LESBIANS REACT: 15 WOMEN ON WHAT A TRUMP PRESIDENCY MEANS TO THEM

Whatever the outcome of our latest presidential election, women's lives were set to change. Following last Tuesday's news, we reached out to 15 lesbians and asked how they felt their lives would be impacted by having Donald Trump as president elect of the United States of America. We hope that in sharing their perspectives, we further a much-needed discussion.


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I feel so angry, disappointed, and scared. I hate that more than half of my country's values go against the core of who I am. It doesn't make any sense to me, and that's what makes me feel most scared: that any of the people around me could hold these views--that they could be hateful and violent and I'm not sure I could see it coming. My girlfriend and I are both at risk and I've never felt more targeted in my home. --Tena Vico


As a biracial feminist lesbian activist living with a disability, this is a loaded question to say the least. Being non-Christian to boot has exposed me to and has made me a prime target of the white majority in America. Random racists have always been something white America had to own. Hate groups will not go gently.  The majority has spoken and our president elect is a hate and fear-mongering bully. It would seem as if the bigots truly are not the minority. The strides in equality and progress this country has made in last 60 years are in jeopardy--strides in regards to women's reproductive rights, equal pay, their rights to choose who they will marry and to further education, as well as the leaps the LGBT community have made in getting protective status under hate crime statutes and marriage equality. --Sug


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I'm afraid, nervous, angry, and defiant. I will never stop fighting for justice and I certainly refuse to go back in the closet or be less visibly gay. I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees, and this election has stirred me to be fiercer than ever before. Buckle up, ladies, we've got a long road ahead of us. --Sarah Barowski


I'll never forget my girlfriend calling me in the early hours from Dublin sobbing because Trump was elected and now she is scared to go home from her study abroad to New York. --Megan


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I don't know how to look Trump supporters in the eyes. Hearing so many people tell me that I have to swallow my despair and learn to get along with these people only makes things worse. I can't believe everyone around me is just going about their business as usual. It's surreal and disturbing. I'm just trying to figure out what to do next and band together with other women who don't think business as usual is the appropriate response right now. --Alison Petrash

 


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I have family members who voted for Trump, but they swear they care about me and love me. Their vote makes it clear they do not respect me or my partner. Our civil rights are used as political kickballs, and I don't know what words to use in order to explain to people how scary and precarious that feels. Is it that they just don't understand, or do they just not care? I still feel like the shock hasn't worn off. I don't know what kind of emotions to expect when it does. I want to channel my passion into action, but it's hard to pinpoint what steps to take next. --Ariel Newman


I feel terrified--both for my safety and for the safety of my partner. I feel concerned about the economy, the school system, the healthcare system, and international global affairs. I am very concerned about nuclear warfare, and a global rise in fascism. It feels as though there is a massive chasm between Monday and today, where in between someone read aloud a death sentence to democracy. --Izi Jane


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As a person who is responsible for the health insurance of a member of my family, I fear being unable to afford it if the Affordable Care Act is repealed or weakened. As a woman, I fear a culture that normalizes sexual assault to the point that it doesn't disqualify an individual for the U.S. presidency. As a woman who is openly and visibly lesbian, I fear losing the right to marry the woman I love and share my health insurance with her. I fear for our safety in public and the legal status of our future children. I fear losing the rights our community has fought so hard for. And so I will continue the fight for those rights and for the ones we don't yet have, because I don't want the next generation of gay and lesbian children to be forced into abusive conversion "therapy" programs. I want them to grow up in a world that treats them the way they deserve to be treated: like human beings. --Denise 


I live in CA and hope our right to be a legal family cannot be taken away, but I fear for those who live in other states and feel as though our future travel to many states where we have family may be limited in the future. We already tend to stay in cities for our safety but even this may feel unsafe in the years to come. –Kiersten 


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I'm due to give birth in two weeks and though my wife and I are legally married and her name will be on the birth certificate, I suddenly feel vulnerable. I worry for us as two women about to raise a child in a nation where misogyny has been deemed acceptable, and I worry that if something were to happen to me, my wife could somehow lose her rights as a parent. I'm told these concerns are baseless, but I feel them, and I know that they are valid. --Laura Leigh Abby


I am late to the game. I didn't realize I was gay until I was twenty-five, so it's a little over two years that I've had to realize and accept myself. I'm not completely out yet, and I have had to struggle with thinking about not coming out. I have such a fear of coming out under a government that thinks my thoughts and actions are impure or perverted. The biggest fear for me is that I don't know if I can hide because I can't mentally go back to whatever was pre-gay for me. I don't handle submission or repression well--it's only confirmed my gayness more. I cannot unfeel what I felt for the woman who made me realize I wasn't straight. I can't take back the moments of understanding myself, sitting with my thoughts and analyzing who I am and why that was stifled for so long. I live in a liberal bubble--in a state who voted overwhelmingly for Hillary, so there is a blindness in these parts when it comes to the intolerance that can exist elsewhere. I don't think Trump is evil--just that he's entirely unfit. His VP and supporters are the ones that will destroy people. --Lindsey Brooke


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I'm really trying to anticipate what a Trump presidency will mean, but I'm pretty sure it makes me sound crazy when I say it out loud. I think those of us who are not white or heterosexual or Christian--if we are immigrants or anyone who fits a demographic he disparaged during the campaign, we are in serious danger. My news feed is already full of examples of people being threatened and/or harmed in Trump's name. We Americans like to think of ourselves as a "civilized" nation. I think it is more like we have been domesticated. Some of us toss around the word "fascist" about Trump, but we really just think "bully." I actually think something much more sinister, along the lines of historical examples like Hitler and Mussolini. I would love to be wrong about that. But I am working on exit strategies, because I'm pretty sure there were warning signs that people ignored failing to imagine the horrors that would ultimately befall them in Nazi Germany. We're not safe. I don't feel safe. As a black woman and as a lesbian I think I am not safe. So I am thinking in terms of getting myself ready, whether I ultimately have to flee the country or not. And I know that may seem extreme. But that is part of what I mean about us having been domesticated. If there is to be jailing of dissenters or slaughter, I'm not trying to go along easily, blindly or willingly. --Nedra Johnson


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As a lesbian playwright whose work is largely lesbian themed, I am very sensitive to the underrepresentation of lesbian and lesbian-feminist narratives in mainstream culture, especially in live theatre. As we appear to be making all these gains, my industry remains in a 1950s shutout to this day. I am feeling that the Trump election has made visible an oppression that only a few of us have had to face daily. I can't say that I welcome it, but I do feel that now many of my sisters are seeing what I have seen for decades. --Carolyn Gage


I'm in a bi-national lesbian marriage, and I have a green card based on my marriage. I'm currently waiting for the "conditional" status of my green card to be removed and feel very antsy about being in the immigration system. I'm watching the mailbox every day for our new cards (cards for myself and my two daughters). My wife Susan and I have lived here almost eight years now and have been married for three, but suddenly our situation feels precarious again. --Catherine 


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As soon as I heard, I was shaken to my core. I actually wound up relapsing on several vices I'm trying to quit. I fear for so many of my friends, because for all the worry I may have as an out lesbian, I am still far less in danger than many of my chosen family. But I have to stand strong--I have to be there to help my friends and my community in any way possible. I love my people, my identity, and my life more than I hate the wretched men in power. I know it's terrible to say we'll prevail, but I believe in our collective strength to claw our way through the ashes. --Elissa D'Vil


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