Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I was in Cab Vol on the 18/10/14 and was dancing by myself at the nightclub. I dressed in an alternative way. I was having a very good night and then 4 guys started making comments on the way I dressing and dancing, when they started shouting at me shouting ‘Gaaaay’ in the fashion of Senor Chang from Community. While I still am perplexed why calling someone Gay is an insult to them, it put a downer on my night. If I choose to dress and dance in a particular way I would hope people would accept it irrespective of my sexuality. The other thing which bothered me was the incessant filming of my dancing style.
I successfully intervened last evening when I saw a man intimidating a woman on the Royal Mile. With a surprising amount of ease, I ended up successfully diverting the person away and gave the woman an opportunity to move on down the road to wherever she was headed.
Sitting on a train finding my own business, when this drunk guy in the seat accross the isle from me leans in and whispers in the sleaziest voice “can I get your number”. He continues to make such comments I tell him where to get off and move to the next carriage. I hear him and his mates getting ready to get off at their stop, next thing I know he has sleazed his way back over and whispers “i think you left your personality back there” again I in no uncertain terms tell him what I think of him and where he can take himself. Whilst waiting for the train to leave he comes right up to my window, puckers up and laughs in my face till after what feels like an eternity the train leaves. Whilst waiting for the train to move on I can only communicate how I feel through hand gestures and start to move seats again, but felt what’s the point he would follow me. When the train gets moving I see this sad git laughing to his mates. Well you pathetic specimen, there is nothing like a bit of casual ‘street’ harassment and intimidation to ignite ones feminist rage!
In the past two months on the ten minute walk between my home and my office random men have come up to me and said:
‘Hello. What are you?’
‘Where are you from?’ ‘Here’ ‘But you have an Asian face?’
These are all the first things they said to me. They did not happen in a conversation, this is literally me leaving my house to go to my 9 – 5 job and men coming up to me, so close they’re nearly touching me, and sharing their racism/sexism/prejudice with me. If I extend the time scale to the past 6 months, or the location to my entire city rather than a small strecth of street, I’d have enough stories for a chapter of a book. If I extended it to my life so far, I’d have a whole encyclopaedia.
We at Hollaback! are super excited for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to kick off in less than three weeks! As we’re tired of sexist, homo/transphobic and racist jokes we thought we’d share some of the shows we hope to check out this August. Write a comment if you have some more tips or have seen any of the shows and want to share your thoughts!
Susie explores how ‘internalised misogyny and patriarchy can affect us all’ while Chris Coltrane smashes the patriarchy with his activist focused political comedy. Bridget Christie won the Foster’s Best Comedy Award for her show ‘A Bic for Her’ at last year’s Fringe and is returning with a new show this August. For fans of Spoken Word, local writing group Appletree Writers is hosting a series of Spoken Word Sundays with events including a panel discussion from poets on women’s writing, with all proceeds going to Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, writers of colour from North East England on identity, love, loss, settlement and migration, a session on writing and feminism, and a session with Appletree Writers’ Writing Mum’s Group. Mary Bourke is joined by three other female comedians each afternoon and Andrew Watts looks into feminism ‘for chaps’. Amy, a sex worker, and her sister Rosana, a shaven-headed lesbian, explore feminism and choice in their performance act. If you’re up for some feminist musical, the Ruby Dolls create an updated fairytale version of Mansfield Park. Finally Adrienne Truscott delivers comedy satire against rape culture and Kate presents a comedy show which is described as ‘highbrow, left-wing, feminist, atheist and awesome’.
Let us know what you think and we hope you will get an amazing feminist Fringe!
Elli and I met outside the Parliament building on the morning of Pride. We were excited for our first Pride, and our plan was to raise awareness about the work that Hollaback does, while generally showing our support. After soaking in the colourful atmosphere for a while, we managed to take a photo with the Nando’s chicken mascot before setting off up the Royal Mile. There were so many people!! Despite struggling with our big banner and just the two of us, we loved being part of the march. Among so much cheerful noise and so many great costumes, it was difficult to remember that Pride is a protest as well as a celebration. It is important to remember the political impact that events like Pride can have, and how crucial they are to cementing a good future for LGBT people in terms of rights and respect. At the half way point outside the City Chambers we were reminded of how far we have come in terms of LGBT rights even in the last few years! It was great to see so many politicians out in support of Pride, and the pause gave us a chance to look around at all of the banners and signs that had been ahead of us in the march. It felt so good to be representing Hollaback among so many inspiring organisations, and we briefly introduced ourselves to the people from Broken Rainbow UK before the march moved on.
When we arrived in Bristo Square we had to take time to stop and take in the scene. The square was completely transformed, with a huge stage and lots of stalls. We quickly went to distribute some Holla flyers at the LGBT Youth fair, before heading back out to explore. We spoke to as many different groups as possible, and saw some amazing costumes. It felt great to have people come up to us and say that they were supporters. Inside there were far too many stalls for us to look at, but we went to the Stonewall stall and signed the No Bystanders pledge on behalf of Hollaback. We also got very excited about the rainbow cake.
Overall, we had an amazing day, and it was inspiring to see so many proud people. I’m glad that I was able to represent Hollaback Edinburgh and show my support. It is up to organisations like Hollaback to keep raising awareness about the issues LGBT people have to face every day as they walk down the street, and street harassment is only one of the manifestations of homophobia that should be eradicated from society. Thank you, Pride Scotia, for organising such a wonderful event!
Hollaback! Edinburgh have only 28 Holla tote bags left!!
The bags have big, bold Hollaback logos on them, lovingly hand printed by our Committee members. If you would like to buy one for only £5 (plus £1.50 P&P) please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get our logo out on the street!!