Amazed. Terrified. Nauseated. These were all the feelings that passed through my body as I frantically scrolled through my Twitter feed at 3 AM this morning. I had fallen asleep, and hoped when I woke that I might wake up to the United States’ first female President.
Instead, I woke in a nightmare.
I have been anxious about this election for the past two weeks. Perhaps I was an ignorant teenager before, but this was the first election where I realized that the issues at hand affected me directly. After all, I’m a gay woman, and on November 12th, 2016, I’m getting married.
Along with everyone else, I completed my civic duty and voted. I will always appreciate the act of voting. Because we were all there: black, white, gay, straight, trans and all other diversities. We were equal when we entered the booth and cast that ballot. While we weren’t voting for the same person, we were all able to vote. While we all had differing views, we were united in our right to express that opinion.
I felt a similar swell of pride when my fiance and I applied for our Marriage License. While we were the only same sex couple in the Charleston County Probate Court, and received multiple glares from other couples, the clerk handed back our completed certificate and we left. We walked out as equals.
When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
A man who has groped women, mocked people, and openly attacked people who were different is going to be President. A man whose Vice President is a proponent of conversion therapy, the very thing that led to my depression at age 18, was elected to Office. I am not concerned. I am terrified.
In a few days, I will sign my marriage certificate and legally become a spouse. In the back of my mind, I have had the bitter thought: How long before it’s taken away? How many decades of work have we put in to see it disappear within the course of a few hours?
This is the man that America has chosen to lead. This election has torn friends, spouses, and families apart. And what should have unified us all last night drove an even bigger wedge between all of us. On one side, those convinced that this is the moment that has saved our country and the other side fearing that this is what will destroy it.
But we can’t give up — we have to continue to fight for an America where all of us are equal, not just select groups.
Today we mourn, but tomorrow we work.