It’s Scary, but I’m Not Hiding

Why I’m writing

I wouldn’t be here typing if I could do otherwise. I’ve mostly avoided the online world for the past 10 years. I wasn’t raised to understand boundaries, so I would end up writing things like this. Then people would answer back and tell me about their pain. Because I understand. It hurt me. I hid.

A short while ago something happened to bring me out of hiding. I was expressing my frustration to my eldest (adult) offspring. We were scared because the person that’s going to be our new Vice President (and the “sane one” on the ticket), hates my kids. He’s made it very clear through his actions that my trans and non-cis kids are in his cross-hairs. He supports (and tried to legislate) conversion therapy. Conversion therapy, is a civil rights violation and form of torture. It’s used to brainwash a person into being (thinking they are) straight.

My uncle and eldest cousin showed up on our door step one day. I let them in. They’d come to bring my cousin to conversion therapy. He was living in our basement at the time. They waited for him to return from work, standing awkwardly, not touching the furniture. They were like tall dark shadows standing tensely over me. Then my cousin drove up.

There was a struggle. There were tears. My cousin left with them.

When he got back, his eyes were hollow. I don’t remember if he talked about it. If he did, I don’t remember what he said. I do remember that it hurt him. I remember that it didn’t work. Thankfully he had many years with his partner.

Years later, I was there when he died of HIV related illness, then untreatable. He was a good friend to me when I was little. I miss him.

Mike Pence wants to divert funding from HIV prevention to support conversion therapy. He wants to get rid of marriage equality. He wants to take rights away from my children.

As election night wound down I was stunned. I was afraid for my kids. I felt helpless. I felt like half of half of the nation hates my kids, and half of them don’t care enough to do something about it.

“Dad, you can do something about it. You can write. You can use your art,” my eldest said.

So here I am. I’m still afraid of people. I’m more afraid for my children. I cannot allow the world to be made worse for my kids without doing what I can to make it better. For at least the next four years, afraid as I am, I won’t be hiding.

Be Well.