As results of the election became clear on Tuesday night, so did the terrifying reality of what a Trump presidency would mean for millions Americans. No segment of America has more to fear than the queer community.
Trump’s victory is so much more than who becomes president. His intolerance of marginalized groups also won, and so many of us lost.
Trump normalized hate and erased the sacred American value that all people are created equal. In the eyes of millions of Trump supporters, some of us are less-than-equal.
Many people in the queer communities are afraid of Trump and his uber-homophobic vice-president Mike Pence. I am too. We are afraid we will be hit with even more hate speech, an intolerant government and violence.
On election night the number of calls to LGBTQ help and suicide prevention lines skyrocketed. Trans Lifeline, in particular, received a record-breaking volume of calls, more than 300 on the night of the election.
Pain and fear felt by queer people in America is real. Since Trump’s ascension to president-elect, I have directly seen how it has affected my queer friends, students on campus and myself. The SWC Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club (SAGA) held a support and healing meeting the day after the election. Members of the club said they were worried about safety, whom they could trust, and the well-being of their queer friends and family living in less-liberal states.
Their fear is valid and the danger is quantifiable.
FBI reports conclude that LGBTQ people are twice as likely as African-Americans to be targets of violence. FBI researchers also concluded that the number of LGBT hate crimes is vastly underreported.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NACVP) reported that murders of LGBTQ have been on the rise since 2007. NACVP studies show that at least 25 percent of gay and lesbian people will experience a hate crime in their lifetime. Great violence plagues the transgender community, with NACVP reporting that 72 percent of LGBTQ killings were transgender women.
Now that hate is normalized, these human rights organizations fear those numbers will rise.
I felt fear the night of the election. It was time for my best friend to go to class and he asked me to walk with him. I agreed, a bit confused, before the reality set in. My best friend is an openly transgender man and it was dark on campus. Hate had been normalized and he was afraid.
I was too.