(The views express in this post are mine. Love Bytes Reviews did not review the content of this post before it was published. It should not be seen that LBR has endorsed the opinion I express below.)
A lot has been written about the 2016 US Election and the effect it will have on people in the coming years. It doesn’t require you to look hard to see some of the most obvious examples of what we can expect. Hate crimes and incidents of hate speech are way up. Kids are being told they are going to be deported, there’s talk of internment camps and registration lists. For the LGBTQ there’s talk of rolling back marriage equality and job protections.
I remember when there was talk about how mainstream acceptance would alter the MM Romance tropes. How we thought we’d won the marriage equality battle and were moving on to trans rights and other issues. We got comfortable and complacent. What we once thought unattainable, we started to take for granted. We started to make plans as if everything had been settled and we’d never have to worry again.
I’m old enough to have lived through the onset of AIDS/HIV. I remember the urgency people in the community felt about the effect it was having. I remember the how the AIDs walks in big cities were major events. How many know what ACT UP is doing these days? Hint: it’s still around. How many don’t know what I’m talking about? Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s they were visible and loud. Demanding action from the government and refusing to be quiet until something was done to stem the tide of the disease. Then the disease became ‘manageable’ with drugs and HIV was no longer a death sentence.
The constant talk of safe sex, use condoms, and don’t bareback. Where did that go? Why do we talk more about PReP (taking Truveda to prevent getting HIV even if you don’t practice safe sex) than safe sex? We lost our sense of urgency and got comfortable in the world.
Then November 8th happened. Amazing how fast things can get turned on their head. We learned we didn’t bury homophobia, racism, bigotry or sexism. We didn’t banish them to wilderness of fringe groups. Those things are alive and well. I remember the saying, ‘We’re everywhere,’ that was used to tell people gays were not just in San Francisco and New York. Guess what, the racists, bigots and homophobes just stole our line and our playbook. They’re everywhere. They’ve crept into the mainstream and found acceptance.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m not going back. I’m not hiding. And I’m not letting them take my rights without a fight. This is not the time to shrink meekly into the background and hope it will get better. It won’t. Not unless we stand up and say no.
I remind myself and others that He Who Shall Not Be Named didn’t even get a quarter of the voting age population to vote for him. Hate did NOT win. It lost by more than 2 million votes. We need to find that urgency again; the strength to vigorously oppose those who want to marginalize us or take away our rights. My fear is that this won’t be a return to the ‘80s or ‘90s. Back then we were too insignificant to the other side to justify too many resources. They also felt they had the backing of the majority of people so there was limited danger. Now they perceived us as threat, a group that wields great power that must be stopped. We’ve gone from unimportant to dangerous. And they are reacting accordingly.
As with all things, the pendulum will swing back our way, but while it is moving away, tremendous damage can be done. We can’t just sit back. A lot of people will be hurt before it gets better. Our mission now is to limit the damage and reduce the recovery time. And the time to start is now.
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of twenty-two years, their young daughter and three dogs. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day.
On his website: www.andrewqgordon.com,
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