November 8th, 2016
I remember that day well. I remember my eyes aching as I watched the numbers come in, as the votes leaned in his favor. I was stuck on numbers in the dark of my bedroom, and as fear filled my heart.
When they called it, I couldn't even comprehend what I was seeing. Hillary Clinton with a majority vote, but Donald Trump with just enough electoral votes so that the popular vote didn't matter. The fear that had filled my heart hours before gripped me, squeezed my lungs, and filled my eyes to the brim with tears.
I remember sleeping and I remember my brother apologizing. He didn't know why he was apologizing, but he could sense my dread. My parents did nothing of the sort, and I didn't expect them to. I couldn't expect them to understand the dread I had, because they couldn't know how much his presidency would actually effect me. Because I had yet to come out.
Coming out wasn't an overwhelming thing for me. It was half an accident and half an intention. I was met with uncomfortable glances and uncomfortable questions.
Part of me wondered if coming out was worth my uncle not meeting my eye, or being called a failure. Part of me wondered if I should've stuck to my plan to come out once I had moved out. Part of me wondered why I was like I was.
Times felt dark and dreary. I felt hopeless seeing the people of Fox News call upset people like me a waste and melodramatic. These people didn't have to think like I did, and I wish my mind could be as blind as theirs. My life would be much simpler if I didn't have to worry about Mike Pence's shock therapy or the endless subtle homophobia rampant in my own school.
There was five months of that leading to June, five months of fear as an open bisexual. But then came June, pride month as well as my birthday month. While our president was attending anti-LGBTQ conventions, I was turning 16 and finding my place. I saw videos of Pride Parades and choirs singing over chants of hate. I teased with the idea of a girlfriend, and I think that's when I really came out.
I accepted both myself and my new, somewhat scary, perspective. I accepted the fear in my heart and used it to fuel what I wanted to improve. I don't step down anymore, I stand proud. Pride month may just seem like an excuse to party, but for us, it's a month to recharge. It's a month used to remind ourselves why it's worth every hardship.