Chattanooga is a hip town, despite being an extremely conservative town. Hipsters have begun their gentrification of our urban areas and progressed our city towards a green, healthy, welcoming, loving place to be. I have always felt safe and like I belong in my hometown, until the election.
Three days after the 2016 Presidential Election, I was on Market St by Cheeburger Cheeburger meeting up with someone to buy a phone case. As the seller walked away, I began to make my way to my car. As I walked away, two men walking towards me, began to stare and not in the “you’re cute” way. So, being the mouthy woman I am, I asked: “Can I help you?” To these men, this was an open invitation for them to tell me a few things about myself.
They began to call me names, fucking fat dyke, being their favorite. A man told me that I needed a big dick in my life and that he and his friends might be able to accommodate that if I were not such a fatass. I attempted to round the corner to get to my car. Unfortunately, three more of their friends joined them from the same direction as my vehicle, my getaway, my safety. At this point, I now have my back against a brick wall with five men calling me dyke, fat, worthless, muff diver, an abomination, and repeating that collectively they could fix me.
Just as I began to cry (trust me, I held my tears as long as I could), a very large man forcefully stepped between the men and myself and asked the boys what exactly they thought they were doing. He stood up for me, stopped the attack, and made them scatter, but as they left one of them said, “Don’t worry, Trump will take care of you, you fucking dyke bitch.”
It bears mentioning that before “my hero” rescued me a minimum of 25 people walked by, heads down as if nothing were happening. I learned a valuable lesson that day…” You are outnumbered, keep your head down and your mouth shut.” The problem with that is that it is not who I am. I do not know where to go from here, but I do not want to live in Chattanooga anymore.
As if the first incident were not bad enough, it is not the only homophobic issue I have dealt with in the last two weeks. My partner and I had problems with our doctor’s office. They refused to let me join her in her room, but let a man join his girlfriend. I have heard hateful slurs mumbled under the breath of absolute strangers. People stare, and while they have done this before, they would always look away when I made eye contact. Now, they do not look away, and there is hostility in their gaze. Tensions are high, and I am frightened. That is really all I know to say. I have no solutions, no idea how to deal with this kind of thing, and I do not know where to go from here. My partner and I are going to try not to leave alone, for now. It seems safer that way.
To those of you who voted for Trump, and told me I was overreacting, FUCK YOU! There…now I have overreacted.