Creep of the Week

I recently heard a self-proclaimed Democrat who voted for Trump say he didn’t like Hillary.

“Bernie would have won. We told them we wanted Bernie,” he said, referring to Sanders winning the primary election in Michigan. “But they didn’t listen to us.”
He didn’t exactly admit that voting for Trump was a mistake, but he did acknowledge that Trump was not a good president. He was also (spoiler alert!) a straight white guy.

While listening to this man talk, I thought I was going to grind my teeth into powder.

This was just a few hours before Trump was to announce his U.S. Supreme Court pick — something I felt literally sick over.

You see, the Supreme Court is pretty important to me. In June 2015, I was sitting in a chemo ward getting poison pumped into my body as part of my treatment for breast cancer. I was more miserable than I’d ever been, and not just because I was bald, bloated and nauseous.

The clock was ticking. Not on my life so much, as treatment — though hellacious — was going well and I had a good prognosis. But my insurance was running out. August 31 would be my last day with insurance and I was only halfway done with treatment. I was terrified that saving my life would bankrupt my family.

Before the Supreme Court in June 2015 were two cases dealing with issues that would decide my fate: marriage equality and the Affordable Care Act.

See, I was legally married to my wife. We had a legal document from California as proof. But that wasn’t recognized in Michigan. And so my wife’s health insurance, far better than mine, was out of reach. So I’d planned to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Yet the court’s ruling could have effectively dismantled the ACA. And the court’s ruling on marriage equality could have effectively rendered me permanently without a legal spouse.

So when the Supreme Court ruled that the ACA was safe (for the time being), I was relieved. And when they ruled that, yes, my marriage was real and Michigan had damn well better recognize it, I was, well, I was very sick, so it was hard to feel especially celebratory, but I did feel like a huge weight had been lifted off me and my family.

The next day my wife called her HR person to add me to her insurance. I was expecting a fight. They just said, “OK, can you spell her name?” We then went to our lawyer to have papers drawn up to make me, finally, the legal parent to my son. It was literally life-changing.

So to all of the people who voted for Trump because they “just didn’t like Clinton,” I cannot forgive you. You put America’s most vulnerable populations in peril because you didn’t like a lady’s laugh.

You didn’t “have to” vote for Clinton. You could have voted for the Supreme Court. You could have voted against the candidate endorsed by Nazis. You could have voted against the candidate that bragged about sexually assaulting women. You could have even voted for no one!

The problem is, of course, that Mr. “Bernie would have won” didn’t have a lot at stake when casting his vote. Being white, male and heterosexual is pretty much a superpower in America. Very little hurts you. This superpower is even stronger in men with money.

Under Trump, every day’s a new nightmare for minorities and women (and, yes, I know that white women also went for Trump; whiteness is a hell of a drug). His administration has attacked (and this is a partial list): transgender people, the sick, immigrants, asylum seekers, black people, Mexicans, women, the disabled, the press, lesbians and gays and anyone who doesn’t look like Stephen Miller.

If you voted for this and you’re happy about what’s happening, well, congratulations. Enjoy it, I guess. I hope it filled the void in you where empathy is supposed to be.

And if you voted for this and you’re not happy about it? You have a lot of work to do! But it will first take the ability to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I did a selfish and shortsighted thing and I am personally responsible for hurting lots of people.” Which isn’t an easy task. It’ll suck, but not as badly as having your civil rights stripped from you.

As they say, actions speak louder than words. Volunteer for a Democrat’s campaign (because under Trump, Republicans have proven to all be trash). Donate money to progressive causes that help people being hurt by Trump’s policies.

Don’t you dare ask me or anyone else who wakes up every day terrified by the erosion of our rights and our democracy for forgiveness. The road to redemption is long. And no, we will not give you a ride. You walk and think about what you did.

D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.

