“I tried to ignore them, but then they started yelling”

On March 21, 2020, I was walking through the inner harbor and I came across a group of people standing on the side of the promenade and talking to passersby. I overheard them ask someone if they had a Bible in their home and start to have a conversation. I was walking close to the other side of the promenade and keeping my eyes forward as I started to pass them. I heard one of them say “hey, are you a tranny?” and then “are you a transsexual?” I tried to ignore them, but then they started yelling “FREAK!” over and over, and I think one of them might have yelled “faggot” as well. I was so nervous, I thought they were going to come after me or throw something, it was all I could do to keep walking and try not to show how scared I was. It makes me so upset that they didn’t just hurt me, but were trying to influence others too; there were other people on the promenade, young, impressionable people, actively listening to them and maybe even interpreting their actions as a model of righteous behavior. I come from a Christian family, I know the message of Christ is incompatible with hate, and I thought of so many strong and constructive ways to respond to them in the hours and days after that incident, and I wish I could have, but at the moment I just needed to get out of there. I’d recently had a couple of bad experiences with family too, and this incident just made it that much harder to be open and vulnerable with them. Its effects feel like little tendrils reaching into other parts of my life, it’s horrifying!