In the fallout from last week's US election, I know many people are upset, scared and angry. I know that I've experienced all of these feelings during this last week, but what has hit me most, isn't that I was shocked to learn how deeply misogyny and white supremacy run through the American people. No, it was the realisation that I've been carrying these feelings of rage and frustration ever since the 2013 Australian Federal Election, and that I'm exhausted by how un-surprised I was by the result.
It's the frustration that patriarchal white supremacy is so deeply entrenched within white Australia, that so many of us don't recognise how closely the election results reflect our own attitudes, and we're willing to excuse the attitudes and past actions of those we elect into office (because we perceive their actions as some kind of necessary evil, or some shit).
It can be tempting to crawl inside, lock the doors and cry forever.
While feeling, and processing are both essential, it's key that we get back up, dust ourselves off, lift those around us up, and push back.
These are some things that I believe are really important right now:
This is not the time for using our voices and platforms as people who hold privilege (however small that amount may be), to shout down the real and lived experiences of those people who have the most to lose.
It's important to read, listen to and amplify the voices of those who are often silenced - either by fear, or by oppression.
This is a time for reflecting on, challenging, educating, and unlearning internalised misogyny, homophobia, trans*misogyny and racism within ourselves, and having difficult, uncomfortable conversations with our friends and families.
It's time to be better allies.
And most importantly, it's time to take real and constructive action to support those who need it most.
The rest of this post will be broken up into a selection of articles and posts I've been reading over the last week; a list of organisations both in the US and here in Australia to consider donating to or volunteering for; as well as some other practical ways in which you can help contribute.
"Your uncle who hates black people did this. Your aunt who shares Fox News memes did this. Your dad who thinks Hillary’s emails are more questionable than a man who has sexually assaulted a dozen women did this. Your mom who believes all lives matter did this. Your friend who is a piece of shit online, but is a “good dude if you get to know him,” did this.
White people are afforded the privilege of having relationships with awful people. Marginalized people aren’t afforded the same luxury of staying in a relationship with people who hate our existence. I’m not telling you who you can and cannot be friends with, but I am telling you that you cannot be silent."
"We live in an America where whites have built an entire country around a sense of existential threat, from the Constitution on up. Whites have spent centuries convincing themselves that they are an oppressed minority, that they must act to defend themselves."
"Dear liberal white people whom I often love: advertising your shock and surprise that racism, sexism, xenophobia, and bigotry are pervasive enough to hand that man the Presidency is a microaggression. Please stop."
"Under President Obama, transgender people have benefited from piecemeal progress in public policy, largely held up by executive action and court decisions. Whether they were combating housing discrimination or protecting transgender students or fighting health care exclusions, various federal departments advanced transgender equality in quiet but significant ways.
But all of that change could come crashing down in the next four years. If Donald Trump and Mike Pence make good on their campaign promises, our rights are at risk. With Republicans in control of Congress and a notoriously anti-LGBTQ vice president in the White House, many of those precarious gains made under Obama could be eliminated within days of Trump taking office."
The impact of Trump's win on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people is already being felt, with suicides already being reported, and a surge in calls for help.
"STOP KIDDING YOURSELF. MUSIC ISN’T GOING TO GET BETTER UNDER TRUMP."
Call Your Girlfriend discuss entering the Rage Phase
"You can save your safety pin for laundry day."
Organisations to Support:
And as I've mentioned previously, Australian governments are having a pretty huge impact on the safety, health, freedom and wellbeing of many marginalised peoples. Here are some of the organisations working to support those who need it most, and who could use our support to do so.
Children By Choice an independent Brisbane-based non-profit organisation, committed to providing unbiased information on all unplanned pregnancy options – abortion, adoption and parenting. We have a pro-choice and woman-centred approach.
On demand abortion is still illegal in all but two Australian states (Victoria and Western Australia), and changes to legislation are currently being debated in Queensland State Parliament.
RISE: Refugees, Survivors & Ex-Detainees is the first refugee and asylum seeker organisation in Australia to be run and governed by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees.
Luke Batty Foundation helping women and children affected by the trauma of family violence.
Refugee Council of Australia RCOA’s core purpose is to promote the development of humane, lawful and constructive policies towards refugees and asylum seekers. They are engaged in Research and Policy Analysis; Advocacy and Representation; and Community Education and Awareness-Raising.
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre As the largest independent human rights organisation for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia, the ASRC deliver more services on the ground, providing more free hours of support where its needed most.
Melbourne Period Project Supporting women and transgender men experiencing homelessness by providing sanitary products, help and support.
Whatever you do, please don't become complacent and passive.
Get angry, get up and get organised.
Write letters and email your Representative members of government.
Protest alongside those who need your support and have those difficult conversations with your friends and family members where it's safe for you to do so.
Stand with Women, LGBTIQ+ people, People of Colour, Muslims, Immigrants, Indigenous Peoples, and People with Disabilities when you're invited to do so. Otherwise sit the fuck down and listen to what they have to say.
Support people who are being bullied, harassed or abused.
So many people are hurting and genuinely scared, and we've given them every reason to be. The coming years are going to be tough for lots of folks, I don't think there's any way around that.
What's done is done, and there's no point now in discussing whether or not Hillary was the wrong candidate, or whether Bernie could have won. We have a long four years ahead - both in the US and here in Australia and there is much to do in the meantime.
This is not the time to retreat and isolate ourselves.