In case anyone’s managed to not notice, the GLBT related hate crime rate is going up in the US.Â We’re not the only ones, Muslims have a higher rate and it’s going up faster, but it’s something to be aware of.
Different people have different ways of handling their new (or increased) target status after coming out.Â Me?Â I re-enrolled myself in martial arts.Â I’m not really a fighting person by nature, I’m small and fairly weak and the sight of my own blood makes me pass out.Â However, I prefer my face in its current arrangement and that wasn’t happening with me doing punching bag impressions.Â So I went and signed up for a kung fu refresher at my old school and threw in some judo and kick-boxing just in case.
Now, martial arts aren’t magic.Â They’re not going to make you capable of taking on six guys twice your size after one lesson or anything.Â At first the biggest boost was the added stamina needed to run fast until people got bored or tired.Â Actually, that’s probably still my most useful skill.Â Like I said, I’m not really a fighter.Â It took about a month for me to get back into it enough to be able to put my old memories to any use and then another month or so before I’d developed the strength to do it well.Â After that it was at least another two months before I could use the new stuff I was learning.Â It’s not a quick fix, even for those of us who’ve been taking lessons since we were kids.
Even if it was, there’s more to self defense than beating up your attacker.Â Legally speaking there are all kinds of rules about what you can get away with before facing criminal charges yourself.Â If a guy punches you once and you beat him until he’s hospitalised, that’s no longer self defense.Â As much as I like the idea of going around beating the shit out of bashers, it’s still not exactly the brightest thing to do if you want to keep yourself out of jail.Â Look up laws in your state, ask a lawyer friend, whatever, just make sure you’re not going from victim to attacker.Â General rule of thumb is to only inflict as much damage as necessary to escape, anything more and you’re getting into grey areas.
A few of my friends have taken to getting concealed weapons permits.Â I like guns, grew up shooting rifles and I’m pretty good with a pistol.Â I’m not so comfortable with the idea of carrying one around though.Â First of all, guns aren’t really defensive weapons.Â You pull a gun on someone and you’re looking to seriously injure them, not just get away before you get hurt.Â Even if you don’t mean to, there’s no such thing as a minor gunshot wound, especially not from the distances bashers are usually at.Â Second, guns are pretty easily taken away from you if there’s more than one attacker or the attacker has a big enough size advantage.Â I don’t know about you, but I’m not so cool with the idea of my own gun being turned on me.Â If this is something you’re considering I suggest taking a long look at the advantages and drawbacks before making a decision.
There’s also pepper spray, mace, modified weapons from every day objects, and a host of other options.Â Honestly, I don’t know much beyond “try not to say anything stupid and run really fucking fast.”Â I can defend myself, but it’s not something I like to do.Â It’s something we should all think about though.Â We can talk all we want about how any assault is wrong and how no one should have to worry about it, but the reality is that it does happen and we do have to worry about it.Â We need to be prepared just in case.Â It won’t make what happens to us any better, but at least we’ll stand a better chance of getting out alive.