As a survivor of sexual violence and emotional abuse from a narcissist as a child, Donald Trump (I’m not ever going to call him by that title) makes me feel physically sick to my stomach. I’m not being hyperbolic here when I saw the video of him stepping out of the car at the White House yesterday I felt nauseated. I felt the same way when I heard his comments to Billy Bush and when I saw him leering over Hillary’s shoulder in the debates. I felt it every time he interrupted a woman who was speaking and I felt it every time he projected his own behaviour onto his competitor. So much of his misogynistic and abusive behaviour was familiar and therefore triggering for me. I know I’m not alone.
I know this because for many years I have been working at non-profits whose mandate is to prevent violence against women and support survivors. In addition to my personal experience with gender-based violence, I understand it professionally. I studied Psychology in University and then went on to the Assaulted Women’s & Children’s Counsellor & Advocate program. I’ve been working for community justice based charities ever since I graduated. I know what the impact of gaslighting is, in fact, I have been interviewed on that very topic by the radio show The Third Wave. I marched because it is absolutely unacceptable that a narcissistic abuser and rapist is the leader of the USA.
As a woman who is fat and a fat activist, I know Donald hates me. He’s made several fat shaming comments, most famously those about one of the winners of his pageant. From his perspective, she had gained weight and that was unacceptable for someone in her position. Given how little weight she had appeared to have gained compared to my own weight gain since recovering from anorexia, I had to work hard not to internalize his fatphobic comments. His comments about the type of women he finds attractive reinforce the typical beauty norms of thin, white, able-bodied, and young. I marched for our right to be respected and valued for more than our outward appearance.
As a feminist who has always believed in choice, especially in terms of reproductive rights. Trump has made commitments to the antichoicers that would further restrict access to important medical procedures. His supporters actually started a hashtag that asked for women to lose their right to vote when it was assumed they would all vote for Hillary. Ironically, the majority of white women voted for Trump and actually helped a misogynist gain enough electoral votes to be inaugurated. I marched because of a system that let the first woman candidate to win the popular vote lose the highest office. I marched because she should have been the first woman president of the United States and because of the sexism that prevented it from happening.
As a queer woman and a femme, I am terrified of Trump because he chose one of the most homophobic politicians around to be his running mate. Yes, Donald is an awful man who has refused to speak out against any of the hate groups and for that reason, I marched. I marched because I can’t wish for an assassination because the second in command is actually worse for me as a member of the queer community. Pence supports conversion therapy and laws that allow businesses to refuse service to queer individuals. By supporting conversion therapy he has ensured the suicide of other queers like me. I marched (with my girlfriend by my side) because he would prefer if I didn’t exist.
Let me be clear that long before Donald Trump’s comments impacted me personally, they impacted people I would like to be an ally to. I consider myself an intersectional feminist, and I also realize that requires activism not just analysis. So I marched as an ally. I march as an ally to people with disabilities, POC, Muslim folks, trans/gender non-conforming people, Latinx folks, immigrants and every other person who has been targetted by the current leadership in the USA. I marched as an ally to everyone who has been scared and anxious since November 9th. I marched as an ally to all the people, like me, asking, “Am I safe?” and fearing that the answer is “No!”.
These photos were taken at the Kingston, Ontario, Canada location of the March on Washington.