Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Beware of Bubba

(by Felicia Conti)

Good Evening Ladies,

I am a bi-gendered person and have been interested in gender for a long time. I work in the field of psychotherapy and am in the process of writing a book on my experiences while out in the gender world. Following is about an incident that occurred last summer after spending several days and nights in Key West with a gg friend of mine. The incident happened late at night in a locals bar.

Beware of Bubba

Beware of Bubba. You recognize him as he enters the room by the glazed look in his eyes and sense his presence by the way the hair on the back of your neck straightens and your stomach starts to knot. He has spotted you. “I like girls, not guys who look like girls” rushes through his thoughts. Attempting to fight back the initial attraction that started the chemical chain of events from the brain pathways, he clenches his fists and bites down hard as the veins in his neck protrude to absorb the flow of blood that originally targeted his loin area. Abhorrence of anything that disturbs his image of clear gender roles bubbles from every pore on Bubba’s chafed skin. Automatically shutting off the flood of male hormones, emotions, and sensual excitement that challenge his sense of who he is and what it is that attracts him, Bubba’s reptilian brain takes over. Does he run or does he fight? He senses your femininity, your softness, and your vulnerability. His rage intensifies as he knows that running away is not a necessity, not an option. He cannot loose by attacking just as does at home when his wife and little ones step out of line. You are small, defenseless, he is powerful and ready to snuff out your worthless existence. “Faggot”, he says, his reptilian brain unable to recognize that transgendered has nothing to do with sexual preference, “I’m gonna fuck you up”. He attacks, you respond. Life is precious, don’t let him end your life. Who survives? What changes? Beware of Bubba!

Just a reminder that Bubba is out there. I have experienced him at least on several occasions and in various locations and was surprised to learn that he is living and working in Key West. No place is sacred. Be careful!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Take care.

Felicia Conti

8 comments:

Michele Angelique said...

Welcome to GenderEvolve Felicia, and thank you for introducing this important topic. Though we'd all prefer to focus on the good things in life, we've got to take the bad with the good. The reality is, Bubba does exist, and he lives everywhere. Rather than ignoring the problem, let's face it, and try to find ways to deal with it.

On average, in the United States, one transgendered woman per month dies violently at the hands of Bubba. Furthermore, history indicates that 25% of all genetic women are violently raped by Bubba sometime during the course of their life. Bubba is a serious concern to all who identify as female, visible minority, physically weaker, or culturally different. Sadly, Bubba is so low in moral fiber that he will even victimize little children, as in this recent tragic example: http://www.gpac.org/archive/action/index.html?cmd=view&archive=news&msgnum=0602

I have grown up all my life watching for Bubba, and avoiding him when I see him. I learned very early that trying to reason with Bubba is generally pointless, as he's not too smart. From my experience, he can often be found wherever the testosterone runs thick: men's sports teams (particularly football and hockey), weightlifting gyms, country bars, biker bars, truck stops, pool halls, monster truck races... you get the picture. I find Bubba to be such a repulsive entity that I tend to avoid venues he is known to frequent. If I accidentally find myself in such a place, and spot Bubba and his friends, I generally won't risk sticking around.

While genetic females are at risk in the presence of Bubba, I would venture than transgendered women would be at even more of a risk. Appearing female, you are certain to attract Bubba's attention. If he realizes you are transgendered, he is likely to believe that you "tricked" him, and would feel justified in harassing you if not worse.

Not everything about being female is rosy. With the female gender comes sexual objectification, stalking and harassment. As transwomen, you may not be accustomed to being treated as female, and as such may not operate with the same caution that all females must. We don't walk alone at night or go out to clubs alone. We can't leave our drink unattended. We have to be more careful about talking to strangers. We must look over our shoulders and stay alert at all times. This is reality, and the only advice I can give about Bubba is prevention and protection measures:

** NEVER **

1) Go out alone at night, except to very public places.
2) Go to a drinking establishment alone, or leave with a stranger.
3) Leave your beverage unattended, accept a drink from a stranger, or become too intoxicated.
4) Look down at your shoes when you walk... pay attention always!
5) Remain in an establishment where you've spotted Bubba, particularly if he is drinking... take your party elsewhere before it's too late.

