For the past couple of days my female friends, including many trans women, have been posting about the sexual harassment that they have been subjected to. Some of you may have spotted that I haven’t done such a post. That’s not for lack of support, it is simply that it would not be true. I’ve been harassed for being trans, and harassed because people don’t like me, but not for being a woman.
That’s not because I have been “careful”. We all know that doesn’t work. Nor do I think it is because I have been lucky. I have been living as a woman for far too long for the odds to be less than astronomic. I’m pretty sure I know why, and I guess you could call that both a blessing and a curse.
Besides, I have experienced harassment at a distance. There’s the usual thing of lads in a car yelling abuse at you as they speed past. They’ll do that to anyone who looks remotely female. Also, years ago, when I used to attend a support group in London, I would occasionally assist with the telephone help line. Most of the callers were cross-dressers, and their attitude often changed significantly if they thought they were talking to a woman rather than another cross-dresser. Eww! I didn’t do that very often.
The thing is though, that I believe my friends, and all of the other women who have made a “me too” post. I believe every single one of them. Why? Because I spent part of my life pretending to be a man, and I have seen how some of them behave when they think there are no women about. How men can think that sexual harassment doesn’t happen is a complete mystery to me.
[Note: there’s a whole additional issue here of people being harassed because they are presumed female rather than because they identify as such. I tried to find a way to include them in the above, but the the sentence construction kept getting very convoluted, so I’m acknowledging them here instead. Apologies for being crap.]