FAGGOT!

I was coming home from an event last evening about 11 pm.   I was standing on the corner in Manhattan waiting for a Taxi when a car filled with black guys slowed down as they passed me and one guy stuck half his body our of the back passenger window and screamed, “FAGGOT!”.

Their skin color is irrelevant but as I like to be accurate in my writing, I’m just stating facts.

In almost three years that’s the first time that’s ever happened to me.

For a brief moment, I was shocked. As they moved past me, I didn’t turn around but felt the need to tell them they were #1.  I’m sure you know what I did.

Needless to say they weren’t very happy at being named #1 although I’m not sure why. Kidding.

Luckily, they kept on going and didn’t return.

But afterwards, I thought about it.

Was it a smart move to do that?  I was alone after all.  It’s possible things could have gotten out of hand and possibly violent.

Then I started getting hard on myself. Maybe if I “passed” it wouldn’t have happened. I’m too tall, too fat, too this and too that… attract too much attention to myself etc etc etc.

What do you think?

Respond as I did?

Respond verbally?

Don’t respond in any way?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Gwen Patrone

21 thoughts on “FAGGOT!”

  1. I understand the feelings going through your mind at the time, and why you responded the way you did. But I think your #1 salute was a mistake. First, as you say, your salute might have invited a more physical confrontation, which unless you are Bruce Lee, was a mismatch made in heaven. Second, your response told them that their words bothered you. Of course, the words bothered you. But never show them that!

  2. I certainly can’t blame you for your reaction to the comment. Its almost automatic. From my own experience it is just such impulses that have led to unanticipated consequences, an never in a good way.

    Don’t judge yourself for becoming the momentary target of opportunity of a cruel person. As you have mentioned, this hasn’t happened before and may never happen again.

  3. I wish we could all pass. Many of us got that late start because when we knew, usually as a small child, we would have been severely punished. The people who can start early in life these days probably have the chance to achieve the passing privilege. For us late bloomers, many of us can get clocked. No matter how good of a look we achieve, it only takes one small feature or behavior and people will notice. It it truly sad that the level of hate in this world. This shouldn’t be. Modern society has lost it’s way. To all my sisters, be careful and be safe!

    1. I hear you in that. I’ve Amazon Queen and I’ve given up blending. I just try to max out what I have. I’ll always be 6’3″ and have wide shoulders, big hands and muscles. I’ve learned to embrace myself as I am.

  4. Here in Jersey, allowing the state bird to fly freely is instinctive. I cannot tell you the number if times I have similarly saluted, or wished upon my verbal assailant the two word phrase that is not “Happy Birthday”. Then thought better of it as you have Gwen, as I may have inadvertently escalated a problem. It’s important to mention here that my incidents never occurred while I was crossdressed, but rather at various times with individuals that are hateful, being wiseasses to impress each other like middle school kids and/or looking for a fight. We react instinctively to defend ourselves even with just a gesture, the status of our dressing not withstanding. How we appear, how well we pass has nothing to do with the lack of civility you experienced here. If not you, then someone or something else.
    We cannot shut down our fight or flight mechanisms just because we are crossdressed, or worse, start looking at ourselves for not passing well enough. The best ALL of us can do, crossdressers or no, is to be ever wary of such individuals, and never take it to heart when this kind of abuse occurs. They are the ones with the problem.

    1. The state bird. I love it.
      Such a well written and thoughtful response that I couldn’t agree more with.
      Thank you. It made me think deeper into the situation which is what I love to do.
      Gwen

  5. Clearly, skin colour and gender identity are two completely different issues although linked by their ability to engender discrimination. I wonder what their reaction would have been if the tables had been turned and you had called him one of the epithets that was in widespread use a generation ago but is now deemed unacceptable. Probably not a reaction indicating tolerance and there’s a lesson that all people like that need to learn is to treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.

    My first reaction when I hear any story like this is what are they hiding?! What was he hoping to achieve by leaning out of the car and calling out what he did? Making transphobic comments in front of your friends is a great way of ‘proving’ to them that you’re not in any way interested or that way inclined! And it’s also a great way of attempting to cover your tracks if you are!

    As for what to do, hindsight is a wonderful thing but I always think that these types are best ignored whether they’re shouting insults in the real world or spouting bile on Twitter and the like. Getting a reaction is their oxygen and ignoring them is often the best strategy. And the safest.

  6. Gwen,
    We are near the same age (I’m 73) There will never be a shortage of “A “holes in the world. I remember getting comments as I was walking to my car at 2am from when Karolyn had a bar on 10th Ave. A couple of young guys gave my friend and a “Woo Hoo” I laughed. Those 3 morons in the cab were real jerks. Best action while enfemme alone is retreat or silence, but sometimes you have to express your disgust at idiots like that.
    Yours Terri

    1. Yes in hindsight, to retreat in silence is the safe method. I suppose I felt the need to stick up for myself and my friends although they weren’t there. The frustration builds sometimes and I snapped in reaction.

  7. Unfortunately there will always be people who just want to be jerks and mean we can’t control that and I agree with others your reaction while understood could have been ugly had they wanted to respond
    So unless your armed it’s best to ignore those kinds of things
    Now just yesterday I had a great experience at the mall when the lady at the Mac counter gave me a complement
    So those are the encounters I love

  8. Gwen,
    I’m inclined to agree with Amanda , what makes those guys anymore perfect to you even overlooking the colour of their skin . At that time of night it’s more to do with excessive drinking so your reaction was probably totally wasted on them .
    Please don’t put yours elf down the incident is done and gone , you’re better than that .

  9. Your reaction is perfectly understandable. However, as others have pointed out, it could have escalated, and that could have been ugly. Someone told me that when something like that happens, it is best to take a breath and calm down, then consider your reaction, Easier said than done.
    After somethign like that happens, it’s easy to assume that world is full of A-holes. However, remember the complements you have received, unsolicited smiles, and the many people that just pass you by without comment. I like to believe that the A-holes are far outnumbered.

  10. Gwen,
    It was a little over 35 years ago when I was out en femme just coming from a local mall. I was walking to my car, past a few men, and after I past them one called to me “faggot”. It shocked me, but it did not surprise me. Being 6’ 7” tall in heels I obviously stood out. I just kept walking and made no recognition of them.

    I have never been verbally abused since. I could say society is more understanding now, but your recent experience shows maybe not.

    I’m sorry to hear what happened to you Gwen.

    Jocelyn

  11. Yes in hindsight, to retreat in silence is the safe method. I suppose I felt the need to stick up for myself and my friends although they weren’t there. The frustration builds sometimes and I snapped in reaction.
    Gwen

  12. I often wonder at the impulse many people have to not just judge, but lash out with verbal violence. This is not limited to actions by men, of course, but I feel men in particular can be visceral in their insulting behavior, a kind of swagger inspired by a mix of ignorance and a joy of inflicting pain upon others. It is somewhat more bothersome when insults based on appearances come from people who have suffered a great deal themselves because of superficial aspects like skin color or, dare I say, gender. I’m sorry you had to deal with that, and I understand completely your train of thought: Reactionary followed by brutal self-assessment. I’m glad it didn’t result in violence, to be sure!

  13. Your reaction is entirely understandable and frankly would have been my first inclination as well. But being out alone en femme and possibly facing off against a number of hostile guys requires that “discretion is the better part of valor” is the right way to go.

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