I felt good in that woollen Karl Lagerfeld suit- it is always worth going to the charity shops in the posher areas- as I walked from Canal St, the gay area, towards the Bridgewater Hall. If I was going to transition, I had to be able to be myself among the straights, and a concert of the BBC Philharmonic was a good place to practise: the middle classes do not make a scene. I had taken great care of make-up. I turned onto Oxford St., and a man shouted,
“It’s a fucking bloke!”
And I felt crushed.
I had been transitioned at work for five years, and I was walking from one office to the other through the near-deserted shopping mall, not all of its shops yet let. A man was rushing in the other direction, and as he passed me, he hissed,
“Weirdo” I can accept, even feel proud of- search for the weirdo inside yourself- but nonce, meaning sex-offender, is too far. I wondered at the hatred he could feel at a person he had never met before. It was rare, by then, for me to be insulted in the street, and I have not been since, but I remain one of a group which inspires such unreasoning hatred from a small part of the population.
I am a safe target for such hatred, a cat to kick. If a man- it was always a man, women with them would protect me from them- is overwhelmed at work, angry at his situation, however powerless and inferior he feels there is always someone he can look down on, the fucking queers, the trannies. His boss shouts at him and he cannot shout back, but if I offend his amour propre, he can give his contempt and derision full rein.
This hurt and bewildered me; it depressed me, so that I could not be bothered going out, and would stew at home for days; and my way through that was compassion. Their hurt is nothing to do with me. They are so wound up that they will lash out at anything. Theirs is a pitiable state.
If my response to that outburst is compassion, then it cannot hurt me. The man gains temporary relief. I feel different about the politicians who inflame and direct such hatred for their own ends, against immigrants and benefit claimants, perhaps, but the poor benighted haters need Love. Nothing else can cure them.