my parking lot alone, I keenly felt the pressure of walking two blocks down an urban street alone. To my benefit, the time I was doing it was just before dusk so there was still plenty of light. Along the way I began to wonder why I didn't see (or notice) any uniformed police presence. Usually, the Cincinnati Police has an LGBT Outreach unit they send. Perhaps they decided to be present at the Transgender flag raising ceremony the same morning at City Hall.  One thing is for sure, I noticed nearly no one during my walk.

I don't move so well anymore so I couldn't move quickly if I had an incident. 

My paranoia proved to be just that and I made it to my car without an incident. There was a time years ago when I didn't. I was still very much a novice when it came to being in a feminine world. I still didn't realize how much of my male privilege I was giving up as I transitioned to a transgender woman. One of the biggest was my personal safety. No longer could I ignore parking in poorly lit parking lots or streets and it came back to haunt me in the worst way.

One night (late) I was coming out of one gay venue in downtown Dayton, Ohio I used to visit on occasion. When I left I was confronted on the sidewalk by two guys wanting money. Luckily I was able to defuse the situation by giving them my last five dollar bill and they let me go on my way. From then on whenever I went back there I made sure I was not alone. I remember vividly the first time I asked a trans man I knew to escort me to my car one night when I left a big gay club. Lesson learned which was reinforced on the night I have written so much about when I was physically threatened by a man at a party I attended. 

As I wrote, none of this is new to a cis gender woman. They grow up living in a world where they are in physical danger at some point in their lives.  One of the most important lessons you need to learn as you begin to navigate the "mean streets." 

None of this is meant to make you paranoid.  It is meant as a gender warning. Just as if you have faced a point in your MtF gender transition when you were treated as a second class citizen , potentially losing your personal security is even worse. 

As many cis women will tell you, welcome to their world. If you are careful, you can negotiate the mean streets just fine as your authentic self. Just don't make the mistake of thinking you can bully your way out of it. Plus, I know some transwomen who carry firearms to protect themselves. Even with my Army weapons training, if I did, I am afraid I would shoot myself before anyone else. Instead I choose to not be alone on the mean streets if I can help it. I am fortunate in I usually am with Liz who is very familiar with Cincinnati and knows where to go and where to stay away from. 

As they used to say on the old "Hill Street Blues" police show, let's be careful out there!