Highs and Lows

via Mochimochiland on GIPHY

It’s been a rough week. I’m trying not to wallow in grief, because I feel that I have a responsibility to be ready to stand up for my fellow humans who don’t have a level of privilege that even gives them the option to wallow. As an introvert and a generally non-confrontational person, it’s hard not to feel totally paralyzed.

So I am starting small. I have two coworkers with trans or non-binary kids, and I am knitting things for both kids. I am commuting without headphones, so that I’m more alert and ready to stand up to harassment on transit. My partner and I are figuring out what we need to do to take care of each other.

I am grateful that despite the fact that all hell seems to have broken loose, I am in a pretty okay place personally, and well-supported by friends and chosen family. I am less afraid for myself than I am for a lot of the people around me, which is certainly a privileged place to be in.

In the midst of all of this, last Friday I hit one month post-op. I didn’t even realize it until I was about to go to bed. I’m still feeling really good about the decision to have surgery, and I’m really grateful I was able to do it when I did, but it’s hard to feel particularly celebratory when it feels like the whole country is going to pieces. Still, I hope you’ll permit me the small self-indulgence of a selfie from Friday, because I am pretty happy with how I look these days:

One month post-op

One month post-op

Through Grief and Gritted Teeth

I’m writing this Wednesday morning, as I work from home and try to process the fact that Donald Trump was just elected as President of the United States.

I posted on Facebook earlier that I have wanted my whole life to believe that people are basically good, but that this election is causing me to call that into question more than I ever have before. This should not have been a close race. A blustering white supremacist who brags about sexually assaulting women should never have even been in the running. But this is reality for all of us now. And if I listen and pay attention, I can see that the terror that’s trying to defeat me today is a terror that a lot of people (particularly anyone who’s not a white, cisgender male) were facing long before Tuesday night. Trump didn’t win out of nowhere. These societal rifts have existed for a long time; this election has just brought to light a lot of ugliness that we (white people in particular) have been all to willing to turn a blind eye to. The fact that it currently appears that Hillary won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote doesn’t change this.

It’s scary out there. I want to hide. I’m fighting back tears every few minutes. My impulse when I’m afraid is often to shut down.

But I can’t do that. Yes, I am queer and trans, and I have personal concerns in this political climate. But I am a white person who operates in the world as a man, and that means this is all going to affect me less than it will affect many other people. I have a responsibility to stand up for those people more adversely affected than myself.

To all of you out there who are Black, or Latinx, or Muslim, or Jewish…to all of you who are disabled…to all of you who are women, or non-binary, or somewhere in between…to everyone who feels not only disenfranchised by these election results but also afraid for your safety as you move through the world: I see you, I love you, and I stand with you. I am not perfect, and I am non-confrontational by nature, but I intend to do everything in my power to stand up for you at any opportunity. I am going to do my best to remember that although I am afraid, your worth as fellow human beings is far more important and powerful than that fear. I’m seeing a lot of #LoveTrumpsHate going around, but that’s only true if people in positions of privilege get off our asses and work to level the playing field.