I’ve had a lot I’ve wanted to say for a while now. I’m not even sure where to begin, or even if I want to begin, though. The person I voted for did not win the presidency. That’s okay. I can handle not being on the winning side. (I am a Syracuse fan after all…)
The person who did win the presidency, however, has awakened misogyny, bigotry, racism, Islamophobia, and homophobia in far too many people. He ignores scientific evidence and is set to sign actions that will put our planet in danger for future generations, our children’s generation. He is set to sign actions that will take away mine, my wife’s, and a lot of our friend’s rights and freedoms. That is not okay.
I struggled a lot with depression in my teenage years when I was coming to terms with who I was. I tried my best to repress my true feelings, tried to live a straight life, and often thought about how it might be easier to just give up on life altogether. And then when I finally found the courage to come out, I was met with private messages from family members who shunned me for living a life of sin, comparing me to a Renaissance prostitute, and pointing me to Bible verses that would help me get my life on the “right” track again.
These were people I grew up next door to, played backyard baseball and kickball against, and swam at our grandmother’s pool with. These were people I considered my best friends, people I thought I would always consider my best friends. And now, suddenly I’m no more than a sinning prostitute who will be burning in hell and whose marriage is somehow less valid.
That is why I “missed so many days of work” and marched on Washington. (In reality, myself and so many others were bused in for 8 hours…on a Saturday…) I marched because these isms and phobias that I have felt firsthand have no place in the White House or in the United States and they have got to go.
I marched because I know what it’s like to be on the outside, to be in the threatened minority. I marched because I know the strength that’s required when one is met with these hurtful comments, and I know sadly, not everyone possesses that kind of strength. I marched because I also recognize my white privilege and instead of basking in it, would rather use my voice and platform for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, my Muslim brothers and sisters, my black brothers and sisters, anyone who feels mistreated and threatened.
I marched because for me, even as a writer, I believe actions speak louder than words. If Facebook arguments and the sharing of biased news articles behind the protection of your keyboard is your way of voicing your opinions, that’s great. But don’t you dare ostracize me for actually doing something about the causes I believe in.
I’m really glad that so many women I seem to be “friends” with didn’t feel the need to march. I’m glad that you’ve always had access to health insurance and affordable reproductive healthcare. I’m glad you’ve never felt your freedoms, your rights, or your way of life was ever threatened in any way. I’m glad you’ve never faced any kind of discrimination in the workplace. I’m glad you’ve never had your family speak out against your “lifestyle.” I'm glad. I truly am. But instead of bashing those who have felt any of the above, is it too much to ask for you to have a little empathy for your fellow sisters?
And let’s not forget: if you voted in the last election, you have some women who marched to thank for that…