I am not an American, but I have American friends who are from minority ethnic groups, who are LGBTQI+, who suffer with long-term ill-health and/or physical disability, who are women, mothers of daughters, who are saddened, angered, and scared by what their fellow Americans have enabled.
I have a friend here in Britain, who was born here, to a British mother, who has worked and paid taxes since she was 18, whose husband has worked and paid taxes since he was 15, who has 4 children, all under the age of 10, and who had to listen to someone at the next table, while she and her husband were having breakfast out as he had a day off today, say “If Trump can get in in America, the EDL (English Defence League, a violent far-right group) can get in here – I’m going to vote for them next time.” My friend is Black. Her husband is white. She has two sons – mixed race boys who will grow up to be seen as “Black men.” And two daughters, mixed race girls who will grow up to face the racism and misogyny that is our world, now.
I am a transgender man with mental health issues.
My wife is a transgender woman with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Can you imagine how unsafe the world feels now? For my friends? For my wife? For me?
I attempted suicide after Brexit (the UK referendum on whether the UK should withdraw from the European Union, which returned a marginal “Yes” vote, mostly thanks to appeals to racism and bigotry, misinformation, and outright lies.
My wife is afraid I will try again, now. I would be lying if I promised her I wouldn’t.
I’ve spent today mostly in bed, drinking and smoking (I rarely smoke), trying to block out a reality I can’t stand the idea of without actually dissociating.
I’ve had to leave Facebook, because I was becoming too angry with people who refused to acknowledge the fear and distress their decisions had caused, who refused to accept even partial responsibility for my friend being afraid to leave her house now, for the American friend whose 8 year old daughter cried at the result, because she’d always believed bullies would be defeated – and then dried her tears, and put on her prettiest dress, a young woman of Mayan descent, a visible minority, standing up to the bully who wants to build a wall around people whose skin is a different colour to his, and who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to sexually assault women.
I wish I had the courage and strength of that young woman, that young warrior.
For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be a man, because of what “being a man” has now been agreed as meaning.
I am very far from stable right now. I want to kill people. I want to kill myself. I want to run. I want to fight.
I lost a day of work because my brain couldn’t focus on anything but the sheer terror of the world I’m forced to live in.
I don’t know how I, or my American friends, my Black British friend, are going to cope tomorrow.
A month from Brexit, the Leave voters couldn’t tell you why they’d voted Leave, and many of them regretted doing so.
A month from now, Trump’s supporters will have forgotten why they voted for him, and have gone back to their everyday lives of bitching about everything.
Years from now, people like me, people like my wife, people like my friends, will still bear the scars of Brexit, the scars of a Trump Presidency. There can never be “business as usual” for us.