I will not live in a closet for any reason.
I voted Republican almost a straight ticket for the first time in my life.
I am a progressive artist/writer/activist with an impressive 25+ year record of fighting the good fight on a plethora of issues including abortion clinic escort, rape crisis counselor, regular crisis counselor, a decade in Palestinian Solidarity, holding local police accountable in the shooting of two young black men, homelessness, cannabis and chronic pain management.
My first reaction after the 2016 election, after I stopped crying — the tears lasted awhile — was to convene an emotional support group that excluded cis straight white men. Because, of course. Safety first.
Thankfully, this is the most cringe worthy action I took, my humanity was strong enough to never break with my core values and become a full on SJW bully. I had my moments though. I am not innocent. To those who I may have caused offense, this is my apology.
I got the Trump Derangement Syndrome bad. I mean BAD. I was locked on MSNBC, breathless with each new horror. To be fair, Trump was a wild card, and there was no precedent for dealing with such. Would democracy hold? Would my friends and I be in danger? Would he cut my safety net? Did he collude with the Russians? We did not have answers and uncertainty was destabilizing and anxiety provoking.
I have come to understand the importance of good faith opposition to edit ideas and make stronger products. I also appreciate that the other side is effective in diagnosing your blind spots, which is what I missed in 2016. I was ignorant to why conservatives voted Trump because I could not trust conservatives.
But they were right. People like me were insufferable and arrogant. We were detached from reality. Our constant scolding grated, our piety obnoxious. In our desire to be inclusive, we were being divisive. In the name of tolerance, we became incredibly intolerant, bordering on authoritarian — compelled speech, apologies and censorship. The hegemony of guilt and shame was strong and praxis enforced without appeal. Finding the problematic in everything and everyone is exhausting and soul destroying.
I must finally bring up my identity. I am one of the most marginalized people there is, the only category I do not check is race, but even then, I come from the trailer park. I am extremely low income, fully disabled with moderate to severe chronic pain+ for 20+ years, mentally ill, gender nonconforming, LGBTQ, a college dropout and someone who depends fully on the safety net for her survival.
I started going to more conservative events, and gave my first speech to the group Turn Thurston in March, my last pre-COVID social event. I was nervous, but it went really well, and I was praised for my authority on homelessness. I took questions that were sincere in their concern. Again, NO HATE. Again, I had a GREAT time. People were interested in what I had to say. Not so on Facebook.
I felt open, I could speak my mind, I did not feel I would be judged or canceled, they welcomed me warmly. The opposite of the left, which has become numbingly repressive and abusive, where I don’t dare speak freely. I have been called every slur there is. I keep a list and make it a game to score a new one. At this point, I wear them as badges that define my integrity.
h/t Happy in Nature