When A Stranger Hurls Homophobic Slurs At You In Public

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    Aug 23, 2007 7:22 PM GMT
    How do you respond to that sort of thing?

    Walking my dogs after supper yesterday (~19h00), I passed a couple of 'senior citizens' attempting to rob a parking-meter using a screwdriver.
    As is often the case, I am more troubled by the complacency of the passers-by than I am with the criminal act itself. I stop dead in my tracks and gawk at them; they see me but carry on as if they hadn't. I say "There isn't even a car parked [at that spot], sir, so what (the hell?) do you think you are doing?" The old codger astonishes me with his foul mouth: "What the f*** is it your business? Who asked you to stop? F*** off and keep walking., f***ker!"

    I, instead, approach him and raise the volume of my voice to draw attention to this scenario being played out in broad daylight. "I don't take kindly to welfare cases vandalising public property and stealing public moneys. So, yeah, it very much is my business. Sir."
    Now this (drunken?) geezer really gets p***ed and starts to stagger towards me twirling a phillip's screwdriver like he intends to gouge my eyes out with it, all the while spewing all sorts of obscenities at me. His wife stays by the meter in some dumb-ass attempt to 'hide' the object of contention from the growing number of people assembling at this street-corner.

    As he shuffles ever closer to me (it was funny on a certain level) this burst of verbal diarrhoea comes spewing forth from his droopy face, and to my dismay (and amusement), every third word is one of the following: Cock-sucker! Faggot! Bugger! Shit-packer! (and maybe I missed one or some.) I didn't react at all to his name-calling but rather remained on the issue, namely the vandalism and attempted theft.

    Two surly men stepped forward as if to protect me from the wild man while another man was reporting the scene to police on his cell.
    A mother shouted "There's more dignity in begging than this!" This fetched a few laughs from the dozen or so gathered around us and set the elderly criminal pair staggering up the block. I simply followed them up the street, with my dogs in tow, resuming my intended route.

    When they turned their heads and saw that I was no more than 10 meters behind them, well, the whole incident repeated itself at another intersection! The same homophobic slurs, different audience. I told him to save his breath and that the cops were called which shifted them into third gear and down into the metro like scurrying rats.

    Several minutes later, sitting at the park, I reflected on the incident and the various responses that I might have chosen.

    Have I, by ignoring the verbal abuse, attained the higher realms of emotional maturity?

    or... Was I being a doormat by allowing anyone to talk that way to my face?

    Gents, I look forward to your opinions.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 23, 2007 7:26 PM GMT

  • Aug 23, 2007 8:00 PM GMT
    Seriously.. How should we react to homophobic slurs?

    Throughout grade school, i got a ton of it, but i always just ignored it.. But sometimes it got physical..

    And sometimes, i get honked at and called a fag when i'm walking along the beach.. ? I'm just wearing regular boardshorts.. not a pink pok-a-dot speedo...

    Now older, looking back, i always wish i fought back. Sometimes, thats what it takes to get the harassment to stop. Even the principle indirectly encouraged me to fight the guy.

    But at the same time, people feed of the fact that they get a response from who they are teasing..
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    Aug 23, 2007 8:53 PM GMT
    I think you did the right thing by ignoring the slurs they were sending your way. Your goal, it seems was trying to get them to stop. I don't think it was personal. They would have probably yelled the same crap had it been another guy.

    Kudo's to you for getting involved. Most people don't nowadays.

    I realize being called names does hurt, but in your case, consider the source. They're just pissed because you interupted their little adventure.

    You're definitely the more mature one and not a doormat. Take care. - Jorel
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Aug 23, 2007 9:43 PM GMT
    Good for you for confronting the F**kers
    ... unfortunately in our society yelling homophobic slurs is one of the worst things you can say to somebody
    You did what you should have...ignored them
    If you were going to do anything different in the future...you should have first walked up to them and said...
    I don't know what you're doing...but I just called the cops so you might wanna get your stories straight
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    Aug 23, 2007 10:43 PM GMT
    Lol...nice one GQjock!

    Even nicer, Aero! From what I've read, that street wasn't totally deserted and for you to be the only one to confront that couple is nothing short of amazing.

    As to the homophobic slurs, especially considering he only said it in retaliation, I would have ignored him. its just a defense mechanism and when it doesn't work, people usually stop. Based upon my experiences, anyway.
  • DenveRyk

    Posts: 167

    Aug 23, 2007 10:50 PM GMT
    Well done, Aero! In my opinion, you did the right thing, both by confronting the would-be theives, and by ignoring the random slurs. You have to be pretty secure in your own skin to not let them get a rise out of you. You mentioned a street incident in London in a post on another thread. I think this post shows a great deal of growth. Again, well done!
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    Aug 23, 2007 10:55 PM GMT
    Aero, Be proud of yourself. You did not lower yourself to there level. I don't think I would have been that cool.

  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Aug 23, 2007 11:02 PM GMT
    The last time somebody hurl homophobic slur on me was during my high school years. I was an effiminate , softies kids than. During school assembly this guy that I hate come from behind me and whisper "homosex" into my ears. I was a physically weak kid, so not much I can do but suffer in silent.

    I dont know what my reaction will be if it happen to me now. Hopefully it never happen , so I dont need to know.
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    Aug 23, 2007 11:42 PM GMT
    I brlieve in Karma and having said that, because you didn't stoop to their level, that is good for you. For all those bullies or just plain ignorant people out there who put people down to make themselves feel better, well in the end...Karma's a bitch.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 23, 2007 11:43 PM GMT
    I would say the former as he failed to successfully antagonize you away from the issue (that he and the woman were committing a criminal offense).

