The First Three Months.
I don’t exactly know what had happened, what had gone on and why I was being targeted.
In 2004, homophobia and bigotry wasn’t as much as social faux pas that it is now. One could get away with calling someone a fag, a homo or gay in a derogatory manner, without even having any sort of rapport with the person, and it would get a laugh from from whoever was in ear shot.
Fashion, as well, was different. The way I dress now, was the way I dressed then. Skinny jeans, fitted shirt. To me, it was just the alt fashion.. It was the way everyone dressed in the scene. It wasn’t until maybe 2008 that skinny jeans were taken into mainstream culture. The earliest adopter of such fashion in the mainstream was lil wayne and his mesh of hip-hop and skate culture. Relief, finally! But, yet, til this day, I still get stupid questions about the way I dress, or the odd snicker and smirk from the lame.
Naturally, the main clique in the gym didn’t like it. Didn’t like me? Didn’t like the way I dressed. Maybe I just had a face that made them wrench in disgust.
It wasn’t anything new to me to be mistaken for being gay. As if that was a bad thing. I never took offense when a gay dude would come up to me and chat or hit on me, or whatever. It was never a bother. and even now I still get confused for being gay or bi. I could careless (i’m totally straight though, haha). It’s socially more acceptable to be gay, nowadays, and without denigrating the LGBTQ (etc) audience and their plight, it’s a bit more mainstream.
but I never had a problem with it. So fucking what, right? Let people be people- never understood the hold up.
This was the first time I was ever approached with hostility towards something so uninformed and contrived.
Within the month I had caught their attention and they made it known that they didn’t like me, and wanted me gone.
I couldn’t believe it. I expect this behavior from high school adolescents but from grown adults? Specifically towards me? I didn’t do anything. I was just trying to learn Muay Thai and improve myself.
This isn’t me taking a moral high ground and pointing my nose up at their behavior. Lord knows i’ve said some pretty dumb shit, albeit young and stupid, you grow up, you learn.
The ridicule and bullying intensified as the weeks and months progressed. Every time I trained, I would hear from across the gym. ‘Hey Fag!’ ‘Nice pants!’
They would taunt me when I would be invited to train and help out with the girls class. I’d always arrive at 7:30 from work and didn’t want to waste time so Malaipet would have me join in. This then led to them calling me my infamous name ‘ladyboy’. Ladyboy this, lady boy that.
((Watch her biopic ‘The Beautiful Boxer’ : a very sad and touching story))
I contemplated quitting, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I couldn’t focus and slowly was falling into a deep depression. I just gave up 500 dollars of my hard earned money, the instructors weren’t doing anything about it and I felt so utterly helpless. What was I going to do? They were much bigger and more experienced then me. Fight them and get fucked up?
My cheapness and hardheadness didn’t allow me to quit. I figured I could endure it for 4 more months, run the course of my membership and start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
They were unrelenting with the taunts and mocking. It was bad and I was reaching my breaking point.
One day the youngest of them started mouthing off. He had started the same time as me but was a natural fighter and progressed quickly.
He was standing there talking shit and we started going back and forth, he walked up to me to get in my face and that was it, I had enough. I grab a 5 pound hand weight was ready to bash his fucking head in. I started blacking out and all I can imagine is rearranging his stupid fucking face, shattering his teeth so that he couldn’t give me that stupid little smirk he would have after every berating he gave me. As I was raised the weight over my head to swing I remember Kru Santi pulling me away and the rest of the class staring in horror. I explained to him everything that was going on. I don’t know if he understood the magnitude and severity of it all as his understanding of English was minimal, but im sure he understood how upset I was that I was ready to smash someone’s head with a hand weight. I believe these things transcend language haha.
Later on one of the guys in the group walked over. Maybe he felt bad but really he just came over to tell me the taunting wouldn’t stop, and that the only way they would stop was if I took a fight to prove myself.
Life has it’s peaks and valleys. It would be idiotic for me to think that life would be simple. Nothing to me was ever simple. It was always one struggle or another. I was bullied my whole life so that was nothing new. I had started developing a passion for this and wouldn’t let a gang of assholes take that away from me. Like most difficult situations I face, I see them as problems that need to be solved, and with solutions come knowledge. Both short term and long term. I credit this period of my life with the culture of my own gym. I have a zero tolerance for bigotry, no one should feel ostracized no matter how different or awkward they are. Everyone should be accepted. From the good to the bad. People come to the gym for help, and it would be wrong for me to turn people away without first giving them a chance and letting them, let me, understand them. (If that makes any sense)
So, I was given a solution, and it was time to apply it. A fight with 3 months of training? Sure, what could possibly go wrong…