My biggest problem on transit has been the men who try to initiate conversation with me, and when I ignore them, they try to follow me home. I have had to come up with maneuvers to avoid being abducted or groped, and it saddens me that this is the case.
I was on the skytrain, and was sitting next to a trans* woman. She was wonderful. She had noticed my backpack, which has the SFU Out on Campus “ally” badges, which indicate acceptance and alliance with LGBTQ rights. We were talking about the organization, and she gave me her business card to give to anyone who was having a hard time with questioning their gender, or making the transition from one sex to another. During this conversation I had heard a man mumbling, but hadn’t paid an attention to it. Then I heard another man tell him to “go away, and leave her alone.” It wasn’t until the lady seated next to me turned to smile and thank him that I realized that the man had been harassing her. It turned out he had been following her for over 20 minutes, yelling at and threatening her. The man, who continued to tell the harasser off, offered to escort to her bus and make sure that nothing would happen to her. While she declined, I think that was the most amazing thing I have ever seen on transit.Another, more personal incident, was when I was travelling home from a party recently. I don’t often dress up, let alone provocatively, but apparently some men found what I was wearing to be provocative, and therefore an invitation. I had a few men try to grope me, and a teenager threw himself off of his seat so I could take it, and when I declined, he followed me and cornered me, talking on his phone about the “hot bitch” he had found on the skytrain who “totally wanted him.” I was terrified, so I pretended to get off a station early, and when he started following me, I waited until just before the doors were about to close and jumped back on to get to my station. Luckily, he didn’t catch the train in time.Another time I was on the bus in Surrey and a man was harassing a young girl, asking for her to give him a blowjob, admiring her figure, trying to grab her leg, etc. She didn’t say anything, but I could tell she was uncomfortable. The man completely ignored my attempts to intervene, but a man on the bus started telling him off, and trying to separate him from the girl. This also failed, but it distracted the harasser long enough for me to go up to the bus driver to ask for help. He called security then came to the back of the bus and asked the man to leave. Luckily, a few other large men backed him up on this, so there was no physical confrontation, and the man left. As he did so, however, he swore at me, calling me a “cockblocking whore,” and insinuated that I was just jealous.