October 29, 2005


And it wasn't an angry mob wanting their money back after one of her shows--this time!

(originally in Genre magazine)

One boiling hot July evening I walked to the grocery store yakking on my cellphone. Before I entered, three young guys with cigarettes dangling out of their mouths and the body language of someone who's been boozing, sneered "Why the fuck you wanna dress like a woman?" (I wasn't even in drag--just a t-shirt and shorts--OK, so they WERE pink lame!) But I was focused on my phone conversation so I made like Stonewall legend/ club kid foremother Marsha "P." Johnson--the "P" stood for "Pay it no mind."

When I hung up and started to enter the store, they started in again with "Faggot!" and "Keep walking!" Now aside from the occasional tussle with my sister, I am a confirmed sissy who has never been in one fight in my life. But it was just too damned hot that day to take ANY shit from anyone and I snarled "You don't tell me what to do." When they said "Step outside" I actually did! I don't know what I was thinking, but the argument heated up and the manager of the store came over to separate us. I got my groceries and left the store, looking both ways to see if they were still around. They weren't, so I crossed the street. When I looked back again I saw them chatting with the manager in the service entrance, which confirmed my suspicions that they worked there in some capacity.

I dropped off my groceries and returned to the store half an hour later to talk with the manager, who has seen me shopping there frequently for 10 years. (Please insert the Bunny fat joke of your choice here.) He confirmed that the men were drunk and that they worked for his air-conditioning repair service. I asked him for his name and told him that I would be filing a police report. He mentioned that they explained their actions by saying that I'd come on to them, a complete lie. (Honey, I've had my desperate moments, but drunk, sweaty workmen aren't my type. I prefer drunk, sweaty, unemployed homeless men, ok?)

I went home perplexed. Dealing with the police is never a picnic. I suppose that law enforcement agents have to be somewhat imposing by definition. What I encountered there was even more perplexing.

The first officer I spoke with told me that I didn't even have the basis for a complaint. "It's a first amendment issue. You can say anything to anyone as long as there are no weapons or physical violence." I wanted to tell him "OK, then let me tell you that you are a moron who doesn't know your job." Instead, I told him that a few years prior I had filed a harassment complaint based on a threat so I knew that such a thing existed. He asked "Did you see SILENCE OF THE LAMBS?" (I wanted to say "Yeah, and I also saw THE MATTHEW SHEPARD STORY.") "That guy Lechter said 'I'm going to cut out your liver and eat it for dinner' and that's ok to say." I asked for this idiot's supervisor.

The supervisor tried to turn shift the guilt to me and ask "Why didn't you call 911?" I told him that I'd rather reserve that for fires and other such emergencies. The incident was scary but it didn't leave me running down the aisles waving my arms and screaming with my teeth chattering like a tina queen listening to a Junior Vasquez mixed cd. "Well, why did you wait a day to come in?" I explained that since the guys were identifiable and contactable by the store's manager, I didn't see the need to hurry. (Don't laugh, but I actually had to make a potato salad for a barbecue the next day and no southern showgirl would dream of showing up with an unchilled potato salad!) Then I got angry. In no way had I provoked these 3 goons. They clearly were threatening me because of what they perceived me to be and 3 belligerent drunks threatening someone is a clear cut case of aggravated harassment, with an anti-gay bias. Who I reported this to or when I reported it did not change the fact that they had harassed me. And if a queen can't feel safe in Chelsea, the gayest neighborhood in "Girl-hattan", where can you feel safe, for chrissakes?

The officer then asked me if I was going to press charges. Unless I was, he told me, they would not be able to allocate an officer to investigate at all. I had been there for an hour and a half debating them on whether or not I had a valid complaint--which I clearly did because in the end they took the complaint--and now they tell me that they don't have the time to make one phone call to the grocery store, find out the a/c company's number and let them know that their employees's are drunk on the job and threatening sweet, innocent transvestites--or me? I'm so glad that my taxes pay their f*#@ing salaries.

