For me, and probably most Americans, 2020 has been an emotional roller coaster ride. It’s not just the pandemic. It’s the slow descent of our country into fascism. The country I was born into is on its last breath, thanks to Donald Trump and the Republican party.
I now experience feelings I haven’t felt in many years. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and of not belonging. The same feelings I had to deal with coming to the realization I was gay and fighting to accept that fact.
The memory of that evening when my father passed away is coming back to the surface, as vivid as always. As the doctor informed us of my father’s passing both of my brothers joined their wives in standing by my mother’s side. I was left alone. I felt as though I didn’t belong. I had to deal with my loss alone.
This memory kept eating at me because I knew that being gay I would never have the freedom or the right to have someone that I loved at my side. Those were the years when gay people felt as though they had to hide. To choose between a loving partner or a family. At the time of my father’s death, no one in my family knew I was gay.
With my father dying of cancer I couldn’t add to the stress of my family by coming out. The society that I grew up in and the church I worshiped in (more like forced to worship) condemned me for being me. I was sad, hopeless, and alone. I didn’t belong.
Shortly after my father passed away I came out to my family. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, even though my mother constantly prayed to St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes, and let me know about it. I can remember telling her one time that if she didn’t accept me for being gay I would cut off all ties with the entire family. Slowly she accepted the fact that I was gay. Or maybe it was the dementia that made it easier. It took me many years to feel part of my family though.
With the Supreme Court decision in 2013 making same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states, I finally felt secure in my place in this world. Strangely I was living openly with my partner, now husband, in Malaysia, a Muslim country at the time. Since I was a foreigner, with money, our relationship was accepted. It was impossible for us to be together in the United States prior to 2013.
In October, following the court’s decision my partner and I were married in New York State. In February of 2014, we moved to the United States to live, together. Finally, we could live together as a married couple. My husband, for the first time, could live openly as a gay person and I felt as though I belonged. And then came Trump!
We live in a conservative Republican suburb in upstate New York and have been accepted by most of our neighbors. We have developed very close relationships in our neighborhood, but we don’t talk politics. Many of our friends here get their news from Fox News and have absolutely no idea of what is happening with the corruption, racism, and lawlessness in Trump’s administration.
Hell, I have a neighbor who refuses to believe Trump was impeached! I can see our country falling apart, little by little, every day, and I can’t even discuss this with people I’m with. I miss the days, living, and working in Boston, where I felt as though I was among my own kind.
I’m still reeling from the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and alternately angry and depressed with her passing. I feel hopeless and helpless. The people I am surrounded by haven’t even mentioned her passing. And I’m sure they only see her contribution to society as being one of the persons on the Supreme Court allowing abortion to be legal. The good Christians in my area only see abortion, and not the denial of women’s rights, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, or immigrant rights or 200,000 COVID deaths. My friends don’t even see the possibility of my marriage being declared illegal.
My thoughts tend to wander from finding another country, with freedom and equality, in which to live, to standing and fighting the bastards who are attacking my right to exist as a gay person. The feeling of not belonging has returned, just as strong as ever. That feeling has metastasized to other aspects of my life, including my activities on Medium.
I have always expressed my thoughts, feelings, and emotions through writing. I have considered writing as a form of therapy to blow off steam or share my thoughts with other like-minded people. Writing was something I did, not something that defined me.
But lately, I feel I am farting into the wind.
I’m not the only one who fears for their rights and freedoms, I’m sure. My articles are falling by the wayside though. I guess people would rather read and write about how Medium has helped them put their children through college or how they make a full-time living writing here. The more articles, in my opinion, trash, are published here the more I feel I don’t belong here either.
The closer we get to the election the more my emotions will fluctuate. I am trying to look at the bright side and not be so pessimistic about what happens after the election or Ginsburg’s replacement on the court. But, to be honest, I don’t trust the intelligence of the American people. Regardless of what happens, I have to continue to express myself, if free speech is still allowed. I may not feel as though I belong, but I still feel I have the right to exist, regardless of what anyone else may think.
Originally published in The Top Shelf on Medium.com