I wrote a book that summed up my reaction to the election of 2016. If I could summarize those 17 chapters, essays, and contributions, it would be: “If you voted for this guy, go fuck yourself.”
People have reached out to me from all over about the book, especially after I appeared on GAM with those wonderful people and was able to get the word out there, since I’m mostly self-promoting. My next novel will be the same way.
But so many of us were dreading this day. Some of us are protesting it, others are staying well away from the general population. I’m more of the latter. I haven’t been in a great state of mind as it is, and mixing with thousands of people with the potential for tear gas or worse, probably won’t help the situation.
However, I wrote the book that I did, and have used the podcast the way I have, because despite everything, silence was no longer an option.
I could’ve pretended to be a cis-hetero white male and been okay, or at least more okay than I have the potential of being now that I’m a lot more vulnerable. But at the same time, something about what I’ve been saying has resonated with so many people, and I know that wouldn’t be possible without its authenticity. It wouldn’t be possible without that barrier, that closet door, kicked down in Pastor Carl’s face.
Despite the great personal risk it incurred, I put myself out there to become vulnerable, and while I’m grateful for the avid response I’ve received, there are more important reasons that I’ve chosen to pursue it the way I have.
I pursued them to tell the terrified LGBT people out there that they’re not alone. I could not live with myself having this level of support and not trying to help others who aren’t so blessed.
I pursued them to help normalize transgender people in the common mindset. Even well meaning people are filled with misconceptions, myths, or stereotypes that need to be taken down. Others have no knowledge of it at all, and if I can help anyone understand a little better, it’s worth it.
I pursued them to tell those in the closet that there’s people out here who will love and support them, even if they’re not blood relatives. That’s not something I can promise. What I can promise is that there are more of us than you could possibly imagine. The ending of Callie Wright’s show isn’t just a hook. We’re waiting to embrace you, and we’ll fight to keep you safe if you decide to come out. If you don’t, we’ll still be there for you. That’s up to you. You are not obligated to live up to anyone else’s demands, expectations, or timeline.
I pursued them because I can handle the hate. As I’ve often described, Pastor Carl was making kids cry with his megaphone verbal precision strikes. Nothing he said could bother me because I don’t give a fuck about anything he thinks, but that took years of building up resistance to hate. Not everyone has that, and I’m willing to stand in front of those who can’t. If I can stop Pastor Carl or anyone like him from ruining someone’s day by distracting them with a six-foot transgirl with purple hair, bring it the fuck on. What? I’m going to Hell? Hadn’t heard. Why’s your Bible highlighted? I thought you went to college for that. Isn’t it a sin to desecrate it in such ways? Maybe you’re the heathen.
I pursued them because there needs to be as many voices speaking out now, not when it’s too late. A significant majority of voters did not want this, and resistance will be needed for everything the minority of American voters chose. We can’t wait until they’ve happened to speak up. We need to speak up now, and keep speaking.
Most of all, I pursued them because I would do anything for those I love, care about, have befriended, and who have reached out to me. Most of all, I try to be the person I needed when I started going through what I did in the Bush Administration. I didn’t have then what I do now, and if I can stop even one person from having to go through that alone, I will.
I’m scared. You should be. This isn’t a joke anymore. It doesn’t matter how far he might go or what he might do, I’m not anxiously sitting around and waiting to find out. I will continue to write, speak, and otherwise embrace anyone I can, because our means are rapidly going to disappear. The arts are going to be slashed, public speech and protest put down, newspapers bribed or threatened, and plenty of non-cishetwhiteChristianmen will be in some level of danger. It’s going to be a rough time, no matter how long it lasts, but we can and will overcome.
Complacency is no longer an option. We’re all tired, hurt, and angry, but shrugging it off and waiting for the timer to get to zero won’t make anything better. The voices of dissent, protest, and expression need to get louder than ever, because more efforts than ever will be underway to silence them by any means necessary.