A serious question for all of you: How do you feel right now? It’s for sure that things have seemed quite scary since the election of He Who Doesn’t Need To Be Named Here Since He Has His Name On Everything. My heart sunk after that night, felt really low the next day, and has been stuck with that low feeling ever since.
Has my low feeling been because of the election’s results? Is it because an absolute idiot is about to take over the highest office in our land? Well, it’s the side effects of that election that have me down, especially the signs of hate and bigotry that are becoming so prevalent. You may have seen me hint at all that in this video, and some of you think it’s all conjecture on my part. Well, it’s not. There’s a lot of hatred and vitriol being thrown around, especially toward the LGBTQ community. Such as, for starters, this story from The Daily Beast concerning the suicide of Lizzy, a trans woman in South Dakota. That Lizzy decided to take her life — and her reasons for choosing to do so (e.g. financial difficulties, harassment from her boss at work) — is distressing enough. But what really made me upset was the reports of bigoted internet trolls cheering at the “final note” Lizzy posted on Facebook. Yeah, hateful words in the vein of “good riddance” and “glad you’re dead” and images of He Who Doesn’t… well, I’m sure you know who I’m talking about. Even worse was the difficulty and helpless feeling Lizzy’s survivors (including her partner and her brother) encountered in trying to block and delete all that hate, only being able to do so in a roundabout way. (That Daily Beast story goes into detail, but click on it with caution, for they include screen shots of some of the hateful comments.)
Lest we forget, this kind of anti-LGBT hate knows no borders. Case in point, a story regarding a 13-year-old boy in Queensland, Australia brought to my attention by Kris on the Gaydy Bunch blog. Tyrone Unsworth was a Year 7 student who took his own life earlier this month. This came after Tyrone was mercilessly bullied and teased and taunted for his sexuality. As if to add insult to injury, Tyrone’s mother raised the issue of the abuse directed towards Tyrone with leadership at his school, which reportedly does not have any sort of a safe schools program (a big issue all of its own) and has contended that no reports about Tyrone were brought to their attention. (Ugh!) What’s more, Tyrone’s mother has been on the receiving end of vitriol from the same type of bigoted trolls that cheered Lizzy’s suicide.
These are only two signs of the clearly evident hate that makes me worried about the next four years. For sure, the LGBTQ community won’t be the only group feeling fear during this time, but since they are a community I consider myself a part of, the hate we’re receiving really chills me to the bone. And when that hate is directed towards those I know personally, if only on social media, that really hits me hard. One such person, who I will only identify as a trans woman, shared info about a vitriolic message from a relative expressing in no uncertain terms that He Who… yeah, him, got elected because Americans hate the trans community. My heart broke for her after she received this message, and I admit that had I been in her high heels, I would’ve reached right through the internet and given that hateful relative a whooping upside her head. But that would’ve violated one of those promises I made earlier this month, the one about respecting others I may disagree with.
Another of those promises I am having a hard time to fulfill is that of keeping everyone’s spirits up. But that’s hard to do when so many you care about and empathize for are in fear over all that hate, even harder when your own heart is worried over the future. I wish I knew some magic words — heck, even one word as simple as “Abracadabra!” — that would perk up everyone’s spirits and eased their fears the instant I shared it. At least my heart lifts a little bit at something as wonderful as another of my online friends changing their business plans in the wake of He Who… oh, enough about him! Anyway, my online friend, as scared as she still may be, is adjusting and aiming to serve her fellow LGBT family members almost exclusively. I won’t go into specifics here, but it warms my heart that she is able to do that.
Still, my overall spirits are still in a funk even three weeks and one day later. I don’t know if it’s my mental ability to stay cool and stoic in this uncertain time, but I haven’t had a chance to cry in a while. I know crying is cathartic, even healthy, but I’ve had a hard time doing so. But then I was browsing through a holiday book and gift sale for charity during my lunch break at work today. Though I did not buy anything, I immediately fell in love with one of the gifts on sale. It was a gift geared toward infants or little kids, and it was a mother teddy bear that rocks and sings her baby bear to sleep if you press her foot.
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t buy that singing bear on the spot, huh? Well, if my nieces were still little, I would’ve… although I’m glad that someone else did buy it right after I saw it. But there was something so sincere… so heartwarming… so uplifting about that bear and her singing that allowed me to… well, sneak away to a nearby stairwell at work (one of the very few private places there) and for the first time in a long while, cry like a baby. It felt good. It felt cathartic. It felt strange, too. Well, to me, at least: There are so many dark things going on right now that can make even the strongest of souls sob uncontrollably. But something so simple yet so beautiful and nowhere near crude and cruel was the necessary cue for my waterworks to activate. I think that bear was a reminder to me of how beautiful life can still be.
I know it’s tough for everyone out there right now. I know there’s so much hatred and cruelty. So many dark souls gleefully playing the role of provocateur in spreading unnecessary amounts of vitriol just to make themselves and their ilk feel good. But here’s hoping you’ve had the chance to let out some emotion in a way that allows you and only you to lift whatever grief or sorrow you may have right now off your shoulders if only for just a few brief moments. Perhaps it’s something as gentle as a stuffed animal or a caring word from a close friend or confidant that can help purge your sadness. Don’t be afraid. Let it out.
Oh, I should not forget something else in relation to the issues from earlier in this post. If you do feel bullied and abused and if you feel you want to end it all… well, for one, I pray that you don’t go down that route. Kris, in her Gaydy Bunch post, shared links to LGBT-oriented organizations that can help you in your time of difficulty and fear. I will share them here as well. Please reach out to them. Please take advantage of the help they can offer you. Know that they can be a helping hand, an ear to listen, and a shoulder to lean on when you need it. Stay strong, and know that you are loved.