“Somebody tried to run me over because I was wearing ‘girl’ clothes.” “A man in a passing car yelled ‘you’re gay’ to a friend and me.” “I was assaulted by a UC Davis professor.” And “I was raped.” Over the course of an hour on March 18, a sign lying on the North Quad titled “This happened to me…” was slowly filled by a number of these shocking narratives.
Next to the first sign, a second poster titled “I’ve been called this…” asked UC Davis students attending a rally against queer violence titled “This is not OK” to fill in the sentence. Replies included “tranny,” “bitch,” “bê đê” (gay in Vietnamese), “bull dyke,” “whore” and “cunt.”
March’s rally was organized with the intent of bringing campus attention to several recent events — such as the March 10 bashing of Davis community member Mikey Partida and the transphobic “outing” of two candidates during the winter ASUCD elections.
In support of the event, straight ally Mayor Joe Krovoza shared an experience when he was called a “fag” when camping with a friend. Along with this show of solidarity, students and community members shared stories about how sick they are of everyday occurrences — including being stared at, being harassed and having to explain their sexuality to strangers.
Rally participant Erica Kenney, a 21-year-old food science major, was upset by the lack of new faces at the rally. “I felt like, once again, I was disappointed that the same people were showing up and we are not reaching out the way I would like to be. I struggle to think of ways that these stories could be heard,” she said.
“I have been fighting for years, why isn’t this over? I’m so fucking tired of this,” declared civil engineering major and student activist Adam Horn when he stood up to the microphone. “What else can I do?”
Horn implored witnesses to speak up on behalf of victims of discrimination. “Allies are our strongest advocates; when they stand up for me it speaks volumes.” Horn spoke of the violence that is still being silenced in dominant campus discourse. “It was a huge deal when Mikey got beat up, but there is still a lot of trans violence that goes unnoticed.”
Now, almost one month after the “This is not OK” rally, third-year physics student and trans woman Eva Angeli has a blood-red eye and and a fist-sized indent on her left cheek. Angeli was walking home from school on April 4 when she “heard a girl screaming and a guy yelling.”
She said that, while trying to de-escalate the situation, she was punched — “everything went black for a second.” Angeli said the unidentified suspect then “called me a faggot and said that he was going to beat me up.”
Angeli says that she filed a police report because “a lot of times, things get passed over — the perception that Davis is a perfectly safe place allows for the invisibility of victims.”
Alfredo Del Cid, LGBT Resource Center office coordinator, believes that victims of violence in Davis “often feel discouraged [from reporting] because they see similar issues not being resolved.”
Del Cid believes that one of the ways to make sure that queer voices are being heard is to assure community members that the LGBT Resource Center staff is willing to help provide support and guidance during a Campus Violence and Prevention Program or police reporting process.
Join Facebook groups to become aware of upcoming events (Queer Student Union, UC Davis LGBT Resource Center) and make new friends during Crafternoons — 3:30 p.m. Fridays at the LGBT Resource Center.
If you are queer or an ally, come to events and speak out — society won’t change itself.
KATELYN RINGROSE is tired of campus cruelty. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.