Words have power and too many people are misusing them. Violence doesn’t exist in a vacuum. A very thoughtful and powerful testimony by Juliet Brando.
First published in February 2021.
So, when I was 16, I had my first memorable kiss with a girl.
I had kissed girls before. This was a girl from college, and we were in a pub. Tainted Love was playing.
Why was it memorable? We were beaten up.
Why were we beaten up? Well...
A random woman had seen us kiss. These were different times. In the mid-90s, there were a lot of harmful myths about girls who kissed girls. What other girls would they kiss? Were they sexual predators?
So, the random woman told the eight men she was sitting with and those men wanted to be heroes. There were potential SEXUAL PREDATORS in the room. They knew. The woman had told them. No man goes out to be a bad guy. These men were HEROES. A woman had told them so. They had permission to hit women because we weren’t real women...
We were born with vaginas, presenting as women, but we didn’t count. There are a lot of women, it turns out, who are fair game when a man is being A HERO on behalf of WOMEN.
A friend was headbutted, the girl I had been kissing was punched and I was thrown down the stairs... and I was fine. There were people on the stairs and I landed on them. Also, as a youngling, I was pretty rubbery so I just sort of bounced.
We were thrown out of the pub. We were the troublemakers. Not the grown men who attacked us. This was normal, I discovered, and something I hear a lot from fellow women – also women with vaginas who are perceived as women, presenting as women, and have to deal with all the terrible shit that comes with that, living in a patriarchal society – and there is a lot of shit to deal with – by christ.
But I have heard women say that their claims that trans women might be sexual predators doesn’t cause harm. After all, it is not women who carry out the violence – and there is a lot of violence – against trans, non-binary, and gender-non-comforming people.
And yes, there is violence against women all the time, everywhere, via men (hashtagnotallmen before any random guy jumps in – not you, man reading this – you know I don’t mean you) and most of us have been on the receiving end of that too.
But that isn’t a reason to be that woman in the pub that night, who thought that the presence of women she didn’t consider real women was enough provocation to set HEROES on them.
You may consider yourself “gender critical”, but consider your words.
They have consequences.
▫ Juliet Brando, Writer & Artist.
[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 16 February 2021 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]
(Cover: Pixabay. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)