In This Darkest Of Times, We Fight On
I sat down to write this at 1:42 a.m. eastern time Wednesday morning. At this point, the election is over but hasn’t been called. By the time I finish writing whatever this is, Donald Trump will be the President-Elect of the United States and new elected leader of the free world. I’m not sure I even have a cogent idea of what I am writing right now. Here goes nothing anyway.
Sadness: I’ve wept multiple times already tonight. I’m newly out as a trans woman in America at a time when trans people are squarely the target of religious conservatives. This morning, an election piece of mine was featured on an international website, on election day. The piece lays out just how precarious the plight of trans people is in this election. I share so much in the hopes that others will see me, will see my humanity, my womanhood. Knowing that a majority of my neighbors see those stories, see my words, see my heart, and directly take action against my existence can only be processed with an overwhelming sense of sadness. I feel so utterly invisible and helpless.
We were so close. Literally the fates of trans people and people of color and ethnic minorities and women have come down to a razor-thin margin in a single election. With Trump in charge, with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, and soon to be the Supreme Court, there is nothing stopping Trump from following through on his campaign threats. Really, in the first 60 days of his presidency, abortion and gay marriage could be outlawed, deportations and wall building can begin, trans people banished from public life. It’s just a matter of which group of Americans he decides to go after first in order to Make America Great Again.
I feel so alone.
I’m not alone in feeling alone.
Fear: We as marginalized people are under serious attack. Well the truth is we’ve always been under attack, but the form in which it will manifest itself has suddenly become more serious. Everyone I know in person told me they were voting for Hillary Clinton. My state of Maine was just barely called for her. Which of my friends lied to me? Statistically, at least one of them must have voted for Trump. Who shouldn’t I trust? Maybe I shouldn’t trust any of them.
Not only are my civil rights under direct and immediate threat, but every internet troll smells blood in the water. Those red MAGA hats are the new brown shirts, demanding racial and sexual purity while demanding free reign over everyone else’s bodies and lives and denying any personal responsibility.
What happens when a Trump voter clocks me as trans in a bathroom? Will they be armed? Are my kids in danger just by being around me? This country is hostile to me, that much has been confirmed. I’m watching Trump’s election headquarters on TV, and those goddamn red hats will haunt my nightmares.
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Resolve: It’s 2:26 a.m. I’ve cried three times just writing this much. Still, I have never been so convinced of the righteousness of my cause. I am a person, I exist, and I deserve to have my basic life needs met. Yesterday morning I received an email from my HR benefits director at my day job. She was writing to inform me that our company’s blanket ban on transgender health coverage would be lifted on January 1. They were lifting the ban in order to comply with a DHHS Obamacare rule forbidding such exclusions.
I was 10 when I first learned about what was then called a sex change surgery and is now referred to with many names, including gender reassignment surgery. I was 14 when I researched and memorized the actual technique for the surgery. I wanted it immediately in a way that I couldn’t then explain. It has since very much become a need. Correct genitals were within my grasp for just a single day. With Evangelical Christians voting for Trump in record numbers, that single DHHS rule will shortly be scratched out; maybe Vice President-Elect Mike Pence will cross it off the books himself.
Speaking of Vice President-Elect Pence, it’s 2:45 a.m. and he was just introduced at the Trump victory rally. I’m out of tears. This fucking man calls for conversion therapy against me. He is now a heartbeat away from the presidency.
It’s 2:48 a.m. and President-Elect Donald J. Trump is descending the stairs onto the stage for his victory speech just as CBS projects a win in Wisconsin for Trump and confirmation of his impending reign. I will oppose this man and anyone else associated with him with everything I have until the last dying breath left in my feminized body.
Fight: I’m out of tears, I’m out of fucks, I’m out of energy. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and transphobia are now embodied in the leader of the free world. I’m way past what the fuck. But what has happened has happened and we cannot go back and change it; we can only defy it. We cannot rerun the campaign; we can only fight the legacy that persists as a result of it.
For everyone who’s dragging themselves to work in the morning after holding out hope into the wee hours, know that I see you. My scared marginalized siblings, I see you. I am here for you. I will fight for you. I will stand in my own truth and shield you as best I can.
My existence is defiance, my laptop is my weapon. Join me. We fight on.