”In sheltered housing it’s a pretty safe bet that if you are sharing a fridge/freezer then your stuff will get stolen”
Wednesday 29th March
Two days ago I was feeling ill & picked up a 24 hour bug so I hadn’t eaten all day. When I woke up I was hungry & very weak. I was already beginning to start getting shakes due to my blood sugars being low as I am diabetic. I went to the fridge to pour some milk on my cereal only to find out that my fresh 4 pint of milk had all gone even though it was right next to my diabetic medication in the fridge. I ended up leaving a message on the fridge thanking the inconsiderate asshole for stealing my milk even though it had my room number written all over it. I also wrote I am diabetic & need my stuff left alone & left it at that.
It all kicked off the moment I opened my door.
I woke up to my door being banged at 09:00. I thought it was the people who run the shelter coming to see me about my note on the fridge so I sleepily went to the door & opened it. Upon opening the door I was met with someone I had never seen before shouting & screaming in my face that I had to move my stuff off his shelf in the fridge that second or else he’d throw it away. I calmly responded that when I moved in I was told the fridges where for sharing, I was told where to put my stuff & that in the time I’d been there I had never seen anything else on the shelf I was using, other than my own stuff. Again I was met with a barrage of abuse from someone clearly intent on trying to intimidate me & throw his weight around. Again I calmly responded with the same answer before asking him to stop being so aggressive. He walked away a few feet before deciding to come back & have another go!
Know your surroundings
When I 1st moved into the shelter I noticed that there were security cameras in all locations covering all corridors & doorways.
Some shelters may not have this but if they do one of the best things you can do is to make mental notes of where the cameras are as you may well need them.
When my aggressor decided to come back for another go I decided to take a few steps forward into a clear area of view of the camera. I also spotted one of the other residents had stepped out of their door due to all the noise. My aggressor decided he wanted to try & intimidate me even more & got right up in my face. It was clear this guy wanted to start a fight.
If you find yourself in this situation don’t start any fights but don’t back down either. Stay calm & try to get staff or just stand your ground.
So there I was with my aggressor in my face trying his best to intimidate me & a camera over my shoulder recording everything that was going on as the staff weren’t in yet. I said to my aggressor if he wanted to start a fight then he’d better take a swing at me as first as I wasn’t going to start anything but if he did hit me he better make it count. He then walked away before turning round & asking me if I was crazy to which I replied, “Yes!” I class taking an OD of some 300 pills makes me a little crazy at least 😉
This completely threw him as I think he had expected to be able to throw his weight around & get me to give in. He clearly had bitten off more than he could chew & was at a loss of what to do next so resorted to name calling.
Knowing Your Rights
Being Transsexual I’ve had my fair share of verbal abuse over the years but I have also spent time working with the Police in a Diversity awareness group so I am well aware of my rights & that I am a protected person.
So there I am still in my PJ’s when I get hit with the totally original comment of, “Oh fuck off you Girly Boy!” … Oh here we go, resorting to name calling because I wasn’t scared of you, how hard are you really?
My response was, “What did you just call me?”
“you heard me, girly boy!” came the very adult reply … Yes we were really going down this route, time to tell him what trouble I can cause him if he keeps this up, and no I wasn’t thinking about hitting him.
I calmly responded by telling him that If he calls me that again I will phone the Police as I am not going to put up with Transphobic behaviour & that I am a protected person. I then informed him that I knew my rights & if he calls me that again I will report him for a hate incident.
This totally threw him & he started to panic by claiming that he didn’t realise I was Transsexual (very unlikely considering I was wearing girls PJs). I replied that this was no excuse for his abusive comments & I suggest he backs away & leaves me alone or else I will call the Police. This totally defused the situation & the aggressor backed right off.
A little while later the people who managed the Shelter came to see me about this incident & told me that they had watched the incident on the security cameras. They had also had a word with the other party who was by now rather upset & worried that I would call the Police & that he never knew I was Transsexual. They also said to me that he had issues & he wanted me to know that he suffered from ADHD. I said to the staff that I’m sorry if the other residents didn’t like it but I really didn’t appreciate being abused the moment I opened my door. I told them that I am aware that everyone of us in the shelter had our own demons to deal with other-wise we wouldn’t be there but that’s no excuse to go attacking people.
I had already been made aware (when I first came to the house) that there may be a possibility of a room opening up in a house back in the town where I lived. Yesterday it had been mentioned that I could possibly go back next Monday, yet now after this morning’s bust up I was asked If I wanted to move tomorrow (it would mean me having to help tidy up the room I was going to as I was told the previous person had left the room in a really bad mess). Tidying up a room was all I had to do to get back to where I had access to my GP, Counsellor, friends & access to my car … sure I’m in, let’s go as I don’t want to be somewhere where I am 10 miles from my friends with no transport.
Other than the one Asshole I had to deal with, the people I met at the shelter were generally really nice & already I had been enjoying lots of laughs & coffees. It seems strange that the last few days felt like weeks to me & I was both happy & sad that tonight was going to be my last night at the shelter. I knew that I was going to miss some of the other residents as they had accepted me as me right from the moment I got there.
If you get into a situation like this with someone verbally attacking you, do your best to stay calm without giving any ground. You don’t want to be the one who starts a fight or retaliates too badly as you risk getting thrown out on the street which will make things even worse. If you can get into a secure area or in view of cameras use it as the aggressor will be the ones who get warnings or kicked out. You have to keep your cool no matter hard that is as it’s going to be near impossible to get the help you need if you get kicked out of a homeless shelter.
After I told a few friends about what had happened they told me something that I never even considered. By standing up for myself, it showed that I actually cared about myself and had fight in me, something I wasn’t aware of at the time.