Milo Yiannopoulos is not a good person. But then, who cares, right? It’s not like he gives a shit about being a good person. In fact, the fact that he is a terrible person — a deplorable, if you will — is his entire appeal. Without his awfulness, he’s just another gay conservative guy trying to fit into a party where everyone there hates him, but not so much that they won’t take his money.

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There’s been a lot of talk about “civility” lately, which was triggered by the owner of a restaurant asking a woman who is known worldwide for lying on the behalf of a white-supremacist administration headed by a man who is trying to, and succeeding in, turning America into a dictatorship.

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Out of the blue the other day, my 8-year-old son asked me, “What would you do to get me back?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Like, if I was taken.”

I was too stunned to formulate a good answer. “Well, I’d do anything,” I said.

He thought for a moment. “If you could only see me or Mommy,” he asked, referring to his other mom who is also my wife, “who would you choose?”

I had no answer for this, of course. But I couldn’t help but think of the immigrant and asylum-seeking families being torn apart at our border. Children were taken from their parents and put in cages by the U.S. government. In your name. In my name. In my son’s name.

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Congratulations, LGBTQ America! Donald Trump, the man who stumbled and swindled and lied his way into the presidency, has finally made good on his promise to be the very best president queers ever done seen.

One word: Germany.

OK, more than one word: Trump appointed a gay man, Richard Grenell, as ambassador to Germany, and he’s confirmed and everything.
Mark my words: By the end of his presidency, America will be repped to the world by LGBTQ people exclusively because Trump loves his LGBTQs just like he loves his “African-American.”

Ha ha, just kidding. Grenell is a nice touch and all, but that’s like squirting some contact-lens solution onto a roaring fire and saying you tried to put it out — because the Trump administration is an anti-LGBTQ inferno.

Take, for example, another recent appointee: Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.). Bridenstine now heads NASA, a.k.a. the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, after being confirmed by the Senate along party lines.

But his confirmation took a long time. Seven months! And if you follow Trump on Twitter (and I don’t really advise it because he’s super awful and unhinged), you know that he’s been crying on the Internet about how those damn obstructionist Democrats have been holding up his nominations and they are so mean and nasty: “Boo hoo, they won’t let me stock the government with completely unqualified and hateful people.”

Bridenstine’s nomination was slow going because a lot of Democrats did, in fact, oppose him. With good reason! Not only is he a climate-change denier (which in a normal administration would be a problem, but in this administration is par for the course), he also hates the gays. Which is also a popular position in this administration, but not in America as a whole so much (despite how horrible things feel right now).

A little about Bridenstine: He has a zero score from the Human Rights Campaign (psst: that’s the lowest possible score). Again, with good reason.
Take the Boy Scouts, for example. As you may remember, they used to not allow gay boys to be Scouts. In 2013, they lifted that ban. And Bridenstine was not having it.

“Some of us in America still believe in the concept of sexual morality, that sex is intended for one man and one woman within the institution of marriage. Organizations that hold this philosophy and promote it among our youth should be commended, or at least you would think, tolerated,” he said in a speech on the House floor. “Unfortunately, the intolerant left bullies and browbeats private organizations like the Boy Scouts into accepting their philosophy. Notice they didn’t start their own organization. They went after the Boy Scouts of America.”

Darn those gays and that intolerant left, so lazy they wouldn’t even start their own separate-but-equal group for gay and/or “sexually immoral” Scouts.

“The left’s agenda is not about tolerance, and it’s not about diversity of thought,” Bridenstine continued. “It’s about presenting a worldview of relativism, where there is no right and wrong.”

Ah, the old “gays-don’t-even-know-right-from-wrong” argument. It’s a short jump from there to talking about penises and butts.

While I could make a joke about how Bridenstine should be launched into space where he can start his own right-wing moon colony, I will not. Because I actually believe that the work NASA does is important. I am disappointed to see someone in charge of it who not only doesn’t seem to value that work, but who also besmirches the legacy of Sally Ride. It’s because of people like Bridenstine that Ride didn’t come out until her obituary. She and her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy, deserved better. America deserves better too.

D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.

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