These are not thinking people

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Escorts: 17

Protesters:  approxametly 80

Cops: 1

This past Saturday was


The Fucking.


We had several cars full of male presenting people from out of state who, mostly prayed across the street in front of Subway, but several of them were chasing with the regular crew.

We met a new chaser who informed us she is 37 weeks pregnant and is having a boy.

Congratulations on a welcomed, happy, healthy pregnancy. I hope you don’t bring your child to the clinic and dangle it in front of clients walking backwards down the sidewalk like your cohort.

But there was one crazy that took the cake. In fact, I will venture to say that the level of inappropriate public behavior we saw this week has not ever been seen here in Louisville.

Observe video A, please keep an eye on the guy in the yellow shirt.

But it was after most of the protesters and escorts had gone home that his truly unhinged, fucked up view of the world showed itself. Here are two accounts of what happened from Escorts D and L who witnessed the majority of the incident.

she's not the one who's preggers 0 01 02-20

Escort D wrote:

I was involved in the White Castle/bathroom incident from the beginning. I saw the young woman, a client’s support person, leave the clinic and listened as L engaged her and asked if she wanted an escort. The young woman simply said she wanted to get out and take a walk, get some air. I suppose she was a bit bored in the clinic waiting room. She really didn’t need anyone to accompany her, but then ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ started tagging along and harassing her. I caught up with them just to keep an eye on things and hopefully help to de-escalate. But, ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’, just didn’t get it and seemed to take this as a challenge. He hung on the whole way right to the door of White Castle, and after the young woman entered, said “I think I’ll go in and buy a coffee.” Well, this had become a ridiculous situation by this time and I just stepped in front of him and blocked the door of White Castle and told him to give the girl a break and leave her alone. That’s when he started yelling for the cop to say that I was blocking his entrance to a public place. L had followed the woman in, and soon popped out to say that it was ok, she had gone into the bathroom. So, I stepped away, and ‘idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ went in the restaurant. (Does White Castle actually qualify as a “restaurant?) He was at a bit of a loss for a few minutes, but then went up to the bathroom door and continued his harassment through the door. He did this maybe two or three times. Then, he eventually, actually went to the counter to buy some coffee. I guess that’s because he knew I was watching, and as a Christian, he couldn’t allow himself to be caught up in a lie. While he was putting cream and sugar in his coffee, the woman came out of the bathroom, and L accompanied her out the side door. ‘Idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ actually stayed at the counter to finish decorating his coffee, and L and I were able to get the woman back to the clinic, but not without further harassment from other idjit newbies {these are the above mentioned male presenting people who came in several cars with out of state plates. There is speculation they are all from Louisville’s own Southern Baptist Seminary, but this is completely unsubstantiated; though several of our most prominent protesters are confirmed SBS student}.

And here is the other account {please note idjit, loud-mouth, newbie, yellow shirt’ and Larry David are the same person, but since he is new and we don’t know his name yet we are making it up}

Escort L wrote:

The companion, let’s call her Brave Girl, because that is what she was, had come out earlier when I was on the corner of 1st and Market. She had expressed an interest in walking around then. I told her about Starbucks, but she figured White Castle was close enough and went in there. When she came out again, I spoke with here again, and she stated that she wanted to walk around for while.

Then Larry David came prancing up and going on and on about how she shouldn’t kill her baby. Then D joined us, and we were able to flank her on both sides. I kept moving further away from her to keep Larry David away. So after he figured that out, he was pushing on me really hard. I held my ground, so he started whining about how I was pushing on him. I laughed at him and told him I was walking in a straight line. But he kept on with being a tool.

After we crossed Market and were standing in front of the CPC, I was really upset, so I turned and screamed in his face, “She’s not even pregnant, you stupid fucking fuck!.” Brave Girl told me that she really liked me after that. Larry David continued to natter on about her non-existent baby.

When we got to White Castle, Brave Girl said she was just going to go on in rather than try to take a walk. D stopped Larry David (in a very calm and rational way). LD started screeching for the cop, whining about how D wouldn’t let him into a public building. I went inside to look for Brave Girl; she was in the bathroom. I went into the bathroom and told her that LD was coming in and that I would stay and let her know when he was gone. She thanked me and I went to the front to let D know.

