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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Uncomfortable Epiphanies

It's been over a week since the election. That it's taken me this long to get my thoughts in order is telling of how badly the outcome shocked me.

The day after, I read through tears about the terror of my friends, a loving same-sex couple whose adoption of two beautiful children will be finalized this weekend. Their fear was that their marriage could ultimately be annulled by this administration, the children taken away from them.

And even as a bisexual woman, in a long term heterosexual relationship, it occurred to me I will never know the fear of my marriage being invalidated, nor my children being removed from me on grounds of my sexuality.

This is privilege.

I read about the efforts of individual senators moving forward to garner support to 'register' the Muslim community. Dear God. We've seen this before in America, in Japanese internment camps during World War II. We've seen this in Nazi Germany, with numbers tattooed on the forearms of men, women and children whose only crime was their DNA.

And I will never be subjected to this in America, by virtue of my white ancestry.

This is privilege.

A white female who makes house calls as a nurse, I have never been stopped for being a white woman in the wrong part of town at 2 AM; harassed for sitting outside my own place of work during a night shift in a running car because of the color of my skin, as happened to a coworker; nor for driving a car that is "above my station". I will likely never know this.

This is privilege.

It's always been difficult for me to speak aloud my own mind on political and religious subjects. I freeze, panic, cry: the sequelae of a toxic relationship which rears its ugly head even twenty five years later with the fear my own opinions are somehow invalid and indefensible. But this excuse in itself, while valid, is still a privilege. Even if I didn't speak out, my life was largely unaffected because I couldn't be identified with any of these groups.

Something changed inside me on Wednesday, with the fearful, the outraged, and the collectively stunned community of friends on Twitter and Facebook.

I can no longer be silent. Not with the appointment of Vice President-elect who believes in the psychological brainwashing of 'conversion therapy'.  Not with the appointment of a man who preaches white supremacy into one of the President-elect's highest cabinet positions.

While I still find it palm-sweatingly impossible to lift my phone and call my conservative Kansan representatives, I am going to email, postcard, and letter the hell out of these people and remind them who Bannon really is.

I quietly came out on Twitter Wednesday as bisexual. Although my private actions have always been supportive of LGBTI friends and family, I have to stand up as one of the community or be forever damned as a hypocrite. Better a late coming out, than never. I told my mom. I still haven't come out to my extended family, but if you're reading this *waves*. Hi, guys.

I have made a pledge to speak out and most importantly ACT when I see racism and bigotry against any minority happening in front of my eyes. Silence is validation, no matter my personal opinions. I have to act, or it  means NOTHING.  I've noticed the invisibility of our hijab-wearing locals, even here in this small enclave of diverse, liberal east-central suburban Kansas. Maybe our schedules have just been clashing lately, but it makes me worry they're afraid.

Yes, these are baby steps. I have the privilege to do this small ways at first, whispering before I learn to scream from the rooftops.

Not everyone else does.

It's an uncomfortable epiphany that came home this week. I will continue to pray in my humanistic/agnostic ways that cooler heads and the stubbornness of American partisan politics will prevent repeating the mistakes of the past. But peppered through my pleas to the universe for balance will be more actions to make it so.


  1. Lovely, honest post. My niece is marrying her partner in July. Her biggest fear two years ago wasn't the stigma from society but her own family. Now, she's thankful for our love and support and fears what will happen publicly in the near future. I work with at-risk families and teach English as a Second Language. We will all be watching and waiting to see what happens and pray our country will continue to promote tolerance.

  2. Thank you, Aubrey. I am proud to say I contacted my State Representative and my Senator today. Baby steps.