Yesterday I had just finished lunch and was walking back to my office when my ears perked up to a conversation by the two men walking ahead of me. They looked like they were in their late forties or early fifties, dressed business casual, and engaged in a conversation where I heard the word “transgendered” batted around. I tuned in and heard a rant going something like this:
“Well, now they’re talking about this transgendered shit. Who needs to hear that? And in sex ed they’re teaching about being gay and all that. If these were health professionals, they’d focus on talking about all the diseases that come from anal sex and those terrible lifestyle choices.”
I picked up my pace to catch up alongside them them and paused to give side-eye and register my judgment. The guy doing the listening made eye contact and nodded. I hope to hell he didn’t think I was in agreement. I mean–I’m still at a point where people don’t know my gender when they see me. I hope he realized a queer person was listening. I didn’t say anything to them. They turned the corner and I walked straight, listening to the ongoing rant fade into the distance.
In my office, I cycled through emotions–bemusement, disbelief, anger, sadness, and finally shame for not saying anything. What do you do when you hear assholes blatantly saying trans- and homophobic stuff on the street?