We Shall Overcome
(ALL THE CONTENT AND TRIGGER WARNINGS, including references to racial slurs, strong language, sexual assault, and violence)
I’ve been pretty vocal on my private Facebook page about the outcome of the recent presidential election. Now it’s time for me to go public. This is NOT the post you might think it is. Buckle up. Shit’s gonna get real very quickly. And some of you might not like what I have to say, but I’ve been long overdue to say it.
I’m a multiracial Black-identified Autistic queer transgender man. I’m certain that from these facts about my identity alone, you’ll deduce I did not vote for Donald J. Trump. And you would be correct. And although Secretary Clinton is problematic in her own right, I deemed that I have much more to fear under a Trump presidency.
Yeah, Ian, but weren’t ALL of the candidates problematic? Well, yes they were. Besides the fact that Donald Trump is just a huge ball of nope and that Hillary Clinton’s autism policies are horrendous, Jill Stein has hem-hawed around about her stance on vaccines and has tried to appeal to anti-vaxxers. And Gary Johnson’s whole damn party is a problem. (Think Libertarianism, its notorious anti-poor stances, and its connections to the ideology of Ayn Rand and you understand what I mean.)
If you didn’t vote, I can’t exactly blame you given the problematic nature of all the candidates. And to be fair, our two-party system is rigged, but not in ways that you might think. I’m not going to unpack all that stuff here, since I will be devoting the most of the space in this post to addressing the problems and potential aftermath of the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. But just know that I am under no illusion that the Democratic party in its current form or its candidates are always the best option for marginalised folk. They’ve got their own problems, including support of our interference in foreign affairs, the whole neoliberalism ball of wax, lip-service support of Black people, lack of action to stop the plundering of Native land (including inaction on the Dakota Access Pipeline issue), and horrendous policies on autism (as I’ve mentioned before).
But back to Donald Trump, to whom I will mostly refer as “The Manhattan Davros.” And if you think I’m being extreme in my appellation for him, consider this shortlist of what he’s done and said so far:
- He has promised to deport Muslims en masse. That alone should be scary.
- He (and in particular his running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence, to whom I will mostly refer as “The Hoosier He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”) have taken notoriously anti-QUILTBAG stances when it comes to public policy.
- He has publicly supported measures such as “stop and frisk,” which encourage racial profiling. Also, his remarks about “law and order” are subtle encouragements for the continued militarisation of police. Finally, he lacks a basic understanding of the multifarious realities that Black people live with every day, and he also continues to promote stereotypes (such as that we all live in inner cities and are regularly shot on the way to the grocer).
- He has publicly mocked disabled people, but that’s not the worst of it. His promises to undo the Affordable Care Act, his questionable stance on autism, and potential to influence the defunding of many programs that some disabled people rely on for survival (such as Medicaid or SSDI) could add up to a much worse a fate for disabled folks.
- He has sexually assaulted and harassed women. ‘Nuff said.
- He has appealed to White supremacists with blatantly racist, inflammatory remarks on repeated occasions. He has also not repudiated their support. Hell, this man was even endorsed by the KKK.
And now, all the bigoted elements that were emboldened by The Manhattan Davros and his sycophant The Hoosier He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named are acting openly. It’s already begun with anti-Black, anti-transgender, and anti-Muslim words and actions—for example, anti-Black graffiti in Durham, NC; a transgender woman and military vet whose truck was burned and then spraypainted with the word “Trump”; and a Trump supporter pulling a knife on a Muslim girl on public transit. It won’t be too long before they start targeting other marginalised peoples. So even if Donald Trump and Mike Pence DON’T follow through with much of their campaign promises, you can believe that they’ve given bigots across the country the green light to harm me, my partner, my friends, and other marginalised folks. DO NOT KID YOURSELVES. It won’t be “all talk, no show.” These first few days after Trump’s election are proving that abundantly.
In this body and in this incarnation, I’ve been alive for 40 years. In that time, I’ve had racist, ableist, anti-queer, and anti-trans microaggressions aimed at me. Some of these have been subtle, and some of the Donald Trump variety. And just because I’ve nervously laughed and tolerated it when I didn’t know how to respond—or had been gaslit into thinking I should tolerate that shit—does not mean I that approved of it. Additionally, I’ve had deliberately bigoted and awful words and actions targeted at me. And that’s not JUST the open slurs hurled my way. You’re looking at a man who was repeatedly beaten and slapped as a teenager for not acting “normal.” You’re looking at a man who was threatened with being kicked out when he was 17 because the adults around him “didn’t want no bulldagger” in their house. You’re looking at a man who was molested by his older cousin during his teen years, and who never told anyone because he was 99% positive he would either be accused of lying or blamed for causing his cousin to do it. You’re looking at a man whose life was threatened on MULTIPLE occasions by the adults around him before he turned 18. You’re looking at someone who, by the time he was 18 years old, was convinced by the adults around him as well as by televangelists and some other evangelical Christians that God hated him because he was queer. (On second thought, if your god justifies the marginalisation and murder of QUILTBAG people, maybe he does hate me. But your god is dead, and no one cares.)
So. White people. Cis people. Heterosexual people. Abled people. Male people. Neurotypical people. Christian people.
DO NOT ASK ME to be “tolerant.” My life could be on the line.
