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Worried About my safety.

Jet McCartney

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I live in a very conservative area. The kind of place where racism and homophobia are "normal" daily bits of conversation. I hate to generalise, but nearly everyone around me uses slurs on the daily and are very outward in their hatred. Everyone has massive Trump flags on their trucks and go around shouting at people they don't like. To be honest, I'm surprised I have made it as far as I have in a place like this, looking and sounding the way I do.


Unfortunately, because these are the only people I'm around, these are some of the only people I know as well. My sister is one of my only support systems, but her bf is one of those rednecks I mentioned earlier. Well, I found out that she and her bf have been telling people I am trans. She is bi, and is very open about it. She let's everyone she's around know, so I guess she thought it would be okay to out me. 


When I found out I obviously asked her to stop, which she did, but the damage has been done. Now the same people that have expressed a desire to "kill all the f@@gs this hunting season" also know that I am trans. (They are very serious btw) 


I am 5"5', with no muscle. I dress tough but I am not. I break apart at the smallest hint of danger. I've thought about what I could do in certain situations before, but if something actually happened, I'd be the loser. 


I stay in shape, but my health has always been very poor. I don't even know how to throw a proper punch. I was beaten as a child, and the thought of that happening again, probably to a worse extent scares me. 


I try to stay diligent, but I definitely look like an easy target. I've read some stories on here of people being beaten up real bad, and I don't want that to happen to me. 


Any advice? Is there a way to learn self-defense by yourself? I am a pacifist, but I want the option if it comes to that. 

Any advice in anything would honestly be helpful. I don't feel safe right now, knowing how many brash men frequent around me. (Just the other day a homeless man threatened me for looking like a girl.) 

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  • Admin

I understand your fears, @Jet McCartney, but please don't panic.  I have several friends in similar places as yours, and their friends and acquaintances know that they're trans, and they've never had a series problem.  If your sister told people you both know, I doubt if they would do something to you.  A lot of people say things bad about certain groups; that doesn't mean they are looking to harm a person from one of those groups.


As far as self defense, you can arm yourself with defensive weapons such as stun guns and pepper spray (or bear spray).  I'm not going to suggest or encourage arming yourself with anything deadly.  Taking self defense classes are useful, but it would take months to become proficient with any technique, and classes can also be expensive.


Perhaps the best advice is to be situtionally aware; don't walk with your head in your cell phone, keep your eyes open and on a swivel, think about escape routes if threatened, have emergency numbers on speed dial, and let people know where you will be and when to expect you to return.


I wish you luck and safety.


Carolyn Marie

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I carry pepper spray and a loud alarm.  I applied for my concealed carry permit so I can carry a taser.  I have a feeling that their only usefulness is giving myself peace of mind.

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@Jet McCartney I'm really sorry to hear about the situation you're in. I know this is not feasible for many people, but perhaps  moving to a more sane and trans friendly state? One with legal protections for trans people and where the people are not radicalized.

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I think Carolyn Marie offered the best advice. Stay situationally aware and consider carrying pepper or bear spray if it is legal where you live. 


Sending good thoughts for you, Jet!

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Jet I’m feeling burned about how she outed you like that.


 I’ve been done the same way.  It’s like they didn’t think that we should have a problem being outed…


I personally don’t see “trans friendly states” as any more guarantee of safety in a given moment.   .  If anything, the haters there might feel more oppressed….


Do you like where you live?


 I like all of Carolyn Marie’s   advice.  Trying to be aware and do these things too.  


One of my goals is to have people in my life who are close that I can tell things like my whereabouts and who can vouch for me.  Maybe even have friends to go places with because it’s safer and normal. 


Same things hopefully for you,  man .  Peace with you 





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I'm so sorry you're feeling so vulnerable in this way @Jet McCartney. In addition to the advice given above, although as it's been pointed out, it does take time to become proficient in self defense, one gains a lot of confidence in the learning process. If you can learn to kick, flick, and slap efficiently, it goes a long way to your peace of mind -and you can train with anything soft. Shadow box with such techniques, as it were, and this will help cardio health too. I studied mixed martial arts back in my day. Most actual fights end up on the ground. Learning how to punch is actually not a top priority in self defense. Kick to the groin or knee, finger flick to the eye, and learning how to unbalance, stun & disengage. On the ground, if an assailant is standing, you can hook one foot behind their leg and kick the leg or knee forward with the other - they will fall or at least stumble. Running is the best self defense & health permitting you can train that on your own (being mindful of safety where and when you run, of course). It's a drag to be in a situation which requires such vigilance. It's fatiguing and perpetuates stress. Have you seriously considered an exit strategy from where you live? I understand that's much easier said than done. Apologies that this reply is a bit rambling - dealing with some emotional aftermath, myself. I'll be thinking of you and praying for your safety and peace of mind. 

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I would suggest carrying a form of less than lethal such as pepper spray, taser or even a knife. If carrying a knife, go for the femoral artery and twist. It's located on the inner thigh. One more suggestion would be to go for where the neck meets the jaw. Another good area is the jugular where the neck connects to the shoulder. If armed with taser go for the nuts. Pepper spray you have to know where the wind is blowing. If they try to push move to where your side is showing and push their back or if equipped with the knife, go for their armpit. If you see a punch coming, drop down and swing a leg aiming behind or at their kneecaps. You will have the advantage of being smaller. These techniques should be practiced. These items will be easier to carry for you since you will probably. have good size pockets. 

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On 10/16/2023 at 1:48 PM, Jet McCartney said:

Any advice? Is there a way to learn self-defense by yourself? I am a pacifist, but I want the option if it comes to that. 

