Harassed for being gay by school-aged children. What has this city come to?

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Topic: Harassed for being gay by school-aged children. What has this city come to?

General Discussion July 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Harassed for being gay by school-aged children. What has this city come to?

We recently bought a property and moved to Shaw with an understanding that the neighborhood is undergoing transition. We were walking to dinner on T St between 9th and 10th when all of a sudden we were harassed by a group of elementary and middle schools children who called us “faggots” and threw a rock at my partner. As if this were not enough, one of the children felt the need to ask obscene, sexual-related questions. While we don’t pretend the world to be accepting of all walks of life, the fact that children felt they had the right and need to engage in this behavior is appalling.
An older couple happened to walk by and encouraged us not to confront them, but I am unsure that this is the answer. On one hand, not confronting these children may validate their behavior. On the other hand, what other action is there?
I am perplexed and don’t believe that there is nothing this community can do to prevent or address these types of behaviors.

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I’m so sorry you had to go through that. The first thing to remember is that they are very young and these sentiments have been picked up from their families, so they’re not yet fully responsible. I would say something, but you don’t want to seem angry, merely corrective. Employ your best parenting tone and say “that is very disrespectful, and it is not okay to speak to anyone, much less an adult, that way.” And walk away. They’ll probably say something back, but you need to show them that you aren’t willing to engage them anymore, and that’s that.

(This is the rough equivalent of the advice for parents to ignore tantrums/talk backs after putting their child in time-out. Arguing is what validates, not correction.) Good luck!

Yeah, sorry to hear about that.  It’s not just kids, though.  Last year, my partner and I were walking our three dogs in Petworth and this older man approached us and started yelling at us about why we have so many dogs and no children, and who is going to take care of us when we are old.  Given that we have three adult children, my partner yelled back at him something along the lines of “you’re making some pretty big assumptions!”  I’ve also been harrassed on the metro by a gang of adolescents (including an extremely effeminate young man) asking if I’m “a dude or a lady – hahaha.”  That turned into a horrible scene on the train when a couple of passengers confronted them in my defense and they surrounded a woman, put gum in her hair, and generally scared  the crap out of the other passengers on the train.  It only calmed down when an older man stepped in and told them to settle down, and they surprisingly listened.
I do think a level-headed confrontation is the proper response.  Maybe, just maybe, a little bit of behavior change will result that may save others in the future from the same treatment.

This sucks a lot, but “what has this city come to?” That’s an odd way of looking at it, as though the city has gotten more homophobic or something.

I was once felt up by a kid who couldn’t have been older than 12 in Adams Morgan, on a really busy street.  He and his buddy had been making annoying comments which I basically ignored and when I bent over to stretch (I was about to start my run), one of the kids tried to cop a feel.  I couldn’t believe how brazen and disrespectful these pre-pubescent brats were.  All I could think to say was, “What would your mother say if she saw you?!”  Maybe not the most effective, but I was just dumbfounded that kids would do something like that.

i actually heard about this from someone who was walking along the street and saw this happen. he was pretty upset by it. the solution: pepper spray.


progress takes time. i agree with scarydogmother’s comment – the city is getting better in tolerating gays. and quite frankly this is city living – there’s always going to be petty crime, intolerance of others and everything that goes with living life in and around different walks of people. ustreetv’s comment that the solution is pepper spray is ridiculous – they’re kids. yes they threw a rock, be a grown up and keep walking. however, if it had gotten more physical then yes pepper spray is totally acceptable. while offensive comments hurt its just their learned intolerance which bascially boils down to an annoyance.

I disagree with most people here is about bias towards gays. The fact that gays are harassed is just incidental. I am straight, but have been cursed or almost attacked by these teenagers. I’ve seen and read many people’s desription of being attacked or cursed by these teenagers. When these rats grow up, I do not expect them to be upright people. 
I don’t believe such cliche as “progress takes time”. I believe things are getting worse as we are going into a culture where every bad behavior will be attributed to other people’s fault. I think it’s time for us to realize that personal responsibility is essential to the progress of an underprevilleged people. 
I strong urge all concerned community to voice their anger and push for the change. I think it will be beneficial to all citizens, including the gay community to take a stance against the unconditional tolerance of the bad behavior and crimes in this city that has been going on within the liberal movement. 

I just want to add my voice because two days ago I witnessed a gay couple being harrassed and I was totally appaled. I live on Ontario Rd. between Lanier and Columbia. I was sitting at my back window, which faces the alley by the Safeway loading dock, and saw two gay men walking with their arms around each other… just minding their own business. A group of young kids passed them and started screaming things like, “You guys are fags!”, “You better watch yourselves, and some other very vulgar comments that I don’t want to repeat here. It really disturbed me. I don’t have a solution, just wanted to vent my frustration and support for those of you who have fallen victim to harrassment. 

A couple of months ago a kid who was probably around 8 years old yelled at me: “Why you smilin’ at me?  I hate white people!”  He was being escorted by some sort of police officer at the time and she just told him to be quiet and kept hold of his arm (he was squirming around as if trying to come back at me). I just figured he probably has poor role models at home who have sadly infused him with vitriol so strong that he takes offense at a harmless friendly smile, or just uses any excuse to vent some pent-up hostility.

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