In the aftermath of a divisive election, many are left with a fear of being further disenfranchised as the president-elect takes the Oval Office.
by PAJAH WILLIAMS
The future that is in store for us under the Trump administration terrifies me – first, because I am black, and second, because I am a woman.
In light of recent travesties surrounding police brutality and wrongful killings of African American men, Donald Trump’s only concern during various appearances as the Republican nominee was for the lives of law enforcement officers. He reinforced law and order rhetoric and endorsed policing techniques that target minorities.
Stop-and-frisk practices, for example, which were ruled unconstitutional in 2013, were praised by the candidate, who said, “Stop-and-frisk had a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City.”
In actuality, the New York Police Department reports 89 percent of New Yorkers who were stopped and frisked in 2012 were completely innocent. Furthermore, 55 percent of those stopped were African American, 33 percent were Latino, and a mere 10 percent were Caucasian. It was a huge success, though, Trump boasted. The huge success was in humiliating, targeting, and over-policing predominately innocent minorities.
Donald Trump has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Black Lives Matter concerns, although he shows no qualms in acknowledging the fact that police officers’ lives are in danger due to the nature of their jobs and the rising racial divides in the country. It is as if he turns a blind eye to the officers who demonize, target, and use lethal force at alarming rates against African Americans.
Our communities are shaken, but he refuses to acknowledge these concerns and instead paints the narrative of poor, villainous black people ranting, raving, and endangering law enforcement for no apparent reason. Your president doesn’t hear my voice. That is why I am in opposition to him.
I'm not saying that Donald Trump is a racist. I'm saying that his words, the policies that he’s proposed, and his entire platform are fueled by stereotypes and alarming ideas that will destroy a lot of ethnic minorities.
I'm not saying that Donald Trump is misogynistic. I'm saying that he has demonstrated an utter lack of respect regarding women and has perpetuated rape culture.
I'm not saying that Donald Trump is the equivalent of Adolf Hitler. I'm just saying that his entire campaign forced a dichotomy between Americans and a religious minority that he blames for all problems in the world. He speaks in language that is tainted with emotion and incites an unnecessary amount of fear. He speaks of building walls, both imaginary and concrete.
He's divided the States and created a cult-like following that simply dismisses the insurmountable, absurd things that he had said and done. People aren't listening to his underlying message because they are distracted by conspiracy theories that he formed against his opponent.
I’m not saying anything about Donald Trump or his supporters that can be construed as hatred toward them. Instead I mourn for my LGBT friends and family; for my Muslim brothers and sisters; with every woman who has put forth sexual harassment claims against the president elect; for the African American community, whose voices are unheard; for immigrants and refugees alike.
I mourn for the sake of humanity – and because of not only Donald Trump's apparent recklessness and stupidity, but also the hatred that he has inspired.
Above all else, I mourn because this election has been quite revealing. Privileged, rich white men continue to be awarded things they don't deserve while women and other minorities have been continuously screwed over and swiftly put back in their "place."
That is the way that America operated in the past – in a way which Donald Trump exalts as being so great. And that is the direction for America that some voters so foolishly opted to revert back to.
by SCOTT WILLIAMS
It is no secret that President-elect Donald Trump is no fan of the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare. In fact, a large portion of his campaign was centered on his promise to repeal the act. To me, as a disabled American, it is a little frightening to imagine a future without guaranteed health insurance.
A Trump presidency fills me with trepidation for more than a few reasons. As a queer person, I worry about Trump’s promise to revoke the rights we just earned by overturning of Obergefell v. Hodges, Vice President-elect Pence’s belief in conversion therapy, and the overall prejudice attitude that fills many of the people that pass me on the streets. However, though there is fear that my life will be endangered by one of these strangers, the fear of not being able to afford the medication and treatment I need to survive is even more tangible.
Nine years ago, I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. This is a chronic, autoimmune disease that could not have been prevented and can never be cured with modern medical technology. This disease brings daily hassles and complications, including half a dozen needles, fatigue, and potentiality of coma or death, and because of it, I will spend approximately $15,000 to $20,000 on medical supplies and doctor’s office visits every year for the rest of my life.
Currently, I am lucky enough to be covered under my father’s insurance plan, bringing the cost down to about $2,000 a year. However, in five years, I will no longer be eligible to remain on my parents’ policy. I suffer not only from diabetes, but also from another autoimmune disease called celiac and several mental health complications that require additional treatment and medication.
