As the narrator reads through the president’s decision to ban transgender people from the military, an almost inhuman rage fills me as I scream, “Fuck you,” in an empty car.
Tears well in my eyes, as I continue to mumble, “fuck, fuck, fuck” over and over again.
The glass is beginning to fog and ice over from the clouds hovering on the ground. It is much colder driving back home than it was driving to Carlsbad.
I was looking forward to the drive and to a weekend getaway, even though winter break had been filled with one getaway after the other.
But, I was particularly looking forward to this drive because I would be able to listen to Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. On recent road trips, I’d listened to Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Green and Unbelievable by Katy Tur, which were informative, fascinating, and only fueled my revulsion for this racist and paying-hush-money-to-pornstars Dear Leader.
Nothing in the book was surprising.
It only furthered my resolve to resist, to stand up for what’s right.
But, as the words were read as I made my way down to Carlsbad, I couldn’t help but think about recent news revelations, i.e. Shithole-gate.
Once again, the president was caught in another moment of racism and Republicans were bending over backwards to find a loophole out of his racism, or simply to excuse it. Meanwhile, neo-Nazis were praising their elected troll from all corners of the internet.
I’d always thought I’d been taught that racism was wrong, evil.
How’s is it a topic for debate now?
Then, as my car rumbled down the highway, I remembered a conversation.
Prior to moving to New Mexico, I went up to Tulsa, on this particular trip for three reasons. One, to search for engagement diamond options. Two, to close out my original savings account in favor of an account I could access across state lines. And, three, to have lunch with my grandparents.
After I accomplished my first two tasks, I met my grandparents at my, then, favorite spot, Siegi’s Sausage Factory.
It’s funny because there are a few meals there that come to mind. My mother ordering salmon (it’s a German restaurant) off the dinner menu at my birthday lunch. A meal with my ex after the trans-intervention with my family. And, actually, quite a few others.
Yet, this one’s stands out in a more profound way.
It was the first time I remember having fundamental disagreement with my grandparents.
One where I could not see or understand their point of view, and I could tell that they were disappointed in mine.
As we ate, and I have no recollection of how it was brought up, my grandparents expressed their dismay at the University of Tulsa changing the name of its law school after it was revealed that the founder of the law school had been affiliated with the KKK.
From my point of view, of course the university would want to distance itself from the racism and bigotry and of any association with that hate group, and I expressed as much.
After much back and forth, the conversation went nowhere.
They had their opinion.
I had mine.
And as the words of Michael Wolff filled my car as I rumbled down to Carlsbad, flashes of that meal and conversation swirled through my mind.
Trump Attacks Senator Who Confirmed ‘Shithole Countries’ Comments
University of Tulsa law school to remove founder’s name after discovering his affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan
While contrite and perhaps a bit predictable, let’s review the year of 2017.
2017, a year of devastating consequences and hope.
From every single time the 45th president opened his mouth to every time that the Republican party caved to his immortality for the sake of power to every vile policy enacted (Muslim Ban, Trans Military Ban, CDC Word Ban, Tax Scam, Ending DACA, and every other dismantling of U.S. democratic institutions) to the cowardice and the traitorous failing to hold the 45 president’s administration accountable for their election collusion and corruption to the rise of open white supremacy in the name of the Alt-Right and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, 2017 has taken its toll.
It has taken its toll on me and on others.
It has taken its toll on the relationships with others.
It has led to “To Whom It May Concern,” to “Disappointment,” and to “Where Things Stand”.
It has led to “Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out.”
It has led to the Women’s March and the March for Science and the Tax March.
It has led to ACLU and Human Rights Campaign donations.
It has led to action and voting and calling my member of Congress.
It has led to being called mean and cruel for speaking up and out.
It has led to near-breaking, near-shattering.
Yet, as the shadow falls across a once proud and hopeful nation, it is not the end.
Though, it is an ending.
And, with that ending, hope still remains because even in 2017’s darkest moments, there was joy.
There was camping and board games and paintings and new friendships and city exploring and a Drag Queen Christmas and skiing and resolve.
Resolve to get through this.
Resolve to move forward.
Because as 2018 promises more darkness and devastation, for not just those who are marginalized but for all of American democracy, there is still hope.
There will always be hope in the darkest of places.
And in the words of a Jedi Master, “This is not going to go the way you think.”
Aware. Never Forgetting. Now, Always Forward.
