Day Three in Trump’s America: The Harassment Begins

Harassment
Guys, I’m a little shaken up right now. Earlier I posted a link to an article about how a woman went for a hike to try and deal with the grief she was feeling over Hillary Clinton’s loss in the election, and she actually ran into Hillary and Bill hiking there as well. I reposted the article and commented on how strong Hillary is. I said that when I got the news, I stayed in bed for three days, in mourning. When she found out she lost, three days later she’s hiking with her husband. I was so inspired by how strong she is.
My post was set to public, and something very unsettling happened. I got a message from a complete stranger who I guess has nothing better to do than to go through the list of people who have shared the article and make comments, because he sent me a message with a voice memo instead of actually typing. It sounded like he was driving. Which means that not only did he feel what you’re about to read was necessary, but he felt it so necessary that he had to dictate it by voice to a stranger while driving.
Here’s what he said.
“You stayed in your room for three days after the election? You are such a pussy. Get off your ass and fucking do something for the country, instead of staying in your bedroom and fucking pouting over Hillary not winning.”
I was so shocked that I wasn’t really sure what to do. But… his tone wasn’t angry. It seemed to be disappointed. Like a friend who was trying to motivate me. The things he said were cruel, but he did SEEM to have good intentions. So I responded.
My response. Note that I checked out his profile in the meantime and saw that he was a straight, married white man.
“I stayed in bed because I have debilitating anxiety, and I’m a gay non-Christian living in the south. Its not exactly easy to get out there and do something when you’re hated for who you are. As a straight, white man [I had checked out his profile at this point and saw that he was indeed a married, straight white guy], I get that you don’t understand what its like to be discriminated against. You feel so privileged that you thought it was appropriate to send a voice message to a stranger on Facebook putting them down for something you don’t understand. But I’m not going to let bullying, by you or by Trump, dictate how I should feel or act.”
He responded with another voice memo.
“Listen, gays are accepted everywhere, being homosexual is normal in this world. Bisexual is normal in this world. Whatever feels good is acceptable in this world. Don’t use you being gay and the world is against you to stop you from doing what you have to do in life. Look on TV, there’s gay people EVERYWHERE. Gay is accepted, I don’t know why you say that you’re having such a hard time being gay. That’s an excuse, get off your soap box. Trump’s the best thing that’s gonna happen to this country, trust me on that one.”
At this point I was kind of shaking, but I responded again.
“I know you THINK gay people are accepted everywhere, but you’re wrong. You live in CALIFORNIA. I live in South Carolina. You’re a straight white guy. Please don’t attempt to tell me that you know better than I do what it’s like to be a discriminated minority.”
His response was in a dismissive but not altogether angry tone.
“Well then move to California. As a matter of fact, move to San Francisco, PERFECT for ya.”
I have to stop here to comment on the privilege it must take to be driving in your car, and decide to harass a gay kid on the other side of the country via voice memos, and then have the audacity to tell him “Well just MOVE to California, then!” As though that’s something everyone can do. It would be wrong of me to assume he’s a rich suburbanite, but I can’t imagine who grew up as poor as I did has any idea how impossible moving, especially across the country, really is.
I sent him one final message.
“I don’t know what you think you’re accomplishing by this, but I just want you to take a look at yourself, and realize that you just sent a stranger on Facebook a barrage of voice messages chiding him for not handling being discriminated against in the way you would prefer. I get the weird feeling you’re trying to be helpful, but you aren’t. You are being condescending and refusing to see past your own privilege. You, a straight man in California, are lecturing me, a gay man in the south, on why it’s incorrect that I think I’m discriminated against.”
I didn’t wait for him to respond, I blocked him.
I guess… this is what it’s come to. Now that Donald Trump has won, people feel that they now just have the right to harass anyone they choose. What’s most puzzling to me is the tone of his voice in these messages. He wasn’t screaming, he didn’t even sound angry. He sounded annoyed. And when he started dictating what I should do, he had this tone of voice like “of COURSE this is what you should do, why didn’t you THINK of this?”. It was condescending, and it was scary. When I came to sit down and write this I realized I was shaking all over.
This is not an isolated incident. Far, far worse is happening all around the country, from graffiti threatening gay people, Muslims and black people, to the KKK displaying solidarity with Donald Trump, all around the country, the bigots think that now their candidate has won, they have the right to come out of the bigoted closet and speak their hatred and vitriol loudly and without consequence.
Part of me wants to raise my fist in the air and say we refuse to take it. Part of me wants to say that in achieving this victory, the bigots have identified themselves and can now be defeated. That they’ve become complacent now, that they think our struggle towards equality is over, clinched in their favor, and that their complacency is the opportunity we have to boot their hatred out of our society forever.
But another part of me just wants to curl up in the corner and fear for everyone. For myself. For Muslims. For women. For black people. For hispanic people. For transgender people. If this is what happened to me, what must be happening to other people around the country right now, trying to express themselves and have their voices heard?
I honestly don’t know what I think will happen. Part of me thinks this is well and truly the end of America, that this will be what causes a mass eruption of violence, protests, and bloody civil unrest to rival the likes of Egypt. Another part of me thinks that this is all bluster and showmanship, that bigots only think they’ve won and will soon discover they’ve gained much less ground than they thought, and by identifying themselves they make it easier to suss out the hate-mongers among us and put a stop to their campaigns of oppression.
But I don’t know.
I truly don’t know.

UPDATE: To my dismay, I discovered that because my post was public, a lot of strangers started commenting on it. I’ve since deleted it, but here are a selection of some of the comments. This is what’s happened. People feel entitled to say things like this. This is the culture of bullying that Trump has legitimized.

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Pride and Prejudice

The gay community.

