2016’s presidential election had us all on our toes. Some of us were rooting for the potential first female president Hillary Clinton and her “first lady” Bill Clinton, others believing in Donald Trump, hoping that he was the man that was going “make America great again.” As the campaigns progressed, people who didn’t support Trump were afraid that he would win and would implement his laws that would perpetuate the idea of racism, sexism, religious exclusivism, and homophobia; yet which laws that he has specifically stated are against the LGBTQ+ community?
None. All Trump has ever done is try to support the LGBTQ+ community, despite the fact that he speaks at anti-LGBTQ+ events, defended a homophobic and transphobic legislation, chose a homophobic VP, and surrounds himself with bigoted advisors.
There was an outspoken amount of fear on November 8 as the U.S. elected Donald Trump as our new president. During those early hours on Wednesday after the election, people had begun to panic; the Trevor Project reported that more than double their usual number of help hotline callers called in between the hours of 1 and 2 a.m. The LGBTQ+ hotline stated that many of the calls came from gay youth who were scared of what the new president-elect meant for them. Steve Mendelsohn, the deputy executive director of the Trevor Project, stated that the incoming flow of calls had been coming in since that Tuesday night. He elaborated that young people were reaching out due to the election results. “They’re scared, and they don’t who to turn to” (Ravitz, CNN). Along with a spike in numbers for the Trevor Project, the Crisis Text Line received an increase in the number of texters as the election came to a close. Liz Eddy, a spokeswoman for the Crisis Text Line, came out to say that the most texted words during November 8 and 9 had been “election” and “scared,” the word “scared” being commonly used with “LGBTQ” (Ravitz, CNN).
Two days before the inauguration of the president-elect, the Human Rights Campaign published survey results of more than 50,000 young people ages 13 to 18 (Turner 2). Young citizens from across the U.S. participated in this survey, fully representing the wide spectrum of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and religious background. 63% of the survey takers reported seeing “incidents motivated by sexual orientation” (2). Among the LGBTQ+ youth who had taken the survey, a quarter stated that they had been personally victimized since the campaigns began (2). 46% of the gay youth reported incidents silencing their self-expression in light of the results of the presidential election (2). The survey from HRC may engender anxiety, but HRC also reported that 57% of non-LGBTQ+ youth were filled with determination to stay united and help others in their community who are being targeted in any way they can (2). The HRC survey, more than anything, shows that the youth of the U.S. are looking to the future with fear but are hopeful that by standing united, we can overcome any obstacles coming our way.
On the tumultuous Inauguration Day, the Trevor Project posted a letter titled “A Letter To LGBTQ Youth On Inauguration Day,” which started off by reminding fearful youth to “take care of yourself, today and every day.” As doing certain things that used to be habit are no longer important to those who are suffering. The letter’s author, Raymond Braun, goes on to say that “it’s OK to turn off the TV, log off social media, and disengage from the news.” In a generation so technology-driven, it’s easy to forget that our devices have an off button. As Braun comes close to the end of his letter, he says to all afraid and unsure LGBTQ+ individuals as a final push of hope to “find the hope inside yourself and continue growing into the amazing human being that you are.”
If any of you Warriors are feeling lost or hopeless, there is help and people who care. Whether you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community or not, everyone matters. There’s always help just so long as you are willing to reach for it.
The Trevor Project
24/7 Suicide Hotline (Trevor Project): 1-866-488-7386
The Trevor Project TextLine: Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Text Line: Text START to 741741
“Calls to crisis and suicide prevention hotlines surge post-election.” CNN. Cable News Network, 11 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Becker, Rachel. “Suicide hotlines receive record number of calls after the election – many from LGBTQ people.” The Verge. The Verge, 11 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Campaign, Human Rights. “Survey of 50,000 Youth Reveals Post-Election Spike in Bullying.” Human Rights Campaign. HRC, 18 Jan. 2017. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Braun, Raymond. “A Letter to LGBTQ Youth on Inauguration Day.” A Letter to LGBTQ Youth on Inauguration Day. Trevor Project, 20 Jan. 2017. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Voice of the Warriors, Aloha High School, or the Beaverton School District.