To Whom It May Concern
Where Things Stand
Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out
Two years ago, I came out to my fiancee as transgender, which ended that relationship. A month later, I would come out to my brother and parents. Here is where things stand.
Hey made it to Quartz mt.. I want to talk to u soon.. I am in class until 6. Then A mtg. Then dinner.. so if u are available this evening I would like to talk to u..
Have a good time at Quartz Mountain. I’m not really available tonight, getting ready for a Paint Night tomorrow.
Ok.. have fun painting.. I didn’t know I had upset you again. I will delete my Facebook account as soon as I can figure out how to save my pictures..
Why would you delete your Facebook account? That makes no sense. If you stand by your posts, why delete it?
Because u get very upset and I don’t want to continually upset u.. life is short
I get very upset? There are so many other things that make me upset than your Facebook posts. I am still not even sure what blog post you are referring to.
While I have no idea if this message will reach you or make a difference, but I could not live with myself if I did not express my concern. The Trump administration continues to nominate radical and dangerous individuals to high government positions, and with a heavy heart, this also includes my father, Frank M. Coffman for the position United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
I am way more bothered by my father’s new job than anything I have ever seen on your Facebook wall. But, I do want to add this. Your post about Puerto Rico and CNN being fake news scares me. It really does. It is naive and discredits the media. And just so you know, my coworker lost family members in the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico. The island is devastated and will take years to recover.
I am very sorry. For your feelings and your friend who lost their family members
Deleting your Facebook page is ridiculous. If you feel a need to apologize, listen to this podcast instead. There are nine episodes, and listening to them would mean more to me than an apology ever would.
Ok.. do I download something
Did the link not show up for you?
I see it. I will have to get head phones
Almost two years ago, I came out to my parents as transgender, and needless to say, it went poorly. I am writing to you because a person in the position of U.S. Marshal must be objective and non-biased in regards to following the law. Based on everything I know about my father, he is committed to his prejudices over his respect for the law. For instance, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know he views the Black Lives Matter movement as criminal. Yet, it is his disdain for the LGBTQ+ community that frightens me the most. He refuses to accept family members as LGBTQ+ and has explicitly told me that I am under the influence of demons and corrupted by society because I am transgender.
Why are u bothered by your dads new job as a us marshal in Oklahoma
Because the Trump administration is threatening the very foundation of this country’s democracy and my father wants to work for that administration. Also, as radical and extreme as the Trump administration is and out of everyone in Oklahoma, the Trump administration sees my father as a kindred spirit for this role.
Whoever the president is has to appoint the Marshall.. you know your dad is not a kindred spirit.. he was more a bush kindred spirit.. I think he quit being a secret service agent because he didn’t want to be involved so closely with trump..
I have no idea why he quit the USSS. And while I used to think he aligned his views with moderate Republicans, I know the media he consumes and the views he holds. Just his views on social justice movements and LGBTQ+ individuals certainly does not make me feel safer or confident that he will objectively use his authority to protect all Americans.
I disagree.. if something happened your dad would not see gender or race or anything to help and protect.. u seem very angry and filled with rage!
Where is this coming from? And, of course I am angry, but filled with rage is a bit extreme. And, unfortunately, knowing things my father believes, I have to disagree with you about him.
To talk to u .. u don’t seem angry.. your blogs and text are extremely angry and raging!! U have been hurt by your dad and u r very sensitive to him at every level.. it is OK for people to have different beliefs and opinions!! It is EVERYONES right to feel and think differently.. and then of course someone thinks they are right and someone else is wrong! But to try and force that anyone believes exactly to believe/agree with everything u do is impossible
At this time, he and I barely speak, and his support of radical conservatism only drives us farther and farther apart. It is heartbreaking to write this to you, but if I do not speak out, who will? I ask you to oppose his nomination and to continue to speak out against other current and future Trump nominees that threaten democracy and the freedoms of this country.
You are completely right that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. Here is a key difference though. Some of those key differences could cost me my job, my healthcare, a place to live, my students’ families, and lives. Not all thoughts and opinions are right or just, even though you are entitled to them.
Yes every opinion and every thought can cost someone something.. costing a life is the most important loss.. the things your dad said to u was horrible and he was falling apart.. and the things I say to u are not to hurt u..but past all of that u can’t make anyone feel what u feel
Is he still falling apart? Are you? Regardless, the things I say and write may not change how anyone thinks or feels, but I have to try. Because, if I don’t, who will? And, how much damage will be done in the meantime if I stay silent?