    If he had diverted you with it, it would have reflected still-existing self-esteem issues and that he was successful in triggering them.

    The name-calling was secondary to the initial crime; the encounter did not start off with him verbally attacking you. To me, that makes it a diversionary tactic rather than the primary offense.

    Good job! *thumbs up with wink in eye*
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    Aug 23, 2007 11:58 PM GMT
    Always consider the source and pick your battles accordingly. Remember too, that, probably in most cases, homophobic slurs rarely coincide with the hurlers belief that his target really is a homo, but, rather it's to provoke a first swing. If you're as comfortable with a first swing as I am, you'll simply remind him that his mother goes down on homos like she did last night.
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    Aug 24, 2007 12:39 AM GMT
    well considering most parking meters in the city close to me make more money per hour than your average person: I save those words for the meter.

    aero-you ought to receive a city citation for your contribution. the new pay parking meters are expensive. your dogs are ok?
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    Aug 24, 2007 1:45 AM GMT
    Cheers guys for the overwhelmingly supportive feedback!
    I'm even a little amazed that all the responses have been (thus far) unanimously affirmative.
    I'll take it, of course!

    Maybe reading the other thread about 'Shorts' before I left the house came into play on this issue. I got to thinking that I had perhaps brought this upon myself in some way. After all, it was just a typical after-supper walk... with my two insanely cute white pups, shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops, BUT... I was wearing short hiking-shorts with a 4" inseam!
    "Hmmm. THAT's what must have triggered that barrage! I was just TOO obvious despite my 4-day Colt-like stubble." Crazy, eh?!
    Haha... I have my Kramer moments, just so you know! :D)

    BTW, the dogs were fine. in fact, they're a bonus at these times, because when I get to barking they do to!!
    They're also my greatest handicap at times like those; two angry mutts underfoot and tethered to my swinging arm!

    So what is it that makes so many straight guys turn into raging bulls that need to stop all traffic when an other guy hurls "Cocksucker!" at 'em?
    I wonder.
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    Aug 24, 2007 5:36 AM GMT
    I think you handled the situation very well Aero, and I don't think any of us like being called anything derogatory. It doesn't matter if you call a straight guy a cocksucker, fag, redneck, idiot, or dip-shit, he's still not going to like it.

    And I'm not so sure that a shouting match is where any ground is going to be gained in tolerance other than simply being mature, like you were. That's the best way to deal with homophobia.
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    Aug 24, 2007 5:47 AM GMT
    You did handle the situation well. So many people use those kinds of slurs as a general insult without any thought towards the person they're directing them at. I've always thought it a vestige from junior high where those kinds of insults were everywhere.

    My point is that you demonstrated you're not only the bigger man but you are the better person. I respect you and salute you for your spirit.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Aug 24, 2007 5:56 AM GMT
    McGay said it perfectly when he said

    'Always consider the source and pick your battles accordingly'

    You did a fab job Aero by challenging the Guy for breaking the law. A wise man knows when to stay and fight and when to leave the scene.

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    Aug 24, 2007 6:02 AM GMT
    I agree that I think you did the right thing in the situation. In other situations, however, I like to make the person hurling the slurs feel as stupid as possible. It's no fun to just insult them; you also have to make them feel like a silly child.

    Is it taking the high road? Hell no. But it sure is fun.
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    Aug 24, 2007 6:07 AM GMT
    I do that too! I think I was being easy on 'em 'cuz of their age and obvious desperation. ahem. And because children were present, of course.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Aug 24, 2007 6:10 AM GMT
    Sorry that happened to you Aero! U did the right thing. Not worth getting screwdrivered. I have never had the homophobic slurs, but I did fight many times when I had to. Usually shorter guys with beer muscles. I took Kendo Karate and was taught what to do when attacked with or without a weapon, but it is still no guarantee you won't get cut or worse.
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    Aug 24, 2007 6:11 AM GMT
    Children. Bah! They're going to hear all those bad things someday anyway; you might as well start them off early.
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    Aug 24, 2007 6:25 AM GMT
    Aero, I'm not sure I can give you the thumbs up here. I think the real issue is the choice that you made which set off this chain reaction.

    Should you have engaged this person in a conversation at all, or should you have simply continued to walk your dogs in silence?

    It is a bit difficult to support the behavior of a buttinsky, who's actions might have resulted in grave consequences.

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    Aug 24, 2007 6:37 AM GMT
    "A buttinsky"?
    Public property, especially in my neighbourhood, IS my business.
    So when I come stay over at your's in LA you won't mind it if I piss on your doorstep, open your post and let that kid in the hoodie steal you wheels? Pfff!

    "Grave consequences"?
    For whom?
    I wouldn't have harmed a senior and he was easily disarm-able. That wasn't at all the issue.
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    Aug 24, 2007 7:02 AM GMT
    There are two different perspectives to each and every situation. You do realize that, correct?
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    Aug 24, 2007 7:30 AM GMT
    The perspective of a thief and the perspective of a "hero", for lack of a less corny word.=P

    Why do you feel that way Tofu? I would give almost anything for the courage to do whats right in the face of adversity. Regardless of the reason for it, that couple WAS stealing from public(city?) property.