Editor’s note: For the author’s pro-tection they have chosen to use a pseudonym for the publication of this article.
Hopelessness, grief, despair, anger, sorrow, fear…betrayal. These are all feelings deeply enrooted throughout the LGBTQIA+ community when we reflect on the recent failure of our political system. This election was far more than an election between the corrupted and the corruptor, this was an election where my right to live as a gay person outside of the gender binary was on the ballot.
This election was comprised of votes, and a vote for Trump was a vote for continued and increased hatred towards minorities. A vote for Trump was also a vote for Mike Pence. Pence, who believes the federal government “should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status.”
Pence, who believes the federal government “should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.” Pence, who believes the federal government needs to remove funding into HIV research and instead use it fund conversion therapy.
Having Pence as vice president puts LGBTQIA+ rights in danger. However, it needs to be recognized that a Trump presidency puts our lives in danger. Many people think we are exaggerating when we say this. We are not. Trump has encouraged the most hateful people in America to show their true colors. The way Trump has energized cisgender heterosexual men, he has endangered every minority. Trump has validated every bigot’s bigotry.
This validated bigotry rattles our community, especially the youth. The Trevor Project, the nation’s only LGBT youth-focused suicide prevention hotline, saw their number of contacts double since the election. Ninety-five percent of those who have contacted them since the election have expressed concern about the election results. This proves that this decision not only affects publicly out adults, but also has a severe impact on our youth both closeted and out.
Those affected on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus have resources to turn to for help. After a rather large LezBiRealQueer meeting on Nov. 9, there’s been an increase in number of people attending UNO’s Queer and Trans Services’ office. In a way this election has unsuspectedly united the community here on campus. United in solidarity.
This unity of solidarity must extend through the community nationwide. LGBTQIA+ community members across the nation must be willing to fight for our rights.
Not only must we fight for our rights as LGBTQIA+ individuals, but we must fight for the rights of all minorities. Just as we ask for real allies, we must prove ourselves as allies.
During these difficult times, when politics gets personal and defines how you may live, we must continue our celebrations of intersectionality. We must support the communities we are not part of and ask for support for the communities we are part of. This is the only way we can stop Trump and Pence. This is the only way we protect our rights, or at least lessen the negative impact on our rights.
But while protecting our rights, we must also take care of ourselves. Weather it is taking a break, sleeping in, knitting, cuddling with a partner or friend, seeking professional help or anything else, taking care of yourself is extremely important. We cannot fight for our rights if we do not take care of ourselves.
Together we will fight for our rights, and together we will win.