Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
My friend and I were in a shop on the Ormeau Road last Wednesday, 4 June at around 6-7pm. We had queued to pay for our items when we heard a conversation behind us that a boy and girl (probably in late teens/ early twenties) were having. Neither of us heard the exact details, but both of us heard the boy ask the girl very loudly “Is that a man or a woman?” about my friend. We both turned around to look at them incredulously, only to have the girl laugh in our faces. We were both taken off guard. We paid for out items and then left. We were angry and amazed at what had just happened, and both regretted not speaking up, as we were aware of Hollaback.
There was no doubt they were speaking loudly to elicit a reaction, and to shame my friend on her appearance.
Myself and my partner were walking down Chapel Lane towards Bank Street and a group of drunk men started yelling at us. They thought we were two gay men, and one of the guys started running towards us, shouting after us. Luckily the street was busy, so we walked quickly towards the bar to get away from them.
A woman walking towards us said “They’re assholes”, which was nice to hear that someone was on our side. It shook us both, and it was eye opening because previously I have only been harassed as a “dyke”. This is the first time I’ve had harassment because myself and my partner were perceived as gay men.
I was waiting in line at a shop when the couple behind me had a full blown conversation about whether I was a boy or girl. Felt really shocked. Wish I had said something but was too stunned and ended up just giving them a surprised look – which at least shut them up.
I sat down with Kerilee and Sam from Insolence clothing a few weeks ago. Branded as clothes you can “run about in” & “ladies designing badass clothing for ladies” these women ooze drive and ambition. They both love identifying as Tomboys, which to them means at the very core, not being a pushover, and standing up for the right things. While Kerilee and Sam had wanted to do something like this for years, to rectify the lack of tomboy clothing for women in Belfast, it wasn’t until last year, over a cup of coffee that they decided to band together and make it happen.
Sam told me “I like to shop in the boys department, but I don’t feel welcome in those shops.” Insolence aims then to give fellow Tomboys both a place to go to shop as well as inspiration to be who they are. “If you feel like you’re not naturally brave, or you find it harder to stand out, we want this brand to be a network of women standing together, to create a community. We’re creating our own identity. We want to build a network of people who actually give a fuck.”
They had a chance to prove this attitude during a photoshoot. While getting ready to start shooting, a car full of men drove up and shouted homophobic abuse at them. Not willing to stand for any of that, Sam, Kerilee, the models and the photographer all went together – reported it to the police and fought back! Read about the whole incident over on their blog.
Sam and Kerilee have experienced a lot of street harassment over the years, and understand how it can lead to people living their lives quieter. When it came to the homophobic harassment, they proved their worth and now describe it as one of the most positive things that could have happened. It opened up the conversation on homophobia, on harassment and how powerful they felt doing something about it. Kerilee said “We get it now. These women weren’t going to take this… why should I?” Knowing how hard it can be to do anything about harassment when you’re on your own, Sam & Kerilee look at what happened as proof that no matter how you handle harassment – you can always take some power back.
Check out their Q&A video below and their Kickstarter! They are aiming to raise £2000 by June 20th!
I was walking home after a night at my friends house. As I was walking down the Lisburn Road there was two men walking towards me. I thought nothing of it but as they got closer one of them walked right up into my face and screamed “DYKE!!!!” in my face. I was really shocked as I wasn’t expecting it so really sure how to react for the first few seconds. As the guys walked on I asked myself was shouting back the best option as there was no one about and I was out numbered but my anger took over and I must have shouted every expletive I knew. That experience has me watching my back every time I am walking about at night but that’s probably a wise thing to be doing anyway.
I was walking home around 8pm from a work event, at which the local sex trade was discussed. A car full of guys rode up beside me and asked ‘here, love, how much do you cost?’. I was too scared and baffled at the irony of the situation to answer.
Not that I really could have, verbally. The thing is when it’s several vs one and you can’t talk down a moving car, it feels like you’ve been robbed of voice & dignity.
I was out with friends on a Saturday night, at a strip of bars and clubs called Northbridge, in Perth, Western Australia. We went to get a late night feed at a local kebab joint.
I like to dress up – nice makeup and hair, pretty dress, high shoes. I looked good that night. I was not out to attract or solicit sexual offers.
I ordered my food. After I had paid the cashier, he asked me “Where is your boyfriend?”
At the time, my long term partner was working on a offshore gas platform. I simply replied, “He’s at work.”
The cashier then said “Because I would like to fuck you.”
Disbelieving, I flatly parroted his words back to him “You would like to fuck me?”
“Yes, I would like to fuck you.”
I decided that cold, dignified dismissal was my best course of action. “How about you take my money and make me my food?”
I think my icy intent must have come across because he did look somewhat abashed.
Standing with my friends afterwards, I furiously repeated the exchange.
A male acquaintance said to me “Well you are very good looking.”
To my mind, that was the worst thing said to me that night. It was my fault I was propositioned while buying food. I should be flattered. I’m not allowed to be upset. I should expect unwanted sexual advances, because I like to look nice.
I had one of those experiences the other day where no words were exchanged but a guy felt he had the right to stare at me for as long as he wanted, as if that would have no effect on me. I was waiting at the lights at the crossroads on Royal Avenue and he was in his car with the driver’s window down. As I looked up the street one way I noticed he was staring at me and looking me up and down. I looked down the other direction for oncoming cars and then when I looked back I realised he was still staring at me. At a certain point it became uncomfortable because he was making me feel like an inanimate object there for him to just enjoy having a good look at to ease his boredom waiting at the lights. So I started to star back. He caught my eye after a second or two and we were suddenly staring at each other. Then the lights changed for me to cross but instead of walking on the crossing I veered off and headed straight towards his open window. His face started to drop and he shrunk back in his seat as I approached him. I think it’s fair to say he near shat himself. Then just at the last minute I turned to the left and walked around the back of his car. Sometimes you can take power back without even having to open your mouth!