** ALWAYS **

1) Carry a cell phone and a personal alarm.
2) Carry protection, ideally mace or bear spray. If you carry a gun or a knife, you'd better be an expert at using it lest it be taken and used on you.
3) Stick together as a group - even bathroom trips should be done at least in pairs.
4) Learn a self-defense technique (martial arts, boxing)
5) If connecting with someone new, take your own car and meet him rather than having him pick you up.

Here are a couple links to check out:
http://www.defendingwomen.com
http://bad.eserver.org/issues/1995/22/rentschler.html

Those who know me realize I am not the type of person to run from conflict. In the case of a conflict with someone like Bubba, it's the only safe thing to do. Sweetest sisters of mine, please always stay alert, watch your backs, and be careful out there.

AVOID BUBBA AT ALL COSTS!!

Much love,
Michele

Michele Angelique said...

The HumVee Makes the Man?
Date: 12-Aug-2005

~ New Research Shows that Men Overcompensate for Threats to Their Masculinity ~

(Washington, DC) New research shows that men assume more "macho" attitudes when they believe their masculinity is threatened. Robb Willer, a Cornell University researcher, will present research findings at the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Philadelphia on August 15.

"I found if you made men more insecure about their masculinity, they displayed more homophobic attitudes, tended to support the Iraq war more and would be more willing to purchase an SUV over another type of vehicle," said Robb Willer, author of the report Overdoing Gender: Testing the Masculine Overcompensation Thesis.

In the study, 111 male and female undergraduates received a survey, then received random feedback that characterized their answers as indicating either a masculine or feminine identity. Women's responses to subsequent questions were unchanged regardless of the feedback, but men?s reactions were strongly affected by it.

The results show statistically significant increases in men's homophobia, support for a ban on same-sex marriage, support for the Iraq war, and interest in purchasing an SUV among men who were given "masculinity-challenged" feedback. "Masculinity-threatened men also reported feeling more ashamed, guilty, upset and hostile than did masculinity-confirmed men," said Willer.

"American men are under enormous pressure to measure up to one idea about being a 'real man' - the image of Dirty Harry, The Terminator or the Marlboro Man. Now the research is telling us that these old gender stereotypes are stifling, and even dangerous, to men's well being and to the community as a whole," said Riki Wilchins, Executive Director of the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition.

Willer is currently researching connections between masculinity ideals and violence against women, attitudes toward equality between the sexes, and standards of manliness that men are privately uncomfortable with.

"We need more research on the effects of gender stereotypes on men and women, boys and girls. It's time for everyone to have the opportunity to explore all their interests, talents and feelings, whether or not they are considered appropriate for their gender," said Wilchins.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) works to end discrimination and violence caused by gender stereotypes.

Felicia Conti said...

