Advice seeker has an aggressive homophobic experience while holding hands with her girlfriend. Welcome to J&J Chats! A series of advice and discourse discussions from J (Jess) & J (Jas, aka, my girlfriend). Read all chats here. Read a similar chat about “bisexual or lesbian” here.
Have you ever experienced homophobic people reacting to you kissing or holding hands or any PDA? Me and my girlfriend and a few friends were leaving a club, a girl started recording me holding my girlfriend’s hand and started screaming at us, calling us sluts and telling us to kiss on the camera so her and her boyfriend can fuck to it later. I kept telling her to please stop, and then my girlfriend knocked the phone out of her hand. Do you have any similar stories? If so, how did you handle it?Anonymous
Jas: It’s hard because we have been very fortunate to not experience that. I think the reason for us is partly because we don’t really go out much; we don’t go to bars or clubs much at all. I think we’ve kind of deterred it in some ways. When we have been together, showing PDA, it has been hidden, like at the back of the bus. We don’t really walk down the street hand in hand in the dark or near a nightclub.
Jess: Yeah, the only time we’ve really been out holding hands or shared kisses in public have been just in, I don’t know, I don’t want to say, “normal setting,” but just in luckier places, I guess. We hold hands always in Jas’ hometown during the day, and the most we might get are some doubletakes.
Jas: Living in a different place, we might be more at risk for that kind of homophobia.
Jess: Yeah, ugh, it sucks, but I feel like what we—and what most LGBTs have to do—is just know what the surroundings are like.
Jas: Test your surroundings.
Jess: Yeah and adjust how you act based on those surroundings. That’s not the advice that I want to give, ever, at all, but I just think that’s unfortunately what has to happen to keep people safe.
Jas: And when you’re in an area where you feel safe, kiss to your heart’s content. I mean it sucks that we have to say “test your surroundings” and “be mindful,” but it’s purely for your safety. We’re getting there in society where other people, bystanders, are getting braver to stand up and intervene.
Jess: That’s another thing I wanted to add. Normally, I feel like when Jas and I do express PDA, we are with our friends, and that alone makes me feel more safe—although you did say you were with your friends, which sucks. But generally, being with others creates a sense of security because people are less likely to approach a group.
Jas: In that case, you’re less vulnerable. And usually when Jess and express PDA, we’re in busy areas, like London Oxford Street. Busy! No one cares about you! You could faint in the street and no one would blink!
Jess: People will just step over your body!
Jas: Areas like that, you can express more PDA and go unnoticed. You just have to, again, be mindful and alert.
Jess: It sucks because we have to give the shitty advice of “be alert and mindful” but at the same time, this thing could really happen anywhere. I mean, when that story came out of those two women getting beaten to a pulp on the London tube, I automatically started recounting all the times I’d held Jas’ hand on the underground.
Jas: Yeah, which we did so many times. But, again, we’d never hold hands at nighttime when there weren’t as many passengers. There’s no one on those trains to protect you when they’re mostly empty. I have no idea what the surroundings were like for those women, and they were completely victims regardless of what the surroundings were, but I just know that’s something Jess and I constantly pay attention to.
Jess: I think my real advice in this situation is to just try to get out of it as soon as possible. I would say don’t do anything to provoke them further. I would say, honestly, just get out of there. You said your girlfriend smacked a phone out of the aggressor’s hand? That would never have been me; I would have never done that. I would feel shameful about it later, I think, but my real advice is to just stay safe and do whatever it takes to get to safety, even if that means relinquishing your pride in that moment.
Jas: That is the most important thing. Of course you want to show PDA without fear, we all do, but we just aren’t there yet. We aren’t saying you should never show PDA and always be afraid of being attacked, but being mindful is so important when it comes to your safety.
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