By Dayne Tank
VANCOUVER – I’m a very emotional person. Something as little as a friend not saying hi at the club can set me off into a spiral of questions. Because of this, a lot of people get confused when I talk so openly, casually, even joking about being assaulted and hit in the back of the head with a collapsible baton by a stranger. There are two reasons why I joke about this: one, I just really love seeing shocked and uncomfortable reactions on people’s faces, and two, I’m somewhat thankful for the experience as whole.
While by no means am I thankful for the physical pain and how emotionally distraught I was for months afterwards, before the assault I was completely disconnected from my local LGBTQ community. I was obsessed with traditional masculinity, and finding those traits in a boyfriend. I dressed colourful but kept to my assigned gender’s clothing and turned my nose down at drag and its art in general. After the assault, along with the obvious depression that followed, I felt some of my friends’ and classmates’ reactions to be less than understanding.
I was about to begin my last semester of college at Langara when this assault occurred, and after having a private meeting with the head of the faculty to discuss what had happened, her reply was, “Well, please make sure you do not miss any classes.” This came two months after when I was excused from all classes and assignments for two weeks when I had mono. That meeting, among other experiences, helped me change for the better.
In the coming months, I started to understand exclusion and the lack of understanding that I was guilty of, as well as marginalized pain. I slowly embraced queer culture and history and started to delve into drag and its pop-culture resurgence, and I acknowledged needs and parts of myself I had completely denied beforehand. So from my heart, which feels a whole lot bigger after this, thank you, Mr. Drunk Guy with a Baton. And fuck you as well.