What your vote means

So you tell me you’re voting for Trump.

You may like him because he’s different, and you want a change.  You may like how he sticks up for you.  You might choose to believe the accusations against Clinton more than those against Trump.

Or maybe you don’t really like him that much.   Maybe you fear his flaws, maybe you dislike how harsh and cruel he sounds, how cruel he is.  But you worry about the Supreme Court judges that Clinton would choose.  You worry about liberal control, about taxes and immigrants and health care.  At least he’s the bastard who agrees with you, right?

But either way, whether you’re his cheerleader or his reluctant voter, you’re voting for him.  And when you tell me that, you tell me a lot of other things.

You tell me you want a man in office who will try to take rights from me.  You want me to once again be legally unable to marry, and so to be barred from the hundred little rights that come from that one big one: hospital visitation, taxes, foreign citizenship, shared benefits at work, adopt children.   My rights to these things don’t take away yours, but you’re voting to take them from me anyway.  You want me and other gay people to be second class citizens, punished by law for being born.  And when we lose those rights, when the law says we’re not equal, it tells the world that it’s all right again to fire us for being gay, to evict us, to beat us on the streets, to ignore us when we’re injured, to refuse us medical service even if our lives depend on it.  All that still happens today, though less than it used to.  You’re voting to make it happen more.

Your vote tells me you want a world where your children to fear being gay.  Gay people are different than other outsiders in that we do not grow up in families of people like us.  We grow up with sleepless nights, knowing the law and the world are against us, and fearing whose side our families will take when they find out.  When families don’t take their gay child’s side, we are suddenly cast out on our own, in a country with little help or kindness to offer.  You’re voting to give these children more reasons to fear, to hide, to doubt their own parents and families.  You’re voting for more gay teens to become homeless drug addicts and prostitutes.  You’re telling kids too ready to consider it already that they’re better off killing themselves.  And many will.

Do not deny you want these things.  You’re voting for them.   Avoiding “Clinton’s Supreme Court” is the first motive I hear from the most reluctant Trump voter.  He promises to nominate judges like the late Antonin Scalia.  So, my rights are the first and sometimes the only thing you’re voting against.  A court of Scalias would take as many rights away from me as they could.

The Trump campaign is all about believing that some people are by nature better than others.  If you’re white you’re better than Black.  If you were born north of the border you’re better than those born to the south.  If you’re straight you’re better than gay.   If your body’s gender matches your mind and heart’s, then you’re a Good Person.  If they differ, you should be punished.  It doesn’t matter that none of these differences were anyone’s choice.  You got the good end of the birth lottery, and you’re voting for a guy who promises to make that pay off again.  Your vote means you believe America wins when the Right People win.  And Trump has made it clear where I stand a thousand times over.  I’m the Wrong People.

Don’t bother to say I’m taking politics too seriously.  I don’t care if you root for the Republicans with as much thought as you root for the Red Sox.  Don’t try to score argument points with clever zingers.  My rights are too new and challenged by too many for me to relax about politics and not take them seriously. Don’t tell me about Clinton’s flaws and dark past; I have hope for her presidency, but she could be the weakest, most corrupt and dumbest Democrat alive and I’d still have to vote for her.  Your party has made my rights depend on it.  Your candidate believes I should be punished for who I am, and your vote will give him the power to do it.

Above all, don’t tell me you respect me but disagree.   When you tell me you’re voting for Trump, I understand what you’re really saying, and it has no respect for me and people like me.

It’s National Coming Out Day today.   I am gay, and I’m with her.  And if you’re with Trump, you’re not with me.