I woke up this morning to a quiet house. My wife is away on a business trip. I did the usual things: took the dogs out and fed them, started the coffee and made my daughter’s lunch. I didn’t turn on the television, didn’t check the Internet. I already knew what had happened. Late last night, around 11: 30 p.m., I saw the writing on the wall and went to bed. I figured I’d face reality in the morning.
Well, reality has certainly set in.
The first text I received after filling my coffee cup to the brim was from my wife: Lynds ... bad, bad, bad.
The second text was from a friend in Maine: If you haven’t legally adopted Maggie yet, please please do it before inauguration day. I fear what could happen.
I copied and pasted it to my wife in a text. She vowed to call our lawyer right away.
Another message came through then, this one through Facebook from a friend who teaches in the city: I have to get up in front of a room full of kids and be able to talk about this in an hour and 20 minutes.
I sighed. And then it happened. I started to cry.
I never saw this coming. I never imagined that Donald Trump would actually be the next president of the United States. Yet, here we are. This is the reality. Yesterday, I felt part of the fold. I felt my family and I belonged. Today, I feel a sense of foreboding that I can’t quite articulate.
As I stood by the kitchen sink, wiping the wetness from my eyes, my daughter bounded happily in the room. She was excited to go to school—she’s always excited to go to school. Yesterday, they held a mock election in her Pre-K classroom and Hillary Clinton won. When I asked her why she voted for Clinton, she said, “Because she’s a girl. And a girl can be president.” Then she perked up. “Who won the real election? Did the girl win?”
My heart broke. “No,” I said. “Donald Trump won.”
“Well, he didn’t win in my classroom,” she said. That was it. She was already searching in the cupboard for her favorite cereal, not a care in the world. I methodically set my feelings aside and went about getting ready to take her to school. We ate breakfast. Brushed our teeth. Got dressed. And took the dogs out one more time. As we headed down the hill towards town, an ominous thick, black cloud spilled out over our heads. A fire had broken out at an old steel plant along the lake. But from my vantage point, it was a perfect illustration of everything I was feeling at that moment; of everything so many of my LGBTQ friends are feeling this morning. There’s a dark cloud over our heads.
Can you blame us?
Just over a year ago, we were granted equal marriage rights. And now I’m sitting here wondering if that will last. I’m wondering where my family fits in to all of this. All of the progress the LGBTQ community has seen and fought for over the last decade seems as if it’s in serious jeopardy. And I don’t want to go backwards. I can’t live like that. I can’t raise my daughter like that. Whether or not Trump gives a hoot about the LGBTQ community doesn’t really matter to me. It’s the people around him I’m worried about. We already know Mike Pence’s track record (conversion therapy, religious freedom bill, etc.). And Trump’s base is overwhelming filled with straight, white individuals. He was endorsed by the KKK for God’s sake. How did we go from electing America’s first black president to someone who is supported by the KKK?
Again, this is the reality. This is the reality I, and so many other people I care about and love, are facing today. And we will face it tomorrow and the day after that. We will face for the next four years of our lives. What that reality will look like in four years, I have no clue. But I’m scared. I’m scared for my wife. I’m scared for my family. I’m scared for the LGBTQ community. I’m scared for my friends who are minorities. I’m. Scared.
Later on in the morning, I finally did get around to checking Facebook. A high school friend wrote this as his status update: Relax America. We’re going to be just fine.
I hope he’s right. But, he’s also a straight, white male. So, there’s that.