I hate to begin any post with something so trite as Life’s complicated, but that seems like an easier lead-in than When I was at university, I was threatened with corrective rape.
When I was in university, I was threatened with corrective rape.
By fellow students, people I knew, people who lived in residence halls with me and served in student organizations with me, because my having a girlfriend made the school look bad, they thought. They were just going to show me what I really needed. I had to have campus security posted outside my dorm room door.
That was the same year I had to take a friend of mine to the ER after he and his boyfriend got jumped on a street corner for holding hands. There were stitches involved, because of where his head had been slammed into the corner of a newspaper vending machine.
This was also the same year I had beer bottles thrown at me from a passing truck, while walking hand in hand with my girlfriend. No, they weren’t just littering and didn’t see us; there were some slurs and the truck slowed down, pulled over, and she and I climbed over a barrier and ran through a field because we thought our lives were in danger.
It was 1991, and I had just turned 18. These experiences were hate crimes, before there was a national legal definition of such in reference to LGBT people in the US, and I was lucky they were so minor.
Yeah, I live in a world where rape threats are minor; where only20 stitches is something to be grateful for; where the fact that they didn’t catch us, means it doesn’t really count.
I don’t wear these things like badges of honor, because they’re not. I wear these things like words, because they are part of the story of my life.
Which means you don’t get to tell me, no matter what your own experiences are, how insulted or threatened I’m allowed to feel about anti-gay discourse. You also don’t get to tell me what is and is not a hate crime (it has a legal definition in the US; and we’ll try to run with that). Nor do you get to put words in my mouth when I talk about some stuff that has offended me. Believe me, if I were going to call something a hate crime, I’d use the words.
The ones that are written on me, by all the terrible things that I’m supposed to be grateful didn’t quite happen.
Life is complicated. Your mileage may vary. But don’t tell me what mine should be. Not on this subject. Not ever.