There was no greater excitement than I felt Tuesday morning as I stood in the cold fall air waiting in line to cast my first presidential ballot. I waited one hour and forty-five minutes in line to submit my vote for the first woman president. I thought I had contributed to history, as I thought we were on the verge of accomplishing something great in our country. How sobered I was in the early hours of Wednesday morning as I saw my computer screen grow redder and redder with each state’s projection showing a Trump victory.
As Trump’s electoral vote climbed and climbed, I shut my computer, and went to bed, I simply just must wake from this nightmare, I thought. Going to bed in bad dreams always seems to make you wake up from them in real life. Much to my dismay, as I awoke to the sunlight streaming through my window filtered by gray, low hanging clouds, I came to a realization that this wasn’t just a bad dream. But a horrible, devastating reality for anyone with a marginalized identity, like myself.
I walk around carrying the labels of gay and Jewish, two groups that have faced relentless discrimination and oppression. Both whose heritages have amounted to great progress in their own civil rights after fighting, and scratching and clawing just to be considered remotely equal in the eyes of the country. As I stared at myself in the mirror on Wednesday morning a harrowing realization befell me: that I am not a person in the eyes of my country. With that realization of betrayal the tears began to fall from my eyes. What is going to become of me? Will I be forced into conversion therapy? Will I be rounded up simply for being Jewish? If there is one thing being Jewish has taught me is that any government that is not Israel’s can at any moment turn against the Jews. Being Jewish and gay, I might as well lynch myself rather than have the now emboldened KKK do it for me.
I want to believe that the heritage of progress we have made in this country regarding civil rights for all peoples will protect me, other LGBTQ+ folks, blacks, latinos, Muslims, immigrants of any kind, or any person with a marginalized identity. I want to believe that progressive states will protect us. But I cannot be sure of that. The only thing that I can be sure of is that I will not go down without a fight.
I will not stand idly by as my ancestors did as they watched their humanity be stripped away from them as the Nazis rose to power, and conquered country after country, seeking to effectively eliminate the “other”. Times have changed, the “other” is powerful. We stand together united against the hatred and bigotry that has now manifested itself in the tumor on America known as Trump. I will not let him poison our country against us and kill every belief that we hold dear. We need to rally together and let him know that we, liberals and progressives are not dead. Fear and hatred can only lead to destruction. But acceptance and love are what lead to progress.
This is still my country, and it will continue to be my country for all the days of my life. It is also still your country, and no one, especially no xenophobic bigot with a gun can take that away from you.
To all my queer babies out there,
Who you are is beautiful. Who you are is valid. The love you feel and bring into this world is just as right and magical as the love felt by anyone else. You are the radical that forces our world to be a more loving and accepting place. When you are bogged down by the seemingly never-ending deluge of oppression, remember that you are a beautiful human endowed with love. You are a light that shines through this dark night. I stand with you. I am here for you. There are 60 million and more people who stand with you. Always remember, who you are is beautiful, who you are is valid. What you are, is loved.