Lgbt Studies

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Gender: Your Guide

Gender: Your Guide

A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say, and What to Do in the New Gender Culture
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
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Me, Myself, They

Me, Myself, They

A Non-Binary Life
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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Marvellous Grounds

Marvellous Grounds

Queer of Colour Formations in Toronto
edition:Paperback
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Care Work

Care Work

Dreaming Disability Justice
edition:Paperback
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I'm Afraid of Men
Excerpt

I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me fear.

I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the word girl by turning it into a weapon they used to hurt me. I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to hate and eventually destroy my femininity. I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the extraordinary parts of myself.

My fear was so acute that it took almost two decades to undo the damage of rejecting my femininity, to salvage and reclaim my girlhood. Even now, after coming out as a trans girl, I am more afraid than ever. This fear governs many of the choices I make, from the beginning of my day to the end.

In the morning, as I get ready for work, I avoid choosing clothes or accessories that will highlight my femininity and draw unwanted attention. On the hierarchy of harassment, staring is the least violent consequence for my gender nonconformity that I could hope for. And yet the experience of repeatedly being stared at has slowly mutated me into an alien.

If I decide to wear tight pants, I walk quickly to my bus stop to avoid being seen by the construction workers outside my building, who might shout at me as they have on other mornings.

When I’m on a packed bus or streetcar, I avoid making eye contact with men, so that no man will think I might be attracted to him and won’t be able to resist the urge to act upon this attraction. I squeeze my shoulders inward if a man sits next to me, so that I don’t accidentally touch him.

If I open Twitter or Facebook on the way to work, I brace myself for news reports of violence against women and gender-nonconforming people, whether it’s a story about another trans woman of colour who has been murdered, or the missing and murdered Indigenous women, or sexual assault. As important as it is to make these incidents visible by reporting them, sensationalizing and digesting these stories is also a form of social control, a reminder that I need to be afraid and to try to be as invisible as possible.

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