I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about this and I wanted to calm down before I did. Something happened last week that really shook me up.
I went to collect the mail on our quiet suburban street, in a dress, like I have done hundreds of times before. I used to be on guard when we moved to this suburb last year, but somewhere along the way, I became comfortable. That day last week, I was a in a really good mood and enjoying the unseasonably nice weather as I walked to our mailbox. I was jarred back into reality by hearing a guy across the street (my own neighbor) start yelling transphobic and homophobic slurs at me and walking towards me threateningly. I tried to appear calm by walking away and ignoring him, but as soon as I was out of sight I was nervously glancing over my shoulder as I walked home.
I’ve had my fair share of street harassment before, but something about it being in my own neighborhood at a place I can’t easily avoid really shook me. It took me several days to really be functional again and I’m still scared of walking down my own driveway. For the first couple days all I could think about was how to get revenge. I was so close to ordering an anonymous glitter penis sent to him. But luckily my partners convinced me that I need to think more strategically and about the safety of our household if I escalated like that. So I chose not to do anything active other than ordering some pepper spray to carry with me.
Now that I’m calmed down I’m still afraid but I feel a little more able to handle something if it happens. I’m a big person and with the threat of mace I’m not too worried. Mostly sad that I have to be on guard like that in my own neighborhood. I wish I understood what inspires hate like that to someone you didn’t need to interact with. I’m thankful I have good support in my life when things like this happen. I just wish I didn’t need to rely on it so often.