Last political thing on here. I promise.
Request: if you’re a marginalized person, tell Trump here that you will not be silenced, and share what I said below.
President-Elect: My name is Alexandra Penland, and I am 25 years old. I have known my significant other for 14 years, which at my age is a significant chunk of my life: we met online when we were 11, grew up 1,000 miles apart, and moved in together once we started dating at age 18. She’s my best friend in the world. Neither of us fully identify as lesbians, but we’re in a lesbian relationship and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
The night you were elected, we held each other and cried. President-Elect, I am aware that you personally have not made any outright attacks on our people, but your choice of vice president indicates that you have nothing against people who see people like myself and my soulmate as sins rather than love stories. You do not see us as people worth protecting. No amount of holding Pride flags and empty words can change that choice.
If you want to make America great, we need concrete assurance that you won’t take away our right to be human.
This means enforcing our rights to get married, to have legal physical relationships, to hold down any job without fear of being fired for our sexualities, and–most importantly–to not be harassed, attacked, or even killed simply for existing.
I am also an educator. The number of (legal, first-generation, second-generation, American) children of color who are terrified of your election to this position is uncalled-for. I have had to comfort first-graders with the assurance that they are safe in their homes.
This has been false comfort, President-Elect.
Your xenophobic, racist remarks have had real effect on people. Perhaps you’re not the type of man who would attack children of color in the street (although your comments suggest otherwise–please, prove me wrong in that deduction), but there are white, Christian Americans who use your comments as an excuse to do so. I have heard high school students called racial slurs, and I have heard elementary-age students tell fellow Americans that they do not belong here.
If you want to make America great, tell your followers this is unacceptable. That America comes in all colors. That people of color are just as American as they are, and no amount of cruelty is acceptable. That you are not condoning outright racism.
While you’re at it, denounce the KKK. This should not be something I need to tell you. They are a hateful, horrific group with a bloody history, and you need to make it clear that they do not represent our country.
I am also a woman.
If you want to make America great, bite the bullet and let your accusers speak. Take their comments with dignity and grace, do not beat them down, and go to court. Let America decide whether or not your choices were legal and moral. Do not continue to bully us, or treat us like objects. We are human. We are equals. Frankly, from the man I’ve seen on television this past year, we are your betters.
If you want to make America great, you need to be a great man. A great man does not deprive people of hope, make children cry, or bully victims. Right now, you are not a great man.
If you want to make America great, prove me wrong.