Just another Queer Assault

A couple of days ago twitter had a trending topic titled #IWantToConvertYouEyes. This was a result of Queer South African twitter users who were responding to one twitter user who was suggesting that gay men annoyed him with their “convert you eyes.” I guess he meant our eyes were so sexy that that when looking at men we make them uncomfortable, but honestly I do not care what he meant because that stereotype proved to be a danger to me. Little did I know that a few days later, I would also fall victim to “convert you eyes” in the hands of a cis heterosexual woman. It breaks my heart having to write about a woman so negatively at the start of woman’s month but unfortunately, hate has no gender.

As many already know, I was victim to an assault on Friday (29 July). It was a normal afternoon of drinking with friends (I use the term very loosely). It was I, this woman and her man, and all was going well until a comment made me a little weary. Apparently the was a certain way I was looking at this man whilst we were conversing so nonchalantly around the table, a way that made said woman “uncomfortable” but she had said it in a way as to brush it off as one of her many borderline homophobic statements. So I paid no attention. And not once did I think it might have been my “convert you eyes” because they both knew he was not my type. The afternoon carried on until we all got drunk and passed out. PASSED OUT.  I cannot lie and tell you how long I was passed out but what I do remember is being woken up by someone pulling me out of the bed and dragging me outside. What happened next is only but something I would never wish on anyone. By the time I realised what was going on they were on top of me with a sjambock beating me for dear life. In between there were slurs of homophobic violent terms and she telling me ndizakubetha kuphume ubumofi apha kuwe (I will beat the gay out of you). This happened repeatedly until I managed to escape and lock myself in an outside room. I WAS LUCKY. MANY ARE NOT.

I cannot stress enough the importance of safe spaces for us Queers. Creating and maintaining them must be high up in our agenda’s. I knew my perpetrator on a personal level, always excusing her snide homophobic remarks as someone who does not understand and hoping as an LGBTQI activist I could “change” her. She was never interested and I held on to a pipe dream so that I could belong. As much as we love interacting and infiltrating spaces that should be for all of us, we have to always be weary. That dance in the wrong club, that drink offer in the wrong party, that mistaken brush on the wrong guy at the wrong space, all those are detrimental to us as queers. We are beautiful, we are unique. We must never let them silence us. I am able to speak about what happened to me, let us not forget there are many many others who cannot. Let us never be silenced for them.

In conclusion, let me leave you with some wise words from Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Me1 Me2