Why Bill C-389 is Important Part One: My Story
NEW: Do you have a story of trans-related discrimination at your job or public accommodations? Have you ever been assaulted for being trans?
Tell me your story in a couple paragraphs, and let me know a name or nick that you’d like attributed. I’ll do my best to post them here, where people can refer, to see and/or show exactly why passing Bill C-389 is important.
I’ve experienced some discrimination. But for sake of brevity, will stick to relating my own experience of violence.
It was kind of surreal, and ironically, it occurred while I was still essentially in the closet, aside from some artwork posted and displayed under an alias. I arrived home after work, and there were three people I didn’t recognize sitting on the grass by the parking lot, talking. It looked like they were fixing the fence, some of the boards had come off, and two of them were holding boards as they spoke. The third was leaning on a golf club, which I thought a bit unusual.
Out of the blue, they ask me if I’m (old m name). Not thinking, I replied, “yeah, why?” and the next thing I knew I was being attacked. In the first article I ever wrote on trans issues, I took some flack because I glibly referred to it as beating up a golf club and two fence boards with various parts of my body — believe me, it was not particularily fun, but being glib sometimes helps lessen it now.
One of the attackers said something about “Bodybag,” and an online gallery, but I didn’t really hear all that was being said. It’s the one indication I had about why they’d sought me out.
The attack was mercifully short-lived. A neighbor was taking out the trash, saw what happened and shouted, causing the three to run off.
“Bodybag” was a piece of digital artwork that I had done for an online gallery. It depicted a male torso zipping itself up, while two female arms are reaching from inside it, clutching at air. As if it needed it, I had described the piece as “the experience of being transgender.” All I can guess is that someone objected to the piece, saw from my profile that I lived in Edmonton (at that time), did a WHOIS and obtained my name and address, so that he and some buddies could personally deliver a critique. I’m speculating, but it’s the only way that what happened makes sense to me.
Some of you know the rest of the story. I spent months afterward terrified, only going to work, then home, then work, checking under the car whenever I left the apartment, the cupboards grew bare because I was terrified to stop off to get groceries — it was awful. Then I’d reached a critical crisis point, and started planning out my suicide. Just before I did, I finally decided that I owed it to myself to at least try transition first — I’d seen the worst that could happen, now I had to see if there was anything better.
The rest is history.