Abuse, discrimination and solidarity
Have you ever been yelled at in the street or discriminated against because of your gender? Laura Bates has, and she set up the Everyday Sexism Project in 2012 to document women’s routine experiences of prejudice in order to prove how bad the problem is and create some solidarity. Since then, the project has helped many women to realise that they are not alone, and has surprised many with just how widespread sexism is in 21st century western society. Of course, it’s not just cis women who face this sort of normalised harassment – LGBTQ individuals experience it on a daily basis too. One such incident led Queste to set up a couple of Twitter accounts similar to Laura Bates’ project. They told me:
The other day I was walking down the road and gave split-second eye contact to a man, which somehow angered him enough to call me a “bitch dyke!”, plus a string of other expletives. I wanted to react and shout back at him, but it felt too unsafe and I did not know what he would do or could do to me. Instead I kept walking down the road, looking around me to see if the many people walking on the pavement had also noticed. If they did, they gave no indication that they had. But I know they must have – he had screamed at me. Not reacting felt so incredibly disempowering, but it was the safe thing to do – all my instincts told me so. But I spent the rest of the evening feeling very shitty for not being able to stand up to his abuse. It’s not the first time this has happened and I’ve seen and heard other people receive abuse far worse than this – both homophobic and transphobic in nature. I see it almost every day. And it has certainly become much worse since I have become more ‘visibly queer.’
Inspired by @EverydaySexism, a project I’ve watched (and contributed to, in the form of tweets) for the past few years, I thought I’d start a similar movement. Being both queer and trans*, I felt that @DailyHomophobia and @EDTransphobia could be a way to help empower us to document our daily experiences of discrimination and erasure. Someone else started @dailybiphobia as well, the same day that I did. If we can’t react immediately to what happens to us when we walk down the road, in the workplace or even online, due to safety issues, at least we can create solidarity and awareness by talking about it.
To take part, tweet your experiences at either of the accounts, or use the hastags #everydayhomophobia, #dailyhomophobia, #dailytransphobia or #everydaytransphobia (also #dailybiphobia or #everydaybiphobia). Please share the details of these projects widely within your networks and ensure that anyone who should know is aware of their existence. Visibility and solidarity are important if we are going to see an end to this kind of street harassment and discrimination.