Dear Michele,
Thank you for your most thoughtful response. All of what you say is so true and I have learned some lessons the hard way from being out there. One thing that you said in particular stood out for me. You said “Not everything about being female is rosy. With the female gender comes sexual objectification, stalking and harassment. As transwomen, you may not be accustomed to being treated as female, and as such may not operate with the same caution that all females must.”
Before I respond to this, let me digress a bit. At this point in my life, I consider myself bi-gendered or a person who feels comfortable with being in both genders. While this is the case, I find it more exciting and enlightening to be in the female gender mostly because I have spent and continue to spend the greater portion of my life in the male gender. As a male, I am fairly experienced and fairly emotionally mature most of the time.
As a female, however, I think my emotional development is more in the adolescent stage. At this point, my female attire is usually appropriate for the setting I am going to but I also try to have a sexy and feminine look about me when I go out. If I am going to a straight place, I try to dress down a little so as to blend in more. When going to a fetish party, I go all out sexy. When going to a tg friendly club, I dress as I please. As a female, I do like to look very feminine and do like the attention that I get when I do so which is quite a lot from females, transgendered people, and males.
However, I have discovered there is a down side to getting attention and your statement that I quoted above speaks to that downside. I have had my share of close calls including the Bubba situation. Perhaps I will share some of the other situations at another time.
Regarding the Bubba situation, I was enjoying the best vacation of my life in Key West, Florida. A gg friend and I had driven down from Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at a hotel for four nights. Since it takes me a long time to get glammed up to go out, I spent my days as a guy and my nights as a girl. We spent the first three nights role playing out on the town. Both my gg friend and I pretended to be drag queen performers from out of town. We dressed fairly outrageously, wore eyelashes, and tall heels. I made no attempt to pass and she actually tried to pass as a guy in drag. We had such a wonderful time hitting the drag bars and the straight clubs as well. For the most part, the people were wonderful and treated us kindly and with respect. We hung out and went dining and dancing with a bunch of gg’s who all the while thought my friend was a guy in drag.
There were straight guys who seemed interested but when they realized we were in drag, they would back off. I think that this situation kind of got to my gg friend as she wanted to dress like a regular gg on the last night. On the last night, I dressed down (but that was relative in that I still wore a white lace cover and a long pink platinum blonde wig along with pink crop pants and heels). I have since learned that dressing down means to dress as most of the others do and that would have been jeans and a t-shirt and not wig. Anyways, on that particular evening I did not pass well and we met a group of guys and women and they were cool and invited us to party with them as it was one of the women’s birthday. We all went to a club, hung out and danced.
After the bars closed, we went to a local bar and hung out there. All was fine until one of the gg’s with us needed to use the restroom and the ladies was full. So she asked me to watch the door on the men’s room while she went in there to make sure no one came in. About this time is when Bubba and his friend arrived. Bubba wanted to use the men’s room and I asked him to wait as there was a woman in there. He started to open the door anyways and I tried to hold it shut so my new gg friend would have privacy. That is when he sucker punched me in the ear, although he easily outweighed me by at least 100 pounds. I turned and he was coming at me again and had me trapped against the door and started to pick me up in a bear hug and I tried to grab him by the throat to cut off his air and my artificial nails cut into his neck and broke off there. He picked me up ( I tried to jam other fingers into his eyes but the nails broke off and stuck in the corner of his eye but not directly in the eye) and slammed me through the restroom door onto the floor and started to come in to jump on top of me and I kicked him in the groin and he fell back and then people came to help and pulled him out and made him leave the bar. At that point, I was a little dirty and some gg’s that we had met another night had just arrived and were helping me to clean up. I was feeling both afraid and real angry. A little while later, Bubba with blood dripping down from his neck and by his eyes, came back and grabbed a pool cue and was standing on the other side of the room. The gg friend that I had gone to Key West with was in the special forces in the services and asked Bubba to go outside and talk. As soon as they got outside, and she hit him so hard that his eye was really bleeding badly and he ran away and went to get the police. We had a couple of guys take us to a cab and got out of there and went to one of their houses to hang out.
Although I was not really hurt physically, being attacked while a female was very traumatic to me. One of the things I wanted to do was to change back into guy mode and go find this guy and get even. I remember crying and feeling very traumatized by the event. What was especially difficult for me to swallow is that I had spent over twenty years of my life training in the martial arts and when in female mode did not have the presence of mind to see the trouble coming and was not nearly as effective in defending myself as I would have been had I been in guy mode.
My tg friends have often said that if they needed to they could kick someone with a high heel or jab them with their nails. I have discovered that high heels are a hindrance to self defense and artificial nails are not good as they prevent you from gripping your attacker. If you get attacked, by all means, loose the shoes. I had also lost weight and quit lifting any weight in order to have a more feminine form so did not have the same strength that I used to have. There is definitely a trade off that in becoming more feminine, you do loose some masculinity at least in a physical sense and vice versa. It is definitely a balancing act.
I have since learned to become more aware and more self-protective as a female and learned that you can’t really let your guard down even in a place like Key West Florida. No place is safe. For me passing as a female, when in the straight world, has become very important because it helps to ensure safety although it certainly doesn’t guarantee it as our gg friends will testify. While I do not pass 100% of the time, I am getting better at it and have found that looking good (and appropriate for the setting) is usually sufficient to keep out of harms way.

Felicia

Michele Angelique said...