No he is ok.. being a Marshall removes him further from trump. I am ok.. I just don’t like feeling like we r fighting . I accept and love who u r. I want u to love me and accept who I am..
While that is not entirely accurate about his new job, I would prefer us not to disagree. However, I will not stay silent. I love you both, but that doesn’t mean I will just accept your views and opinions just because you are family.
Accept isn’t the right word.. from my text.. u don’t have to accept my beliefs maybe accept the right to be different from each other.. have u thot much about meditating for inner peace
I certainly accept your right to be different. I don’t have to be okay with it. Just like you don’t have to accept me for who I am. And meditating? I’d rather be a bit more proactive for inner peace, like getting involved, contacting legislators, etc.
Just sometime for peace and to relax a bit
What brings me peace is knowing that I have done something in the face of what is happening.
Thank you for your time,
Ok what do u do to relax
Paint nights. Movies. Spend time with friends.
Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out
Some things seem impossible.
Impossible to do.
Impossible to hope for.
Tonight was a sliver of hope and a strong rebuke, a rebuke to bigotry, corruption, and deceit.
The Resistance stands strong.
The above tweet flashes onto the screen of my iPad. I can’t look away, and I have been refreshing my Twitter app frantically for a glimmer of hope.
A retweet sends it my way.
Another retweet brings a smile to my face.
It has felt so horrible and hopeless for the last months, which have felt like decades.
But, this is hope.
I switch over to Facebook, inundated with increasing possibilities. I scroll by a post from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A quick shift back to Twitter as tweets scroll by in an endless sea of excitement. One after another, excitement rolls through, excitement and hope.
I consider all the people who consume Fox News like a sponge, soaking in an alternative reality. People who I once respected. People who I used to look up to.
I continue to scroll until I cross someone spouting bigotry.
Andrew T. Walker.
His words enshrined in digital stone.
“Christian parents, the nation’s first transgender elected official enters American history tonight. What are you doing to prepare your children for this new world?”
I hear these words as if uttered by a parent.
My scrolling continues as I stumble upon a reply to Mr. Walker.
“Christian parent here. We’re celebrating. We’re preparing our so to embrace difference, not fear or discriminate against it.”
The gif of applause that follows is perfection.
I can’t spend all night on Twitter and decide to do something about the laundry situation.
After a few minutes, The iPad screen is illuminated again.
One last look before I move to some other distraction.
How many days has it been since the last one?
I turn to Google because I think surely it must have been a month since Las Vegas. Surely, it has been at least that long.
Google bring me this URL: http://www.dayssincethelastmassshooting.com.
A bright red zero blazes onto the screen. At 2:00 PM today, more lives were lost, lost to the senseless gun violence that has taken over this country, the blood stains on our hands and the hands of the cowardice within the American political system.
Then, I remembered that after the Las Vegas terrorist attack that I posted on my Facebook. I switched to the Facebook app.
I am grateful that one of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted about blocking words. I had not known blocking a word was possible. I had immediately known which words I would mute. I feel beyond frustrated and disappointed. I grow angry. At talented people who disappoint. At the rich and powerful that take advantage. At the heartless. At the denying. At where we are right now.
I grow angry.
And, rejuvenated. Rejuvenated to resist, to try to make the world a better place, to not give up, even when things seem impossible, to give a damn and do something about it.
I go back to back to the website, Days since the last mass shooting in the United States. I click on history. The list of dates is incredible to see, an incredible tragedy, an incredible disgrace.
I realize that the list is incomplete. The list of American terrorism only includes the mass shootings. There was another shooting, just recently, at a Walmart.
Again, I turn to Google.
After some alarming headlines but not really finding what I am looking for, I settle on: https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data.
Three hundred and seventy-seven mass shootings so far this year.
Three hundred and seventy-seven mass shootings, and that number doesn’t even take into account the shooting that just happened at a Walmart.
And, three people were killed there.
When will it end?
When will the ignorance and the greed and the selfishness and the senselessness of the American Right end?
And, I am not only talking about on this issue.
But, on taxes.
And, on healthcare.
And, on the health of the planet we live on.
And, on civil rights.
The American Right really needs to get their shit together.
The future of humanity depends on it.
I am really getting tired of seeing that article pop up.
Because at this point in our political system, a vote for a Republican is a vote to continue this insane loss of life.
You are either helping put an end to this or, by not voting or voting Republican, you are allowing this to continue.
