you know when I walked in the world as a woman, as a butch lesbian, I would intervene into things.
All right. If I saw a domestic abuse sort of thing happening – which I did a few times and that – I would step in and I would challenge the guy. But there’s always that… You know, I used to train people in dealing with violence and aggression as well, and it is so gendered in terms of… Stereotypically, generally, men who are being aggressive in a public space, whilst they… It’s a harder thing for them to be violent towards a woman than it is to be violent towards a man. That’s obviously not to say that they don’t do it, because obviously they do, but –
Generally, yeah. And so, I will never forget there was a time when I was in London and that, and I always used to get really pissed off at people who didn’t acknowledge you if you’d let them into the road or something like that, you know, and I remember – I lived in Hackney at the time – I was driving our little Mini Metro – Lemon Mini Metro! Not very cool at all! – but my girlfriend was in it as well, and we’d just been shopping, we drove back to the street that we lived in in Hackney, and as we were just coming round the corner and someone cut us up and I just went “Oh, for fuck’s sake!”, you know, like, angry. And then just carried on my journey just to park in the street that we lived in, which was a one-way street near a hospital, so parking was always a bit difficult. So as I, sort of like, drew up and just parked, this car had chased round – who I had dissed, basically – with four big guys in it, all right, and they had the windows, and they were coming for me because I had disrespected them in their view. And of course I was still angry at that point and saying “Well you fucking cut me up!” and da-de-da, but as soon as they realised that I was a woman they laughed.
INTERVIEWER: Right, so did those two kind of experiences link in your head a bit?
Yeah, absolutely. That difference. And then, only a couple of years ago I was in a local supermarket car park just walking my dog back from… bringing my dog back from a walk, and one of the other things that get me is people who are on their phone when they’re driving, and this guy was on his mobile phone driving through the supermarket car park, and I was walking with my dog towards him. He wasn’t going very fast but he had the phone to his ear and I was like “Fucking get the fucking phone off you”, not realising his window was wound right down so he heard everything that I said. You know, I wasn’t saying it to anybody but I was mouthing out loud, and I thought “Oh god…”. Because every time that’s happened before and that, particularly when I walking… I would get a whole heap of abuse back. And literally as I carried on walking towards him and he was driving towards me we sort of like passed, and he was trembling and he was trying to sort of like get the phone off of his hand so that he wasn’t… Because he was scared of me [laughter] and I was like “Oh my god, that’s male power that is”. You know, that would never have happened at all. He would have just been quite happy to have verbally abused me if he had perceived me as a woman. But because he saw me just as another guy and he felt… and I had been outspoken about his behaviour he wilted [laughter] Which was quite a nice feeling, actually, you know.
INTERVIEWER: Powerful, was it?
Very powerful. And a very strong reminder, again… and also, because I then… it wasn’t long after that actually there was another, it was clearly a domestic abuse situation and that in the same supermarket car park… car park of a supermarket. And I was very conscious that I couldn’t intervene in the same way that I had before. So I was keeping an eye, and a woman came over and that and I said “Look, I’m keeping an eye on that. Do you want to go and get security for this?”. Because I knew if I intervened in this I was likely to get punched then. So I’m far more, sort of like, conscious of sort of like how people’s behaviour changes completely depending sort of like on how they see you, gendered speaking. And that and attitudes with strangers’ children, because again I used to be completely safe with strangers’ children, you know, but now I’m perceived as a potential threat.