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Cosplaying as a Transgender? Sexual Harassment Questions

#1 User is offline   Vaserati 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 08:38 PM

Hello. This year and last I have been embracing my transyness in my cosplay, and had a special furkini made so I could. I am a 26 year old MTF Transgender but I look mostly male. I haven't been sure if I was allowed to complain or defend myself in certain situations though since legally speaking I am still male.

Last year 3 people came up and groped me without permission, only one of them surprised my bikini didn't have squeekers inside. This year I avoided the groping but someone did slap my bum on the sales floor, and it felt like they used a whip or riding crop. I turned to smack whoever it was but they were gone. Then I thought I shouldn't be slapping people even if they violate my personal bubble.

The only other gripe I have is people considering me a crossplayer, but I guess that's okay cuz I'm only a year in on hormone treatment so my gender can be confusing if I remember to shave. XD

Anywho... I'm not sure how to respond to sexual harassment as both a cosplayer, a transgendered person, and next year an exhibitor for Pawstar. If other LGBT people and/or staff could give me some insight on if I can defend myself or not, that would be great. You can also share your stories if you are a trans individual and feel brave enough to post about past incidents (keep it PG, harder complaints should be taken up with IRT directly)

PS. I expect forum mods will help keep this thread clean of hate posts, but if you see hate posts please just ignore them. It is more annoying to remove replies to hate than original posts.
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#2 User is offline   Jadante 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:02 PM

I'm not trans, but.. that behavior was entirely inappropriate, and I'm so sorry you had to experience that at ACen. You should never have to take harassment like that. It's probably not legal to hit them if they do that (though I wish it was), but I would suggest probably finding a member of IRT or someone else in authority and alerting them so that they can take care of the problem. You never have to put up with touching that you don't like.
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#3 User is offline   Sapphy 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:25 PM

Unwanted contact of any kind is something that should not be tolerated, regardless of how you're dressed. It doesn't matter that you're transgender in this case--harassment is harassment is harassment and it's Not Right. I'd wager that IRT feels the same way about harassment at-con, too, and I'd hope they have a zero-tolerance policy regarding it.

The best thing to do is to let the person know that the contact was NOT wanted, but that's way easier said than done. Personally, I think I'd just be in a horrified shock if anything like that happened to me. I would, however, report it to IRT. Even if you can't give a badge name, if you can give a description of the person, then they can at least keep an eye out. The more people that report unwanted behavior like this, the better for everyone. No one should have to deal with that kind of situation when they're trying to enjoy themselves at the convention.
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#4 User is offline   chriskazaglis 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:32 PM

I'm a dude, I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you.
I want to tell you about two scenarios.

Some young guys walks up to a woman, and grab her. That woman turns and decks the guys, maybe even the guy has a broken jaw BUT, when the police come, the guys are locked up without much question about if the woman was provoked.

Now that same group of guys come up to a man, and grab him. The man turns and decks the guy, maybe the guy has a broken jaw. The police show up. Who do they arrest? Most likely the man that was grabbed. They young guy with a broken jaw is crying to the cops, "I just patted him on the back and he decks me!"

Is this right or wrong? Idk. My advice, give warning before you deck someone.

You're already doing the BEST thing possible: advocate, let people know. I think the more people that start to hear about this, the more people will believe it's not acceptable.

#5 User is offline   Vaserati 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:44 PM

View Postchriskazaglis, on 19 May 2013 - 10:32 PM, said:

I'm a dude, I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you.
I want to tell you about two scenarios.

Some young guys walks up to a woman, and grab her. That woman turns and decks the guys, maybe even the guy has a broken jaw BUT, when the police come, the guys are locked up without much question about if the woman was provoked.

Now that same group of guys come up to a man, and grab him. The man turns and decks the guy, maybe the guy has a broken jaw. The police show up. Who do they arrest? Most likely the man that was grabbed. They young guy with a broken jaw is crying to the cops, "I just patted him on the back and he decks me!"

Is this right or wrong? Idk. My advice, give warning before you deck someone.

You're already doing the BEST thing possible: advocate, let people know. I think the more people that start to hear about this, the more people will believe it's not acceptable.