Pressing charges is a whole 'nother matter. Appearing in court brought up so many issues: like that library book I never returned, every time I'd ever jay-walked, those earrings I "borrowed" from mom, the fear of authorities scraping around my house for "party favors residue" and most importantly, WHAT ON EARTH WILL I WEAR TO MAKE MY GRAND ENTRANCE AT THE COURTHOUSE? Let's see. A well-cut suit in a somber color which says "I mean business" and a matching picture hat to rival any worn by Lana Turner or Joan Collins, but with a frilly hanky to show my sensitive side when dabbing my eyes underneath gigantic Chanel sunglasses, which may be removed to wink coquettishly at the jury from time to time.

OK, girl, back to reality. I realize that this grocery store incident was not the crime of the century. All I had hoped to get out of filing a complaint was for the police to contact the 3 guy's employer and hopefully scare them into shaping up. In the end, since it was a bias crime, the police's Hate Crimes Task Force agreed to phone the employer and I felt that was sufficient without pressing charges. And I will say that both the Hate Crimes Task Force and the precinct's community affairs liason were very helpful in discussing my options. But what really enfuriates me is that had I not known that I was able to file an aggravated harrassment complaint, I would have shuffled dejectedly out of the precinct after speaking with the first Hannibal Lechter-quoting officer thinking, "It's ok for them to threaten me."

I also chatted with a gay cop friend who explained, after unlocking the hand-cuffs and removing his "night-stick", that "cops are just like anyone else--they don't like doing anything which generates more work." (Nice to hear from someone whose job is protecting you.) And bias incidents generate lotsa paperwork. Police departments also want to keep down the number of incidents and may urge you, as I was urged, not to report them for that reason.

But when it comes to your rights, use them or you lose them. Bush is already trying to change the Constitution to ban gay marriage. And even though a few countries have legalized gay unions recently, there have also been a shocking number of recent brutal attacks on gays worldwide, from the two teens hung in Iran (no well-hung jokes here, please) to a gay activist murdered in Mexico to a steep increase in anti-gay incidents in Northern Ireland to the routine arrest and torture of "deviants" in Saudi Arabia, whose king Bush recently held hands with. Even in Poland, thousands of members of a youth group marched in a "normal parade" to protest Warsaw's gay pride parade. (The "normal" polacks got the date wrong, but they tried. Bada-bing!) And here on our shores, a Missouri lesbian couple was attacked with a baseball bat by another woman because they were holding hands! Can someone please buy this "mad batter" a ticket to Crawford, Texas the next time Dubya is cuddling with the Saudi king?

Don't let the success of Ellen or Will And Grace fool you into thinking gayness is much more accepted. Oh, straights will let us entertain them, but just don't ask them for the same rights they have. Just like the irrational hatred felt towards jews or various races, we are despised worldwide and that hatred must be kept in check through all existing legal channels. Even with small incidents like mine. It may seem tough to stand up for yourself. You may have to dig to acquaint yourself with your rights and sift through misinformation from the very people who we pay to protect us. But if we don't speak up we may lose our voices permanen.......


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something very similar happened to me about this time last year. I got egged while walking home from the Eagle by some teens yelling "faggot" at me. I promptly whipped out my cell phone and dialed 911, and they scattered into the darkness. The cops took me to the precinct in Chelsea, and I had to sit there for about 2 hours with egg all over myself, but they were very professional and took the whole thing very seriously. The head of the hate crimes unit or whatever was a total bulldyke!

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Bunny! I'm so sorry this happened to you! There's absolutely nothing like inebriated pigs masquerading as humans to ruin a perfect day -- no, let me correct myself: the above-comment was an insult to pigs!

But please reconsider making this another opportunity to divide people along identity lines!

I can't begin to count the number of times I've been harrassed by similar bozos in my life. It starts, for girls, around age 14. If you think *you* got attention from these dudes, I can assure you they had twice as much commentary for any well-developed teenage girls who happened by their job site.

I personally endured the "shake 'em, you won't break 'em" routine through my twenties. My thirties brought six kids in rapid succession, including a set of twins. So guess what? My body isn't quite as bodacious as it was when I was 20 -- who've thunk? Now when I'm forced to endure the gauntlet of urban living, my tormentors make comments about my being fat and old and having a belly!

Now, I can live with the fact that there are people out there who hate me because of who I am or what I believe. What makes me crazy is that for some reason our society has decided that it's a fundamental right to harrass anyone on the street -- just as long as you don't have a weapon.

