For anyone who’s negatively impacted by this presidency, I understand and see your frustration, fear, and heartbreak. As a transwoman, I can tell you my life has been consumed with all of the above for the last seventy-two hours. I’ve spent the majority of my time paying attention, as I’m sure you have, to the events that are unfolding after November 8th.
I watched while people shared their personal stories of hate and bigotry.
I listened as the social media whirlwind bounced back and forth between people who probably haven’t talked in years.
I engaged with people on social media about future implications and how we can prepare as marginalized people.
I saw the frustration from many over our government and representation.
But most of all, I see the terror in faces of people who stand to lose a lot this election.
I’m scared. And like the rest of the marginalized community, I think we’ve earned that right. However, as we move forward, I feel that it’s imperative for us to remain stoic and humble in these tough times. Many people have found themselves empowered by an elected official who publicly empathized with their jaded and slanted views; but the fire, if fought back with fire, will only get bigger.
See now, this shit? This shit is not okay.
But there is always a flip side: acts of violence in opposition are also not okay either, no matter how livid we are. Trump supporters were attacked in San Jose and police officers and businesses were attacked by violent protesters. Obviously I resonate more with the frustrations of these protesters given I’m trans, and I get that violence is probably most noticeable, but the few people who turn a peaceful protest into a violent one can shatter the image of an entire movement.
We have to be bigger than gloating, fear-mongering, and verbal abuse. Hate, ignorance, and frustration are not emotions we can beat with the same tools employed by those holding those emotions. We can only afford to prepare and be reactive to people who perpetuate hate. Furthermore, our reactions must be calculated. If we respond impulsively or don’t respond at all, we risk exacerbating the problem. While we have lost the battle over securing our rights at the federal level, we can still appeal to many and work to be the change we want to see.
Be empathetic when it’s difficult to do so. Listen and understand to your fellow Americans when it’s difficult to do so. But most of all, realize that a vote is not a direct representation of a person’s views. Almost none of us voted for a person who aligned with the entirety of our moral compass.
As far as I can tell, we’re all just worried for the future of our country.
Regardless of personal agendas prior to the election, we are all now stuck with this reality. It is my sincere hope, that those who traditionally vote on the other side of the spectrum from myself, will heed our cries, listen to our stories, and stand by our side. I’m doing my best to stand by their side and listen to their concerns. We’re all in this together.
If you see injustice forced upon anyone for the color of their skin, their creed, sexual orientation, gender identification, or any other category we fit into, it is your responsibility as an American to act. Whether you voted for Gary Johnson, Donald Trump, Vermin Supreme, or Hillary Clinton, we have to show that a true America celebrates diversity because that’s what makes us strong. Be prepared for these moments because they will happen. Bust recently published an article which provides a great set of instructions to show support for those in trouble. Stylist also recently published some good tips in situations of public racism. We must stay educated and vigilant.
We need to stand up for each other, even if we’re scared, because as Martin Niemöller so adequately said after WWII, when they come for you, no one will be left to act on your behalf.