Yesterday afternoon, Char was crossing a street in the Tenderloin. A man with a group of about four of his buddies pulled out a gun, pointed it at my lover, and said “Let’s kill this tranny.”

Char ran. They were not pursued. No shots were fired. They are alive and OK.

This is the reason why when Char is half an hour late getting home I start to expect the worst. It’s certainly not the first time shit like this has happened. It’s just a fact of Char’s life, and therefore, now, of mine.

I have so much love for Char, and so much wonder for the miracle of their survival. Diabetic, a recovering alcoholic drug addict, the survivor of transphobic attempted murder— the fact that they are still breathing is unlikely, wondrous, and precious. They must have nine lives or more. I respect them so much for weathering what they’ve been through, and for not letting it break them.

Yesterday, I watched with disbelief as they just picked themselves up and moved on. They even laughed about it. When I heard that sweet, evil cackle of theirs I couldn’t believe that anybody would want them dead. Their smile, their wise eyes, their warmth and kindness and sense of irony and unbelievable strength are astounding. That anybody could see their whole life and everything that they are as just trash, as just something to destroy for shits and giggles, stuns and infuriates me.

I don’t know if I want to live in a world this horrible, where people want somebody like Char dead just for daring to live. But I am gonna live because the least I can do is be as audacious as Char and keep surviving. No fucking way am I gonna leave them alone now.

I just wish we could get away to somewhere far away, some island or some cabin in the mountains, but as an insulin dependent diabetic Char really can’t go off the grid. I just wish there were some place of refuge. But we’re already in San Francisco, the place where people like us run away to. I guess the only thing to do, really, is to stay and fight. Try to make it better. Our backs are to the wall. Our only hope is in surrounding ourselves with more strong, resilient trans people, so that maybe all of us can look out for each other, and together, grasp at the little moments of safety and happiness, and forget all the indignities and all the danger, just for a little while.

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About Asher

Asher Bauer is fast becoming a fixture in the San Francisco kink community, and intends to stay that way. He has worked as a Queer Educator at LYRIC (Lavender Youth Recreation And Information Center), and since has taken his talents as an educator to a wider variety of audiences, teaching on subjects ranging from safer sex to BDSM to trans and queer identities. He is also one of the hosts and originators of Transmission, the new trans-centric party at the San Francisco Citadel, and Invasion, the Citadel's all-genders queer party. View all posts by Asher

17 responses to “Surviving [TW TRANSPHOBIC DEATH THREAT, GUNS]

  • vincepardue

    Damn, Asher, I am so sorry to hear about this! I’m really glad Char wasn’t hurt. I’m so angry that shit like this happens to trans people every day! I’ve had my own share of death threats and abuse and it scares the hell out of me.

    Please take good care and be careful out there! Sending you both my best wishes.

  • Amy Marsh, EdD, DHS, ACS, CHt

    I am so glad you both are okay. Wish I could give you and Char and everyone that safe place of refuge. Your families will stand with you too, you know, even if we can’t make the world totally safe.

  • Amy Marsh, EdD, DHS, ACS, CHt

    I always think about that, wishing I could create that place of refuge for you both – and for lots of other people too. I dream of a Kona coffee farm, with both of you managing it with me – or an intentional community somewhere near SF – but not so urban, not so violent. Or another country – where? The U.S. is becoming so facist – literally facist – with every new day. But there are places, perhaps, and not so off the grid that Char couldn’t get their insulin. I love you both and want you to thrive. Your families will stand with you, you know, even if we can’t make the world safer. Let us know what we can do.

  • Eli

    I am so sorry this happened to you folks. Let me be clear about “liking” this post. I like, ” I guess the only thing to do, really, is to stay and fight. Try to make it better.” And everyday it is a little better. But that day was shit, for sure. Keep your heads up friends, it’s all we can do sometimes, and sometimes that small act, that act of defiance, of holding on, is the biggest affront to the bigots.


  • Jade

    I am glad that Char is okay. That is really scary stuff for the both of you. I do wish there was a refuge where trans individuals could go and actually be safe. Unfortunately a lot of trans people on the east coast look to SF as this bastion of safety while more and more stories are coming out that it is not. The closest thing we have out here is Asheville, NC which is good and has a strong trans community but it is slowly being taken over by bigots in the elected and appointed governmental positions. It is like there can be no safe place in the US for us.

  • Robin Crawford

    Nancy and I love you both dearly, and deeply respect the two kinds of courage that you share. First, that you have both found the courage to be true to your selves. It is inspiring. It is what we all hope and long to do with our lives; the only worthwhile thing, after all. The second sort of courage, the courage to be on the streets day after day, knowing the insults and threats you will face, is no less inspiring, but is a tragedy. If more were courageous in honestly being themselves, there would be fewer who are trapped in fear and ugly hatred.

  • Lori Adorable

    Your commentary here was as beautiful as it was painful. I am so fucking sorry for this bullshit.

  • CrimeDime

    I am so sorry this happened, and relieved that the ending is not tragic.

  • BriaGrace

    God, I am so sorry. For both of you. I am so glad Char is okay.

    (As a side note, I have followed both you and Char separately for a while now, but never made the connection that you were partners. The more you know, eh?)

  • Nolan

    Thank you so much for posting about this bullshit. More importantly, thank you for sharing how you chose to react to it. Your (and Char’s) strength that I witness through your writing has enabled me to become more aware about issues affecting trans*people.

  • TransgenderLawCenter (@TransLawCenter)

    This is all too common and our hearts go out to you and all of our transgender family who are experiencing violence and discrimination.

  • mx. punk

    it’s fucking harsh that shit keeps happening. and i fucking love your response to it; talk about it and fight it.

  • OldFriend

    I was reading an article about “the dangers of FetLife” online. Imagine my surprise when I found the article directly referencing an essay you’d written on this site. I’m shocked.

    -an old friend

    • Asher

      So “friend” don’t be a fucking creep, tell me who you are.

      • OldFriend

        I read all of your backlogged articles and perused the comments section, and won’t use my name because I’ve seen you reply with aggression and hostility even to civil and supportive commenters who just had questions. I would rather not be on the receiving end of that, at least not when names are involved and the hostility can become very personal.

        I do see your point that this can come across as creepy, and I apologize. You won’t be seeing vaguely sinister anonymous comments from me on all your future entries or anything like that. Knowing that this means nothing coming from someone anonymous, I still want to say that I’ve liked your articles and that it’s inspiring to see that over the years you’ve become such a prominent voice in the trans community. All the best.

      • Asher

        Yep, as I suspected, you definitely aren’t a friend.

      • Asher

        Also can’t believe you pulled that sanctimonious, judgmental shit on this post of all posts. Do you not get yet that it is dangerous to be trans and have your name and face known? Yet I put myself out there just the same, as does Char. And yet you get to be anonymous while you judge what you term my hostility and aggression. I don’t care who you are, I know what you are. I may not know your name, but you’ve made it plain, as many an internet anonymous does unintentionally, what your character is– and isn’t. Not a word of support for my lover whose life was recently threatened, just naive judgment. Go you.


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