“Damn girl, if you don’t shave those legs, I’m going to shave them for you!”
These are the first words spoken to me as I board the 1R bus on my daily commute to Berkeley.
“I’m serious, I have a razor and I’m going to use it on you.”
I’m so shocked I don’t even think up the obvious reply, offered by a lady friend I rage-texted as soon as I got off the bus, “I have a razor too, to use against people like you.” But maybe it’s best I kept my mouth shut.
To be real, I should really stop feeling so shocked every time I hear this shit, because it happens every single day to a greater or lesser extent. Some days it’s the nice barista referring to me, incorrectly, as “she”. Some days it’s the space in the classroom being SO dominated by male voices I feel like I’m disappearing. Other days it’s the guy on the corner following me for a block telling me how pretty I am despite my repeated requests that he leave me alone.
Today this man on the bus verbally threatened me with a razor because he was so disturbed by my refusal to follow some completely arbitrary beauty standard neither of us had anything to do with setting. And, predictably, he mis-gendered me in the process. I consider myself lucky the violence stopped with his words; it wasn’t so long ago that an agender person, Sascha Fleishman, was brutally set on fire by a fellow AC Transit rider for their androgynous gender presentation.
I was on a crowded, public bus, but no one stepped in to say what I couldn’t say, shocked, in the moment. We gotta be able to stick up for each other in moments like this.