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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > December 15 > Queerbashed



“I know you ain’t two bitches.” His voice sounded low in my ear, so close I felt his breath on my neck, just briefly before his hand smacked the back of my head, hard, pitching me face first into the shop window I’d been browsing while waiting for the bus. The change in my hand rattled to the ground as my forehead hit the metal shutter.

The first time I was physically assaulted for being a queer woman it came out of nowhere. This was ironic because, looking back, my entire 20s were lived to a relentless soundtrack of homophobic abuse. With my shaved head and DM boots, I was a very visible dyke. My girlfriend looked similar. We were accustomed to harassment and quick to judge whether a situation had the potential to turn nasty, united in our willingness to return fire if the culprits seemed to be all mouth, which they usually were. “Oi, dykes!” “Yeah, well spotted! Ten out of 10, lads!” Nevertheless, you might say I lived my life always primed for attack. Now here it was and I was completely unprepared.

He hit my girlfriend next. In the face. Suddenly everyone who’d been standing around us melted away. We were alone, reeling with shock, on a street that had been teeming with people. Our attacker disappeared up the road. What I recall was the paralysing shame; for the first time ever I was afraid to reach out to my lover in public. I forced myself, she batted my hands away. We had asked for it. Two short-haired women in jeans and boots and no make-up. Obvious lesbians. Of course someone had decided to teach us a lesson.

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About DIVA Magazine

Kristen Stewart tells DIVA what has been going on for her since Twilight, why she's avoiding blockbusters and what life is like for her in the tabloid spotlight. Christmas has come around quickly! Some of us love it, some not so much, so with that in mind for our gift guide, we’ve scoured the land for queer businesses, artists and crafters so you can buy your loved ones gifts and support community businesses while you shop. Because some of us like our Christmas a little different – with the honourable exception of Susan Calman – we asked counsellor Alena Dierickx to help us with a few suggestions on how to take a more innovative approach to the festivities. We’ve a bumper crop of arts-related features this month. From queer Muslim artist Raisa Kabir’s exploration of what it feels like to be both included and excluded by your own communities to author Andrea Stuart’s beautiful and thoughtful coming out story (in extract) . Author/performer Yang-May Ooi reflects on what it means to be a lesbian Asian woman living in the West. Many of us know what it’s like to be affected by homophobic abuse and Louise Carolin’s powerful feature on this issue reflects how, despite significant legal changes, hate incidents persist. Perhaps our experiences of feeling cast out explains why LGBT people are heading to Lesvos to help refugees fleeing persecution, as Mel Steel discovers. Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.