I was leaving a store today around 9:30 a.m. It is located in a suburban shopping center. Today is a bright spring day.
I opened the door to the store and stepped out onto the sidewalk. I tucked my brown leather wallet into my back pocket as I walked. During this tucking process, I became aware of a person walking behind me.
My entire body tensed as I continued down the sidewalk, bracing for something. A comment. A sharp blow.
I have never been assaulted because I am gay (or for any other reason).
I have had people call me names from the safety of their moving cars.
I have had someone scratch my car through my rainbow sticker.
I think the fact that I was tucking my wallet into my back pocket when I noticed someone behind me heightened my anxiety. I had been caught in an act of gender nonconformity. Imagine, a girl who carries a wallet in her back pocket!
This is the price of looking gay. Or at least it is one of them.
I walked to my car without incident.
I never turned my head to take a look at the person walking behind me.
* * *
Does this ever happen to you? Are you ever afraid of being out and about?