This morning, my sister wrote me, “I don’t even know if it’s still real...I deactivated my Facebook account and haven’t gone online...Stayed up til 3 with his voice coming from the tv...”
Silence. I had only read the official news that morning. I was still startled and winded. I understood my sister’s disorientation. Words had not been this stumbled or trembled before. When I finally replied, I explained, “Yes. I do feel like I am still in shock. A little bit like stepping out of the car after the accident. When we looked around as it settled in, there was just a shock.That’s me right now. I’m incredibly unsettled yet functioning. It’s the weirdest thing.”
The reality is that I keeping repeating, “I don’t get it....I don’t get it.” And perhaps more terrifying is that I do understand. I understand that the election of Donald Trump is a direct and undeniable testament that there still exists a very real and very active community of hatred and division and terror. I am terrified.
(I cannot stop crying.)
I saw Patty today and we held each other, trembling. Knowing that a large population of Americans resonate with Trump and trust his values immobilized me. Words failed us today, we didn’t talk much, mostly just walked alongside each other in solidarity. We were at a walk-through at FIU’s Koven Center. We were scheduled to see the space for The Sex Summit’s annual event in June 2017. That’s only six months away. The summit is so tangible and real. And yet, here we are.
Hillary stood for a lot of our truths. I cannot help but feel bruised and incredibly vulnerable. Raw skin lathered in rubbing alcohol - that kind of teeth-grinding sting. And having to envision the summit, an event to empower and honor women’s worthiness, on this particular day was noticeably heavy. We kept encouraging each other, Patty and I.
I think it reminded us of the glass-ceiling. The limitations and censorship of women are brutally apparent today. The limitations and censorship of minorities are brutally apparent today. The limitations and censorship of queer folks are brutally apparent today.
WE DON’T FEEL SAFE.
I drove home and the world felt muted. I fumbled onto the couch and listened as Hillary Clinton addressed us. I cried throughout her concession speech. The type of cry that rolls out of deep within and shakes through your lips in moans. More than the politics for me, she represented our progress as women. For years, I have feared my own sexuality because it was laden with trauma, distrust, and deep, generational sorrow. I had finally (and only recently) started to feel the ease of it, the joy and ecstasy of it. The freedom and control and surrender and vibration. It devastates and disappoints me that the elected president makes me feel unsafe as a woman again. That his VP choice advocates for conversion therapy cuts the old wounds open all over again. As a Hispanic and as a queer woman, I weep and weep.
Trump. When I read the final results of the election, I held my breath. When I exhaled, the fear saturated me. It felt like a cloak that circled me heavily. My mind tripped on disbelief. Shock. Moments like these I groan, I don’t understand! All my truths feel threatened and condemned. Queer people were finally beginning to feel safe. Women were finally beginning to feel safe. When my dad spoke Spanish in conservative states, the urge to silence him had softened. You must understand the need and readiness for this sense of safety and freedom. We’re not even talking about equality. We’re talking about the basic desire to feel safe.
As I swallowed the reality of Trump, I thought of my girlfriend. She was still in bed sleeping. She’d stayed pacing in the living room until 3am while I listened from bed. She was nervous, I felt it and curled up tighter.
This morning, I came and sat by the bed and just held her. She didn’t know yet. She was still peaceful and rested. Meanwhile, I could feel myself burning. If you’ve ever loved, you get it. This impenetrable desire to protect your lover, or child, or sister. To keep them safe. To feel that you can’t do that as well anymore is indescribably disheartening. Today we both feel heavy because of it. Shaken. Unsettled. Hurt. Disappointed. Nervous. Raw. Tired.
And still....and still. I believe we’ve cracked the glass ceiling. It hasn’t shattered yet, but one crack is more than no cracks. We are aware of the rampant fear and agenda of division. Perhaps now more than ever before, we are aware. And we tremble. And we rise above it now. We must.
We struggled to share this today. This movement is so important to us. All advice tells us to never post anything political so we do not divide our audience. But we just can’t keep silent. This is too important. Women’s rights are too important. LGBTQ rights are too important. We cannot stand silently in the background and hope that we don't divide our audience. We must stand boldly where we know it is right and honorable to do so. This is not about partisanship. It is about humanity. We are one. To divide or to unite is a choice that is individually made. Our platform is for inclusivity.
In her concession speech, Hillary said, “This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is, it is worth it. And so we need—we need you to keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives. And to all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me: I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will—and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.”
We will remain there. In this call to action. In this encouragement to keep moving. In this final clamor for unity and progress. We invite you to stand weary but united. We must stand together, now more than ever. We mourn today and we remain.
The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving. -Gloria Steinham