The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Our Stories of Homophobic Harassment

Grace Chu: Yeah, I’ve mostly gotten racist comments. When you look at me, you don’t assume “gay,” but like Dara, I can’t hide my Asian-ness. The night my girlfriend and I had our first date and we got a little tipsy and made out in the street. A car of bro dudes drove by and whistled. Both of us flipped them the middle finger at exactly the same time; it was then when I knew we were destined for a second date.
 
Miranda Meyer: I’ve been lucky on this front; the worst I’ve really gotten, which wasn’t so bad, was being threatened with being asked to leave a nightclub. (Normally I would consider this very bad, but it happened in Syria, which is not exactly a place where it’s easy or common to be queer in any open way, so my baseline is different, if that makes sense.) This girl I had met and I were dancing together, and making out kind of a lot, and one of the bouncers kept sort of taking me aside and warning me that we were pushing it and to tone it down or he was going to have to take action. I really got the feeling he didn’t actually want to do anything but felt he had to. Meanwhile, my make-out companion was VERY, VERY DRUNK and therefore not really getting the concept of toning anything down. Nothing ultimately happened except that I very much felt others’ eyes on us and I ended up de facto in the position of trying to be responsible for this very wasted girl, but it was an odd situation all around. If a bouncer said anything like that to me in the US I’d be livid, but there it was more like we were getting away with something.

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Kim Hoffman: Well. So. Okay. A few years ago, my ex-girlfriend was in town on leave from the army—we were in a major off period because LDRs can be way difficult and we quickly realized we were just so much better as friends. After a lot of weirdness from her end, I finally got a text one night she was in town that she was at her “uncle’s” house. I was sort of annoyed because it was after 10pm and I had that inner dialogue of like, “If I go, I have to change out of my pajamas, so, that puts me in a teenage Kim place all over again.”

Anyway, I decided to go. And as I drove toward a random drug store 45 minutes away to meet her so that she could take us in her car to his house, I started to get the most gut wrenching pit of my stomach feeling that something awful was going to happen. And like many of us, I didn’t stop, I just kept telling myself to chill the fuck out. 

So, “uncle” is in quotes because I quickly learned he was no such thing, he was simply the father of her best friend from high school. His house was this weird ’70s shag pad (but with toys for nephews and nieces strewn about) and he kept trying to feed us more booze and pot, while he eyed my ex girlfriend up and down—she was in her fatigues. He mentions a dress she used to wear in high school, and how he’d love to “TAKE IT OFF WITH HIS TEETH.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and gave her a funny luck. When he went to the bathroom, I was like, “Um. Does he know you’re gay?” My ex was on the butcher, androgynous side like so many of my partners have been, where, I’ve totally 100% seen outward, homophobic hate spewed at them/us. But, this was different. He took us to a bar across the bridge from his house where he proceeded to get my ex girlfriend wasted. I stayed sober, because frankly, I was a complete ball of nerves—tunnel vision, sound going in and out. She kept trying to get me to dance with him. “Go! Dance with my Uncle! He’s fun. Go!” He would be, like, shimmying on the dance floor to “Santeria” and I couldn’t bring myself to join him, so finally he dragged her out there right as the song changed to a sexy slow jam and they started to….just get way closer. Too close. 
 
Of course this drew the attention of the onlookers (a bunch of crisp, sunburnt middle aged Floridians with illustrations of fish on the back of their shirts) that were already eyeing us when we walked in. Dyke in her army uniform at a bar! Dyke in her army uniform at a bar! Everyone look! But the truth is, I had no idea what I was looking at anymore either. I couldn’t tell. Was she into him? No way. I mean. Yeah, he was running his hands through her hair and she was looking up at him smiling, but, this just COULDN’T BE. And in a flash, she darted through the crowd and pushed me toward the back door and as we flung out into the night, she fell into a patch of grass and wouldn’t let me get her up. When “Uncle” came out after us, he began to smile—as if he was pleased with this display. He was going to be her hero in shining armor and he lifted her up with little effort over his shoulders and carried her to the car. Two bouncers standing at the front of this bar were chuckling, “Look at that drunk army boy.” “Amateur.” The whole way back to “Uncle’s” house, he had Pink Floyd blaring and my ex was passed out cold in the passenger seat. My fists were clenched and I prepared for, I don’t know what. But when we pulled up to his house, he said, “I got this from here. You can go home.” I refused. 
 
“I don’t know you. I’m not going anywhere.” He kept referring to my ex by her middle name. She changed her name to a more masculine sounding name when she came out, but he refused to acknowledge that and kept using her previous name. I was SO FUCKING PEEVED and when I saw his face change from smiley to scary, I went into survival mode. “Do you really think you can handle her? Do you REALLY think you can lift her up and take her over to your car and stop me?” He tried waking her up then and asked her, “Do you want to come inside and go to bed?” She mumbled yes. I then piped in, saying her name—not the one he kept using, “HEY, ___, I’m taking you home right now, OKAY?” She mumbled OK. But he didn’t give us a chance. He got out of the car and came over to her side and lifted her up and began walking inside. “You can come in too, if you want. I don’t care what you do.”
 
As soon as we got inside, he went into the other room and my ex grabbed me with as much sober strength I could ever see a plastered person muster and shoved us into the bathroom and locked the door. She looked me dead in the eye with her face glazed over, digging her hands into my shirt and said, “Get us out of here. Now.” I said okay and again prepared myself for I don’t know what. But we exited the bathroom and there he was, shirtless and chest hair out sitting on the couch with a big smirk on his face asking my ex girlfriend for a kiss and if she wanted to “go to the bed.” I told him we were leaving, as calmly and cooly as I possibly could. But I wanted to scream at him, and tell him to die. I had all these feelings, like this wasn’t his first go-around, that I was throwing a major wrench into his plans. 
 
As we left, he winked at me and readjusted his crotch in the seat of the couch. I have no idea how I got her home that night. I have no idea how I was able to carry her from his couch to the car, or from the car into her house. Somehow all the adrenaline had me on a level I didn’t know existed in me. But you know what? I wasn’t going to let this man feel my fear. I wanted him to fear me. I wasn’t going to leave her there, not on my watch, motherfucker. 
 
Have you been harassed for being lesbian, bi or queer?