Like many of you, I sat alone in my room on the evening of November 8th, anxiously hunched over my laptop watching as votes across the nation poured in. My nerves were on edge as I saw states flip back and forth between blue and red. The night pressed on and I felt a pit in my stomach as it became clear that Trump would become the President of the United States. A nation that had just last year legalized same-sex marriage is now being led by a man who has constantly flip-flopped on whether my life, and the lives of my fellow queers, matter. To add insult to injury, Pence announced definitively that Trump would be an anti-LGBT President.
I spent that night wondering what will happen to the queer community. I am afraid for the young queers who are going to grow up under a Donald Trump Presidency, and those who will have no choice but to go back into the closet for their own safety. I wondered if I would one day be able to marry the person I love, and if we’d have to fight to prove our humanity like activists before us. These thoughts consumed me, until I opened my laptop, determined to find ways that the community could move on and heal from this devastating blow.
First of all, amidst all of this hate and uncertainty it’s important to remember that you are not alone. We need to reach out to one another to find support and love within this community. Find little ways to keep yourself grounded in the following days, and more importantly find ways to reach out to other people who understand the emotions you’re going through. We are all facing the same uncertain future together, and it seems that the only thing we can rely on are other queers in this community. While there are people working against us, just as there have been in the past, there is also an unbelievable amount of love that’s holding us together. I implore you to find these connections, whether it means reaching out to queer social groups or finding an LGBT community online.
Next, you need to be aware of injustice in all forms it can take. This may sound obvious, but hate speech and anti-minority rhetoric is going to be at an all time high in the coming months. This targets the queer community as well as other minority groups that are continuously used as scape goats. It’s vital that we stand up for one another and shut down any kind of hate before it has a chance to escalate into something worse.
My last piece of advice is to find allies you can trust. While the queer community may seem small, there are so many allies who are helping us fight for our basic rights. There are people in your own life who are worried about your safety, whether its family, friends, or roommates. Connect with them and keep them involved with what you’re doing. If you feel unsafe, remove yourself from the situation and call a nearby friend to meet you somewhere safe.
While the queer community will undoubtedly face obstacles, we’ll always be able to count on one another for love and support. We first need to take time to reflect and heal before we can stand up, join together, and keep fighting for our basic rights.
The Trevor Project (LGBT): 866-488-7386
Trans LifeLine: (877) 565-8860
National Suicide Prevention LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741