In this trying political climate, thriving while queer seems almost impossible. There are many current, egregious threats to the LGBTQ+ community, including a rise in hate crimes and violence against trans people (at least 11 trans women of color have been murdered this year). Additionally, the Trump Administration withdrew federal protections for trans students.
In response to these times, and the unique struggles and problems that LGBTQ+ individuals are facing in these political times, here are some ways to thrive while queer, despite everything.
Organize and socialize.
Simply being queer and proud is a radical act of resistance. Find LGBTQ+ support groups, events, and community centers to volunteer at, or try to organize activities with your queer friends. If you don’t have a queer community where you live and want to find one, check out LGBTQ+ community centers, or the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at your school or college: If you Google your town/city and “LGBTQ+ community centers,” you should be able to find some places to check out or volunteer for. If you’re looking for an online community, check out places like DapperQ, Out Magazine, Afterellen, Autostraddle, Curve Magazine, Advocate, Elixher, bklyn boihood, QWOCMedia, and BDGBlog. There’s also this handy guide to QPOC organizations listed by state.
If you can, organize safe spaces for other queer people at your school or college and generally try to have each other’s backs. It’s a dangerous world out there right now, and simply having someone to talk to, or someone you can text to pick you up if you are feeling unsafe, can make all the difference. Designate safe people or teachers to contact in case of an emergency. Since the Trump’s election, LGBTQ+ youth hotline calls have risen.
If you’re struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the Trevor Project, a 24-hour hotline for LGBTQ+ and questioning youth to call if they’re struggling with suicidal urges. Please take care of yourselves out there and remember that you are deeply loved.
Resist and protest.
Organize protests. Boycott companies that support Trump brands. If you’re in a space with your identity where you feel capable of doing so, mentor or advise younger or still-discovering/coming out queer people. If conflict or big events like marches and protests make you anxious, you can still affect change through petitions that will help queer people and subscribe to Change.org or other platforms of protests. Make art if that’s your thing, or write or work on any form of creative activism/creative noncompliance that suits you. In times like these, it’s hard not to feel hopeless or question our future, but you can still affect change, help people, and accomplish your goals.
Take care of yourself.
It’s a hard and frightening time in our history right now. But don’t forget to take care of yourself, whether that involves listening to some calming music, taking a long bath, napping, or watching a movie or TV show. Pet some dogs or watch cute animal videos. Meditate, read, or start a project you’ve always wanted to do, or try any safe and healthy activity that will make you feel better. Remember that there is only one you, and that you should make feeling good, staying safe, and taking care of yourself a priority.
Support queer artists and writers! Immerse yourself in queer culture.
It’s an especially difficult time for queer artists, so if you appreciate any kind of art/queer culture, indulge in some queer books, queer theory, movies, music, art, fashion, or other outlets! Whenever the world is frightening and things seem tenuous, I turn to my queer colleagues and fellow artists to find hope and inspiration.
If you’re interested in visual art, I’d recommend checking out:
- Mickalene Thomas, a contemporary visual artist who explores femininity, race, sex, queerness, and gender in her work.
- Zanele Muholi, a photographer whose body of work primarily centers around photographing South African lesbians and telling their stories. You can read more about her work here.
- Sophia Wallace, a conceptual artist whose work focuses on “how otherness is constructed visually on the gendered, sexualized, racialized body.” She’s received international acclaim for her project Cliteracy.
Personally, I’m a fan of pepper spray, and while I’ve never had to use it, it makes me feel safer to know that I have it in my purse. However, because many queer people of color have been incarcerated for using self-defense devices, and some cities ban various devices, this is not always a legal or viable option. If you don’t feel comfortable using active self-defense options, I recommend a handheld panic alarm or going to your app store and downloading a safety app (most of them either set off an alarm or alert your chosen contacts via text that you’re in danger). Many towns have self-defense classes or online programs, and after the election, the amount of people enrolled in these programs has increased. If you Google your town and “free self-defense classes,” you should be able to find a school near you offering ways to protect yourself.
In these trying times, remaining proud of your identity can be difficult. Despite everything that might be taken from us, the LGBTQ+ community has and will remain here for everyone who needs it. If you ever need anything, please look to your communities, and you’ll find incredible amounts of love and support. Here’s to staying safe, thriving, and being beautifully LGBTQ+ for the next four years, and beyond. ♦
Brynne Rebele-Henry is the author of Fleshgraphs.