I’ve posted this before, but now that spring is upon us and we shed our bulky winter clothes, I think it needs repeating.
As I have written previously I’m transgendered, which for the most part is a non-issue. It does however play a role in the piece which follows. What I didn’t mention, and also has a bearing on this essay, is that I’m in my late ‘60s.
If you have access to Facebook, you can look at my photos and judge my appearance for yourself. Just search for the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”. And, if you send me a friend request and mention WordPress, I’ll accept. Now that I have that out of the way, I’ll continue.
About five years ago I had to deal with a stalker. Yeah – late sixties, trans, 5 foot 11 and (at the time) about 180 lbs and being stalked by some wacko. If any of my readers have had the experience of being stalked, you understand the terror at knowing someone out there considers you prey and is actively hunting you. In my case, this sense of panic was heightened by the fact my stalker was an Emergency Services Supervisor and he would frequently use his supervisor’s vehicle. As it was painted with the same colour scheme as the local ambulances, every time I saw a vehicle in those colours, I’d look for a place to hide, in case it was him and not an ambulance. For all those years I was his target, I prayed I wouldn’t need EMS services, knowing he’d probably show up. Fortunately I’m reasonably healthy for 60 something; not prone to falling down and am careful when crossing streets.
Being trans, when I reported this to the police, they were less than sympathetic; in fact they did nothing. I suspect part of the reason no action was taken is because they saw the EMS supervisor as being “one of their own” and part was the discrimination I face daily. My problem was eventually solved by a friend. She contacted some of her former classmates who ride motorcycles and are considered anti-social by most people and these friends had a “chat” with this stalker. Interesting thing: these men had seen me about town and told my friend that while they didn’t really understand, they did admire my courage.
So, dear readers, just because you may not be a doppelganger for Angelina Jolie or any other male epitome of female beauty, don’t think it can’t happen to you. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. My advice is simple: If the same person shows up wherever you happen to be twice, it could be coincidence, if they show up three times or more, this person may have targeted you. Tell someone, preferably someone you trust, as soon as you can. And always be aware of your surroundings – not just the physical surroundings, but the people as well. Just an idea, but I got into digital photography after these incidents, so usually have a camera with me and am always looking around for things to photograph. If I see someone suspicious, or who just makes me nervous, I take their photo and record date, time and location. If they keep appearing, I take more photos, but I’ve found that usually one photo is enough because I make no effort to conceal the fact I am photographing them. You don’t have to be a photographer and carry a camera, for most cell phones these days have cameras. Don’t be afraid to use it for things like this. And if the person persists, go to the police with those photos and, if possible, a written report.
Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too. And always be aware of what’s happening around you. It could save you a lot of stress or worse.