LD came in and went to the bathroom door and started tapping on it and hollering through the door. I think that if we hadn’t been there, he would have pushed the door open. I went to the counter and told them, “Some crazy guy is trying to go into the women’s bathroom.” This happened 3-4 times. Every time the manager came out, LD wandered off. He finally got coffee after the 2nd or 3rd time he went to the bathroom door.

I guess Brave Girl didn’t want to spend the day in the bathroom, so she came out while LD was fixing up his coffee. We went out the side door and headed back to the clinic.

We got about half a block, when LD came running up behind us and started his crap again. D and I got her back into the clinic. I told her that hopefully they would be gone in 1/2 and hour and she could go for a walk then.

After it was over, I was shaking. I got the impression that the other protesters weren’t bothered by it. Just like they secretly admire the assholes that shoot clinic doctors, they were impressed with LD.

About half way back to the clinic, after all of the hoopla in White Castle, I joined the two escorts walking Brave Girl back to the clinic. I got in between D escort and Larry David and began trying to engage him, hoping he would start talking to me and stop yelling at her. It sort of worked and it was not until I got really close to him and caught his eye that he finally heard us telling him that she was not pregnant and began telling her she should tell her friend to come out of the clinic.

After Brave Girl was in the clinic, I lost my temper like I have never done. I rounded on that ass-hole screaming about his inappropriate behavior. I was telling (screaming) him that that following/ trapping female presenting people into bathrooms is what sexual predators do. I rambled on about rape culture and autonomy for several minutes before I just could not manage to look at him for another moment and stamped off still furious.

Across the street in the parking lot were three protesters, they guy on the soap box, the guy who claims his mother tried to abort him 8 times and he survived ( I am not exaggerating, this is how he introduced himself to several of the escorts) and one of the more annoying female presenting chasers. And I lost it on them too, asking (screaming) if they condoned such horrible behavior, and the answer was yes. The annoying girlish one responded that she wasn’t in the bathroom with the support person and didn’t know what had happened, BUT that she knew someone who had had an abortion and it destroyed her, thus justifying any behavior that would prevent abortion from happening.

When I posited (screaming) that preacher dude could never know what it was like to be a woman chased down the street and trapped in a bathroom he said “Yes I do” and “you don’t know what it is like to be a baby being aborted”.

At that point I realized my mistake, I tried to reason (angry yelled reason) with them, but these people have no concept of compassion. They don’t care about people. They are only interested in perpetuating their own ideals of women’s places in society, and it drives them crazy that we might claim our own efficacy, challenging their notions of gender roles.

For years I had very strict rules for myself, refusing to have any verbal interactions with protesters. And over the years, I gradually relaxed this boundary feeling as though there might be benefits to engaging with them, we certainly have escorts who can really humanize themselves and our clients to the protesters. Engagement is a powerful tool to distract antis, while slipping clients past unnoticed. But I am not the one. They make me too angry. All I want to do is make them feel as uncomfortable as they make our clients feel, but in the end it hurts me, and makes me less effective as an empowering force for clients.

And really how do you explain rape culture to some fucked up dude who thinks it’s ok to chase female presenting people into bathrooms?

It has taken me all week to write this because every time I sat down at the computer I began to shake with rage, or cry with frustration. And even now I can’t really get into the kind of analysis of how rape culture effects the milieu on the sidewalk in front of the clinic in the way that I want. But give me a week or two and I will get all my thoughts compiled and organized.

This is an important concept that needs to be addressed. The way we approach people’s autonomy directly affects the kinds of interactions we have with the world around us. And I, for one, am not willing to allow others to hold onto the notion that my personal space is any less deserving of respect than theirs; regardless of one’s opinion of my choices.

And no matter how much you may disagree with me it is not up to you.


7 thoughts on “These are not thinking people

  1. Pingback: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours… (9/13/2009)

  2. In Allentown PA, at the Allentown Womens Center, I lost my temper last Saturday after some shriveled up old white woman with dyed black hair kept badgering this poor girl who just wanted to get outside of the clinic and smoke a cigarette. I finally yelled at the old gal, “Sandy, leave her alone.”

