Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Even in Trump’s America, I Will Shine My Light

As I sit in my apartment, trying to drink a cup a coffee on the morning after, I can’t help but feel completely alone. I’m trying to assuage the dread and fear that is knotting my stomach. I’m trying to decide whether crying or not crying is best. I’m angry. I’m devastated. I’m scared. 

I have connected with friends this morning who share in my grief at what happened yesterday in America. I have reached out to a few family members without knowing what the response will be or even if I’ll get one. I have read through many tweets and articles that have already been tweeted and published this morning regarding the outcome of yesterday’s actions. Texts and tweets are a from of connection but in reality, I’m alone in my sadness.

I never knew how much racism, sexism, misogyny, and homophobia existed in my country: the land of the free; the home of the brave. (I’m no fool. I knew it existed just not to this extent.) With the hate-filled words that spewed from his mouth during his entire campaign, Mr. Trump shined the brightest light in the sky, illuminating his existence for all who might feel the same way as he and want to follow him down his dark path of making America great again. (America is already pretty great. Where do we go now?) 

Parallels between Harry Potter’s big bad, Voldemort, and Mr. Trump have already been made Mr. Trump's his Dark Mark shining in the sky brought forth a glut of supporters. His divisive words allowed those who longed for the “good ol’ days” to stand tall, proud, fearlessly in that light and affirm their beliefs because he was saying out loud how they felt. 

As a gay man I have seen so much positive change in our country during President Obama’s two terms. Change that I fear our new president wants to wipe away as quickly as he can. I don’t want to go down the road of #NotMyPresident. But I don’t know how to respect a man who does not respect me and will not have my back.

I’m afraid for my LGBTQ friends (adults and youth alike), my muslim friends, my black friends, my latino friends. Our new conservative leader does not seem to have the best interest of any of us at heart. His own words have proven that during his campaign. On the whiter side, he does have the backing of the KKK. Wait. Stop. Think about that for a second. I saw a tweet this morning by Mikey Walsh that said: 

"Our First Black President will have to greet, and give up the White House & the presidency to a Man endorsed by the KKK. 2016."

Is this America? 

So, what am I to do? What are any of us whom our leaders view as second-class citizens supposed to do? Noah Michelson wrote a fantastic piece at 3am this morning called Dear Queer America: Here Is What We Must Do Now That Trump Will Be President. He tells me to never stop fighting. He tells me to continue to live my life and be me. He tells me to come out again and again. He tells me to be vigilant, to be brave, and to speak. 

The first thing I did was cry. (That answers the question posed in the first paragraph.) Then I tweeted Noah my appreciation and came out again to him. I plan to continue to live my life and show up and be seen. I will continue to love men. I will continue to paint my fingernails and wear high heels with my boy clothes. I will continue to wear eye make up whenever I want to. I will continue to write and explore and be me. I will continue to push back against those who wish I would just go back inside the closet.

I’m terrified of what this upcoming regime change may bring upon this country I call home. But as terrified as I am I don’t want to cower in fear of the Dark Mark hovering above us. The homophobic, racist, sexist, misogynistic citizenry cannot be allowed to make us feel less than. I am an American: a man, a homosexual, an equal.

The sky is gray in New York City today. At first I thought is was the perfect metaphor for the ominous future that is hanging over our country. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe those dark clouds need an even brighter light to illuminate the sky and dissipate the darkness. Maybe a disco playlist will lighten the mood.

I’m still here. I’m still queer. I’m still me. And you’re still you. We have to pull together and not allow this victory to defeat us. We’re Americans, damn it. We’re made of stronger stuff. And to quote the Tony Award winning Best Musical Avenue Q, “Donald Trump is only for now.”

We’ll get through this. We have to. It’s either survive or die and death is not an option. Stay strong. Show up. Be seen. Be yourself. Shine your light.