Through this blog and the 2008 LGBT Blogger Summit in Washington, D.C., and other activism I have met an amazing number of people and activists. Some I have met in person. Others I have come to know through co-writing for The Bilerico Project and other venues. One such person is Michelangelo Signorile who I have spoken with in the past. In a post at Huffington Post, Michelangelo, describes the feelings I - and I suspect many others - have experienced and/or continue to experience. Like him, I cannot simply forget what "friends" have done to me and to the country and its future. I have "unfriended" people. In other cases where I still have to interact with individuals (not by choice), I treat the situation as it is in fact: totally superficial since that is obviously how the other party must see their relationship with me. True friends don't vote to harm or abrogate the civil rights of their supposed friends. Here are highlights from Michelangelo's piece:
Every day that goes by since the election I become more despondent and more infuriated about your having supported Donald Trump.
His continued unstable, childish, dangerous behavior on Twitter and off; his horrifying, extreme picks for the cabinet – individuals who are hostile to civil rightsand seem chosen to dismantle government; his surrounding himself with generals, billionaires and nationalists – all of it is alarming and I’m truly frightened for our country.
The thought of speaking with you, just when maybe the anger has simmered somewhat, becomes more unsettling ― and enrages me further ― as each day’s news breaks.
How could I continue a friendship with you knowing that you voted for rolling back my rights as a gay man – most of Trump’s cabinet choices are vehemently opposed to LGBT rights – and the rights of millions of women and people of color?
I can’t fall back on the narrative of you being the downtrodden Rust Belter who is experiencing “economic anxiety” and feeling “left behind.” You ― like, in fact, the majority of Trump supporters ― fit none of that. You’re an educated white woman with college-educated children and you’ve gone from living in one 93 percent white, well-off enclave to another over the past 30 years.
I now realize I never really knew you.
In thinking back there were the hints, which surfaced over dinner, or in a chat on the phone, that perhaps you supported Republicans, or were unsatisfied with President Obama. (Certainly my politics, in my work as a journalist and commentator, are on full display, and some people are more guarded in my presence when it comes to discussing their own views.)
Still, that certainly didn’t mean you’d support Trump. Many Republicans didn’t. You always seemed to care about human rights. You supported me through my own coming out as gay when I was young, and expressed support for marriage equality. You left me a message the day after the shooting massacre at the LGBT nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando last June ― the last time we had an exchange ― sending me your moral support, to which I responded with a thank you.
That’s why this is all the more shocking. You’re too informed, too aware to just have blindly followed Trump. And my only conclusion is that the dark, ugly bigotry of this man was dismissed by you, tolerated by you. That’s unacceptable. You allowed for the legitimacy of white supremacists and a brutal misogyny we have never seen at this level of politics. Any conversation we would have would devolve into my saying things that would surely hurt you far more than simply breaking off or severely diminishing communications.
[T]his election was and continues to be about so much more than “politics.” This is about values and respect. It’s about bigotry and hate. It’s about of millions of people’s rights being threatened, including my rights as a gay man and yours as a woman. It’s about putting our entire democracy in danger of transforming into an autocracy, and legitimizing and making alliances with our worst adversaries, whose goal is to dominate us.
Others would say they understand the desire to cut off the friendship, but that it’s better to continue dialogue and educate. Perhaps, this thinking goes, you’ll see what’s happening as we move forward and then reach out for an understanding and maybe offer a mea culpa.
I get that. But we are in a grave situation, with little time to spare. At this current moment, since you don’t see that we’re in a national emergency (to which you contributed), you may only be jarred if your comfortable life is affected – such as by losing one or more friends and being forced to reflect on the magnitude of what you’ve done.
Beyond all that, as I said above, I realize I never really knew you. When it comes to the things that matter greatly to me, I’ve now learned we have very little in common. Words of support for me and concern for my well-being are superficial when you can’t be counted on when it really matters ― when rights are on the line. The election has brought that into sharp relief.
I have a number of "friendships" that I doubt will survive much longer. In ever instance, the "friend" who voted for Trump is financially well off and educated and should have known what they were supporting. If they claim ignorance, then they have no one to blame by themselves and their trained circus dog-like reliance on Fox News, a/k/a Faux News, for their sole source of information. Shame on them. Shame on me if I don't hold them accountable.