As I write this article, I realize that over the last twelve days, many articles have been written about how our country has and will continue to change over the next four years. I know that I personally share enough on my social media expressing my feelings about President Elect Donald Trump, but I feel as if those words and those memes are not enough. It is time for me to get even more serious with the harsh reality that I will now have to face for the next four years of my life; and that is that I will have to live in constant fear.
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Since the morning of November 9th, I have had a series of conversations with friends and classmates about what this change means for our country. A majority of what I surprisingly heard, surrounded the idea that with Donald Trump as President, I had “nothing to worry about."
“You’ll be okay.”
“With Trump, at least we avoided World War III.”
With each and every syllable rolling off of the tongues of the people I care about, I found myself in a dizzy haze – one I just couldn’t seem to wake up from no matter how many times I tried to shake myself awake.
Although the last 18 months had seemed like a joke to me, or rather a straight acid trip, I was now living in a world I would no longer be able to escape. Not only as a woman, but as a queer woman.
Attending a Benedictine Catholic University certainly has its perks, but one of the things I have begun to fear the most is what the atmosphere will be like as we grow closer and closer to January 20th. You see, though there are a strong amount of liberals on my campus, there is a strong amount of conservative students on campus, too. With a specific club dedicated to the conservative party, I have wondered how those particular students will act on this new change.
As a woman, I don’t find myself fearing for my safety on campus. At SMU, we are lucky to have a great public safety department that takes their job very seriously. It is my queer identity that is left wondering what our legacy will be like at the end of the school year. While our public safety department can protect us physically, they cannot protect us from policies. And they sure as hell can’t save us from the backlash.
As president of the LGBTQA* club on campus for the past two years, I have made it my personal mission to bring more inclusion to our small campus. I have high hopes and dreams for the students I will be leaving behind this Spring as graduation rolls around the corner; many of which those hopes and dreams which consist of our own safe space on campus. I have watched my fellow club members prepare themselves for the aftermath, but I have also watched their hopes and dreams only grow stronger, despite what they may be feeling inside.
I am lucky that after two protests on campus so far, one for standing in solidarity and one for human rights, the students of Saint Martin’s University managed to be respectful on those days, and they managed to stand together in unity, no matter who they voted for.
But I still wait for the change to unfold somewhere high up on the hill, where decisions are made and lives are changed. We have had endure so much as a small part of our schools population, and I would hate to see all of that time and effort disappear because our university finally believes they can get away with discrimination.
If there is anything I could say to try and get Trump supporters to understand at this time, is that you should never invalidate someone’s fear at a time like this. Sure, Trump seems harmless to you—and maybe you’re right. The truth of the matter is, we don’t just fear Donald Trump, we fear Mike Pence as well. We fear every cabinet member he has appointed and continues to appoint, and until he stops putting discriminatory White men in the White House, we will continue to live in this fear.
To my queer brothers and sisters, this is our time to stand up and link arms for the fight of a lifetime. We have worked too damn hard to get to where we are today. We cannot and shall not let these next four years set us back hundreds of years. We have spent our whole lives being told that we were the generation that would change the world, and now is our time to prove our country right.
We will change the world.
And though you may feel tired and exhausted right now, our fight is only just beginning.