Stand Against Hate, Fight for Love

By Jon McLean (NYC Resident)

I, for years, had imagined what November 8th, 2016 would like. I would step up and cast my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton and would a be part of electing, who I felt, to be the most qualified person in history for President.

In the weeks leading up to election night I felt so sure of her impending win. It felt inevitable. It felt right and it felt like everyone around me was ready, even if not supportive, for Hillary Clinton to win.

All that changed as I sat down next to my laptop to watch MSNBC coverage as I do every election.

Senate race after senate race was coming up red. A flag of caution being raised that we wouldn’t have the landslide that I had been promised by pollsters. But I held onto a hope that would, sadly, diminish over the course of the night and into the morning.

When it was finally declared that Donald Trump had clinched over 270 electoral votes I became very aware of my own body. 

I felt trapped, and for the first time confronted with what a Trump presidency really meant to me. How intimate of an impact it would have to my own existence.

I am white, a privilege that I try to check myself on constantly and hope to be called out on when I fail to see it.

I am poor and living in an expensive city. My parents, I am so grateful, help me as much as they can. But for the bulk of my expenses I am alone. The health insurance they can offer me does not extend outside of Massachusetts so as I live in NYC full time I constantly am hoping I will not get sick. The ACA was going to be my saving grace and now it feels like that will not be an option.

I am Queer, and I am proud and anyone who knows me knows that. For obvious reasons a Trump/Pence ticket is horrifying. It means that although the two states I call home Massachusetts and New York will support me the rest of the country will not. What saddens me is how many of my fellow LGBTQ+ folks will face a discrimination we had hoped to be over. I am already praying to the universe that we do not see LGBTQ+ suicide rates reach the peaks they had rested at in our all too recent history.

What rattled me so about hearing the words “President Elect Donald Trump” was something outside of those three facets of my identity.

The real impact comes in after my whiteness or my economic standing or my Queerness is my identity as a sexual assault survivor.

Watching Trump take the stage to accept his win I felt the hands of the men who had taken advantage of me. I felt the pain and powerlessness that followed those assaults. I felt the abuses of trust and power all over again and couldn’t shake them off so easily.

I felt as though I would be unable to feel at ease because every time I started to relax I remembered that in this country sexual predators can now be rewarded with even more power. Now on a global scale where inevitability they will be branded as role models and beacons of freedom.

The last two days have been challenging. People think as I take to the streets and peacefully protest that I’m holding onto anger over Hillary Clinton losing the presidency. But what I have tried to explain - without sharing these intimate parts of myself to others until now - is this is bigger than Clinton or the Democratic party. 

I’m protesting for my voice. I’m demanding that I hold onto my agency. That I am able to say what happened to me and to countless others was not okay. That I will not raise a man to the highest position of power when he is responsible for shattering the security of many women.

As a white person I am vowing to listen to anyone who needs somebody to talk to. To lend, anyone who feels silenced, a set of ears who will be happy and ready to listen. I will never truly know what it means to walk in your shoes but I promise to always listen, honor, and appreciate your view and to defend your voice and your rights against anyone who threatens them.

I am standing up as a poor, Queer, survivor of assault against Donald Trump. I am standing up for people of color, for undocumented folks, for the disabled, for women in need of choice, for Muslims.

I am taking a stand against hate, against a man who threatens religious and civil freedoms and against a man who perpetrates the most evil crimes imaginable.

I am proudly saying that Donald Trump will never be my president and I will spend the next four years making sure everyone around me knows that.

And I am reiterating my promise that in despite of the wall he wishes to build on the foundation of hate I will rip down the walls that have kept me quiet and fight for love, ALWAYS!