These preexisting conditions – in addition to a family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, thyroid complications, and three different forms of cancer – all lead to an insurance company’s worst nightmare. As unfair as it is, refusal to take on a new client because of preexisting conditions and family history is very common, which means that if I am not fortunate enough to procure a job that comes with health benefits, I will spend up to $20,000 a year solely on medical treatment.
To put that in perspective, an Ohioan working minimum wage for 40 hours a week every day of the year makes only $16,848 before taxes. This is not enough to cover even medical expenses, let alone food, housing, and utilities. Under the Affordable Care Act, I was guaranteed health insurance, saving me and 49 million other Americans from choosing either a house or life. Under a Trump presidency, this is not as sure of a bet.
Journalist Ari Ne’emen wrote that the three most dangerous plans of President-elect Trump’s plans in regards to healthcare are his promises to get rid of the primary federal funding for disability and aging services (the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid), to eliminate legal protections in place to represent disabled people in the healthcare system (Americans with Disabilities Act), and to set back autism policies due to his belief that it is linked to vaccinations.
In other words, Americans with disabilities will not survive a Trump presidency if these promises are carried out— financially, legislatively, or medically. On the bright side, similar to many other aspects of Trump’s platform, his views seem to have changed or diminished since being elected. Independent sources have stated that President Obama encouraged Trump to keep the Affordable Care Act as law, and Trump supposedly agreed only to amend it, having no plans to repeal it entirely. However, as fact-checkers of the past year are all too familiar, Trump has rarely kept his promises. As a disabled American, I hope he does this time.
by JESSICA HOLLAN
Growing up as a female, there are certain things you are taught since the beginning of your childhood: don’t leave your drink alone, never walk home after dark, hold your keys between your fingers like daggers when you walk to your car, never leave your door unlocked, and of course, my personal favorite, never walk through a city in heels – always wear flats – in case you have to run.
These and many other similar lessons wear on women, constantly plaguing their minds. So when the country elects someone who has made extremely misogynistic statements, and has been repeatedly degrading toward women, it is no wonder fear has been sparked into not only many women, but also people with daughters, sisters, and mothers.
It is not Trump himself who makes me a little more fearful of my safety than I was before. Rather, who I fear are the kind of people who were perpetuating violence against women before Trump’s run for president – those who now feel justified in what they do simply because their future president says those kinds of things, too.
While both people in moving vehicles and passersby on the sidewalk have hurled verbal assaults at me in my lifetime, I was grabbed only once – while at this university.
It took all but maybe five seconds. With one glance at my furious expression, my assaulter blurted out a quick apology before dashing back to his friends. My experience is, hands down, the tamest I have ever heard; I was lucky to have dealt with a submissive type who had gained a drop of courage, fueled by his friends, to carry out one brazen action. Many are not so lucky – like the few who have already run into Donald Trump supporters.
The Huffington Post reported that a female patron and her friend were discussing their opposition to President-elect Trump in a Brooklyn, N.Y. diner when a nearby male customer overheard and struck up an argument, demanding the woman be thrown out. When that didn’t happen, he left – but ran back into the restaurant to punch the woman in the face, pushing over a waitress and a baby in a high chair in the process.
Similarly, New York Magazine reported that a group of men harassed a woman inside a New York subway car, grabbing at her and saying, “Grab her by the [expletive]” – an infamous quote from a surfaced 2005 interview of our president-elect.
Both of these cases – and more – happened within a week of Election Day. It’s clear that many women have, and will continue to be, affected by self-proclaimed Trump supporters. Perhaps they genuinely like Trump; perhaps not. Regardless of assaulters’ true level of support, the issue stems from the use of his words and his past as justification for actions through disassociation.
It’s important to note that The Guardian published an article in the wake of the 2005 interview clip’s surfacing, quoting Trump supporters who maintained that “grabbing women's genitals is not sexual assault” and that “he did not say the word[s] ‘sexual assault.’” This is the rationale upon which some Americans’ support for Donald Trump rests – and it’s similar to the faulty rhetoric that some will employ to justify their own sexual assaults.
Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the current adviser of the National Football League on its anti-domestic violence initiative, told The Huffington Post that her concern for the consequences of a Donald Trump presidency “is based on not just what his behavior has been, because he is an individual, but what he can do to influence other men’s behaviors and other women’s perceptions of their value.”
Also citing Trump’s level of influence, an article from The Atlantic stated, “Women may be more hesitant to speak out about sexual assault in the future after witnessing the way that Trump not only retaliated against and threatened his accusers, but did not appear to suffer any serious penalty stemming from the accusations.”
