I have been dancing in the contra community for 40 years. Each and every time I dance on the female-expected side (as a woman, lady, robin) of the set (how many iterations? thousands?) my body is touched in places that are not needed for dancing together, looked at in sexual ways, pressured/pushed/dragged to move in ways I did not choose.

This rarely happens when I dance on the male-expected (as a man/gent/lark) side of the set. And, if I dance somewhere the lights are low, it’s much worse. My body doesn’t belong to anyone else. Why would I want to dance with you if you treat me as if it does? What did you come to the dance to do, other than move joyously to music with others in community? Why do I need to make choices based on safety and self-protection rather than to enjoy the people in line with me?