CW: Trans murder rate, murders of POC, this damn election
I don’t even know where to start. It’s not hyperbolic when I tell you that I am deeply grieving for My America right now. The America that was just beginning to acknowledge people like me as worthy of rights like marriage, adoption, protection from being fired because of my identity, and other things that so many people take for granted.
I could fill this page with empassioned wailings about how concerned I am for the safety of myself as a queer woman and my other LGBQ friends, my trans friends, my friends who are people of color, Muslim, immigrants, disabled, lower income, single mothers, people with uteruses, women…
Yes, these concerns exist and are so visceral I feel it seething out of my body, feel myself getting hives, unable to eat, bawling all day at work, and feeling like a tightly coiled spring.
I haven’t posted much on social media throughout the election process. I would guess that at least 90% of my Facebook friends are also bleeding-heart-liberal artist types, queer, people of color…ya know, the types of people that think a lot like me. So the majority of my social media interaction was “preaching to the choir.”
Things got dicey with the Bernie vs. Hillary arguments. The in-fighting between friends made me sick.
I would like a status or the rare meme, but I rarely engaged.
Only a few of my friends were rampant Trump supporters, and I just avoided going into that at all costs. There was no changing anyone’s mind.
But now it has been decided, and, in the aftermath, there’s even more brutality.
From my side too. Still mud-slinging, making the Trump supporters continue to hate us. To “other” us.
But I’m more interested in…gentle education.
Today, an old friend who is now a pastor, a straight white man in his late 20s, respectfully asked me what I was so worried about, having Trump as president.
While it can be easy for me to fly off the handle when asked questions that I perceive to come from a place of negativity, I really appreciate genuine inquiries.
So I tried my best to articulate my fears.
Part of the problem is that, throughout his campaign, Trump has been so contradictory. Just when you think you know where he stands, he changes his tune. So many of my fears are speculation, though definitely not unfounded.
I told him that there has been talk about Trump trying to overturn the Supreme Court gay marriage ruling.
Pence (who, quite honestly scares me even more) is in support of conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people.
Today, I have heard concerns from multiple trans friends who are currently able to receive health care and hormones through the ACA. If the program is changed/abolished like Trump has indicated he would do, it may no longer be possible for them to receive these necessary services.
And, if I were still married to my ex wife, who knows if I would still be four years from now or if that right would have been stripped away.
I am terrified by the hatred I have witnessed in a lot of Trump supporters, and Trump’s encouragement of it. Trans people are already murdered at alarming rates and a more permissive attitude of hatred of the “other” is something I fear greatly. The LGBTQ+ community has a long history of being bullied, and such behavior perpetrated by the president would enable all sorts of heinous crimes.
Suicide hotlines for the LGBT community are already getting inundated today with people like me who are terrified by what this could mean for us. Today, I have also witnessed some of my own friends sharing their own suicidal thoughts.
As a woman with a shaved head, I fear for my own safety as I travel alone home across the Midwest for holiday breaks. In a hoodie and jeans, people have mistaken me for a teenage boy in restrooms and this trans panic that has been going on this past year only makes me even more scared.
And I closed my reply to this young straight white Christian man with this: “Trump has stated he wants to undo anything that Obama has done over the past eight years, which includes countless things that have helped people in the LGBTQ+ community to have the basic rights you have experienced for hundreds of years.”
He told me it made a lot of sense and thanked me for it.
He got it.
I like to engage with people in a civil manner, where both parties are open to seeing where the other is coming from. As a white, straight male in a conservative community, chances are he doesn’t think much about the fact that all across the country, many gay parents are still not allowed to adopt. That we only received the country-wide right to marry in 2015. I was asked by a coworker recently if “gay marriage was legal all over yet” in the United States.
Some things you just don’t think about if they don’t pertain to you.
And sometimes you need a gentle reminder to get your head out of your ass and care about people outside your little bubble.
I’m guilty of it too. I don’t know nearly enough about immigration or the Muslim community, and I will never be able to understand what it’s like to be a person of color in this country.
It’s about gentle education to and from willing parties. That’s how perceptions begin to shift. Not through name calling and shouting matches. From “climbing into someone’s skin and walking around in it,” like Atticus Finch suggested in To Kill a Mockingbird.
My point is this:
You may not “get” why so many people are legitimately terrified about the outcome of this election, but please consider the implications this loss has on many, many marginalized groups.
This is not just being whiny about losing an election.
This is about lives that may be irrevocably changed.
Respect our fears. Listen to us. Help us in any way you can. If we don’t feel safe in a situation, offer to escort us. Speak out on our behalf, especially if you are in a position of more privilege than us. But never claim to speak for us when we are able.
I have long been a supporter of Intersectionality. I wrote a post about my experience with Intersectional Feminism here.
But the basic gist of intersectionality is this: instead of having smaller sub-groups of marginalized people like queer women or latinXs or people with disabilities, you acknowledge the overlap of various groups. Queer black women. Latino male feminists. White handicapped transwoman.
When these smaller marginalized groups join together, their ranks increase and their voices are louder as they gather allies and advocates.
And so, my dear disenfranchised anyone-but-Trump supporters, I urge you to take this time of turmoil and turn it to action. Action spurned on by love and support of your community, in all of its facets. Find ways to offer help to those different from you. Don’t make the Trump supporters hate us more than they already do. Lead them in love.