Bouncer Steps in at Nellie’s.

Location: 9th & U in front of Nellie’s
Time: Late Night (12am-5am)

I was on 9th St NW and stopped in front of Nellie’s to call a car. A man exited Nellie’s and bumped into me, knocking me off my balance. I told him assertively not to touch me and he became angry, he yelled ‘don’t touch me’ back at me and walked a few feet away to his group of friends. I then heard him loudly comment to them that I “looked like a fucking dyke.” I responded that I was queer but it was a slur for him to address me that way. At that moment, a bouncer stepped in and told him that he needed to leave and never come back to Nellie’s. He denied the whole incident and she reiterated that she had witnessed it and that he needed to leave. I thanked her and then left as my car arrived.

I want to specifically shout out the awesome bouncer who did not hesitate to step in and stand up for me against harassment. She didn’t question my account or ask us both to leave, she called out his behavior and told him in no uncertain terms that it was not acceptable in that space. She definitely made me feel safer in a moment when I was upset.

Submitted 7/11/17 by “KS”

Do you have a personal experience with harassment or assault? Share your story to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system: Whether the event is happening at the moment or occurred months ago, we strongly encourage you to report to Metro Transit Police (MTP): www.wmata.com/harassment or 202-962-2121. Reporting helps identify suspects as well as commons trends in harassment. You can program MTP’s number into your phone so you can easily reach them when needed.

If you need assistance in coping with public sexual harassment or assault, please contact the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) 24/7 crisis hotline at 202-333-RAPE (202-333-7279).

“I deserve to feel safe while going out.”

Location: Black Cat (14th and U Street NW DC)
Time: Late Night (12am-5am)

On Friday night, I went to the Black Cat for Lady Parts Justice’s Pro-choice Prom – the kind of amazing, progressive fundraising event that Black Cat is known to graciously host. That’s why what happened after the event, when my friends and I headed to the downstairs bar of the Black Cat, was so surprising. My friend and I were sitting at the bar when a group of men approached us.

One of the men started talking to us, but when I made it clear that I definitely wasn’t interested in him or his awful Richard Spencer haircut, he got more physically aggressive. He touched me and roughly grabbed my shoulder, and when I told him to get off of me, he turned to my friend and put his hand on her upper thigh. I pulled his hand off of my friend, which angered him. I told him that it’s not respectful to touch women you don’t know without their consent – he responded by pretending to apologize while forcefully grabbing my shoulder again.  The group surrounded me and my friends.  One of the men pulled up his hoodie and stood inches from me, trying to physically intimidate me.

At that point, I turned to the bartender and requested her assistance. I told her that I probably should have approached her sooner, but that this group of men was getting increasingly aggressive and we needed help. The bartender took it seriously at first, but then another member of the group came up to me, roughly grabbed my shoulder and pressed himself up against my back, and halfheartedly said, “Sorry.” I told the man to get away from me, but he wouldn’t. I looked to the bartender for help. She said something along the lines of that he was attempting to apologize, so there was nothing more she could do. As I recall, she also suggested that I was overreacting. Both she and the other bartender called the manager and refused to assist us any further.

Situations like this can be really confusing for a bartender – they really might not know how to handle it. All of the people involved in this incident had been drinking, including myself. However, my friend and I needed help, and these bartenders did not handle the situation appropriately. For the record, I was inebriated, but I feel like I was pretty calm and collected, and I definitely wasn’t overreacting (I think it’s pretty fair to not want a strange man wearing a smelly wrestling fanboy shirt touching you and breathing down your neck when you’re just trying to enjoy your Friday night).   

Unfortunately, the bartenders did not act appropriately in this situation. They allowed my friend and I to be harassed, and refused to remove the group from the bar. When the bar manager finally spoke with me, she agreed that the situation had not been handled appropriately and promised me that the group had been removed from the bar (they hadn’t) and the bar was being closed early. 

I’m calling out Black Cat for allowing this group of people to sexually harass and intimidate my friends and me. I deserve to feel safe while going out, and until this incident is addressed, I know that Black Cat, no matter how many progressive events they host, isn’t a safe place to be.

Submitted 7/11/17 by “JR”

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault? Share your story to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system: Whether the event is happening at the moment or occurred months ago, we strongly encourage you to report to Metro Transit Police (MTP): www.wmata.com/harassment or 202-962-2121. Reporting helps identify suspects as well as commons trends in harassment. You can program MTP’s number into your phone so you can easily reach them when needed.

If you need assistance in coping with public sexual harassment or assault, please contact the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) 24/7 crisis hotline at 202-333-RAPE (202-333-7279).

We Did It! #DoMore24 Wrap-Up

Wow! Thanks to amazing supporters like you, we were able to #RaisetheBar! Because you gave, because you drank with us at happy hour, because you tweeted and took selfies, because you shared our campaign, Collective Action for Safe Spaces raised more than $9,500 through our #DoMore24 campaign to launch the Safe Bar Collective!

