Big bad Pence
author: annie trussler| op-ed editor
I’m beginning to consider composing a little anthology of anti-Mike Pence literature. It would sit on the shelves of queer Americans; they would pass by every evening, and nod solemnly in shared understanding and fear. I half thought to Photoshop a pair of horns onto Indiana’s little nightmare, but every time I Google his face, they’re already there! What are the odds? Someone beat me to it.
Well, let’s consider this article volume two of an ever-expanding collection of weary gay journalism. I mean, I could simply copy and paste from Republican Instagram pages, or even the comment sections of my Facebook posts expressing my discomfort with the election results, but that probably wouldn’t fly with the editors.
I’ll be blunt (which is totally out of character, right?): Mike Pence is evil. Not even low-key, redeemable evil, but pure, unbridled, super-villain-with-no-good-qualities evil. Evil that desperately attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, evil that tried to force funerals of aborted fetuses upon the woman in question, evil that fiercely fights to electrocute LGBT+ children until they are straight (yes, heterosexuals, conversion camps are that evil).
An argument I’ve suffered through way, way, way too many times (I just want to tattoo my response on my face by this point) is that “Pence can’t change things from his position, the laws will stay the same.” Thank you, Heterosexual Heather, but that’s not any of our fears; we are afraid of the influence. America is hardly notable for its admirable treatment of its queer and trans citizens, as we all know: imagine if every time the most powerful government in the entire world suddenly backed up every slimy homophobe, violent transphobe, frat boy, and ignorant minister. Just, picture it; picture the influence and renewed motivation. Picture the violence, rape, and the trans kids killing themselves (easy image; eight trans people have already killed themselves in the wake of these results); now, picture this violence erupting all over America.
This kind of super-villain brainwashing has already been seen with other minorities: Latino people are being harassed in the streets, Muslim women are removing their hijabs, black students are being barred from campus by frat douches, and Muslims are being killed (Google the name Hussain Saeed Alnahdi). Why? Their president-elect celebrates this kind of deplorable behaviour. Pence and Trump have belittled, berated, and promoted violence against all levels of minorities, and their cronies finally have reason to take to arms.
On the night of the election, I sat in a hotel room with my fiancée in my arms, as we both watched in horror as the most violent homophobe in recent political office was given the second most powerful position in the world. There came a point where we stopped talking, stopped sipping wine, stopped breathing, blinking, even having a pulse. We just watched. We watched along with the other hundreds of thousands of LGBT+ people across North America, nay, the world, as every ounce of progress we have finally gained dissipated before our eyes.
I cannot express to any of you my utter and absolute heartbreak. The queer community in Regina, in Canada, in North America, you and I are siblings in arms, and I am so sorry. To every heterosexual reader who might be reading this with compassion, or with contempt, I implore you to take a few minutes to reflect on what Mike Pence means to an already brutally victimized demographics. Young queer people won’t come out for fear of violence or homelessness, trans people will suffer dysphoria for years and years, gay men will continue to be beaten in the streets, lesbian women raped for the sake of conversion. Children will fear their parents as they clink their beers, don Trump 2016 shirts, and shout slurs at two men holding hands. Adults will lose contact with their Trump-supporting family, because they no longer feel safe in their own homes.
To every minority reading this article, we have every right to be afraid – terrified, even. To every Muslim woman, while I am not spiritual myself, Allah will forgive you for not wearing your hijab. To every Hispanic person, you are worth all of your hard work, and I am so proud of you. To every black reader, this world is cruel to you, and you are valued, accomplished, and brighter than hatred. To women, fight back in ways that we can. Keep safe, but remember: all women were born with fire in their hearts, knives in their sleeves, and fangs to tear the throats from those who hurt us.
Times are dark, but we are the revolution, we are the light in this darkness. We are the queer, trans, female, black, Hispanic, Muslim war-wagers, and we will not sit idly by while cliché horror villains rule our lives. Let’s fight back. Let’s conquer. Let’s raise our flags, our signs, our voices, and take our world back. Let’s build America from scratch, because America has never, ever been great. America has failed us, politics have failed us, but that ends now.