I’m seeing you a lot on my social media and in my phone, occasionally even, my face.
First of all, I want to let you know I have heard and understood what you are saying to me: You weren’t voting because of anti-LGBTQ or racist reasons… Of course not! Haven’t we been friends my whole life? Didn’t you keep speaking to me after I came out? (Well, some of y’all stopped for a while…but, hey, you came around.) You just have other issues that concern you: your thoughts on the economy and national security and health care. We have differing opinions and you voted for the interest of things you care about.
Also, you feel personally attacked and offended by my saying a vote for Trump was a vote against my family. I mean, come on, you think my daughter is the cutest kid on earth. (That is one thing we really can reach across the aisle and totally agree on.)
You have said that I am overreacting.
I am focusing on a “single issue” or as one person put it “playing my gay card.” (Girl, the discounts on that thing SUCK!)
I am being “melodramatic.”
Or even as one person put it “We have our own families to worry about.”
I want to let you know that I have taken this in. I am perfectly clear that you did not set out to vote in some mean homophobic, racist way. However, I need to be clear about something else: Donald Trump spent his entire run campaigning on racist and homophobic platforms. Promising to appoint judges to dismantle my family. He chose a VP who is actively one of the most anti-LGBT politicians around: that is not hyperbole. He admitted to sexual assault casually. He called Mexicans rapists. He wants to register Muslims. He is endorsed by the KKK. These are not the reasons you voted for him, but these reasons did not stop you.
A man actively promised to dismantle and harm my family. To destabilize the security of my child. To harm relatives and friends and you still voted for him.
Those other reasons matter more to you than my life and my family. It was on the line and you chose. That is the reality.
And I know, I know that makes you really angry that I actually said it. That I won’t let you off the hook. We have a long history and you’ve made it clear I’m supposed to apologize for making you feel guilty with all my social media posts about my sadness and my anger. I should get over it already. Your guy won and you are such a nice person and how dare I…
First of all, you love me? Stop telling me how to grieve. I am the one who has been threatened.
And yeah, I know. Wait and see, right? And what about 60 Minutes he JUST said gay marriage was settled in court. I know.
I also know he pledged to support the First Amendment Defense Act (it allows anti-LGBT discrimination) and to appoint a conservative Supreme Court Justice and he made Mike “arrest gay people applying for marriage licenses and electrocute gay teens as conversion therapy” Pence his VP.
His chief strategist is a white supremacist, the head of his action team Ken Blackwell is part of an anti- LGBTQ hate group. This list goes on and it is scary. He is not surrounding himself with safe people. I very much doubt he will stop them from passing laws they want to pass. Why would he? He’s shown time and time again his personal interest outweigh society (Hello, taxes!)
My wife and I are currently in the process of doing everything we can to add legal protections to secure our families in a multitude of ways that straight couples would never even imagine. That whole “states’ rights” step back would limit our ability to travel and where we could live… that discrimination law could limit our abilities to work and/or find places to live, among many, many other things. Add the uptick in violence and hate crimes just this week. I’ve personally been threatened more than once in the last few days.
Let me repeat that: MY LIFE HAS BEEN THREATENED MORE THAN ONCE IN THE LAST FEW DAYS.
And it’s worse for my Muslim friends and friends and family who are not white. We are legitimately scared and we keep being told that is not allowed.
And I haven’t even touched on how horrifying it is to be a woman and see that admitting sexual assault doesn’t hurt someone at all. Someone can rape me, or grab me by my pussy, and you will still vote for him. You proved that because you did that. You voted for a guy who I can quote with that phrase. It hurts my heart. It hurts my soul. It hurts the part of me who blames myself for harmful things that have been done to me. It tells me you agree.
Yeah, I know that’s not WHY you voted for him, but again, it didn’t stop you. Actively applauding someone who is doing wrong does make you culpable.
