On my 21st birthday (1987, so imagine the hair, shoulderpads & pegged
jeans), I went out with a mixed group of women friends -- girly-girls,
tomboys, jocks; up & down the Kinsey scale.
After closing down the bar, we were talking over where to go to
continue the party. A drunk guy got thrown out of a car that pulled
over nearby. He eyeballed us -- kissy noises, "mm-mmh!", etc.; saw the
"oh f*ck off, you pathetic turd" implied by the way we closed him out;
then suddenly noticed we had no men with us.
That was a problem. Didn't matter what we were, a bunch of women out
alone had to be evil bitches, or worse -- lesbians. Verbal ugliness
ensued. It was disgusting.
One girl thought 2 years of karate lessons made it ok to give him the
fight he was looking for. She put up her dukes, moved him out into the
street, and they started in.
He was a shitty fighter, and drunk. But then something happened. He
went at her with an upraised fist, and another woman grabbed her from
behind and pulled her back -- by the arms. WTF?
Somehow, in the midst of a sudden stillness, I got between parked
cars, moved into the street, and stationed myself between him and my
helpless cohort, in the time it took him to take 1.5 steps. I felt his
arm touch my upraised forearm, saw his face melt in shock... And
suddenly the sound came back on.
Behind me, the arm-grabber was screaming, "He's got a knife! He's got
Shyt-head and I took a careful step back from each other. Then
another. Then I took one more, turned and ran back to the bar,
screaming about a man with a knife -- not realizing that my face was
pouring blood, flying behind me in drops and strings, drenching my
clothes, squishing in my shoe.
Drama, blanched faces, people frozen by shock -- but behind my back,
two cute chubby poofters pulled themselves together, ran that crazy
sumbitch down and, unarmed but relentless, kept him penned up in a
dead end until the cops came by. (I'm told it takes balls to be a
queen. I agree.)
My testimony put him away. He was about to go free, even though this
was at least his 3rd such attack, until the judge asked if I had
anything to say. Once I finished, there was a long silence. The judge
sent him down.
He was out by my next birthday.
Let me reiterate: it didn't matter who we were. He truly believed anti-
gay speech was a justification for murder.
It doesn't matter who you are. It's your issue, too. Nobody is immune
to the effects of hatred. Nobody is unkillable.
*The only way to make your world safer is to make hatred less
interesting, less acceptable, and less valid.* That's it.
It's astounding how much creative thought and social energy gets freed
up when that happens. Everyone blossoms -- regardless of their own
bent. The most "normal" people remark on how good it is to feel so
free. Weird, unexpected, but true. I'll dig up the studies about that.