Since the election results on November 8th, I’ve been emotional. I felt disappointment because the candidate I was rooting for didn’t win; fear and outrage because the candidate I wasn’t rooting for did; and, in the end, just overwhelming sadness and frustration. When I arrived at school the morning of the 9th, the atmosphere was subdued. There were no loud voices from the locker halls, no running seventh graders, no excited shouts from classrooms while people were playing Kahoot. Everyone seemed downtrodden, almost in awe of the fact that such a thing could have happened because it didn’t feel fair or right. That feeling–that’s what it’s like to be black in America.
Lots of people have been asking me if I’m okay. It’s not a matter of being “okay” because okay implies some kind of control, some kind of agency, and I don’t have that. There is a risk I take every time I step outside my house because of my body. Since the election, I have had to think about my personal safety in my application to colleges in certain states, which (1) I didn’t have to consider before and (2) no one should ever have to consider in regards to their education. Simply my existence makes me a target of harassment, or even violence in some parts of this country because of my blackness and because of my trans-ness. There’s a difference between freedom of speech and hatred: if someone wears, say, an explicit shirt, they are assuming a responsibility for repercussions or differences of opinion from others, but I can’t just take off my identity the way I could take off an offensive shirt.