This is really an issue of civil behavior in public places. In the old days, a call to the perpetrator's mother, wife, or boss was the preferred response. Today, the only effective approach seems to be the upiquitous cell phone camera.

So next time, Bunny, snap their pix as they hurl bons mots in your direction. Once they hit the blogosphere, they'll be sorry they thought the ladies of Chelsea were such easy targets!

11:16 PM  
Blogger DJ Fruit Loops said...

There is a big difference between a bunch of men making comments about a woman the find attractice and the very same bunch of men making homophobic comments to one they precieve as gay

neith comment is called for but the ones to the woman they find attractive isnt based on hate

Bunny i feel so bad this happened to you
and though it didnt get to the point where you were hit or beaten im sure you were shook up just the same
Ive had a few incidents thruout my life that scared the living crap out of me mostly when i was still a "twink"
3 come to mind with the first being the worst of the lot I was the school faggot i was verbaly abused each and everyday in high school but sucked it up
it came to a head when 4 seniors literaly threw me up and down the library cement steps
the police were invlved as in your case the kids told them i had made a pass at them

i just said to the cops yeah right im by myself i get beat up constantly in this school its well documented and yet im gonna make a pass at 4 guys at the same time
They could tell the kids were lying but w/o anyone to witness in my behalf there was little they could do
I wont go into the other 2 incidents they were all pretty much the same
Thank goodness for people like you Lady B who will take the time to try and file a report

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally disagree. You did exactly what you should have. Too often we're pushed aside as if it's not a big deal...and unfortunately, often times, we are trained into telling ourselves later "it really wasn't a big deal". But it is a big deal. It's a huge deal. I

It's a big fucking deal.

And I'm proud that we didn't take the stereotypical "I'm gonna post your pictures in my blog and send my fag posse after you" like we're some sort of underground mafia organization with hired goons to go heckle people into submission. No, just like the "normal" people, you did exactly what's been outlined by the law for you to do. Your rights were infringed upon. This cannot be allowed. It's high time we stop throwing hissy fits and do something about it.


It's not mine, but I told him I'd be distributing it.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady, I am so sorry you had to endure something like that. it's getting to the point you can't even do simple things-like getting groceries without some fuckwad gettin all up in ya face, its crazy! And those pig cops, what a joke they are. We are gonna have to start rioting and burning down shit before people get it, I know that sounds crazier than the shit that happened to you, but that's how I honestly feel. Don't let em stop you gurl, keep doin whatcha do!!!!! Kisses***

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so proud that you stood up, not only for yourself but for all gays. Cheers!

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady Bunny,

I'm a huge fan of RuPaul and then I found your site. It's great! I don't care what anyone says, we need more queens in our lives to drown out the mundane existence of the gestapo-like tactics of Dubya and the rest of the "religious right". Keep doin' what you're doing and shake up the others that are too busy trying to "fit in" instead of being who they are.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't the po lice lovely...and so helpful too. Good for you...off your knees and into the courts. I almost want to be just like you...not really.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well done for standing up for yourself. Too many of us trivialise and sweep hostility under the carpet.

I am British and only a few months ago, I had to tolerate two co -workers referring to faggots, batty boys and queens in the office and via email (my gay co worker hacked their account, which I guess is unethical but had to be done haha). Anyway I made a complaint against them and a huge investigated ensued. The end result? Warnings for them!
This is because the UK wont recognise sexual orientation discrimination in teh work place until 2006.

The ironic thing is, one of the guys is mixed race and the other had a disablitity. Just how quickly would I have stayed in my job if I had made even the most passing reference to their colour or withered arm?

Furthermore my own boss even tried to discourage me from taking further action, but I thought, fuck this shit, i'm not a martyr to the gay cause but I refuse to let any motherfucker talk about me in those terms! Call me fat, call my stupid, but dont you fucking dare start on my sexuality!

Love you Bunny, best wishes and so glad to see your site back up !

Mark in Manchester x


5:48 PM  
Blogger Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

Bunions, I am glad to know that part of you hasn't changed since we knew one another in Tennessee! Keep up the attitude love!

3:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my question is...how did the 3 drunk scumbags knew it was "you", "the lady bunny" herself? i would have to take a good hard 2 minute look to know if it was u without drag.

9:57 PM  
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10:33 PM  
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10:51 PM  

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