To say that this election has been challenging, terrifying, hurtful, and ugly, is an understatement, but now that the results are in, where do we go from here?
The election didn’t go the way I wanted it to last night, and I woke up this morning, still in a state of shock, disbelief, and sadness. Not just because my candidate lost, but because I fear that the progress the LGBTQ community has made, will be taken away and I will no longer have the protections and basic rights, like many Americans have. I am scared that I won’t be safe, my ability to access things like housing, public accommodations, and employment, to name a few, will diminish, and the opportunity for many of my friends to marry whomever they love, will be stripped.
But as I sat quietly this morning with my sweet dog on my lap, and as upset as I am, I realized that no matter how the election turned out, about half of this country would wake up feeling just like I do. That alone, speaks volumes. When half of a country is celebrating, and the other is scared, where is the win? To me, there isn’t a winner, but a country that needs to figure out how to repair some deep wounds. Both sides have been in fear of the 'what-if's', and have expressed that fear in terrible ways, which have fractured relationships, and divided us. I for one, want to start by mending the relationships in my own life that have been hurt because of politics. I want to find a new way to become neighbors, family, and friends again, with people whom I differ from, and let go of fear.
The way I see it, we have the next four years to work even harder and to show this country what the LGBTQ community is really made of. We are resilient, we are fighters, and we WILL be heard. Anyone who is willing and able to stand up and speak out, please share your personal stories, any chance you get. It’s through our stories and experiences that will change hearts and minds. As I say each and every time I speak to groups, “It’s much harder to hate someone you know”. So, I for one am up to the challenge, and over the next four years, I have a lot of people to meet! I hope you will join me, because we are Stronger Together and our lives matter.
No matter what, I truly believe that diversity is the fabric of this nation, and the beauty and uniqueness that every religion, tradition, race, gender, and ability, brings to the table is what already makes our country great. And in the end, I have faith that love will trump hate.