I feel sick, and sad, and scared, for the second day in a row. Yesterday, I felt sick, and sad, and scared and I was immobile. I went to my classes and I could not learn. Neither could anyone else–my professors were distracted, one class was cut short, more than a few of my classmates came to lectures hungover, in tears, or both. I was running on an hour and a half of sleep. I had two fits of anxious, ugly crying, the kind where you use a whole box of tissues at a time and a contact lens falls out in the process.
Activist groups at my university held a walkout, and I went. People spoke and many cried and we were all sick, and sad, and scared.
Last night, I went to my first every queer activist group meeting. I never went to GSA in high school, because I was scared. Now, I am scared and I can no longer be scared alone, and I am so glad that I left my dorm room to go. We did the work of caring for ourselves and for each other, because that was all anyone could do.
I feel sick, and sad, and scared, and I know that inactivity will only make it worse, and in turn make us all sicker and sadder and more afraid. I have no choice, now, but to be active, because sitting scared and still and quiet only enables the things that will hurt me, the things that will hurt everyone who isn’t a white, straight, cisgender, wealthy white man. Every day, I have to wake up. Every day, I have to live, which is a political act. Every day I have to something, anything, to help those who will be hurt in the next four years.
I have to keep writing my stories. I have to make them even weirder, even more challenging, to everything that just got elected into the White House–racism, sexism, queerphobia, classism. I have to stay involved. I have to show up. I have to donate, whenever I am financially able, to organizations like Planned Parenthood, like the ACLU, like the Sierra Club, like Lambda Legal. When I am unable to donate, I must volunteer, and always, even if I am unable to do anything else, I must speak.
I know that many of you are also sick, sad, and scared right now. Inactivity will make it worse, so what can you do?
If you are an artist, create content that challenges the sickening ideologies that got him elected.
If you can, volunteer. Show up. If you can mentally handle it, volunteer for a crisis hotline in the next few weeks–they need every person they can get to help. If you are physically able, go out to protests in your area. Share resources online. If you are financially able, donate.
Be there for your community. Marginalized people taking care of themselves is a political act, so be well in order to make his life hell.
Listen to people of color, listen to queer people, listen to trans people, listen to women, listen to people whose identities intersect along lines of marginalization. If you are white, as I am, be constantly examining yourself–a vote for Hillary did not absolve you from the systems of oppression of which we are undeniably a part. Understand that you probably know someone who voted for him, understand what that means, understand how you affect people who aren’t white. Understand how much work you and I both will have to do to dismantle that, and understand that as white people, we may never be done.
Look at the privileges you enjoy. Use that power to amplify the voices of people who do not have it. Listen to people who do not have it. If you are told that you are being harmful, that you are being racist or queerphobic or in any way harming someone who is already being harmed enough, listen. Take that on board. Alter your behavior accordingly.
Respect the spaces of the people who are being harmed the most. Respect the people who are being harmed the most.
We must all show up.