Am I in danger?
March 10, 2014 11:14 AM Subscribe
Total snowstorm inside, in short my roommate for the next month has very, very different worldviews from me, does things I find offensive and might have access to a gun. He does not know that I am transgendered.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (65 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm going to try hard to tell this as succinctly as possible, but I'm short on sleep and on a public computer so there is an element of trying to hurry.
I'm in a remote part of the western US with a wonderful organization I have been involved with before. I'm here for a month. I'm taking a class to gain a skill set I both wish to have and may use to gain employment, it is an expensive class. Today is day one. We have assigned roommates, there are about 30 of us. We appear to be predominantly (students, instructors, and staff) hetrosexual cisgendered white males in our late teens through early 30s.
I'm white, transgendered mtf, and generally identify as queer. The queer part has been an important aspect of my identity for a long time. People often assume I'm a cisgendered white man in my late teens early twenties. Sometimes they think I'm straight, sometimes they think I'm gay. I have scars on my body from top surgery and have not had bottom surgery. In short If I change in the same room as somebody they could instantly tell I'm not a cisgendered man.
My roommate is what's concerning me. Not all of the things I'm going to list below are things that would concern me by themself, it is the combination that is making me write this. And trying to give you a clear picture of this person.
-He hung up a bandana that is a mini confederate flag in our room, asked me if I was offended, left it up. He did not put it up until after knowing that the group appears to be all white people despite having moved in the rest of his things prior to meeting most of the group.
-He is a WWII reenactor, he plays a German.
-He served in the military for 10 years, "crowds trigger his PTSD" (his exact words)
-He is extremely pro gun, to the point that I would not be surprised to find that he has one in our room or more likely in his car (guns are not allowed on property at this facility, to be clear he did not say he has a gun here, he did not show me a gun, if I find out there is a gun in our room I will insist he removes it, unless I feel that my safety is threatened).
-He is 31 and from a part of the country that stereotypically has people who might not have problems with confederate flags or spending your free time running around with a swastika on your shoulder, he does not respect Obama, has a well read Christian Bible at his bedside. I feel like I'm stereotyping him, but as I can at times be a stereotype he seems to be one.
-I did not solicit any of this information he volunteered it all in the first 30min if us being roommates.
I hope you can have enough faith in me (random internet stranger that I am) to know that I have no problem with military service or his history of mental illness, people who read the bible, people interested in history, or people who come from rural areas, etc. except that it is part of a picture of a person who I am wondering if I should be afraid of.
In short it feel like I am living with a person who has a history of being triggered by normal occurrences, violent interests and potential access to a gun. My nearest friend/family is six hours away, I do not have a car, there is almost no public transport. If I leave I'm hitchhiking or waiting for a friend to come and get me. There is no cellphone service, good wifi as long as we get enough sunlight for the solar panels to work. People at this organization know my back story, nobody that is here or will be here in the next month.
1. Should I be worried enough to do something that is going to risk loosing my money, causing problems by switching roommates (I'm going to see him all day every day even if I don't live with his) or in general making waves?
2. I can be hard on myself at times and the part of me that is and wants to be a what I define as a good queer ambassador and ally to other is going to have trouble if I just hunker in the closet and ignore the comments I'm expecting he is going to make about my identity and the identity of others. As in that will be very, very hard for me mentally. I can do it if needed, but I will probably feel like a bad person and it will be stressful. Advice?
Throwaway email: email@example.com