In a special guest blog post, winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 5 Jinkx Monsoon reflects on what a Trump Victory means for the LGBTQ+ community
I woke up the morning after the election feeling like I had the world’s worst hangover.
Admittedly, I had had a few drinks while watching the election with a very eclectic group of people. I watched the results in San Francisco at Peaches Christ’s apartment with a group of queens and queer artists, and while we would occasionally cut up and try to lighten the mood, the TV kept demanding our attention. We watched the whole thing go down in utter disbelief. Our hearts sank as we realized that Trump won… and I would like to explain exactly why this election was such an upset to the queer population.
The queer community of America has protested, fought, lobbied, and pressed for human rights in our country, not because we want special treatment, but because we want equal treatment. The liberties we continue to fight for are basic, civil rights, afforded to any other citizen in this country without question; the right to marry the individual of your choice… the right to use the bathroom of your preference… the right to seek employment without fear of discrimination. These are the things we beg of our government, and in a country that claims to have separation of church and state, we shouldn’t even have to be fighting for these things in 2016. If the only argument against our community is that our lifestyle is an “affront to God,” or ruining the “sanctity” of heteronormativity, then there should be no justifiable reason to deny queer citizens the rights they are entitled to as an American.
Yet, there are still many people in power who have fought to continue treating our community like second class citizens. There are still many people in influential positions, telling our fellow citizens that its fine to treat their fellow man like they are less important, or less worthy of civil liberties because of their sexuality or gender expression. All through Trump’s campaign, he used a rhetoric of hate to gain support and power from anyone who still lives their lives governed by fear, or swayed by hatred. Trump made pledges against our community, and many other communities in order to gain support; he gained power by siding with some of the most extremely conservative sects of our government, because the promises he made don’t effect him as a wealthy, privileged, white, straight male.
But I am, and have always been, more terrified of the extremist Trump supporters, than Trump himself. Now let me clarify: not every Trump supporter is an extremist; not every Hillary supporter is a sane, rational person.
There are assholes on EITHER side of the political party line. What makes the assholes on Trump’s side different, is that they cling on to Trump’s vague platitudes to promote the message that they want to hear. For some, when they hear “make America great again,” what they are really hearing is “make America straight again,” or “make America white again.” This is not a hypothesis of mine, these are statements you can find all over the internet from Trump supporters in every corner of America. Even worse, these extremists have taken Trump’s victory as a vindication for their narrow minded behaviour. Already, in the days following the election, these extremists have left the anonymity of the internet and are taking to the streets. People are being harassed and threatened, face to face, just walking down the street. When you come to power in the fashion that Trump has, people who relate to the most hateful things he has said, feel empowered and justified; they believe that they have taken the country.
I wish I could say that everything is going to be ok. Though I believe we will prevail, I can’t help but expect many battles on the horizon for our community. The queer community will be scrutinized and demonized like it has been before. They will try to take away the freedoms that we only recently won, but I don’t think they are prepared for how hard we will fight not to move backwards.
In America, in our history, every oppressed group or minority has fought and continued to fight until they are given the civil liberties that they were promised in the first place. We don’t give up the fight at any cost, because that is the ideal that inspires our citizens. Honestly, the right-extremists that I mention are only doing the same. The difference between them and us though, is that they are trying to deny love, halt progress, and set the clock back- while we are promoting love, tolerance, and peace.
I know that we can continue to fight together, because we have so much that they don’t have. While they have shades of white, we have color and imagination. While they live in a world that is “normal,” we live in a world of glitter, and wigs, and makeup, and fabulous costumes, and larger than life personalities. Honestly my children, my brothers and sisters, the party is happening on our side of the line. Don’t you think sometimes they look across the divide and see us in drag, having a blast, and maybe get a little envious? Maybe that’s why they want us silenced so bad? Because they feel jealous of the fun we are having!
Well, here’s my proposal. Let’s invite them to join our party! When I say we are going to battle for our rights, we are going to need to armor ourselves with love and acceptance. We will arm ourselves with justice and open mindedness. I wish not to incite a riot in the streets, rather, passion in your heart. You have every right to be angry, scared, and confused but don’t let that frustration translate to violence or hatred. As hard as it is going to be to smile through the next four years, we have to try. We have to combat every ounce of their hatred with our loving spirits. Show them that we seek nothing more than to live our lives freely and happily, free from fear and threat. Show them that all we want for this world is for everyone to be safe and accepted no matter who they were born to be. Invite our opponents to see into our world and all it has to offer; when they build walls, install windows. Appeal to their humanity rather than reflecting their hatred.
Most importantly, keep yourselves safe. We have no idea what might be in store for us, so until then, we cannot risk our health or safety. The queer community must take this opportunity to unify. There are still divides within our community between the sub-groups, and we will never win this battle for freedom while our community is divided. We must cease behaving, in any way, like our opponents. This means we must conquer close-mindedness and intolerance within ourselves before we try to combat it within others. Racism, misogyny, trans-phobia and all other forms of intolerance must come to an end within our community if we want to stand a chance against any new obstacles that come our way. We must protect and defend one and other, because we are all part of the same fight.
Remember that those who oppose us are still humans. They still deserve your love and respect. We must match their anger with or passion, and rather than attack them, educate them and enlighten them.
Above all else, stay strong and shine on.
Words // Jinkx Monsoon