That scenario example is exactly why it's hard/scary as a trans person to think about defending myself. It took some convincing to even get my school to give me the go ahead to defend myself if need be (and my school is very lgbt friendly) though fortunately I never needed to.

Though, a smack/slap is a lot less of a battery than breaking jaws XD I'd never go that far unless well... yknow.. non-PG stuff.

This post has been edited by Vaserati: 19 May 2013 - 10:46 PM

Hi my name is Draga aka Pinky.
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#6 User is offline   Stkbayfield 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:46 PM

Unwanted gropes and sexual assaults should not be tolerated in any way shape or form regardless of cosplay, gender or location.

All we can do is make sure that everyone is on the same side and that witnesses will be able to assist with making sure culprits are brought to IRT and receive due punishment.

Cosplay is not consent. The movement is growing and the support has been overwhelming.

#7 User is offline   Valkyrie 

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 02:20 PM

Sexual harassment isn't tolerated, period. That is IRT's stance. It doesn't matter what gender you are. Being touched in any manner without your consent also constitutes assault - in your case, sexual. We do not tolerate that, either, for any gender. If it happens, you or a member of your group should immediately find a member of IRT and let us know. We have procedures for handling this kind of incident, and we will follow them to the exact letter.

We are here to help protect you. You should not have to be afraid to be yourself at our convention.

(As a moderator note, yes, we will watch for insulting, flaming, or any form of hateful post. But we won't ignore it. We don't tolerate it any more than we would at the con itself. Offenders will be dealt with in appropriate fashion.)
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#8 User is offline   Wingy Baby 

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 02:25 PM

^ This.

This is a convention/forum to support and love what brings us together and the new friends we make because of it.
Not to hate.

We'll be watching.
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#9 User is offline   Audri 

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:52 PM

Wow I'm terribly sorry you have had such horrible experiences. Just for the record I'm 33, MTF Transgender and have been cosplaying at ACen for 4 years now.

As far as defending yourself, I certainly would do it despite any future consequences. I'd like to think in a progressive city like Chicago the truth would prevail in this situation.

For me ACen is like any other day. Make sure I look as good as possible (sometimes difficult at 6'3" and larger then healthy LOL) and go. I'm sure you have had to learn "how to blend in" with being out on your regular day. Dont change any of your routines for ACen.

Also for one other piece of advice.. Before I say it, I just want to say this is MY opinion and may certainly be up for interpetation.. I would not cosplay any character that might encourage glomping or really bad fangirling/fanboying. Some examples of that might be Pinkie Pie, Hetalia characters and such. Generally when I choose a cosplay I pick somone that first off I enjoy but second off will work with my situation. Both of my last two cosplays have been women that frankly aren't the most huggable and their fans tend to be of a older audience. Again with that said that is just my personal choice.

If you ever need to talk or anything feel free to look me up.

This post has been edited by Audri: 02 July 2013 - 04:53 PM

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#10 User is offline   CrimsonAnime 

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:13 PM

I don't care what your gender, sexuality or whatever is. People inappropriately touching someone in any way is wrong and is constantly addressed but is hard to stop.

YOU should NEVER feel like you have no right to complain. A convention, cosplay, gathering or rave is no excuse for people to behave as though they don't understand the basics of sexual harassment. I hate the fact that you are afraid of defending yourself and hate the fact that you even hesitate to complain. This is a huge issue with our culture. They - our USA (not cosplay) culture - like to make sexual assault the victim's fault and it never is.

I hope you feel better about future ACen's with the support you are receiving here and I hope that you know that IRT staff are there to help.
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#11 User is offline   Genichiro 

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 05:21 AM

I am also transgendered, and I wouldn't hesitate to report anyone who tries to violate me in any way; we can't be afraid to be ourselves, especially at a convention, where we're supposed to be able to get away from the stress in our lives for a few days.

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 03:05 AM

Man I'm so sorry this happened to you. As everyone stated above this is not tolerated and shouldn't be. I have a friend that is FTM and he's dealt with things like this before. No one should be groped or harassed. It's not right and not fair.

Again I wish that there was some way of getting peoples attention. Of note, it's a smart idea to take a buddy along with you that can keep a watchful eye out for jerks. These are handlers and they are there to act as a pal and security.
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