“It’s a heart rending time to be both a woman and an immigrant in this country... our dignity, our character, and rights are all under attack.” So spoke America Ferrerra as she gazed out over the hundreds of thousand of women who descended on Washington on Saturday, January 21st for the Women’s March. Women who came from all over the country, sleeping on friends’ floors, crossing coasts, and riding buses through the night to be there. We wore pink pussy hats, accepted free doobies, and marched bearing homemade signs or bearing the five official images of the March. We broke out into impromtu verses of “Lean on Me” and cheered and chanted our throats raw as four-plus hours of speakers proclaimed that Donald Trump is not America.
As we quickly head toward parts unknown in this day and time, let’s remain in the moment. In this moment, we find a thousand ways to be distracted and confused. We find a multitude of ways to lament and despair but to also paradoxically, be thankful for being alive. At the onset, we knew that changes, in government or in society at large, would be jarring. There seems to be a confusion wrapped in obscure and malevolent tones. We seemed to be surrounded by clouds accompanied by bullies with perceived power, whose lies are wrapped in odd euphemisms. However, in this moment, we should check in with our core. Have we checked in with the soundness of our hearts?
The Election of Donald Trump as president is a dangerous act of political cowardice that could be catastrophic in its effect on this country and the world. By the time that you read this, he will be president – a bloviating narcissist in the White House! Our first impulse immediately after the election was to pack it up; we were done! If Trump is what the country wanted then so be it. However, he lost the popular vote by nearly three million – that’s the population of Chicago and nearly five Baltimores; certainly no mandate for the extremist agenda that his cabinet nominations and other picks show that he intends to inflict on the country. (See sidebar.) No, we can’t walk away; we must rise to the challenge. We must take our despair as fuel for action.
Donald J. Trump and the Republican-controlled congress are a threat to everything HIV advocates have been fighting for during the last 30 years, and that includes access to health care, HIV prevention programs such as PrEP, and the dignity with which we treat those who are most vulnerable to HIV infection.
It's mid-January 2017, and we are holding it together. Some of us are feeling energized by the need to mobilize against the incoming Trump administration, others brace for its onslaught. Many people eagerly ushered 2016 out with swift and pointed kicks to the rear, relieved to see the back of a year which encompassed the Orlando shooting, unceasing waves of wartorn refugees, increasing violence and unease around the globe, the passing of iconic celebrities, the rebirth of lurking racism and homophobia and the election of the crudest, most sexist, and least prepared celebrity to the presidency, just to name a few. These events proved too much for even the toughest among us to swallow. Certainly we need a lifting of the gloom as Inauguration Day arrives.
REACHING OUT TO THE GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY?
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