Looking forward: We must stay strong and stay together

By Chelsea Manning, Medium. December 1, 2016

Every day, I can feel the slow terror of us going backwards. Repression. People losing their heath care. People being stopped from voting.

People being blocked from speaking, and exercising their rights. I fear the horrible consequences that are facing a lot of us in the coming days, months, and years.

Prison photo, circa March 2016

Prison photo, circa March 2016

All of the people I care about. Everybody is hurting. Everybody is looking for something.

And I am no different. I am scared and I don’t know what to do, but I feel a lot of responsibility.

When I reflect on my own journey and political consciousness, I realize that I didn’t really think about politics until the passage of Proposition 8 — the ballot measure in California that repealed marriage equality. I suppose I “cared” about politics, but it was more of an abstract chess game. You know, like college basketball: A fun game that you watch for sport. Politics was intellectual and disconnected for me. It was something that happened in the world but not necessarily to me.

I really didn’t start giving a damn about politics until Proposition 8 passed. That pretty much changed everything for me. Even though political decisions affected my life in infinite ways before that point, I didn’t have a consciousness or analysis about it. When Proposition 8 happened, it was a wake up call to me, and I never looked back.

Although I had never imagined getting married before, as I watched our rights being suddenly snatched away, I felt like I got kicked in the stomach. My perspective of the world changed.

For the next few months, my insatiable curiosity dragged me to conduct intense research. I learned many things: our history, our stories, our theories, our movements, and our ideas. It was inspiring.

The process taught me that I cannot just learn from digesting the narratives that our fed to us. I learned that I had to push back and dig a little deeper. I felt the deep and unrelenting sense that I couldn’t just look the other way all the time.

Now, people are asking me what to do. I don’t know what to say. I feel just as scared and helpless as everyone else. I wish I could keep my cool and give an answer about what to do next. The answer is that I just don’t know.

For the queer and trans community, this year could mark a major turning point. I worry that our future is uncertain. Now, we face something that could be more vicious and terrifying than almost anything we’ve had to fight together as a community. There will be attempts to divide us — to turn us against each other. There may be efforts to roll back legal protections that have helped us survive. There may be forces in government aimed at subjecting us to discrimination or worse. It is scary to think about.

How will we protect ourselves and unite together?

4 thoughts on “Looking forward: We must stay strong and stay together

  1. Chelsea, it’s not just the Queer and Trans communities who are scared at the moment: anyone with any sense at all is terrified. The estabishment has reached it’s logical conclusion with the election of Donald Trump, which may cause the end of us all over the world. (I’m writing from outside the US.) He won because the choice facing the American people was such an awful one: no-one is looking forward to what comes next.
    You, Chelsea, are one of the beacons of hope and a reminder that decent people do exist in the world. Stay strong girlfriend: now is the time that we need people like you.

  2. Public opinion is swinging in favor of LGBTQ rights. There are already Trump voters with buyers’ remorse — let him try to crack down on same-sex marriage and other rights and I predict a gigantic backlash.

  3. People need to take half the time spent on sports and spend it on getting informed. We have a fascist plutocracy. ( the NSC10/2 legislation gives the CIA free reign with deniability as the cover, and a “cabal” decides who can run for offices and succeed.) People have to recognize, that the Democratic Party made a decision to work for Wall Street when Bill Clinton ran for office. People need to stop being “led around by the nose” by the Democratic Party.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *