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If White Gay Men Were Looking for a Chance to Prove We Aren’t Total Tools, This is It

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Edu Lauton/Unsplash

Your whiteness can do so much more for all those under threat by a Trump administration.

I'm staring at my phone, bewildered. Donald Trump is the next president. My friends are sharing stories of harassment and fear on social media: of Muslims attacked on the street; of anti-immigrant slurs hurled from passing trucks; of "fag" and "queer" tossed out by passers-by on the sidewalk; of women enduring constant posts about being "grabbed by the pussy."

But on the phone, I'm being told--everything's going to be fine. I'll be safe.

The day after the election, I wrote about my anxiety of moving back to the Deep South under a Trump administration. It's anxiety, sure. But not fear. Why am I not afraid? Why, despite everything, do I feel confident in my safety?

I know why--I'm white.

Even as a queer person, the dangers of a Trump presidency pale in comparison to those facing people of color in this country. Blacks face a president who appears totally unsympathetic to their appeals for law enforcement reforms that mean the difference between life and death. Latino and Muslim immigrants could lose their livelihoods and their homes. Women could watch as sensible health care access evaporates and the culture of sexual assault trades the college dorm room for the Oval Office.

Most days, I'm merely accepting of my queerness; today, I am thankful for it. On demographics alone, I could have been a Trump supporter. I'm white. I'm from a Christian, blue-collar family. I've yo-yoed from middle to lower class and back again. I've witnessed the towns and communities of my youth wither and die as factories closed, schools failed to perform, and neighbors moved away. I have heard the desperation in the voices of the white rural farmer and white rural steelworker.

The Trump supporter is my cousin. The Trump supporter is my neighbor. And, because of the grand accident of genetics, I am still welcome among them. Just by a single glance. But my queerness has shown me what price that privilege costs.

White gay men have a choice in the coming days. Do we want our whiteness to be our shield? Or do we want our whiteness to be a battering ram--a privilege that can smash through the lies and the hatred of men who can only see up to their problems and no further?

W. E. B. DuBois wrote in The Souls of Black Folks about the "twoness" of the African-American consciousness. Under a Trump president, white gay men face a similar twoness. In our whiteness, we know how little we have to risk as the next wave of neo-conservatism engulfs this country. In our queerness, we see the duty we have to people of color, to women, to immigrants, to minorities of all origins who cry out for a fair deal.

We owe them the power of our voice, because in our silence, we're not proving we have two souls. We're proving we have none.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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