It’s personal. But it’s not. I don’t know. I’m appalled that Donald Trump has been elected our next President, and that he’s already putting at least one person with white nationalist ties into his administration. I’m frightened by the apparent outbreak of bigotry, harassment and even physical attacks tied to the election.
But I’ve also been reminded more than once that this has been happening all along for black people and other marginalized groups. And we still haven’t done anything about it. It’s just more overt now. And the person who’s going to be in charge of our country is the symbolic focus of it.
How is it personal? I pass for white, Christian and heterosexual, so I’m generally safe, right?
I could tell you about my non-white, non-cis-gendered, non-heterosexual friends and family. I’m certainly worried on their behalf, but those are their stories to tell.
Here’s mine: I’m not straight. Some of you know that, or have guessed, but lots of you don’t. I identify as bisexual. I have for a long time. I’ve also been monogamously married to a man for almost 21 years. And my sexuality doesn’t generally come up in conversation, unless you want to talk about the hotness of Rachel Maddow. We can totally do that if you want.
Back when I didn’t pass, when I went around in super-short hair and a leather jacket, I got mis-gendered all the time. And I had slurs yelled at me on the street — in Berkeley! And I was afraid to talk to my family about it. I guess I still am. Thinking about writing this post was kind of terrifying. My friends and family are far braver than I am.
I’m also not strictly white. My grandmother was from the Philippines. I pass. Some of my relatives don’t. But if, say, the government decided that only people whose grandparents were all born in the United States could vote, that would cut out me and my siblings and all of my first cousins (on both sides of the family, because my other grandmother emigrated from England), not to mention my parents, aunts and uncles.
And finally, I’m cis-gendered, but I am a woman, which isn’t an asset in the Trumpian worldview. That thing about grabbing women by the p___y? That literally happened to me in seventh grade. Some boy in the hallway grabbed and then kept walking. I never knew who it was and didn’t know what to do.
I definitely don’t have as much reason to be afraid as some others do. But these are my stories, and they are part of why I am angry and afraid.