Author Kelly Oxford offered women an opportunity to take back the discussion after the leaked 2005 Access Hollywood tape with a Twitter thread under #NotOkay. Under this hashtag, women discussed the first time they were assaulted, to show that this is real and happening and that statements like Trump’s only make it worse.
Statistics from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) reveal that a sexual assault occurs every two minutes, yet Americans continue to sweep it under the rug – and went as far as to elect a president who provokes it. While we’re living in a dangerous America right now, each of us is a living, breathing human being who matters to so many people, so it’s more important now than ever to look out for one another.
People care about you. I care about you. And I want everyone to be safe. Please be safe.
by NICK BUCHANAN
Although a self-proclaimed bully since childhood, President-elect Donald Trump himself doesn’t seem to pose a direct threat towards the LGBT+ people in direct quotations at first glance; among his few unconvincing statements regarding our community are a vague promise to protect us from “hateful, foreign ideology,” the thought that transgender people should use whichever bathroom they’d prefer, and a contradictory opposition to the 2015 same-sex marriage ruling.
While his prevailing theme of apathy regarding our rights and equal treatment is risky in itself, many of the decisions he has made or will make are what should truly shake fear into community: namely, his choices to fill the vice presidency and the empty seat on the Supreme Court of the United States bear great significance.
Mike Pence might be the most toxic choice to hold such a high office in 21st century American government in regards to LGBT+ advancement. In fact, at this point, I’m forced to hope that Trump acts responsibly and stays alive while in office – because upon his impeachment or death, we’re left with President Pence. And while not many things seem scarier than President Trump, the thought of President Pence sure does.
Holding strong to beliefs that gays and lesbians don’t deserve marriage, service in the military, or equal protection under hate crime laws, Pence is the Indiana governor most infamously known for having signed the state’s Religious Restoration Act into law; designed to protect citizens from nonexistent attacks on Christianity, it allows for discrimination in the name of business owners’ wholesome religious nature. Perhaps most alarming, though, is his belief that federal HIV testing and research funds should be devoted instead to conversion therapy, in which attempts are made to quite literally shock the gay out of people.
Nonetheless, neither Trump nor Pence alone can take immediate action against our community, and Congress, albeit Republican-dominated, is too clumsy a body to make any sudden moves. But the judiciary branch is the means through which Trump could reach us. While Trump’s appointee will fill a spot left by conservative Justice Scalia, there are two current liberal justices at risk of expiry in the next four years, as well. A complete conservative domination could spell disaster if any future cases – that, admittedly, may or may not come along – test the ruling on what is arguably the most important landmark case in gay rights: Obergefell v. Hodges, which rests on a narrow 5-4 decision.
What upsets me the most about the Donald Trump victory, more so than the political technicalities, is the fact that over 59 million people agreed, or at the very least, condoned him, his opinions, and his behaviors to the extent that they cast a ballot for him. Fifty-nine million Americans supported – some more fervently than others – an outright bully whose campaign was based largely in convincing straight, white Christians that they are the true disadvantaged demographic.
Even if there is truth in the rising conspiracy theory that he posed as conservative candidate just to get elected before jumping the platform, his campaign touted ignorance as an acceptable American standard, provoking an ugly side to our nation. His subsequent victory gave his voter base the perception that they’re the victims who have overcome adversity, when their happiness is actually rooted in the maintenance of their comfortable systemic privilege.
As a gay man, Trump’s supporters scare me more than Trump himself. In the worst-case scenario dystopia of a Trump America, he won’t be the one to jump my boyfriend and me on a sidewalk. He won’t be the one who will write expletives on my car windows. He won’t be the one who smashes me over the head with a bottle while on a date. It’ll be his most fervent supporters, with their egos stroked at the thought that their faithful leader would applaud their actions.
Will our country and its minorities survive this setback? Yeah. We’ve lasted this long; we can survive four years of Donald Trump. In what conditions will we be living in by 2020? Only time will tell. Is leaving the country the answer? No.
We must rally together. This is not our time to bow down and move out; it’s time to protect our liberties from rollbacks and to hold our position steady. America is clearly not the land of acceptance that we were led to believe it was, especially during the last eight years under President Obama, when we saw the extension of federal hate crime laws to cover motives of sexual orientation bias and the federal legalization of same-sex marriage. But together, we will help make America a country that is not Trump’s definition of “great again,” but a country that we can be proud to call home.