Where do LGBTQ folks find hope?
Last night, as the New York Times swung their election ticker to Donald Trump with a 95% chance of winning the election my knees got weak.
My head began to spin and my eyes teared up.
The loss sent me immediately into waves of grief and terror. It’s been eight years and we, as a sexual minority community, have gained a lot of ground. There are still many parts of the spectrum stuck in limbo, but hope was there.
Trump, a loudmouth, sexist, racist and vaguely homophobic King of everything we’d fought against is now the most powerful man in the country.
I remember seeing people like him in power at the state level over past General Assembly sessions. I thought of covering the state house and watching them with tepid confidence as they pushed a conservative agenda they knew would only pass as long as they kept their electorate dumb and in the dark. Trump has managed to do the same at the national level.
As I look to the 2017 GA session I can already see those same local legislators beaming with delight for what they could accomplish with a GOP dominated Congress, Supreme Court and White House.
For the next two years, until Senate and House seats are up for grabs again, Trump and his party will be unimpeded in their goals.
Obama Care, executive orders protecting LGBTQ federal employees and requiring protections for federal contractors, a Justice Department staffed by those concerned with the rights of transgender Americans and minorities; all of these things can and probably will go up in smoke.
We could spend the next few days or weeks or months playing the blame game, but that wont change the outcome. It wont make Hillary president and it wont put Trump back in his tower – so let’s not do that.
I was young when George W. Bush won, but I saw how the country changed during his eight years in office and I learned more about his impacts as I matured. It was under his regime that LGBTQ folks rallied and gathered a voice. While the wins were far and few between, the issues started being discussed.
And now, as I still sit in a fog, I search for hope. There has to be a gleam of light at the end of this tunnel. There has to be a reason to get up and keep fighting for what we need even if it gets worse before it gets better.
We could and probably will see a federal law that allows private businesses to discriminate agianst LGBTQs. Will could and probably will see a federal law that forces transgender people into the wrong bathroom. We could and probably will see the Supreme Court stacked with enough conservative justices to hold back progress for 20+ years.
It’s hard to find hope in that. It’s hard to talk to trans folks or the parents of trans kids about what this means.
It’s hard to think of Black folks, of other communities of color, that could suffer or be neglected under future policies.
But there has to be hope, right? When we saw, in the past, so many movements galvanized by an oppressing force hell bent on putting the rest of us in our place, there was still hope.
It seems Hillary won the popular vote (albeit by a narrow margin) but surely that means the country is no doomed to wallow in fear and hatred.
Under Obama, we had become complacent. If this election taught us anything it’s that we can’t rest on our wins thinking progress can’t be rolled back. We are still the minority in a country terrified of what we’ve accomplished.
It’s in this conflict I search for hope. Something to put the divided parts of our movement together in some ramshackle way and realize we are in this together. There has to be hope in that.
In the words of gay Civil Rights Activist Bayard Rustin, “God does not require us to achieve any of the good tasks that humanity must pursue. What God requires of us is that we not stop trying.”
So we can’t stop. No matter what loses we face, we can’t stop fighting and pushing and being there for each other.
“I am most concerned with the fate of the Affordable Care Act. I depend on my health insurance for medications I take every day,”January 19, 2017
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