It is that simple.
One final thought.
Hey, 2008 Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, did you ever think that your rewriting of the 2nd Amendment would have led to this?
Days since last mass shooting in United States
Trump’s “Condolences and Sympathies” Won’t Cut It
Mass Shooting Tracker
Man accused of randomly killing 3 people at Walmart captured
‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens
District of Columbia v. Heller
Your Facebook posts are really beginning to piss me off.
I mean seriously.
First, you don’t even follow sports and the NFL protests bother you?
Aside from the fact that your white privilege is showing (again),
Why do you even care?
Why is that the thing that upsets you?
I don’t get it.
Because, the 21st transperson has been murdered so far this year,
And, yet, you say nothing.
How dare you rage at the NFL protest.
Men and women have fought and died for their right to protest.
For their right to take a knee,
For the police brutality,
For the racism inherent in a broken system,
For the lives lost due to hate,
For the injustice.
And second, you are retweeting organizations who support him,
Who are actively trying to take health care from children,
Who are trying to make it so that a restaurant can turn me away,
Who are going to stand by and let the gun violence carnage continue.
Some of those people you retweet, believe I am “Satan’s plan”,
Simply for me being me.
And you retweet their thoughts, mocking transpeople, mocking me.
And, it just sucks.
And, it hurts because I thought you had my back.
I thought I could count on you.
And, third, when you text me,
Text me and pretend that everything is alright,
Like everything is okay,
I can promise you, it is not.
Well, now with those opening Twitter thoughts out of the way, it’s time to cruz on over to talk about porn.
Here’s the thing.
I am not going to bash Ted Cruz for liking porn on Twitter.
But, really, who watches porn on Twitter?
Before Cruz’s “like”, I didn’t even know there was porn on Twitter.
Now, unfortunately, I know two things I didn’t need to know, 1) there is porn on Twitter and 2) someone with access to Ted Cruz’s Twitter account “liked” it.
Perhaps sometime I will delve into my views of Republicans, in general, but for now, let’s just stick with Senator Cruz.
Because, I have very specific feelings regarding this individual.
Days before I came out to my family, I disappointed my father by refusing to attend a Ted Cruz for President rally being held nearby.
I had no intention of attending this rally. There was not a single platform of his that I agreed with, and I feared that if Cruz verbally attacked LGBT people, as he was wont to do, it was unlikely that I would have been able to control myself. But aside from that, I did not want to be associated with attending a Ted Cruz rally, and I found it deeply distressing that my father was so excited to be on the Ted train.
I slept in on the morning of the rally. When I did get out of bed, I found that information regarding the rally had been slid under my door. This act would prompt me to spend the next hour or so browsing the internet to remind myself of all the hateful rhetoric the senator had spread and to better understand his platform.
I remember only feeling a mix of sadness and disappointment.
There’s a lot of that those days leading up to and after that I wish I wrote down more of in the immediate aftermath of those days. Because even though I wrote a lot of notes about those days then, I still find myself forgetting some of the nuances to my memories.
When my brother, grandfather, and father return from the Ted Cruz Rally, my brother comments about how surprised he is that my grandfather was not as much of a diehard supporter as he had thought. But, I can’t remember when that conversation took place or where.
When on Christmas night, out on the porch, my grandfather and father and uncle begin to joke about Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. I abruptly leave my whiskey sour behind, fight back tears, and slide down the wall to the floor as my ex-fiancée texts words of encouragement that it won’t be as bad as I am afraid it will. But, I can’t remember how the conversation on the patio started or what happened after I left the bathroom.
But, I can tell that I am not ready to write about all of that, my coming out and the family sit down that followed, not yet, because just drifting into nearby memories has almost completely soured my day and evening.
Yet, those memories only grapple at the surface of Ted Cruz, a staunch supporter of the hate group, the Family Research Council and about as bad as it gets when it comes to LGBT rights and equality.
And, now, to his porn “like”.
With a reminder that Ted Cruz has fought against the sale of sex toys and believes solely in the Biblical laws of marriage and masturbation, whatever that means, that Ted Cruz “liked” porn.
Which to me, is about as hypocritical as being told all your life about the vileness of pornography, only to find that parent’s porn stash.
That’s how I equate it.
As hypocritical as the many Republican politicians with anti-LGBT agendas that as truth comes to the surface only reveals their own homosexuality.
And, here’s the thing, if you “like” a post on accident, you simply “unlike” and go about your merry way.