Felicia, thanks for providing more detail about your confrontation with Bubba. Certainly what you've said here puts a new spin on the story. I see several big red flags here which I want to address. You might not like all of what I'm going to say, but I'm going to be blunt because there are a few good lessons here.

First of all, the gg's you were with put you in a very bad position. I would rather believe that they were acting naively, rather than making sport of you, but I'm not so sure. For one thing, in all of my life as a gg I have never ever resorted to using a public men's washroom. When the ladies washroom is full, LADIES will wait. I have no idea what your friend was thinking in this respect. Furthermore, she put you squarely in the path of Bubba. The way I read this story, you got in Bubba's face first. Bubba was trying to use the bathroom, which is his right, and you got in his way. This would have embarrassed him, threatened his male ego, and it does not surprise me in the slightest that he attacked you as a result.

Bubba did not attack you out of homophobia or because you are transgendered, he attacked you because tried to muscle him for no good reason! Your gg friend put you in a horrible position, and your protective guy-self emerged, and you tried to be a hero for her. She would not have expected another gg to guard the door to the men's room, and even if she did, the gg guarding might have used words, but would not have tried to physically restrain Bubba! And in such an unlikely instance, the gg would have the benefit of actually being a girl so Bubba might not hit her (or he might). Although you were dressed like a grl, you were acting like a man, so Bubba treated you like he would have treated any man who was trying to physically block his road.

This statement really hit me hard: "The gg friend that I had gone to Key West with was in the special forces in the services and asked Bubba to go outside and talk. As soon as they got outside, and she hit him so hard that his eye was really bleeding badly and he ran away and went to get the police."

What kind of woman is this you were hanging out with? You are saying here that after Bubba got back into the bar, your so-called friend purposely rejuvenated the conflict? She took Bubba outside and she hit him? Bubba is the one who ran away to call the police? This is outrageous Felicia! That woman was trying to cause trouble for you; she wanted to see you fight this guy. She purposely put you in harms way, for her own amusement, or because she's not very smart.

I'm very sorry to say this Felicia, but everything about this story seems to be one big gong-show, start to finish. While the bathroom incident was bad enough, I have no idea why on earth you stuck around after that. A woman getting attacked in a bar does not continue to hang out afterward like nothing happened. You should have left at that point. Then all this other totally insane crazy shit happens, and when the two of you do finally leave, you go with some other guys to hang out at their house? Presumably you knew those guys? PLEASE BE MORE CAREFUL!! Do not ever leave the bar to go hang out at a stranger's house!

You say "For me passing as a female, when in the straight world, has become very important because it helps to ensure safety although it certainly doesn’t guarantee it as our gg friends will testify. While I do not pass 100% of the time, I am getting better at it and have found that looking good (and appropriate for the setting) is usually sufficient to keep out of harms way."

I agree that how you look is part of the solution to passing as female. The bigger reality is you have to *act* the part, not just look it. Please, save the bar brawls for when you're in guy-mode. You can’t go looking for trouble and expect not to find it. If you act like a guy when in girl mode, people will not only recognize you but they will also treat you as such. The Bubbas of the world will find you a very attractive target if it is patently clear by the way you are acting that you are a man. While Bubba may hesitate to smash a girl's face in, he'd be more than happy to do it to a guy dressed like a girl, especially if that guy is egging him on in front of his friends. I can't stress this enough.

Three lessons here:

--> Lesson #1: If you wanted to be treated like a lady, act like one. Never physically confront Bubba unless you expect to get attacked. Indeed, use your combatitive prowess if necessary for self-defense, but a beautiful classy lady out on the town will *never* instigate violence, if for no other reason than she doesn't want to break a nail!

--> Lesson #2: When in girl mode, use the LADIES room. If it is full, be PATIENT and just wait. You are asking for trouble using the men's room when in girl mode. The worst you will get in a ladies room is perhaps a rude comment, but in a men's room someone's liable to bend you over a stall and make sport of you! This is particularly true in a drinking establishment.

--> Lesson #3: It might be worthwhile when going out with a gg to outline in advance what types of situations you want to avoid. When going out publicly dressed enfemme, anything that will force you back to guy-mode should be off limits. Tell her to treat you like a woman not a man. These gg's treated you like a man, and expected you to behave like one. Unfortunately in this case you fell into the trap.

