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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » Do you feel physically safe?

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Author Topic: Do you feel physically safe?
bluejumprope
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GLBTQ folks, wherever you're living now, or at your school, how safe do you feel? Do you worry about violence?

Do you feel safe to be out? Do you feel comfortable presenting your gender in the ways which feel right to you? Showing same-sex affection? Speaking up for GLBT rights? Walking around alone?

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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Thehiddenone
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Personally, no i don't. Where i live, if i was to come out as being Bisexual, the very least that would happen would be that i would be compleatly ignored by everyone i know and love. The worst case would be, i'd be beaten up so badly i'd die. So here i cannot come out, but as soon as i leave here i'm going to tell everyone. [Short but yes]
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fallchild
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I'm thankful to say, that besides getting a hinky feeling in some places I might be, I've never encountered violence or fear of violence. I go to school at a very liberal school, I'm out at work and at home and I live in a liberal city. The only places where I start to not feel scared but maybe just more aware of my surroundings is when I'm waiting for a bus or train or walking around by myself. As for showing public affection with my girlfriend, I'm not afraid either. I feel stronger with her there and my fear leaves.

The other night my girlfriend and I went downtown to get sushi. For a split second I felt a little uneasy, but then I remembered that my mohawk was up that day and I was wearing combat boots so I just threw my shoulders back and walked around with her liked we owned the place and knew exactly where we were going. Fear gone [Smile]

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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Idir
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As an Algerian - no, I don't feel safe being queer.
But from another perspective: I'm in a more or less safe small town, so I generally feel secure, and as I'm closeted, I barely have emotional wars to wage with other people.
That being said, being closeted is an emotional inner fight per se.

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I know there is an over the rainbow for me.

Posts: 84 | From: Algeria | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
bluejumprope
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Thanks for sharing Rollerchick, fallchild and Idir. And belated hugs all around.

I was talking to my mother today about some GLBT stuff, and for the first time, something really clicked for her about the extent of homophobia, and how, even in my comparatively safe environment growing up, I didn't feel safe. Even where I grew up, I had one very scary encounter, and I came in contact with homophobia all the time.

It felt really good that she had her "consciousness raised" (her words [Smile] ) and it got me thinking about how I don't think most straight people are aware of how much fear most queer people are, to varying degrees, continually managing. It reminded me of the intro in How You Guys -- that's right, You GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape--the normalized fear of rape that most women live with.

Given that I've always lived in fairly liberal cities in the US, I feel like a big wimp a lot of the time complaining about not feeling safe being a visibly queer person. There is a huge difference between the levels of safety I've had and what most other people have had to deal with.

And yet, I still don't feel totally safe. A situation that's a ton better than unbearably awful still isn't what it should be.

It's ludicrous that I feel like I have to get beaten up to prove that I'm not in a safe environment. If I don't feel safe, well, there's a freaking reason for that. I have moments like fallchild described daily, and I don't think that's okay.

So, uh, there's my statement for the day [Smile] . I think queer people should feel completely safe. Absolutely, utterly safe to be out, to present their identity as they see fit and to relate to their partners in public like straight people do. (Not that how straight people do it is the be all and all of everything, but just as a measure.)

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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not_a_hobgoblin
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When I'm here, at school, I feel one hundred percent safe- not even moments like fallchild described. At home, those come sometimes, but for different reasons; for over a year, every time I was out in public with my girfriend I was afraid we'd run into someone who knew her mother, and they would out her, and then all hell would break loose... I'm still a little bit conditioned to that, even though it's not a secret anymore. I'm not afraid of violence from people in my hometown. Ugly looks, maybe, but not violence. At least not in the parts of town that I go to.

The only places I've really feared violence when I'm thinking about being out in public have been at festivals, hiking trips, etc. in small rural towns. I'm buying into a stereotype, of course, but when I'm the little willowy girl in the middle of a blacksmithing festival, I don't want to make anyone angry by holding my girlfriend's hand. :-P I'm not okay with it (we actually had a quiet and very upset discussion in the car about it after that particular festival, and took off for some alone time), but I'm very aware of it.

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"Cut her down."
"She is a witch!"
"But she's our witch. Cut her down."

Posts: 174 | From: Indiana, USA | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Jill
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[Edited to add that not_a_hobgoblin's signature explains my small, rural town far more succinctly than I did.]

I grew up in a very, VERY small rural town. Everyone knew me, everyone knew my parents, everyone knew everyone else, everyone had multiple guns for recreational purposes -- that kind of town. All the same, I always felt safe there; I actually felt safer there than I do in the larger (yet still small), more progressive place I live now.

I think part of the reason I felt so safe there was I belonged there. I grew up there and it was a given that I had a right to be there, no matter what. Even people who were homophobic seemed to value minding their own business far more than hassling me, or any of the (very few) other queers in town. Even people talking behind my back wasn't what you'd call hurtful -- one person suggesting that I was a lesbian and someone else confirming it is not the kind of thing that made me lock my doors. Even if someone had be inclined to be hostile, there was social pressure to treat me decently.

Here, pretty much everyone I've come to know is comfortable with anyone's sexuality and people just seem more progressive in general. And yet, I don't feel quite as safe. I think the problem is there are so many people that there's simply no way for me to know everyone. With so many people completely unknown to me, how can I trust that I am safe around them? Hate crimes do not seem to be a problem here, nor have I seen anything that makes me feel unsafe, but is that because there are laws or because of genuine feelings of respect? I'd feel safer if I knew it was the latter.

[ 04-26-2009, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: -Jill ]

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I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns. --Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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Ecofem
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I've felt physically safe in all places I've lived to be "out." However, because I'm a very private person when it comes to dating and relationships, I generally don't discuss them with non-friends; people could make assumptions about my sexual orientation but I'm neither saying or denying anything. (Ironically, I don't feel very comfortable with PDA regardless of gender.)

I have to second Jill that smaller places can actually seem tolerant than larger, more liberal-seeming cities. (An example of this is same-sex couples being essentially a non-issue in the smaller place and a big discussion topic in the larger one.)

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not_a_hobgoblin
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I had an odd experience today that I thought I'd share. I said before that I feel completely physically comfortable and fearless in my hometown (the nervousness generally being more connected to lingering fears of being unwillingly outed than of physical safety), but even at home, stereotypes can freak me out. When we're in public places together, I'm usually the one reaching for my girlfriend's hand so we can walk together. Today, however, we were walking through Rural King when I was surprised to feel her take my hand. I looked at her sideways, and she just smiled, so I vocalized my nervousness: "We're in the middle of Rural King, love."

(For those of you who don't know, Rural King is basically a farm store: to apply the stereotype that was causing my fear, large flannel-shirted undereducated hicks with sharp farming implements nearby and a generations-bred disgust for those damn queers.)

She just grinned and said, "I know."

Nothing happened, of course. She said later that she noticed a few dirty looks- but she also said that she actually enjoys getting that response. To quote her directly: " I honestly would prefer to get smiles and 'awww, young love' type looks, but when people sit and glare at us when we're just holding hands, it just makes me laugh a little. Schadenfreude for the narrow little lives they must lead, I suppose. 'Hah, serves you right- you give me a nasty look, but you're a nasty person, so I can just be happy and ignore you and let you seethe.' "

It's good that she feels safe enough to do that... but it kind of unsettled me that I didn't, when I thought I did. Does that make any sense?

[ 05-20-2009, 10:04 PM: Message edited by: not_a_hobgoblin ]

--------------------
"Cut her down."
"She is a witch!"
"But she's our witch. Cut her down."

Posts: 174 | From: Indiana, USA | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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