by Brianna Cluck
I’m standing in the kitchen cooking sausage and pierogies. Suddenly, I feel hands around my waist and I lean my head back into his chest. We’d gone on one other official date before this, and things are looking pretty good.
It’s November 8th at approximately 6 PM.
After eating some delicious food, we decide to turn on the TV for what was going to be the real entertainment of the night: watching the election results roll in. The plan was simple: we sit down on the couch, enjoy a nice glass of wine, watch Hillary win the election and then celebrate with Facebook posts and the nearest taco truck. Everything was laid out perfectly.
He turns on the TV and furrows his brow.
All the states so far are red. I’m a little concerned.
“It’s okay,” he says. “It’s just the start. The southern states always vote Republican. Let’s spend some time away from the TV and, by the time we’re back, the western states will have started coming in and we’ll see Hillary win.”
That seems to make a lot of sense, so we set about wasting some time. We talk about board games, I subject him to my hipster mix of psychedelic music and punk music and, in general, we just spend some quality time together.
But still, there is that feeling in the back of my mind. What will happen?
“Wanna go see Doctor Strange on Friday?”
We first met a little over a week before. A mutual friend invited me to lunch, and he happened to be there. After lunch, we went bowling and, after that and a round of pinball (wherein we accidentally left our other friends to wait outside), we went to his apartment and played board games. To be honest, this guy amazed me with how many things we had in common (like our shared interest in rare books and how strangely attractive I find a man with an old illustrated copy of Paradise Lost), but I just assumed he was in a relationship and tried to move on. A couple days later he asked if I’d like to go see a movie and I was pleasantly surprised to find that he was, in fact, that rare intersection of single and interested in me. That was no easy feat in a culture where the last major interactions I’d had with any men in a romantic context were either a one week confusion or angry messages on OKCupid about how much they disagreed with my existence as a trans woman.
In a way, running into this guy felt strange, unlikely, and altogether appropriate. If a guy could ask me on a date just in time to watch the election together, anything was possible.
Finally, it’s later into the night and he steps over to the TV and turns it on.
More states are coming in, most of them red. What’s more, Trump has taken Ohio. Ohio always predicts the winner. I make a snarky post on Facebook about how the season finale of America is really heating up, to which my friends and family tell me that it’s more of the series finale, and to check the Google projections because they are more realistic than the ones we are watching on CNN.
My mild concern turns to a deep, unsettling fear.
As the rest of the results came in, the tone on Facebook had started to change. First, we were joking, then we were mildly concerned. Now, we were terrified. Posts started pouring in: “What will happen to my marriage?” “How long until I’m deported?” “Will I ever get my gender legally changed now?”
I can’t bear to look, and end up falling asleep until much later when it seems like just about everyone is in the middle of either having a breakdown or trying to console their loved ones or tell them that, in their opinion, Trump “won’t be that bad,” or how we need to just support him as president now.
Now, the Transgender Day of Remembrance is here. It’s like a funeral for all our trans loved ones we’ve lost. Usually, that message is mixed with a message of hope, imploring us to keep going, even when all hope is lost.
This year, that message seems even more dire. Even if Trump himself is not terribly against trans people specifically, there’s been a shift in the atmosphere of our country, and more and more of our marginalized people are having to be careful when they go out, or even stay inside, for fear of violence. If you’re an ally to the trans community, I ask that you stand with us. I ask that you vote for our rights. I ask that you stay with us, even when the day of remembrance is over, and even when it seems that hope is gone.
If you’re trans and reading this right now, I only have one message for you:
We will stand.
We will fight.
We will live.
And it will be beautiful.
Brianna Cluck is a 23-year-old woman living in Provo. Working in an office by day, she spends her free time pretending to write poetry while actually looking at pictures of cats. When she’s neither writing poetry nor looking at cats, she can be found either singing karaoke or attending protests.