I’ve intended to write about this for almost a year now. But for some reason, every time I’ve thought about it, something has made me put it off. This is going to be difficult, but I’m reassured by the courage of everyone who has spoken out before me about this very important issue. I had a scary sexual experience with a man in power. I’m terrified to admit this.
After publishing my poetry video Hi, I’m Transgender, a project that was very dear to my heart, I received an outpouring of messages. One of these messages was from an LA director who was coming to Dublin to work on a Netflix special. He sent me his website and wasn’t shy of namedropping important people and projects that he had worked on. He said he wanted to discuss an idea for a project with me and of course I said yes. One can only imagine how excited I was. As an ambitious, focused aspiring media personality, this felt like a huge break for me and my career.
There was a month between his initial message and our actual meeting. A month where I often received messages from him at strange times (I factored in the time difference). He would chat to me as though we were friends, asking me all sorts of questions. It was never anything inappropriate, but it was quite strange. I looked him up and discovered he had a wife that he’d been with for many years. That was something of a relief for me, even though I was aware that it didn’t really signify anything. Married men can still behave inappropriately.
I replied to him sporadically and never straight away. I never wanted to be having a real-time conversation with him. I was interested in discussing business. I didn’t really want to be speaking about personal matters with him. I had a huge suspicion that he was interested in me in a sexual manner but I didn’t know what to do. Bear in mind that I was nineteen and figuring out anything to do with my career on my own.
I decided that I would meet with him and be very cautious. I’ve always had very good judgement and following my instincts has never mislead me before. The meeting was set up for the evening. I would have preferred for it to be during the day time but was unsure how to request this. I went along to a hotel to meet him and we sat in the bar. He was eating and because I was starving I also got a meal.
Here’s the thing. He was completely professional. He was charismatic and interested. He asked me all about my career and told me all about the proposed project. I began to relax and eventually ordered a drink. I liked him. I liked his vision and his creative mind. I believed that he was good at what he did and he was someone who I wanted to be involved with professionally.
He bought a bottle of wine and I’ve never really been one to turn down a free perk of the job. At this point, the conversation began to get sort of personal but I turned the line of questioning to him. I was very interested in his life in LA and so I made him tell me all about it. I didn’t let him stop to ask me anything about myself. By the time the bottle of wine was finished, I was ready to go home but he requested that I stay for more drinks.
I had no reason not to. We were having an enjoyable conversation and I thought he was about to do me a favour by including me in the project he told me about, something I desperately wanted to be involved in. So I stayed and I continued to drink. I could actually put my finger on the moment the atmosphere of the evening changed. It was just after the waitress brought over what would be my final drink of the evening.
He asked me whether I had a boyfriend and I told him I did. He asked me a lot of questions about him and I made up the answers. I didn’t have a boyfriend but he didn’t have to know that. I realised that I was drunk. He reached his hand over and began admiring my rings. I sort of pulled my hand away and he asked me whether I would be interested in a guy like him.
Here’s where it gets tricky. You may condemn me for whatever happens next and that would be your choice. I’m not going to try and defend myself. After some persuasion I stumbled up to his hotel room with him and we kissed. Thankfully I drunkenly fell asleep after that in the luxurious king-sized bed and nothing else happened.
I woke up incredibly early in the morning and quickly put my shoes on. He woke up and I told him that I was late to work, an obvious lie considering it was about 5 in the morning. I ran from the hotel room and tried to shake of the disgusting feeling I had. I was so surprised that I had done that.
In my drunken state, my judgement was impaired. I thought that I was willing to do this man’s bidding in order to receive a professional hand up. When I woke up the next day sober, I realised that I wasn’t prepared to do anything of the sort. I wrote off the experience as a lapse in judgement and I moved on.
It was that easy for me. I wasn’t even angry that this man was clearly expecting sexual favours from me in exchange for work. How fucked up is that? What an awful outlook to have. But I think I was aware when I started working in the media that it would only be a matter of time before someone came on to me. As though it’s some fucked up rite of passage. This is unacceptable.
This man was trying to use his position of power to convince me to have sex with him. He was in his fifties, I was nineteen.
The man messaged me a couple of times after this event and I was too disgusted with him and with myself to respond. I never heard anything more about the project after that. I’m not prepared to name this man, but I remain hopeful that someone else that he’s harassed (because I am close to certain that there are others) will have the courage to name him.
Read about a scary experience I had with a man on a night out here.
Watch a video about being a transgender woman who dates below: