Afraid — and fighting

A young LGBT woman talks about fear, hope, and life with a trans partner in the Age of Trump

Like so many Americans, I woke up on November 9th excited to hear that for the first time in the history of our nation, our president elect was a woman. Whether we agree or not on the character of Hillary Clinton, what we can all agree on is how differently the candidates addressed the people of our great nation.

Then I realized that the next president would not be Clinton. Donald Trump won the election.

Kate and Mason: Hope in very tough times
Kate and Mason: Hope in very tough times

 

I want to tell Trump that hate, on either side, is never acceptable — but it’s especially unacceptable to openly hate specific groups of people that belong the nation that you are now at the helm of.

Here’s the thing: Hate has always been easy, and it always will be. Walls are easy to build when fear spreads like wildfire. It’s easier to build a wall than to show compassion and understand each other.

I am asking us all to forgive the ignorance of others. Like parents to a petulant child, I ask that we are patient and kind to those who are not. What so many of us forget is that our disadvantages are what give us strength; knowing what it is like to be a minority gives us a kindness and strength that you cannot teach. Coming from a community of people that understands what it is like to fight desperately for things that so many other people take for granted gives us a solidarity that no one can ever take from us.

Before we all decide to move to Canada — and trust me I get it, because I now live in a nation where my rights as a woman, as a member of the LGBT community and the partner of a trans man (I’m looking at you, states with bathroom bills) will be questioned and denied by the leader of our nation — let’s take a minute to consider how far we’ve come and how much we still have to do.

This moment is a crucial one for our nation. We can move forward and show our friends who are Black, Latino/a/x, women, lgbtq+, immigrant, Muslim, disabled, and anyone else attacked by Trump or Pence during the duration of this election, who we are. We are not them. We do not give in to their fear-mongering politics.

Although there are a lot of people like Trump out there, there have always been, and there always will be, and still we have accomplished so much as a nation. America may not have been great to anyone other than white, cisgender men, but I know it can be. Let’s not get defeatist, let’s move forward together, let’s continue to fight for the rights we have been fighting for.

I’m afraid, as I know a lot of us are. When my partner goes to North Carolina for a business trip, where he could be arrested for using the bathroom, I will be even more afraid. But we cannot let fear stop us. Let’s not let this fear create more hate.

Related article  Why tech money wants to rule SF

 

I understand that I come from a place of privilege. I am a woman and a member of the LGBT community, but the person who’s hand I hold in public “passes,” and to the rest of the world, we look like your average, millennial-hipster-cliché-couple, which most people find annoying but not annoying enough to attack (at least so far). We are both white, able-bodied, college-educated, US citizens.

I am worried about Mason, as brave and unworried as he is. I am worried that the person who will soon sit in the White House will turn back the progress that he and all of our allies have made. I am worried his T shots will become too expensive, or more difficult to get. I am worried that he will face violence when he travels to other parts of the country. I am worried that when we eventually have enough money for top surgery, there will be even more restrictions than there are now, making it more difficult for him to feel more like himself.

Even more so, I am worried for the entire trans community, because the violence that trans women, especially trans women of color, have faced in the past years is unacceptable. I fear that having a vocally transphobic president will make killing trans folk acceptable. I fear for trans women who don’t have access to support or who live in transphobic communities, who are fearful of having their hormone therapy revoked if Obamacare is.

I am afraid that mental health counseling that so many trans people (and cis people) rely on can be taken away. In the past few years, trans visibility has increased, and as acceptance increases, there is always push-back from other groups. I hope that this fear does not push anyone back in the closet, I hope this makes all of us prouder of who we are; I hope this makes us louder. I hope adversity makes us stronger. No one can take away the progress we have made within ourselves.

Sponsored link

My partner’s bravery and honestly constantly impress me. He answers every question someone asks him, regardless of how rude or invasive they may be. He sees every question as his personal responsibility to the trans community, to spread visibility and awareness, and he does so with extreme kindness and vulnerability that can only be interpreted as a deep understanding of where people’s ignorance comes from.

It is easy to meet ignorance with animosity but, if instead we meet ignorance with kindness and education, we can change the way people see us, and by doing so, the world. Each of us is where we are today because there have been generations before us that have fought for the rights that we have. Do not forget Stonewall, do not forget Harvey Milk, do not forget Obergefell v. Hodges; let the language of resistance bond you, reclaim the system that has been built to work against you, live the truths that have been granted to you, fight to continue. This is growth.

Related article  Real estate allies want to try again for Ahsha Safai at DCCC

There are so many other lives that will be so substantially affected by having a very racist man as our president. We must fight for our friends who fear being deported, segregated, voided, bullied, sexually assaulted, or fired. We must continue to fight for Black lives, for the Hispanic and Latina communities who we have let down, for survivors of sexual assault (and those who fear it) who now see a rapist and misogynist as our commander-in-chief. We have to continue to fight for the rights we have been fighting for, and the fight will get harder but I know we are the generation to do it.

Remember that focusing on your story is not “dwelling on negativity.” The younger generations, the millennials, that protest, that speak out, that voice their rage — they are not whiney, this is our American right. Freedom of speech goes both ways, and if our president elect can stand at his podium and voice his opinion, we can take to the streets and do the same. Voice your opinion, be proud of who you are, never let anyone silence you.

I will forever remember the relief I felt the day marriage equality was passed. Relief not just because I could get married, but because my country had validated me, my rights, and my future family. November 9th may have felt like a huge step back for so many of us, but I will not allow this to silence me, or to immobilize me, I will continue to fight, I will be loud for those who cannot be. For those who live in unsafe spaces who must stay silent, know that I will be here, afraid and fighting.

  • MKR

    Every major civil rights movement in the United States was protested by a unique form of American Bathroom Paranoia. This is no different. Fifty years ago people were protesting civil rights legislation on the grounds that global catastrophe could ensue if “Negros” and white people shared the same bathroom.
    Hang in there – there are approximately 7 billion people on the planet and at least 6.9 million of them are scared to death. The other 50 million voted for Trump

    • passager_clandestin

      I didn’t vote for Trump, and I am not scared to death. Most people I know similarly didn’t vote for him, and are not scared to death. The amount of hysteria in some quarters on the left is, frankly speaking, ridiculous. Trump was a New York liberal for most of his life. He was for gay marriage well before either Clinton or Obama. He was thrilled for Elton John in 2005, well before Hillary changed her mind on the issue: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/us/politics/donald-trump-gay-rights.html?_r=0

      • Ragazzu

        You sure? Everyone I’ve talked to in the last week is extremely disturbed, if not outright terrified.

        It doesn’t matter who Trump was and what he did in the past. It’s what he is now, he’s doing now, and who he’s appointing now that is so fear inducing.

        The constitutional threats are quite real. Trump’s opportunities for corruption and and outright kleptocracy are out in the open. Please pay attention.

      • francis_t

        I’m more scared of Pence than Trump. In terms of immigration, I get the sense Trump will deport about the same number of people that Obama did, the difference being that Obama kept it quiet to appease his supporters while Trump will make it a big issue to appease his–though the end result will be the same.

        One thing that does scare me, though, is that enough states are in Republican control that one or two more could tip the scales and make it possible to pass Constitutional Amendments.

  • Greg

    Sadly, the choices were just so horrible.

    On the one hand, everyone’s afraid now because we have a president who enables racists who might commit hate crimes, wants to deport millions, will wreck the environment, thinks it’s OK to grab women by their genitals, and will probably take away your health care and social security.

    The other candidate would certainly do the same stuff more slowly, and she probably wouldn’t be grabbing anyone’s genitals at all. OTOH, she’s responsible for real, actual murder, from Libya to Honduras, so people shouldn’t feel too self-righteous about supporting her. That, and she really seemed to want to get us into a nuclear war, which would make LGBT rights kinda meaningless.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a candidate who cared about women, LGBT folks, immigrants, the environment, AND fair trade AND income inequality AND wouldn’t get us into a disastrous war?

    Wait… we DID have a candidate like that! But the Democratic establishment did all it could to destroy his candidacy, and certain liberals were just fine with that, because it was more important to them to have a woman president.

  • bear on the peaks

    In the 1960s liberals protested en masse to end wars. Today “liberals” protest our new president-elect who has publically denounced US intervention abroad and “liberals” continue to try to make a saint of the woman who was intent on blowing us all up to smitherteens. My, my, my…. How times have changed.

    • Greg

      The hypocrisy has not gone unnoticed with this progressive. We all went out to protest Bush’s wars and regime changes -and that’s great. They were horrible and they should be opposed vigorously. But when Obama continued the same wars and added new ones in Libya and Syria, all the crowds suddenly fell silent. To me, it discredits our positions when the message seems to be “it’s OK if Democrats do it.”

    • francis_t

      We had two terrible choices. Hillary would have been much better for the U.S. because she’s definitely more reasonable in terms of immigration, protecting health care and the environment, etc. but she’s also quite a hawk.

      I would love to have asked her, during the debates, “we have been at war nonstop for more than 16 years now. Do you foresee a time when we will ever be at peace again?”

      Trump is going to be rougher for people who live in the U.S., but, if he’s true to what he says (and that’s a BIG if), we’re going to be less likely to get involved in further wars and nation building.

  • MKR

    Oddly enough, although Trump has managed to offend almost every ethnic minority in the world, he hasn’t said anything homophobic, and when asked about gay marriage he shrugged his shoulders and said “its the law of the land”
    People don’t know what to expect, and that is what is scary. Mr. Trump has spent most of his life mastering the art of Sensationalized self promotion. He leases his name to other people so they can use it for various endeavors. He is used to saying things like “This will be the most spectacular building on the planet” So In my opinion half or more of what he said during the campaign is sensationalized nonsense.
    Will he round up and deport millions of illegal immigrants? Maybe but President Obama deported over 2 and a half million illegal immigrants during his term also. If you are in the US without permission you are taking a risk. If you are an American living abroad illegally you are taking a risk too. When people realize that we live in a country with 350 million people and deporting 2 million people is not going to increase American prosperity we will have other problems to deal with.
    Will he defund the EPA? This is a real threat and its not a joke. If he starts to do this you better start drinking bottled water and wearing a face mask when you go outside. Even most Republicans would tell him this is a bad idea.
    He has said that he wants to pull the US out of NAFTA ( which was originally engineered by George H.W. Bush )and this could result in economic chaos. I think many American companies would sue the federal government and this could be tied up in courts. A repeal of NAFTA and other types of trade barriers could result in more American jobs lost as American companies would not be able to sell products overseas.
    IN my opinion the worst possible thing he could do (and many Republicans want to do this) is implement VooDoo Economics 3.0 which involves massive tax cuts and simultaneous spending programs. If his happens you really need to be worried that the US would not have enough money to meet its basic obligations, and the rest of the world could essentially withdraw the US unlimited credit line. You could see massive hyperinflation, the failure of US bond auctions, and a gross devaluation of the US dollar. This means that the US military would not be funded, and In the worst case scenario I think it is possible that you could see the military generals take over the capital, throw out the government and establish a new government or force new elections. About 90% of the public would probably support such a move and don’t think it couldn’t happen here.
    These are tumultuous times we live in..