A while back I had an argument with a coworker about politics. Bad idea, I know, and from now on I will avoid talking politics with people I work with like the plague. But he was asking for it, truly. This person, whom I normally like and respect, was posting DAILY on Facebook about how fucked our country was now that Obama was officially president for four more years. I’m not sure how long his posts lasted, but for at least a week my newsfeed was clogged with this guy whining about he was afraid for the future of his children with Obama at the helm. Finally I messaged him saying that I understood he was disappointed, but his posts had to stop. The country had spoken and like it or not Obama was our president again. He shot back with something snippy and immature about the economy and the deficit and what had Obama really done in the last four years so I responded by posting a link to all the positive things Obama had done and how he’d actually reduced our country’s debt. He blew it off and then his wife got involved in the conversation and they pulled the concerned parents card again, asking what kind of a leader Obama was for their children. I told them that he had no doubt inspired countless non-White youths, as evidenced by the high youth vote. I also asked how he thought I felt as a queer woman when my rights to my body and my right to get married were endangered by a Republican win. (They’re still endangered up I feel a lot safer with Obama than I would have with Romney.) I told him that people in other countries were being locked up or worse for being queer and with the way Republicans were headed I feared for my safety. He told me in this day and age, in this country it could never get to that point.
Maybe he’s right. But my mom voted Democrat for the first time in her life because of the way women were being treated by the Republican Party. And ever since I read Margaret Atwood’s Hand Maid’s Tale I have never fully believed that something like that couldn’t happen. I wished I could’ve said this to his face, but he deleted the conversation and when I saw him at work I decided it was better to just drop it and try to maintain a workplace friendship:
I will never not be scared for my safety. Not when my brothers and sisters across the world (including THIS COUNTRY) are being vilified, jailed, beaten, and killed because they are gay, lesbian, trans, queer, intersex, or allies. Can you imagine? Being threatened because you are the way you are? You know me, we work together and I consider you my friend. Do you look at me differently now that you know I’m queer? Would you deny me my rights? Would you deny your daughter her right to an abortion if she needed one? Would you reject your son if he came out as gay to you? Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to protect your children? We are all someone’s children, but even more importantly, we are all people who deserve to feel safe. You fear for your children’s economic stability, I fear for my trans friend’s life if down the road he finds himself outed in an unfriendly environment. Don’t think that happens here? Google it. I fear I will never be able to be a mother because all my options are too expensive and even if I manage to have a child there is no guarantee my partner will be considered her parent as well, and the safety of my family will always be threatened by bigots like you. The economy is important. But in my book it will NEVER trump human rights. Don’t tell me it could never get to that point because you don’t know. You don’t know what is to be unsafe simply by being, simply by walking around in this world. Try that out for a while and let me know if you still think your taxes are too high.