Opinion: An Ally’s Response to the 2016 Election
At the age of 12, I understood what it was like to be bullied for being different since I am Mexican. I found a passion for helping those who were discriminated against just for being themselves. Through middle school and high school, I became an advocator for equal rights for anyone in the LGBT community around the country. I witnessed the change happening within my school and my county through my high school career. Without noticing it, I became part of a nationwide movement. I became an Ally. By 2015 we celebrated many wins, including nationwide marriage equality.
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, many people around the country voted in the 2016 presidential election. The 2008 and 2012 elections were the first elections that I experienced while living in this country. However, I do not remember feeling like so much was at stake during those elections. I do not remember seeing so many frightened people dreading the results. I do not remember feeling like I personally had so much to lose.
I fell asleep watching the election coverage, knowing how much LGBT people and their allies had to lose. I was devastated and terrified when I checked the results on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Allies had fought so hard to get to where we are and during his campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump expressed his intentions to overturn our progress. I felt devastated as an Ally but, I cannot imagine what LGBT people around the country felt. However, I would like to tell all of the LGBT community that they are not alone. I would like to let them know that we have not been defeated.
The results of the election are not very encouraging. Yet, we must understand that while the past cannot be changed, the future has not been written yet. LGBT people and their allies have faced many struggles. We have lost many battles and we have cried many tears. However, we have made progress, we have won many fights and we have paved a path towards equality. Most importantly, we have grown in the number of supporters. So many Allies like myself have come out of the closet. Allies are no longer afraid of speaking out for equality and standing up to discrimination and hate.
I was scared when I saw the results of the election. I felt like everything we had done, all the progress we had made in the last few years was about to be lost. But, I realized that as long as we stick together and stand up for those who need us, we are not defeated. We cannot lose hope, not now. Not when everything we have achieved is at risk. Yes, I was scared and I felt defeated. I am sure that LGBT people and allies around the country felt the same. But this is not the time to stand back in fear.
We must keep pushing forward. We may have lost a battle, but there is still plenty to fight for. As allies, we must show all of the LGBT people that we are still here. We are still ready to fight for them. I am no longer scared and I know that we have not been defeated. I became an ally in 2009 and I will continue to be an ally to the LGBT community even after we gain the equality we are seeking. I have joined a battle for equality that is far from over. I am an ally and I am here to tell every member of the LGBT community that I am here for you. We are here for you.