Your support will provide CJ, Kiki, Cassandra, and Maria with access to safe and supportive employment in our partner bars and restaurants this summer!

But our work is not done yet — there’s still so much we have to do to make bars a safe space for ALL, and here’s how you can help:

  1. Donate to the Safe Bar Collective. Missed the campaign but still want to support trans folks of color in DC? Give here!
  2. Patron our Safe Bars. The full list of all our trained bars can be found here.
  3. Share the Safe Bar Collective with your networks. We need everyone on board to make bars a safe space for all, especially trans folks of color. Share our campaign on Twitter and Facebook today!

Also, we need people to testify in support of the Street Harassment Prevention Act on Wednesday, July 12th.

Introduced in February, the Street Harassment Prevention Act is one of the first of its kind to establish a comprehensive framework to address street harassment in our community through non-criminal solutions.

Now we need YOU to share your stories of harassment in the District to show the Council how important this act is to community safety. Sign up to testify or submit written testimony here, and we’ll be in contact with resources and support!

From all of us at CASS, thank you.

Let’s Make DC Nightlife Safer for *Everyone* This #DoMore24

Trans people face tremendous hurdles — like wage inequity, lack of legal protections, and implicit bias — when it comes to securing stable unemployment. In DC alone, 36% of trans men and women have faced unemployment during their lives. But for Black trans people, this statistic increases significantly to a staggering 55%.

Chronic unemployment stemming from literal and figurative discrimination leads to housing instability, lack of health insurance, and poverty — all things that no person should have to face in one of the wealthiest cities in America.

With feedback from our widely popular Safe Bar program, CASS is stepping up our commitment to making bars safer for *everyone* with the new Safe Bar Collective!

If you haven’t heard already, the Safe Bar Collective will provide four trans people of color with access to safe and supportive employment in our partner bars and restaurants. By providing job training, hygiene kits, and transportation stipends, we aim to support people like Cassandra (who started transitioning after she moved to DC) and CJ (who was fired when he asked for sick time) not only get a job, but with the resources they need to keep it.

“I moved to DC because I wanted to be in a city where I could succeed and be myself,” says Cassandra. “I knew I could be myself here.” Cassandra’s job in the Safe Bar Collective will be her first job since she transitioned. Let’s show Cassandra the support she needs and deserves.

Safe Bar Collective can make real impact on real people’s lives, but we can’t do it without you. Today is #DoMore24, our 24-hour giving challenge. We need to raise $13,000 to launch the Safe Bar Collective and we hope you can help us reach our goal. Here’s what you can do:

Donate $48 — today only, your donations will be matched, which makes your $48 automatically $96! With this funding, we can supply our pilot program participants CJ, Kiki, Maria, and Cassandra with the resources and training they need to succeed!

Take a selfie — Tweet a selfie of yourself with this sign and some Tweet that says why you’re supporting our #DoMore24 campaign. Don’t forget to use the #RaisetheBar and #DoMore24 hashtags to help CASS win bonus cash from United Way, the organizers of #DoMore24.

Spread the word — Follow our campaign on social media today and spread the word with your friends, coworkers, paramours, and anyone else you know! Need some ideas to make your own posts? Check out our social media toolkit.

Let’s show Cassandra and CJ they support they need and deserve — and make DC safer for *everyone.*

Let’s get CJ hired!

For three and a half years, CJ made his living as a hard-working cashier. He always came to work on time and constantly went above and beyond to achieve the very best at the retail store where he worked. But despite his work ethic, CJ watched and waited as other people were hired and promoted to manager positions. For all his accomplishments, he remained where he was as a cashier.

Then one day, something happened to CJ: he got sick.

When he went to his boss with a doctor’s letter, his boss refused him outright and fired CJ on the spot. CJ was devastated.

“When I got fired, I was so distraught because I worked so hard to get to that position,” says CJ.

Sadly, for trans people of color like CJ, finding and maintaining a stable job can be a challenge.

In DC, the unemployment rate for the transgender community is 36 percent, and skyrockets to 55 percent for Black trans people. Research shows that the root cause of unemployment for trans people is tied directly to discrimination. What’s more — 40 percent of transgender adults were refused at least one job because of their gender identity and 47 percent of employees preferred hiring a less qualified cisgender applicant over a more qualified trans applicant.

The new Safe Bar Collective is working to fix that. Your support on June 8th during #DoMore24 will help us ensure that trans people of color — including CJ — are trained, hired, and supported.

The Safe Bar Collective is piloting a program to provide four trans people of color with access to safe and supportive employment in partner bars and restaurants this summer. CASS and the Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC (ROC-DC) will provide everything CJ and the three other participants need to thrive — including restaurant job training, hygiene kits, and transportation stipends to and from work.

Take the pledge to help CJ access safe, supportive employment at a Safe Bar!

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