Where to begin? For most of my life, I’ve had a pretty negative view of the gay community as a whole. This isn’t because I have a problem with people who are gay (obviously), but I have always felt that they’ve misrepresented themselves. Gay pride parades were the biggest thing to elude me. I couldn’t understand how a group of mature people could behave in such a ridiculous way.

The gay community is comprised of human beings, just like every other community. I have to believe that most of these human beings are sensible to some degree, and that plenty of them are intellectuals. So why do they parade down the streets of San Fransisco in assless chaps and biker hats, holding a leash attached to men crawling before them dressed in leather with a collar around their neck? This may be an overdramatization, but I have a feeling it isn’t.

But my point here is that the image of gay pride that circulates is one of shirtless men in leather pants, trouncing down the streets and behaving like whores. The image the gay community in general portrays isn’t one of dignity, self-respect, and a desire to be recognized as equal to everyone else, but one of promiscuity, perversion, and a quest to be accepted, regardless of how freakish their antics may be. And that is ridiculous. If you don’t want to be called a perverted community, don’t act like one.

I am gay. This is not a personality trait per se, it’s simply a part of who I am. Straight men (I’m only using men in this example because most of my experience has been with males) are just as much defined by their heterosexuality as we are by our homosexuality, when you get to the truth of it. The gay community presents itself as being just that: gay. Nothing more. Not people with opinions on subject other than sexuality, not human beings who feel every emotion that every other human being feels, not people who ponder the mysteries of the unvierse, just gay people. It’s the only aspect of ourselves that we a community show. Gay pride parades are really only benefitial to the people the parades are focused on. How many homophobic people would go to a gay pride parade, and walk away a changed person? If the image gay pride parades presents is EXACTLY the image of gay people that homophobes fear and dislike, I’m thinking not many.

Gay men are almost entirely defined by sexuality, and that’s wrong. As a community, homosexuals seem to have a problem seperating the personal from the sexual. If you’re gay, your entire identity as a person isn’t made up of that one fact. A good example of this is the “classifications” gay men have for themselves, based entirely on pornography: twinks, bears, etc. And there are twink and bear conventions, if you can believe it. Now, a pornography convention is fine, but I get the feeling that the people who go to these conventions don’t consider it a porn convention, they just consider it a gathering of people who consider themselves bears and twinks. The core of your personality should be “human being,” not “bear”, “twink,” or anything else.

Sexuality is a huge part of being human. Sexuality dominates a whole area of your life as a person, and that’s okay. But it’s important to understand that being a person isn’t just about being sexual. I am gay, and I am indeed a sexual person. I also enjoy swimming, playing trading card games, reading fantasy novels and manga, listening to music from many genres, playing video games, Greek food, and I like cats. I also have anxiety problems, I struggle with panic attacks, I have obsessive compulsive disorder, I believe in God but I think organized religion causes more problems that it solves. See? I am a person with many facets, opinions, and feelings, and I present myself as such. Sure, I like sex just as much as EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. It doesn’t define my entire character.

These are the matters in which I find the gay community to be at fault. There are many other matters, however, in which gay men and women are needlessly blamed and persecuted.

Many people, including some in the gay community, feel that gay men who are flamboyant present a negative image of their community. While I see the logic behind this, it’s still very wrong. Gay men are flamboyant because they are, not because they choose to be. I was a flamboyant child, and now I am a grown person with a good head on my shoulders, but I still love being whimsical and childlike, it makes me feel free and happy. So gay men speak with a lisp, so what? You can’t expect gay men to act exactly the way straight men do, because it’s not a matter of “They’re both men so they should act the same way.” Gay men really are a whole different breed of man than straight men. We don’t act the same because we’re not the same. While being gay means that you are a person who happens to be attracted to members of the same gender, it doesn’t mean that you’re exactly like every heterosexual man, just as no two people are alike. Certain behaviors, like flamboyance, are more common within the gay community, just as certain behaviors, like a love of sports, are more common within the straight community. Over time these examples have become stereotypes, and of course not every gay man is flamboyant and not every straight man loves sports, but these are two behaviors that are prevalant within their respective communities, and not because either of them are wrong. It’s not wrong for a straight man to play football, and it’s not wrong for a gay man to play football. It’s not wrong for a gay man to be articulate, dramatic, and a musical theatre performer, and it’s not wrong for a straight man to be articulate, dramatic, and a musical theatre performer. Straight men actually suffer from almost as many stereotypes as gay men do.

The message I want to get across to everyone today is that to be human is to be human. Some humans are attracted to men, and some are attracted to women. Some are attracted to both. All of this is just fine, and natural. If anyone disagrees, take a good look at homosexuality throughout the course of history; it isn’t something new, it’s been around since the times of the ancient civilizations and well before. It happens within nature. Homosexuality is natural. This is something our society has yet to fully understand, but as a community we have to peacefully and reasonably help them to. Presenting ourselves as being defined by our sexuality isn’t going to help.

The answer to just about every social problem is to calmly and rationally think about it, discuss it, and find truth. Things are not so black and white as society would have you believe. In many cases, problems in society are merely misunderstandings, perpetuated by people who want control, and this most definitely includes the religious community. In a democracy there is compromise. The campaigns against what some perceive to be immorality are unnecessary and formed out of spite and ignorance, but you can only add fuel to the fires of their movement by presenting yourself as one-dimensional and perpetuating the stereotypes that drive their efforts. In the end, society only has hope when people are willing to be reasonable, and most importantly when a situation is approached with a necessary amount of objectivity, but a greater amount of compassion, and love for those who share this journey of life with you, and who live in the same human body you do. We really are all in this together, and discord among family only serves to break it apart; humanity can only progress when it comes together with a common goal, and my hope is that that common goal can be peace.