Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ties that bind

My facebook™© feed has already blossomed with ties, most of them knotted around the necks of semi-naked bodies — all symbols of support for a woman many of us know but have never met.

Swimmers have rallied around her.

She is Helena Martins, and last week in south London, a man attacked her as she walked home from work. She said she believes the attack was because she is lesbian, and that the tie she was wearing became some kind of signal to the attacker.

The attacker punched her in the eye and choked her with the tie. Read more here.

On facebook©® afterward, Helena wrote:
I don't think I'll be rocking a tie in the near future.

Today, one street away from my home, I was assaulted by a man who just went berserk at me, trying to pull my tie off.

I've got a scratched and punched face, a sore neckline by all the tie pulling and a very bruised soul.

I did fight back a little, but when I saw my (cochlear) implant being tossed around on the floor and stepped on, I just wanted the guy to leave me alone and crouched against the wall with my hands and arms above my head and chest.

The all thing was over in 2 minutes.

Please. Homophobia Transphobia are still very much alive. If you hear or see someone making fun with pub jokes, harassing or bullying of LGBT people, making comments while watching TV or a movie or whatever...

Act. Speak out.

Your silence makes them feel that they are right. They're not.

Tell them. Please. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Some women wear ties, some men wear skirts. Get the heck over it.

One thing is true: I shouldn't be punched in the face for wearing a tie.
Helena became deaf as the result of Ménière's Disease, a disorder of the inner ear that can also cause severe dizziness. The attacker may have identified Helena as an easy target, she said, mistaking her unsteady gait for inebriation.

Almost immediately, swimming fans rallied and began rocking ties. Fiona Bettles, like me, doesn't know Helena personally, but follows Helena and a myriad other swimmers in their daily open water and pool endeavors. She's among several who are organizing today, Tuesday, for wearing a tie in support of Helena.

Swimmer Suzie Dods posted the same on the Marathon Swimmers Forum. The grassroots campaign is #tieforhelena.

Here's my bid.

Many swimmers didn't wait for today, instead showing up at their group events over the weekend in (swim)suits and ties. Their sartorial choices made their way on facebook™® over the last four days.

Helena Martins, as well as those who have stirred this campaign, urge supporters to stand up and speak out against homophobic and racist attacks. Scotland Yard reported that homophobic attacks in London had increased by nearly a third in the year between July 2014 and July 2015.

Rock your tie today.

No comments:

Post a Comment