Photo via Slate
It has been a week since Donald Trump was elected president. In the days following the election, I found myself paralyzed and unable to identify the weight I felt in my entire being. I felt disappointment and anger towards everyone who voted for Trump, everyone who didn’t vote, and everyone who voted for a third-party candidate. I felt sadness for the millions of people who, like me, feel scared, invalidated, and unsafe. I feel frustrated when others tell me people are overreacting to Trump’s win. As a lesbian woman of color and survivor of sexual assault, Trump in office terrifies me to my core.
Donald Trump has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States. Donald Trump endorsed deporting millions of immigrants. Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault by fifteen women. Donald Trump bragged about assaulting women on tape. Donald Trump handed a megaphone to white supremacy by appointing Stephen Bannon, a white nationalist, to a top White House position. Donald Trump picked a vice president who advocates for conversion therapy for LGBTQ people.
The win for Trump highlights the problem in assuming America has reached a “post-racial” society. People need to stop telling us “It won’t be that bad” or “What he says are just words.” His rhetoric has detrimental consequences, especially to the specific groups who have been targeted. So please, do not render our feelings of being unsafe in our identities as irrelevant. Stop telling people to be “sensitive” towards Donald Trump supporters. It doesn’t matter why they voted for him: ignoring his overwhelmingly problematic ideals renders them complicit to it all. Donald Trump’s unprecedented win over Hillary Clinton is much bigger than mere political disagreements; it is the denial of the patriarchal, heteronormative, racist, and xenophobic structures of our society.
If you know me, you know I have been passionate about political advocacy and have spent a significant time in D.C. When people would come to me in hopes of my usual energetic optimism, I am sorry; I probably gave you a less than cheerful or hopeful response. I tried mourning the election in the ways I thought I was supposed to. I cried and cried and cried. After dehydrating my body, I found my energy to fight again.
It is time to move forward as individuals and as a nation. As we move forward, I think it is of the utmost importance that we don’t forget our feelings. Hold on to your feelings of anger to fight back, hard. Hold onto your feelings of sadness, and let it propel you into action. Take your feelings of insecurity and invalidation and yell about them until America realizes it can no longer ignore us. As Junot Diaz wrote, “We organize. We form solidarities. And, yes; we fight. To be heard. To be safe. To be f r e e .”