And, porn does not just show up on your Twitter feed for no reason.
It was searched for.
That is how Twitter works.
So, I have to ask.
Why can’t politicians just be honest?
Why can’t people just tell the truth?
It ain’t easy.
But, it is freeing.
And, being honest about yourself to others, reveals as many truths about them as it does about you.
2016: Republican Facts – Ted Cruz: Not a Fan of Pride Parades
Southern Poverty Law Center on The Family Research Council
Ted Cruz Talks About Twitter Porn Incident And Sex Toys
19 Republican Politicians Brought Down By Big Gay Sex Scandals
As I scrolled through Twitter, a new tweet from the Human Rights Campaign popped up to state, “Derricka Banner, a transgender woman, was killed Tuesday morning, marking the 20th trans person murdered this year.”
I closed out of app.
It’s posts like these, realities like these, that make staying aware of what is going on difficult.
The more petitions and surveys and emails I send out to support a cause or sound an alarm, the more emails I receive asking me to support another cause and sound another alarm.
It’s exhausting, but I also feel like it is not enough.
Because, while some view it is as perfectly acceptable to discriminate, as of August, thirty-three LGBT people have been murdered in the United States, a number, that when excluding the Pulse Night Club terrorist attack, has already broken the record setting twenty-eight hate-fueled LGBT homicides of 2016.
It is because of facts and realities like this that I feel obligated to stay aware.
One avenue of information continues to be Twitter.
But, it is still relatively new for me.
I signed onto this platform as 45 implemented his, now highly litigated, Muslim ban, which would prove to be only the beginning of 45’s reign as the modern and unabashed white supremacist in chief. As the hours after the implementation of the ban seemed to prompt protest after protest, Twitter was the quickest way to follow what was going on.
It provided immediate updates to the degradations of our Constitution and rule of law. It was heartbreaking, but I couldn’t look away. Fortunately, a friend would drag me away from real world horrors to play a game of Ticket to Ride and a meal of eggplant parmesan.
But, that entry into Twitter opened up a world, in which I never knew existed.
It can be a hateful place, full of bigotry and racism and xenophobia and other nomenclatures found in a bag of deplorables.
But, it can also be an amazing place, filled with hope and cleverness and art and people unafraid to stand up for what is right. I have come across the kindness of strangers, and I found one of my favorite prints through Twitter, which I find it so amazingly cool that I could find a French artist through Twitter and order her print.
If you like nerdy and cool art, she is worth checking out. I love my Women’s March print. I began following her on Twitter after I came across her reaction to 45’s Muslim ban, which featured Muslim-American teen superhero, Ms. Marvel, crying on her bed as an illustrated Trump screams through the TV in the shadow of a Captain Marvel and an Avengers poster. It is an image that I think about often and is heartbreaking every time that I do.
I had originally planned to just write about Ted Cruz’s hardcore porn “like”, but alas, after 45 retweeted a gif of him golfing and hitting Hillary Clinton in the back of the head, well, I feel as if a blog post about Twitter would not be complete without at least referencing it.
So, to 45 and his post, I just want to say, “thank you”. Thank you for proving once again that you are unfit to serve in the office in which you hold. Thank you for every time you spread lies, hate, misogyny, and encourage violence you prove how much of a terrible and immoral individual you are. And, thank you for continuing to prove the kind of person you are because as your base weakens and Republicans continue to prove themselves spineless, you and your Twitter help to reveal the lack of humanity and morality of you and each and every one of your supporters.
So, thank you.
HRC Mourns Derricka Banner, a Transgender Woman Murdered in Charlotte
This Report Says More LGBT People Were Killed So Far in 2017 Than In All Of 2016
@MaryneeLahaye Tweet, “I can’t even find something to say. #Muslim Ban
Trump retweets GIF of him hitting Clinton with a golf ball
I would consider it.
But, I need one thing first.
Okay, it is more like two things.
I need you to tell me how you feel about him.
And, I need you to tell me what you feel about the statement.
Tell me, how you felt when he called Mexicans rapist.
Tell me, how it is okay to brag about grabbing women “by the pussy”.
Tell me, how you feel when he lies again and again.
Tell me, your opinion on Adam and Eve.
Tell me, your opinion of “a homosexual or transgender self-conception”.
Tell me, what you believe.
And, I will consider it.
Because, the next time I see you,
I want to know exactly, precisely the person you are.