Raise hell in 2017

Ash­leigh Atwell is a queer les­bian writer and or­ga­nizer born and raised in At­lanta, GA.

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

“LGBTQ folks are a re­silient peo­ple. We come from strong stock. We have sur­vived decades of per­se­cu­tion and scored sev­eral vic­to­ries. While I have been crit­i­cal of the com­mu­nity, I can’t help but ad­mire that when it comes down to it, we get stuff done.”

It’s the most won­der­ful time of the year, y’all. Christ­mas is breath­ing down our necks, ev­ery­thing is cov­ered in glit­ter and peo­ple are ar­gu­ing about Star­bucks cups. This is also a sea­son of re­flec­tion as we pre­pare to en­ter a new year. This is the time when writ­ers are sup­posed to write in­sight­ful ar­ti­cles that are sup­posed to in­spire our read­ers to carpe diem in 2017. Last year, I sum­moned my in­ner Iyanla Van­zant and wrote one on this very page. There’s sup­posed to be some in­spir­ing nugget of some sort but I want to be real with y’all: 2016 was a shit show.

Prince and sev­eral other icons died, the Pulse shoot­ing hap­pened and now we’re stuck with Don­ald Trump as pres­i­dent. At the time of this writ­ing, Trump’s vic­tory is less than a month old but there has been an uptick in hate crimes. White su­prem­a­cists are be­ing nor­mal­ized as the so-called dap­per alt-right while Black Lives Mat­ter is still be­ing writ­ten off as thugs. We can’t even hope for Trump to lose his po­si­tion be­cause then we would be stuck with Mike Pence and that’s an even scarier prospect.

I want to be hope­ful and de­sire the same for you, my dear read­ers, but we’re liv­ing in scary times. Still, I think we can get through it if we have a fight­ing spirit. Yes, the elec­tion was a huge blow to us but we don’t have to take any­thing ly­ing down.

LGBTQ folks are a re­silient peo­ple. We come from strong stock. We have sur­vived decades of per­se­cu­tion and scored sev­eral vic­to­ries. While I have been crit­i­cal of the com-

De­cem­ber 9, 2016

mu­nity, I can’t help but ad­mire that when it comes down to it, we get stuff done. I refuse to let the elec­tion of that lit­tle or­ange troll rain on my pa­rade. If we’re stuck with him for four years, we need to give him and the Repub­li­can-in­fested Congress hell. If they try to pass some cocka­mamie law, we need to raise hell un­til they back off. Ev­ery time they turn around, we need to be all over them.

I know there are peo­ple that have sug­gested that we “wait and see” what he will do but the proof is in the pud­ding. I can’t af­ford to ‘wait and see.’ This world has seen many atroc­i­ties be­cause peo­ple who had the abil­ity to act de­cided to re­main pas­sive.

De­spite what the right wing would like for us to be­lieve, we have just as much stake in this coun­try as they do. I was born here, I pay taxes and I voted in this freak show of an elec­tion. It was the blood, sweat and tears of my an­ces­tors that made this coun­try great, not those im­be­ciles run­ning around in those tacky base­ball caps. If I see this coun­try headed in the wrong di­rec­tion, I have the right to speak out against it. The Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees my free speech and right to protest and I plan to use it. This is my home de­spite the racist, ho­mo­pho­bic, trans­pho­bic, clas­sist and oth­er­wise de­spi­ca­ble be­hav­ior that oc­curs on its soil.

As James Bald­win elo­quently stated, “I love Amer­ica more than any other coun­try in this world, and, ex­actly for this rea­son, I in­sist on the right to crit­i­cize her per­pet­u­ally.” Happy Hol­i­days, fam­ily. We will make magic hap­pen in 2017.

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