I went to bed last night before Donald Trump was officially named the next president of the United States because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. The anxiety was too palpable. The dread was too real. I felt like my soul had left my body and was repeatedly banging itself against my living room ceiling in an attempt to knock itself unconscious.
I woke up up at 3:00 am thinking that Tuesday night had been some kind of sick dream, as if I were a character at the end of a badly written horror movie who learns the monster was merely a figment of his imagination.
But I wasn’t dreaming ― we aren’t dreaming ― and this isn’t the end of a horror movie. It’s just the beginning.
So, what do we do now? How do we, as queer people, move forward knowing so many people ― our families, our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers ― who live in a country that’s supposed to believe in and protect liberty and freedom and justice just voted for a man who is so rabidly anti-woman, anti-people of color, anti-immigrant, anti-queer and who is so obviously so unfit to lead this country? How do we look them in the face and not want to cry or spit or throw punches?
I don’t really know. What I do know, is that no matter how lonely you feel right now while you’re reading this at your desk or lying in your bed or waiting in line at Walgreens, you are not alone. There are millions of you ― of us ― searching for uneasy answers, trying not to breakdown on the subway, forcing ourselves to pull our shirts over our heads and attempt to somehow be useful in a country that seems to have no use for us, in a country that we are certain does not want us, that we worry will not keep us safe.
For now, we must hold each other as we fall to pieces, as we simultaneously lose ourselves to our despair and drown in our panic, as we burn with the hottest, bluest flames of hopelessness.
And then we must hold each other as we piece ourselves back together, as we remember who we are ― who we have always been ― and remember what we have stared down and refused to give in to before. Remember what we and those who came before us have overcome, together, for hundreds and hundreds of cold, dark years.
We must, perhaps more than any time before now, be exactly who we are, not by denying our fears, but by willingly pumping them through our veins as proof that we exist despite the very real dreams of those who wish we did not. Let those fears fuel us as we remind ourselves and anyone who dare look upon us that we are not going anywhere ― that we are wholly deserving of our love and our desire simply because they are real and they are ours and they have made us who we are today.
Let us be furious. Let us be afraid. Let us tell ourselves everything will somehow be OK and then let us believe it and then let us make it so. If you haven’t come out, come out. If you have come out, come out again and again and again ― to your families, to the officials who have been elected to represent you, to the woman sitting next to you on your flight to San Diego.
Let us be heartbroken. Let us be doubtless. Let us learn and relearn and teach each other our history and let us never allow ourselves or each other to forget. Let us vote. Let us donate our time and our money and our attention to those who may have even less than us and even more reasons to be terrified than we do.
Let us be vigilant. Let us be brave. Let us give ourselves and anyone else as many orgasms as we can muster with our bare hands and our open mouths and our beautiful, quivering bodies and let us understand how radical of an act this truly is. Let us fall in love with ourselves or anyone else at any given moment ― just because we can, just because ― look at us! How could we not?
Let us be rooted. Let us be decisive. Let us refuse to hear “no” but be unafraid to say it. Let us look for moments to offer mercy to ourselves and anyone else. Let us hold those who have wronged us accountable for their actions and their words. Let us not fear righteous anger or the very real power it can have to get things done. Let us know when and how to forgive and when and how not to.
Let us see ― truly see. Let us speak what needs to be spoken. Let us wake up and stay awake today and every day after today. Let us fight alongside one another with our words and our actions and our hearts and let us never stop fighting, even when we’re telling ourselves and each other that the end of the world has finally arrived ― even when the end of the world finally arrives.