Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Walking Home Alone
So, the other week I experienced something new for the first time. I was out of the house, presenting as female all on my own. It’s not as epic as that might sound, I had a speech therapy session first thing in the morning and just stayed ‘girled up’ all day. That night I went round my friends and we hung out. Then came the part I hadn’t thought about, walking home in the middle of the night on my own.
Now, I usually do this a lot, some of my work shifts require me to walk through some pretty dodgy parts of my hometown very late at night so I’m no stranger to being out and about after dark. The thing that I was worried about this time though was the fact that I was presenting as myself.
I know it shouldn’t really make a difference but even before I left my friends house I was filled with worry. What if something happened to me? What if someone could tell I was trans and made me a target?
I swallowed my fear and left my friends house and began the journey home. It wasn’t too bad for the most part. I found myself a little on edge but it wasn’t like I was shaking with fear the whole way home. However, there then came the point where I had to pass by a group of guys. As soon as I saw them I filled with dread and felt vulnerable. They weren’t even on the same side of the road as me, but even so I felt on edge.
The only thing different about this time walking home and the hundreds of others I had was that this time I didn’t looks male. That’s it, nothing else. So why was it that little change could have such an effect on me that I was literally afraid to walk past a group of guys?
Perhaps it’s the news stories I read of trans women, and even regular women, being targets of violence and aggression when they are walking alone at night. But those kind of things are rare and I knew logically that nothing like that would happen to me yet I still felt fear.
Is it my irrationality or do we genuinely live in a world where women feel fear where they shouldn’t, in scenarios where men never would? I’m happy that I’m transitioning, that I’m becoming the real me. But if this is the type of thing I’m going to experience more often, simply because that’s the way the world is then theirs something wrong with the world.
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