Once, I was being verbally and sexually harassed at the mall by a group of teenage boys. My ears became hot with anger and I felt as though my blood was beginning to boil. I wanted to scream at them. But I didn’t. Instead, I vented to a “friend” of mine. This friend responded with the statement, “There’s no need to get upset over nothing.”
Yes, I am getting upset. No, it is not over nothing.
I get upset when white, straight, upper-class girls say that since they have never felt afraid to go out in public alone, I have no reason to be afraid.
I get upset when I am stopped by police officers for taking a walk in my own neighborhood.
I get upset when people shout obscenities and slurs at me when I walk down the street in “dyke” clothing.
I get upset when my parents tell me that I need to “stop dressing so butch.”
I get upset when people ask me, “Where are you from?” as if it’s impossible for me to be from the United States.
I get upset when girls ask me if I’ve ever had a crush on them as soon as they learn about my sexual orientation.
I get upset when people ask me if I have any straight friends.
I get upset when people ask me if I have any white friends.
I get upset when people ask me if I’m in an open relationship with my boyfriend simply because I’m bisexual.
I get upset when people ask me if my relationship with my boyfriend is some kind of diversity statement.
I get upset when people tell me to “get over it.”
I get upset when people say, “It’s all in your head.”
I get upset when people do not understand what it means to be depressed.
I get upset when people use the word “depressed” as a synonym for “bummed out.”
I get upset when people see my scars and call me an “attention whore.”
I get upset when I cannot freely walk through my own house without the fear of knowing that at any moment, I could be judged, ridiculed, or reprimanded because of my body and the way that I look.
I get upset when straight white men make jokes about their friends being fags or queers.
I get upset when a local news station refers to an entire community by simply calling us “gays,” as if our sexual orientation is our only identifier.
I get upset when people do not understand that the fear of being harassed, assaulted, discriminated against, or even killed because of my biological gender, my gender identity, my sexual orientation, my skin color, my race, my ethnicity, my weight, my mental health, and/or my partner is constant and ever-looming.
I get upset when people, who have never known what it means to live your entire life in a constant state of fear, attempt to dictate how I should and should not feel.
You have no right to decide a goddamn thing for me. Because you can and will never even fathom what it feels like to live in a world that you are simply a guest in.