I am tired. Tired of being told I have to be a model citizen and a model lesbian. I have to represent my community properly in order to deserve care, protection, being treated like a human. Every type of marginalized person knows this dance. I say “I’m angry.” I say “I’m hurt” and people jump down my throat to explain “it’s not everyone” “there are good people.” What they are really saying is “stop in the middle of your fear and rage and sadness to tell me I am a good person.” Suddenly my pain becomes me having to take care of their feelings.
Trump voters want to assure me they are not homophobic, nor racist, despite voting for homophobic and racist platforms. (Or throwing their chance to help away by not showing up or doing a protest vote.)
No. You hurt me. I do not have to apologize for you hurting me.
You hurt me and now you are telling me I am not allowed to be sad or scared or angry.
At the very least you allowed me to be hurt by someone else while you condoned that abuse with a “yes” vote. You gave it your stamp of approval and now you are telling me my pain doesn’t exist.
That is not love.
I keep being told (by the people who harmed me) that I need to be a model example of “we go high.”
Um, I’ve been showing up as a model minority for years. Showing you how wholesome and “just like you” I am with my wife and my baby and my mundane concerns. I have been that person who stayed friends with you while you called my life my “lifestyle” as if I’m trying a new diet. Or when you told me you didn’t agree with my life(style), but still loved me like I was supposed to be grateful you aren’t spitting hate speech in my face.
And I smiled and I made small talk and asked about your kids and listened to you cry and supported all kinds of things in your life because of our history, because I cared about you and because it was important for you to see me, know me, humanize me. I thought maybe that would make you think a little differently about people like me. Maybe I could teach you about how real and human we are. It is exhausting to have to represent an entire group of people.
In the end, me “behaving” and sharing love and letting you use words like “tolerance” as if you saying you “tolerate” that I exist is not outrageously offensive (It is.) did not save me. Because it was never about actual love.
It was about being able to say, “My friend/relative Amanda is gay. I’m not a bigot… I mean, I won’t protect her if it is inconvenient to me or means I won’t get my way on other issues…like if it comes down to her family being dissolved or paying less taxes I am taxes all the way…but yeah, I’m so not a bigot.”
So, I’m doing something I am kind of bad at.
I’m standing up to you.
I have a child to protect. I need her to grow up understanding that truth and honesty are important. Actions (and inactions) have consequences. She needs to know that when someone hurts her, even accidentally, they should apologize, not blame her for the pain they caused. I HAVE to set that example.
I owe it to her to call bad behavior out when I see. I owe it to her to not let myself be abused and then blamed for it. I owe it to me too.
Okay, now you feel mad at me… but maybe somewhere you do love me? Maybe you regret it. Maybe you want to make amends maybe you want to prove you really are the great person you want me to see in you. Okay, there’s a way… maybe.
You have to do the work. And it’s a lot of work. I don’t mean saying “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t mean for this to happen.” I also don’t mean telling me you will fight for me in some abstract way as if the moment some anti-LGBTQ legislation comes down the pipeline you are gonna load up your 2nd amendment and head to DC… you won’t, we both know that.
Yes, you do need to apologize. And then…
You’re gonna have to put your money where your mouth is: this means donating to the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center and many other places that help minorities and women and at risk youth. (I will be glad to give you lists and recommendations, ask about a particular group of people you want to help, I will be thrilled!) It also means you have to speak out and up. You have to hold your fellow Trump supporters accountable and shut them down. Condemn the bad behavior.
And still… this is a long road. It’ll take a while, but you said you love me and you didn’t mean to hurt me.
So let me heal while you do the work to show that you recognize the pain you caused and are working to minimize its impact.
If you don’t want to do that work: okay.
By “okay” I do not mean I forgive you or that we are cool. I mean, you have made a decision and I will react to it accordingly. Notice I didn’t say respect it. A blatant disregard for the well being of others is not worthy of respect. But I will acknowledge this is a choice you made and I will walk away.
Also, yeah, I do judge you for this. I’m being super honest about that, just in case you thought I might try to gaslight you too.