Any advice in anything would honestly be helpful. I don't feel safe right now, knowing how many brash men frequent around me. (Just the other day a homeless man threatened me for looking like a girl.) 


By yourself, learning how to defend is difficult.  I'd get to a city nearby and find some training.  Idaho is the state with the most guns per capita according to some sources, so don't get the idea that pepper spray or a knife or martial arts will do you much good - the exception being a focus on disarmament techniques.  But a firearm has a much greater range than your hand.  If you're in a rural area, pretty much everybody you meet will have a pistol.  Its certainly that way in my area.  There may be a lot of gun owners, but many of them lack training.  If you go that route, training provides an edge beyond the mere equalizer that a gun provides. 


As a pacifist, you might look into some courses about conflict resolution and negotiation.  Sometimes police officers get that training, so perhaps contact your local PD or sheriff's office.  A weapon is the final solution you never want to use, and many conflicts (even involving a drawn weapon) get resolved without shots fired. 


For defense, running quickly in a zig-zag works against poorly trained people.  Also, intimately learning the differences between "cover" and "concealment."  My husband is a Defense officer, marksman, and gun builder - he's showed me a lot about what objects provide ballistic protection.  You can look up some videos on Youtube, as there's lots of content testing bullets against barriers.  Pretty much everything you see on TV (like hiding behind a car) doesn't work.  Knowledge is power, and it is possible to escape and evade while staying true to your beliefs in nonviolence. 


All that said, a lot of the time the bark of the Trumpists is much worse than their bite.  I was assaulted last year (following a car accident, so not totally random), and it was soundly condemned by the community.  The guy got sent to jail for a long time.  While I haven't been to your area, I've noticed in the area where I live (and other conservative zones) that the same orthodoxy which contributes to a lack of acceptance also prevents public disturbances and crime.  Breaches of peace and order aren't usually tolerated, so hopefully you might be safer than it feels. 


Does your sister know that what she did might have undermined your safety?  Have you had a conversation about it?  Does she have any ideas to help you, or is she willing to think about it?

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As a former federal law enforcement officer (ew, I know), this is what I can recommend. Firstly, avoid being an easy target. Travel in groups, or in well lit and well populated areas as much as possible. When alone, walk with your head high and a sense of purpose, like you are heading to a meeting. It might even help to be on the phone having a pretend conversation (to give the illusion that help is already on the line). 


If you get into a physical altercation, you are already disadvantaged, as the attacker is obviously willing to escalate. It's about buying time, and as much as possible, not making the attack worth it. Pepper spray is definitely a viable option if legal in your area to carry without a permit. Just know that if you deploy the pepper spray, you are likely to get some effects as well. Its also possible to fight through the pain, although vision and mobility are seriously impaired (had to be pepper sprayed for training, and I will NEVER do that again unless I am in a fight). I don't have any experience with tasers or stun guns, so definitely look into training and license requirements for that, if you choose that option.


I would advise against carrying a knife for personal protection. Unless properly trained, it becomes a liability. The attacker, if previously unarmed, has seen you escalate the fight. If they gain advantage, now they can have a weapon against you. I saw a self defense video once in which it was claimed that once an altercation moves to knives, it usually doesn't end without serious physical injury or death. And if it ends in the other person's death, despite who started the fight, it will be hard to argue in court out of manslaughter. 


As people have stated before, the best offense is a good defense. Stay vigilant and as safe as you can.

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15 hours ago, RaeOfSunshine said:

Pepper spray is definitely a viable option if legal in your area to carry without a permit. Just know that if you deploy the pepper spray, you are likely to get some effects as well. Its also possible to fight through the pain, although vision and mobility are seriously impaired (had to be pepper sprayed for training, and I will NEVER do that again unless I am in a fight).


I would advise against carrying a knife for personal protection. Unless properly trained, it becomes a liability.


I will add and echo a bit, as Rae has made a couple of good points.


Regarding pepper spray, don't just carry any old brand you find.  Not all are equally effective, and some people can work through pepper spray.  My husband is one of them.  Through his work in the military and law enforcement, he's been exposed to several different kinds.  Just about all of them he can see through, and only "Sabre Red" brand slows him down just a little.  And that's without adrenaline.  Once somebody has adrenaline in their system, pain and inflammation are temporarily reduced and people are capable of some crazy stuff.  Don't count on any chemical agent incapacitating an attacker - it might only buy a couple of seconds against somebody who is enraged, high on drugs, or really determined. 


Rae makes a good point about knives.  Just....don't.  You can have a pocket knife or multitool as a tool, but don't think of it as a weapon.  The "low entry threshold" of getting just getting a knife from the store seems easy, but it makes it just as dangerous to you.  A knife IS a deadly weapon, and in a legal sense it will be treated in the same manner as a firearm by the police.  All the drawbacks of a gun, and none of the benefits.  So, if you're going to carry a deadly weapon, get training and get a gun. 


On a side note, If you buy a weapon and intend to carry it, you also need to commit to regular practice.  And even those things may not help if you don't have the right mindset.  "Mindset, Skillset, Toolset.  In that order."  I have a handgun and I carry it, but its mostly for snakes and wild animals.  I had it on the day I was assaulted - it did me absolutely no good in the glovebox of my car.  I shoot regularly and I'm accurate, but my reaction time is really slow and I'm just no good at defending myself.  I don't have the aggression or the instinct.  My husband and GF have tried to train the helplessness out of me, with little success.  So if you're like me, you just minimize your exposure to threats and maximize your ability to scamper to safety.  I stay home mostly, and I only go out with others. 

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