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What do we do now…

November 9, 2016

So that happened.
I’ve spent the last two hours holding my genderqueer kid, as they shook with fear. And with loss. Because that’s what this election result means to them – loss of a hope, that we might see America – our nation – affirm our diversity and commitment to accept and support citizens like my child. And real fear of what that may mean, in the coming years, for physical and emotional safety in bathrooms and streets and hallways, for rights, to live and love.
And my kid asked, “Mom, what do we do now?”
What do we do now?

First we mourn, because this was a loss not just of an election, but of a belief in our fellow Americans.

But then… we pull together.

Those of us who can, donate – to groups like The Trevor Project and Trans Lifeline, because there are kids out there crying and afraid, who don’t have me or you to hold onto.

The Trevor Lifeline: 866-488-7386
Trans Lifeline US: (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366

We speak up – especially those of us who are white and cis and het. The next two years at least, the next four, we don’t get to hide or walk away or take the easy path. If you see something, say something. Represent, protest, whatever it takes. I have rainbow bumper stickers. I wear a rainbow pendant to work, and to the store. When I hear something that hurts others, I’m going to make a bigger effort not to let it slide. We as individuals can and will still make a difference.

We teach, and guide, and show the way. We write books with our rainbow of characters, our trans and people of color characters too. We make them as real, and as beloved, as we always have. We promote each other. We build community, helping each other to get it right. And we share our joy in the wonder of diversity. We share love. We build up, not tear down. We make of our vision of the world something that people want to join and share.

We hug. We laugh, tomorrow, or a week from now. We find the good in everyone we can, and try to help it grow. We even tell those whose votes brought this about that we see the good in them. That their fear and anger and frustration scares us, but that the answer to that is to talk, and teach.

We try to build bridges. Many of those who voted for Trump did it, not because they are homophobic or want to see trans people or Hispanics destroyed – they were frustrated with government as is, they were convinced by specific anti-Hillary propaganda, they have a single hot-button topic like abortion… many of them do not want us to be afraid. So as best we can, without hate and blame, we approach them and tell them our fears. We ask them for support. Some will laugh, or call names, or take the chance to bully. But some will join us in protecting essential liberties.

And we plan. We find great candidates for 2018, and 2020. We have learned that what we did this year was not enough. So we start earlier and work harder, volunteering and supporting for change.

I remember when Bush was elected for the second time, in 2004. After our invasion of Iraq, and the Patriot Act, with a platform that reduced environmental protections and civil rights. I remember the shock I felt, that Americans could fall for his line again. It was not the shock I feel now, but it had that same doomsday fear in it. And yet, we survived. And LGBTQ rights progressed.

This is hard. This is scary. This is sad. But we shall overcome this setback. One day, we will say not “gay marriage” but “marriage.” One day, gender will be a write-in box on a few forms, and not even listed on the rest. One day, we will share in caring for those Americans who need it. Not as soon as I hoped, but I believe in us.

My love to all of you. My hugs. My tears, tonight. But also my hope and work, tomorrow.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Carina Perelli & Elisa Rial permalink
    November 9, 2016 8:21 am

    Kaje,
    Elisa is my daughter, a beautiful and talented 28-years old woman. I shared your post with her: we both agree with every single word you wrote. Tomorrow, it is time to resume the struggle for a world more equal, more just, more diverse, freer, where people are not judged, harassed, persecuted or discriminated by the color of their skin, their gender orientation, their religious beliefs (or lack thereof as is our case), or any other so-called markers of identity, where people are judged as people…But today, please hug your kid on our behalf. On a personal note, I survived twelve years of horrendous dictatorship in my country, in Latin America. Tell your kid that I said you can survive and thrive, and yes, you emerge from those fights hardened, with a few deep scars perhaps as is my case, but able to enjoy life and continue fighting for what the French poet Gabriel Peri who ended up in front of a firing squad in Occupied France called Les Lendemains qui Chantent (the Tomorrows that Sing). Besos y abrazos to your kid then and to you, keep writing: changes in the culture are done step by step among others by “normalizing”, mainstreaming differences and you do it so well…Carina y Elisa

    • November 9, 2016 8:38 am

      Thank you so much for those words and for sharing your history of strength and resilience. We will be strong, together.❤

  2. November 9, 2016 8:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this…I really needed it.

  3. Michelle permalink
    November 9, 2016 11:24 pm

    Thank you Kaje…As always, you put words to my feelings

  4. chrysalis1975 permalink
    November 10, 2016 12:39 am

    Thank you for the words. Your heartfelt and beautiful words. I am praying, will love with hope, will continue to fight. Today was scary…I pray tomorrow will find us standing stronger togethet, in love, hope, peace…*Hugs*

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