On Jan. 20, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States after a polarizing election, despite having lost the popular vote. Trump has assembled a Cabinet of wealthy oligarchs eager to privatize, plunder and dismantle their respective departments. He has already met with foreign leaders in circumstances that raise serious questions about his conflicts of interest, and he has taken to Twitter to rattle nuclear sabres at North Korea and praise Vladimir Putin, while attempting to discredit U.S. intelligence agencies.
A series of national protests are scheduled for Inauguration Day, including a massive demonstration in Washington D.C. organized by activists working under the #DisruptJ20 hashtag. They urge their comrades throughout the country to participate in a general strike — no work, no school, no shopping. The next day is the Women's March on D.C., with sister marches planned throughout the country. The Colorado Springs march will be hosted by the local SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) chapter and will take place Saturday at Acacia Park at 1:30 p.m.
Trump's election has motivated entire segments of the population to take up activism. Like many other Americans concerned about Trump's racist, misogynistic statements and his appointment of an aggressively anti-LGBTQ Cabinet, I too have become involved in what, for lack of a better term, could be called the resistance.
It started the Thursday after the election, when I drove up to Denver for my biannual HRT (hormone replacement therapy) appointment. It's a pain, but the Transgender Health Center of Denver is one of the few places in the state operating on an informed consent model (which means it's not up to a therapist whether or not you can transition), and one of the few places with a doctor who specializes in medicine for trans people. I'm lucky that I can afford to drive up to Denver twice a year. Many trans people can't.
But that day I didn't feel very lucky. As a lesbian trans woman who makes her living in public education, so much of my life was suddenly a giant question mark. Will my marriage be valid when Trump takes office? Will my wife be able to use my insurance? Will my insurance still cover HRT? Will I still have a job that pays a living wage after Betsy DeVos, a woman who worked tirelessly to ruin public education in Michigan, becomes the new secretary of education and Trump's proposed voucher program drives down enrollment in low-socioeconomic, low-performing schools across the country?
Coincidentally, my appointment was a few blocks from the state Capitol, where a massive protest against Trump was being held. I decided to check it out because a few of my friends from Denver, all trans women, were going. We made grim jokes about med-hoarding and detransitioning.
In that seething, angry mass of humanity I felt safe. As I marched through downtown Denver to chants of "trans lives matter" and "not my president," I felt guardedly optimistic for the first time since Wisconsin turned red.
It was comforting to know that there were other people out there who rejected the Trump platform's litany of regressive ideals, that there were people willing to come out on a Thursday night and engage in action against what appears to be the most anti-LGBTQ administration in recent memory. It was comforting to know that all these people were there and all I had to do was show up.
That's the advice I want to give to anyone who feels hurt or scared right now: show up. Don't move to Canada and don't hide for four years. Volunteer, help out and donate to local organizations. Go to poetry readings, art shows and punk shows. Go to protests, starting with the Acacia Park march. It's more than an angry mob — it's a chance to stand in solidarity with others, to meet other people, network and get involved. It's an act of resistance, one that the president-elect has tried to discredit through specious claims (I'm still waiting for my check, Mr. George Soros), and which Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen has tried to pass legislation against.
Take advantage of your First Amendment rights, while you still have them. After this week, a scene like the one I witnessed that day, thousands of concerned citizens taking to the streets to vocalize their disapproval with our country's leader, might no longer be possible.