- by Robyn Henderson-Espinoza -
It was a nice morning. The sun was shining and the sky was blue with few clouds. I walked to the nearest bus stop and was eager to get to campus to teach my class. When I arrived at the bus stop, I sat down on the bench as I was unsure when the next bus was coming. Not long after I sat down, a middle-aged white man sat down next to me.
After sitting there for a few minutes, he looked at me (I saw him do this from my peripheral vision), stood up, stood directly in front of me and began yelling insults at me. He called me a faggot, a dyke, and yelled that I had snakes in my genitals (he used a different word, of course)! I felt trapped with no where to go. He had me cornered while I sat there, vulnerable and deeply frightened, on the bench at the bus stop. The man who hurled insults at me finally walked off. I guess he decided he didn't want to ride the bus with me! When the bus came, I was relieved. I sat near the front of the bus as it took me closer to campus and I thought to myself: Was that just harassment? Was I just verbally accosted?
I am 37 years-old, a light skin Mexican, and gender non-conforming queer person. I am androgynous in my dress, and yet I was victim of a 5 minutes verbal harassment. I felt so vulnerable siting there at the bus stop.
What had I done to this man? I could think of nothing! Was I targeted? Was my gender performance too queer for this man? I don't know the answers to all of these questions, but I do know that I was left with a deep sense of frustration that we live in a world of violence, and this violence continues to be perpetuated against LGBTQ persons of all colors, genders, races, and ages.
Any type of violence against LGBTQ communities (or ANY person) is unacceptable. We have to keep fighting for radical inclusion for all persons. I have to continue doing this work so that my neighbor, whoever they are, does not face what I faced at the bus stop, regardless of their race, class, sexual orientation, or gender expression.
We have more work to do, friends!
We have to do this work together by bridging with one another across radical differences to create a world of radical inclusion full of possibilities for all.
I want to do this work with you! Will you join me? Our first step toward the bridge is to welcome the stranger into our lives, and invite all persons to be who they are called to be.
. . .
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, a Mexican-American and native of northern Mexico, the Republic of Texas, currently resides in Denver, CO finishing a Ph.D. in Religion & Social Change with a specific focus on the materiality of bodies, committed to the emerging work in race and sexuality. Passionate about issues of justice, radical hospitality, and inclusion, Robyn has contributed to the anti-violence movement in Chicago, IL, the immigrant rights and the larger immigration movement in Denver, and LGBT issues nation-wide in academic, religious, and non-profit settings. A born-again vegetarian, Robyn celebrates life with her friend and spouse, Stephanie, along with their two dogs and three cats! When Robyn is not reading or writing, Robyn is enjoying the incredible food and drink culture of Colorado!