Bullying is never a fun experience–it’s almost always humiliating and difficult. Here’s but one of my stories of when I’ve been bullied for looking the way I look–for being who I am called to be!
It was a nice morning. The sun was shining and the sky was blue with few clouds. I walked to the nearest bus stop and was eager to get to campus to teach my class. When I arrived at the bus stop, I sat down on the bench as I was unsure when the next bus was coming. Not long after I sat down, a middle-aged white man sat down next to me. I became nervous, but unsure why I was nervous. Folks sit down on the bus bench all the time.
After sitting there for a few minutes, he looked at me (I saw him do this from my peripheral vision), stood up, stood directly in front of me and began yelling insults at me. He called me a faggot, a dyke, and yelled that I had snakes in my genitals (he used a different word, of course)! I felt trapped with no where to go. He had me cornered while I sat there, vulnerable and deeply frightened, on the bench at the bus stop. He continued to yell insults and blaming the government for my existence. This reminded me of all the political changes that were taking place that affect (for the good) LGBTIQ communities. The man who hurled insults at me finally walked off. I guess he decided he didn’t want to ride the bus with me! When the bus came, I was relieved. I sat near the front of the bus, and, as it took me closer to campus, I thought to myself: Was that just harassment? Was I just verbally accosted? Was I bullied?
I am 38 years-old, a light skin Mexican, and genderqueer and gender non-conforming queer person who exists along the Trans* spectrum. I am Trans*gressive in my dress, and yet I was victim of a 5 minutes verbal harassment–of bullying. I felt so vulnerable siting there at the bus stop.
What had I done to this man? I could think of nothing! Was I targeted? Was my gender performance too queer for this man? I don’t know the answers to all of these questions, but I do know that I was left with a deep sense of frustration that we live in a world of violence, and this violence continues to be perpetuated against LGBTIQ persons of all colors, genders, races, and ages.
Any type of violence against LGBTQ communities (or ANY other human person) is unacceptable. We have to keep fighting for radical inclusion for all persons. I have to continue doing this work so that my neighbor, whoever they are, does not face what I faced at the bus stop, regardless of their race, class, sexual orientation, or gender expression.
We have more work to do, friends!
We have to do this work together by bridging with one another across radical differences to create a world of radical inclusion full of possibilities for all.
I want to do this work with you! Will you join me? Our first step toward the bridge is to welcome the stranger into our lives, and invite all persons to be who they are called to be.
A a version of this post was originally published on RMN’s blog and can be found at this link.