Others may disagree with me, but I don't believe this attack was a reaction to transgenderism or resulting from homophobia. I am sorry if my comments sound negative, and I don't mean to be accusatory in any way. I want to drive this particular message home, and convey stark reality without sugar coating. Does what I’ve said here make sense?

Much love,
Michele

Felicia Conti said...

Michele,

Thank you for your candid feedback regarding the attack that occurred in Key West. I do think you make a number of good points. I especially like your point that acting like a female and not just looking like a female is part of the solution to passing as a female. I do value your feedback as you are a role model for this group and your insights are invaluable to all of us. It is also my hope that you receive my feedback to you in the positive light with which it is intended.


One of the difficulties with conversations in written format and not in real time, is the lack of opportunity for give and take feedback so that points can be clarified and details can be provided. Consequently, as receivers of information, our own histories and preconceived ideas can color what it is that we are reading/hearing another say.

You made the following point:
“First of all, the gg's you were with put you in a very bad position. I would rather believe that they were acting naively, rather than making sport of you, but I'm not so sure. For one thing, in all of my life as a gg I have never ever resorted to using a public men's washroom. When the ladies washroom is full, LADIES will wait. I have no idea what your friend was thinking in this respect.”

Having been there, I was in s position to be able to assess the sincerity and motivations of the company I was keeping at the time. The group of gg’s and guys I was out with were wonderful people and they were all very tg tolerant. I have no question about their motives and am certain they were not getting their kicks in trying to start trouble for me. When one gg asked me to watch the restroom door for her, she had been waiting forever to use the women’s restroom that was still occupied so I told her I would watch the door for her. I did not see myself as a hero but rather as a friend who was trying to insure some privacy for a friend in need. I see gg’s do this all the time in the clubs in South Florida when the women’s restroom is full. I do not agree with you that the attacker had a right to attack me just because I was holding the door trying to allow my friend her privacy. I never touched him and kindly asked him to please wait.

You also responded to my comment that my gg friend who was in the special forces asked the attacker to go outside to talk and hit him so hard his eye was bleeding and that he ran away to get the police with the following:
“What kind of woman is this you were hanging out with? You are saying here that after Bubba got back into the bar, your so-called friend purposely rejuvenated the conflict? She took Bubba outside and she hit him? Bubba is the one who ran away to call the police? This is outrageous Felicia! That woman was trying to cause trouble for you; she wanted to see you fight this guy. She purposely put you in harms way, for her own amusement, or because she's not very smart.”

It was a short time later and we had not left yet because we were waiting for a cab to take us back to our hotel and actually my gg friend was awesome and was being quite protective of me because the attacker had come back and grabbed a pool cue and was standing on the other side of the room. I did not go into all the details but he started making threats and began approaching where I was. My gg friend asked him to go outside so that he would not confront me with the pool cue. He thought she was interested in him and went along.

Please notice that although he outweighed her by at least as much as he outweighed me, he did not try to hit her back. That’s because she is a gg. Running away was a better solution for him than to hit a gg in front of a bunch of other guys. Hitting a tg was OK because he could rationalize to himself that I was a guy (and whatever other transaphobic ideas were swimming around in his head) and therefore he could hit me even though I never laid a hand on him.

You also make the following comment:
“I agree that how you look is part of the solution to passing as female. The bigger reality is you have to *act* the part, not just look it. Please, save the bar brawls for when you're in guy-mode. You can’t go looking for trouble and expect not to find it. If you act like a guy when in girl mode, people will not only recognize you but they will also treat you as such………..”

Being attacked by a man who outweighs you by over 100 pounds and then forced to defend yourself is not getting into bar brawls nor acting like a man. As a guy, I am very mild mannered and would never consider fighting as a solution to a disagreement even with someone I outweighed. As a female, I am even more mild mannered than I am as a male. Even if my watching the restroom door for a gg friend were poor judgement, would you tell a gg who was attacked that she was acting like a man because she had attempted to defend herself from an attacker?

