A year ago the country was divided in two, based on who we were going to vote for: Hillary or Trump. This was not a normal election. It wasn’t like the 2000 election where George W. Bush won, or the 2008 election where Obama won. There were no rallies afterward. There were no lies about how big the inauguration was. The 2016 election was big because there was not only a woman in the running but also a sexist, homophobic bigot opposite her.
There were men saying they would vote for Trump just because they didn’t want a woman in office. But to me, that wasn’t the problem. To me, the problem was the women, the LGBTQ community, and so-called “supporters” of our community that put their vote in for this man. On the block was healthcare for millions, freedoms for our community, and pure hatred for anything not white, straight, and Christian.
Friendships ended and families fell apart. It’s almost as if the world divided in two. A year ago, the world was in turmoil because our now-president was putting on a show for his followers. He made being a bully and being hateful okay. It was as if every freedom that our community had just received was on the chopping block.
So what do we do with the friendships that ended? The family members that still no longer speak to each other? Should we pretend that everything is okay? Have a deep conversation about it? How? Would you start with, “Your vote shows that you don’t take my identity seriously, but hey, let’s ignore it and start over”? That would be awkward. Why would you want someone in your circle who doesn’t truly love you for who you are?
I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to walk away from people. You don’t have to swallow your pride and get over the fact that this man is in office. He’s not my president; the things that he stands for are the same things I fight against every day. His whole administration is corrupt. The ones that would come after him if he were impeached would possibly be worse, but I would fight against them too.
I still don’t talk to a couple of my friends. One loss in particular has stung more than the others. A friend of mine is a straight, white woman with a picture-perfect family. Nothing that Trump discusses will affect her in anyway. Her vote is a symbol of how she truly feels about me and others like me.
I am everything that Trump thinks is wrong with the world. I am a single black lesbian mother of four beautiful black girls. I am a feminist to boot and happy and proud to be gay. I will not let him or anyone else take that away from me, and neither should you. You have to live in your truth and let those around you be truthful with you. Take the time to heal from the disappointment that any of those you’ve surrounded yourself with have caused and then decide if the relationship is worth starting over. You don’t have to decide today or tomorrow. As a matter fact, take as long as you want.
It’s perfectly okay to let go of the people in your life who don’t deserve to be there in the first place. I am all about having a peaceful aura and group of progressive people around me. No, I don’t want everyone to think the same as I do, and I respect other people’s points of view, but I don’t respect bullies, racists, sexists, or homophobic jerks. It’s one thing to have an opinion; it’s another thing to be disrespectful and discriminatory. You don’t have to swallow your pride and let in the people who support bigotry. Take the time you need to heal. Decide whether you will let certain people back in your life, but make it on your terms. Open the conversation with how you feel about them having voted for Trump. They showed you who they truly are by voting him in, and they need to know it.