DO NOT ASK ME to “wait and see how things play out.” My co-editor at Barking Sycamores, who is also my romantic partner of 16 years and counting, is the Autistic son of an Indian immigrant. He also stands to lose under The Manhattan Davros’ regime. And my friends who are people of colour, disabled, poor, femme, neurodivergent, neuroqueer, transgender, or who are other aspects of the QUILTBAG umbrella stand a lot to lose if The Manhattan Davros makes good on what he’s said on the campaign trail. And even if he DOESN’T, believe me, his cronies will act in their own ways. Don’t try to rob us of our ability to protect ourselves.
DO NOT ASK ME not to respond negatively when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words about “nonviolence” are thrown in my face. Understand that Dr. King was nonviolent FOR A REASON. He was arrested 30 times in a 10-year period in acts of civil disobedience. And when Black people (for example, those in the Black Lives Matter movement) and other marginalised people do the same, employing methods of nonviolence protest, y’all actively condemn them. “Be nonviolent…no, not like THAT!”
DO NOT ASK ME to “understand” his supporters, to whom I will mainly refer as “Trump’s Daleks” at times. While it may be true that some of them have serious economic and social concerns that no candidate has addressed in the last few decades, I really don’t give a fuck that many of them voted for The Manhattan Davros “reluctantly.” They made their choices. (And I will address you Trump supporters directly a little later in this post.)
And…DO NOT ASK ME to stand idly by while The Manhattan Davros, The Hoosier He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and Trump’s Daleks ruin our lives. Remember that there’s a shit-ton of White supremacists in police departments around the nation. Remember that they might be your next-door neighbours. Remember that bigoted individuals serve in positions of official capacity (Kim Davis, anyone?). Remember that The Manhattan Davros and The Hoosier He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named have emboldened bigoted individuals to act openly to deny me and mine my rights, and once they get into office, they have the potential to give Trump’s Daleks the legal green light to do so. Remember that in the Star Trek Universe, the Federation said a few pretty words and stood by while the Cardassians oppressed the Bajorans. Think of me and mine like Kira Nerys, prior to her arrival on Deep Space Nine.
Oh, and to the Trump Daleks who’ve made it THIS far: y’all showed me that y’all were willing to elect a man who, if he had his way, would rather than people like me didn’t exist. You didn’t think for yourselves and embraced previous Republican rhetoric over the last several decades that was deliberately bigoted. It does not matter whether it was subtle nonsense about “traditional values,” “protecting marriage,” or “protecting women in restrooms” or embedded racist dogwhistles about “welfare mothers” and “thugs” (you know they were calling me and mine “n*gg*rs”—do not kid yourselves). Or whether it was openly hateful messages about “deviants,” “perverts,” and “jihadists.” And the fucked-up thing is, you’ve repeatedly voted for people and policies that kept you disadvantaged and continued to make your lives worse. But in any case, y’all were willing to throw me and mine under the bus. Given the chance, I will not hesitate to do the same to y’all. (Besides, I’m sure many of you Trump Daleks would refer to me as a “half-breed” or a “f*gg*t” privately, and I’m not so sure y’all won’t start doing it publicly now that your Manhattan Davros won.)
Oh, and you White queers who voted for Drumpf? I see you. You’re full of blatant self-interest, and you’re probably the type (especially if you’re cis gay men) who write “No Fats,” “No Femmes,” “No Blacks,” “No Rice,” “No Curry,” and “No Transgenders” on your Grindr or other dating site profiles. GO FUCK YOURSELVES WITH A NEURAL TRUNCHEON. Don’t even talk to me. And you trans people who voted for Trump: THANKS. You’ve just thrown your marginalised trans siblings under the bus. Many of us may lose access to hormones, surgery, and other needed treatments…but that doesn’t matter to you, DOES IT? You clearly don’t care. You all go on and protect y’alls interests. I will protect mine.
And you self-hating people of colour who voted for Trump? I don’t even know what to say to you lot, really. However, I particularly want to name anti-QUILTBAG Black people who voted for him because at some point, you bought into goddamned brainwashing White-derived colonialist Christianity that tells you that I am subhuman because I am transgender and queer. I see you, and yep, you are all part of the reason I’m in therapy. Some of you might be the type that keep preaching about “morality” and how “God don’t like gays” yet you fail to realise how European colonialism has formed your mind. But I don’t care: I’m not here to educate you. And if you’re a homophobic or transphobic Black cis male (yep, I’m talking to you Hoteps here, too), you might be the type of motherfucker that won’t think twice about murdering my Black trans sisters because you wanted to fuck them but then later claim you’ve been “tricked” because they may happen to have penises. Or you think that you have the right to engage me in a “stud fight” or to try to sexually assault me and other Black trans men, Black nonbinary people, or Black butch women to “fix” us. Believe me, I see you, too—and the blood that’s on your hands.
If you voted for Trump and you regret what you’ve done: well, why not fight alongside us? Why not work for real change? Your tears ain’t worth shit if you’re not willing to do something to be part of the solution and not the problem.
Understand this: No matter if you voted for Donald Trump reluctantly or gleefully, you’ve declared open war on me and mine. And if you’re a part of a marginalised group and you voted for him, you’ve also declared war on YOURSELVES. And I have ZERO illusions about what y’all really think, whether blatantly or covertly. I don’t use guns. But in most cases, neither does the Doctor. Let that sink in.
We Shall Overcome.
But not in the ways that you may think.
Written by Ian Nicholson
Cosigned by the remaining membership of Tes:
Nico St. John