In the Wake of 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, Vigilance Needed More Than Ever

transgenderDeja Nicole Greenlaw at a former Pride celebration circa 2012.
Photo: TRT Archives
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Trans-columnist dissects the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and action to take

By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist— 

It’s been nearly a month since the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and the shock of Donald Trump being elected has somewhat passed. There was heartbreak, denial, fear, and shock running through many of our minds. Many of us couldn’t believe it and some took to the streets to protest and let the world know that Donald Trump is not their president. It’s a very unsettling time.

A month later, the shock is wearing off and we must choose our course of action. After all, Donald Trump will be our president, if the recount of the key states does in fact prove that he won the popular vote in several contested states. The Electoral College vote was set up in the U.S. Constitution to give the less populated states a better voice, and in this past election some think it did what it was supposed to do. We will see after the recounts take place. But, as of this moment, the Donald will be our next president.

There has been a shift in American politics, as well as in many other countries’ politics, to a more authoritarian right. If the recounts confirm the Electoral College vote, we will have to accept this fact and we must deal with it. We will have to expect tighter controls on fiscal as well as social issues. Let’s take a look at the social issues and possible attempts to control them, specifically in the LGBTQIA community. Marriage equality has been brought up as well as gay conversion therapy, but I believe and hope that those two issues will not become a threat to LGBTQIA freedom.

What may become the biggest threat to our freedom is one of the current cases in the Supreme Court, that is, the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender youth petitioning to use the boys bathroom in his Virginia high school. At first, a lower court ruled in Gavin’s favor, but the Supreme Court agreed to put that decision on hold while it considered an appeal from the county school board. Currently, Gavin has been told to use a unisex bathroom. Gavin complies, but he voices dissent as he explains that he is not unisex, he is male. He should be able to use the boys’ room. But for now, he must wait. He will most likely be using that unisex bathroom until he graduates from high school next June. The ruling is expected by June 2017.

If the ruling is in Grimm’s favor, it will be a big relief. The Constitution will be upheld and our freedom will be guaranteed. If the ruling goes against Gavin, we will have to protest in the streets much like folks were doing just after Trump became president-elect. As a matter of a fact, we should all keep an eye on this administration and be ready to protest any decision or law that gets passed that works against any freedom whether it’s against LGBTQIA people or against any religion, race, or gender.

It’s time to become ready to take action in the form of protests if need be. It is our right as American citizens and it really is our duty to protect our own rights. We must realize that there is opposition against our rights and we must deal with this fact.

We must also realize that decisions may be made and laws may be passed that infringe upon our rights and we must also deal with those threats. Now, it’s possible that nothing will happen to our rights, but we must be ready if something does happen. We are living in a time of uncertainty and change and we need to support each other and to have each others’ backs, if the occasions so arise. Please don’t forget that we are Americans, we have our rights, and we must ensure that we keep our rights. We need to be vigilant!

*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a trans woman who has 3 grown children and is retired from 3M. She can be contacted at dejavudeja@sbcglobal.net

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