In all sincerity, I do appreciate your response and believe that you have only my best interest and the group’s best interest in mind just as I do yours and the group’s. As I mentioned at the onset of this segment, it is sometimes difficult to communicate accurately in written format because of lack of opportunity for clarification of points. We are all learning to become more open, more tolerant, and more in tune with the kaleidoscope of gender expressions that exist in human kind. It is important that we all examine our filters so they do not color our perceptions.

Love and Light.

Felicia

Michele Angelique said...

Hi Felicia,

With further detail comes greater understanding. It is true that I misinterpreted the situation and motivations of your gg friends. I truely hope that I did not hurt or offend you in any way with my earlier comment. If I did, please accept my sincerest apologies.

In my own environment and life experience in the areas that I've lived and places I've gone, I have never seen women using public men's restrooms. However, if it is a common occurance in the city you were in then that does make a difference. I thought your friends were acting inappropriately, but my premise was based on my own surroundings and "filters". My own mother is quite a femme little lady, so some of my views are tainted by her teachings over the years of what is lady-like behavior and what is not.

In terms of your gg friend taking Bubba outside and punching him, again, I did not realize the extent of the sitation. If her actions were necessary to distract Bubba from further attacks on you, then I applaud her efforts.

I would never ever deem anyone to be acting inappropriately if they were defending themself from an attack. In such a case, to heck with being lady-like, and just get out of there alive! When I referenced you acting like a man, it was only related to your initial power struggle with Bubba. You did not touch him, but you attempted to out-muscle him by physically holding the door shut as he was trying to open it. Everything else you did after that was in self-defense and I'm very glad you fought back.

Please, please don't get me wrong about this Felica: Bubba had *no right* to hit you. He's a slimy rotten creep who represents the lowest denominator of human being. You did *not* deserve any of this, and what happened to you was traumatic and horrible. I am very angry at Bubba and wish his evil kind did not exist on this planet.

The unfortunate reality is that he does exist, and my only real solid advice remains: AVOID BUBBA AT ALL COSTS. Never underestimate him, nor give him the benefit of the doubt, nor expect him to act like a worthy human being.

All of the precautionary measures that we spoke of earlier are still valuable, and I hope everyone will consider them. If precaution fails, first try to escape, if that is not possible, definitely try to defend yourself by any means possible unless it seems too dangerous to do so.

Let's put old Bubba out to pasture now. While this is an interesting topic, which I believe contains several meritorious points of consideration, I'd like to see us refocus our efforts once again on positive, uplifting subject matter.

With all my love,
Michele

Felicia Conti said...

Hello Michele,

Your response reaffirms to me that you are a fair, sensitive, and caring person. I respect your willingness to reconsider the situation based on further details. That flexibility is the sign of a true leader. I am also ready to put the situation to rest and get onto other subjects. Hugs and best wishes.

Felicia

Stephanie Butterfield said...

By all means use the toilets when dressed.....if the transphobes allow you that is. I am in full time transition, and I get refused toilet access almost everywhere I go.

It is the same for access to ladies changing rooms as well, discrimination everywhere.

My home has been attacked 3 times, I get abused everywhere I go, death threats because they cannot see me as a woman.

We ar supposed to have a human rights act, yeah right its just paper, the UK hates non passable TS women.

xx

Stephanie

This is a poem I wrote about the dangers for girls out on the town.


The Admirer


I am the admirer,
Do you mind if I stare.
I am the admirer,
Handsome and debonair.

I am the admirer,
Do you mind if I join you.
I am the admirer,
I want to make love to you.

I am the admirer,
Can I sleep at yours tonight?
I am the admirer,
Who will give you a fright.

I am the admirer,
Please don't scoff.
I am the admirer,
You should be frightened of.

I am the admirer,
I must now confess.
I am the admirer,
Named in the press.

He is the admirer,
He has killed once before.
He is the admirer,
Please don't answer your door.


Copyright by Miss Stephanie Elizabeth Anne Butterfield

This work can be used by Miss Emma Louise Roebuck


NB: Never take someone home or open your door to a stranger, even if you met in a bar and you got on well. He is still a stranger, but more worryingly he could be your killer. An alarming statement maybe, but these words could one day save your life.

STAY SAFE ALWAYS