    Of course, the response was highly predictable. She said, “Why don’t you shut up”? I eventually gave up but one of my fellow escorts took over. The protesters can really get under your skin. I think they like that. There’s a really mean streak they develop and use it on clients and escorts. There’ absolutely no compassion with these folks. No humility. They give religion a really bad name.

    Also agree that rape culture mixed with prudish Puritanism and sexual frustration of most of these white men and women creates an awful tension. Add mob mentality and they act like a bunch of mad dogs.

  3. The behavior at the clinic is such an interesting thing from a psychological perspective. I really think that a lot of the weird shit that happens is largely due to some kind of weird mob mentality. For instance: protesters show up a few times, take it pretty easy. They show up a few more times, feeling more comfortable and seeing what’s going on. They keep showing up, and getting more and more comfortable with pushing boundaries – seeing that there are NO consequences for harassing people. The other protesters not only turn the other cheek to horrid behavior, they encourage it!

    Or maybe they don’t even have to show up more than once to really fully get that there are no consequences for being rude. Maybe that’s how they’ve lived their whole lives – being rude, pushy, and obnoxious. And they see that, no matter how close they get to clients, no matter how awful they are, there is no one there to maintain a safe physical space besides a few escorts, and there is no one there to maintain an emotional safe space – because we couldn’t fully drown out their nonsense if we tried.

    Those are my thoughts for the morning. There need to be consequences, and the consequences need to be immediate and apply to everyone who is being a crazy asshole. And I do not think that having to chat with a police officer counts as a consequence.

  4. We do enjoy calling them out on their inappropriate touches, Rattis! 😉 Usually I get female protesters (Mary(s), Angela, some of the new college age women) rubbing on me (I’m a woman), and I find I am most effective when I speak softly to them about how much I enjoy what they are doing, “a little lower/harder/softer”, “ooo, right there!”. It absolutely throws them for a loop and often leaves them (momentarily and blissfully) silent. If they get close enough to me, I’ll whisper in their ear, poor sexually repressed things!

  5. Great report, A! We need to keep publishing these reports to make the world aware of what the clients are subjected to every week. People are watching. People are taking notice.

  6. You’re right, this is an important concept that needs to be addressed. Abortion rights, autonomy as a woman, rape culture – they’re all connected. I read a Supreme Court ruling (from 1910 I think? Too lazy to Google) where women in Oregon were not allowed to work overtime in a laundry. Why? Because they “need to be protected” and they’re wombs are the future of the U.S.
    Sadly, we haven’t come very far from that point. Except now the most poverty stricken are forced to work unacceptable hours to support a family that, at least sometimes, they’ve been forced/guilted into keeping and/or creating with no other options available to them, at least that they can see. The idea that any man can control any woman’s choice is problem #1. But, protestors like this tell themselves that they’re doing it “for the baby.” As if the potential for a live baby should outweigh the rights of the already existing mother. Of course it should, right? After all, what’s a woman’s life for if not creating the next generation. Ugh. It’s as if they’re blind to women’s existance as an autonomous being completely.
    And, on an related side note, I hate to admit it, but in my experience (traveling on tours, going to public venues like concerts and, as even my husband found out the other day, museums and such) the rudest, most inconsiderate people who refuse to see who’se around them (me, my toddler, my stroller) are most often middle aged men.
    That’s not to say that they’re all blind to anyone else around them, but I rarely, if ever, have anyone look right through me as if I’m not there as they attempt to cut in front of me in line, nudge me out of the way (physically) to get a better view of the colusseum, etc. My husband was floored at the aquarium the other day when I was walking my son in front of him, single file, and this happened THREE times in a row with three different white men aged 50-65. I just laughed and told him “told you so.”

  7. I really have to applaud you guys. I know I wouldn’t be able to keep my temper under control dealing with those people and would end up making it worse attacking them.

    While questionable on the ethical side, if I had been L (although I’m a guy) and the guy was rubbing up against me (probably the closest he’s gotten to a relationship all week), I would have started yelling about grabbing my inappropriately.

    Again, I applaud and salute the work you guys do.

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