You’re Not Going to Canada

From the moment it became clear that Donald Trump’s run for presidency was no longer a joke, statements about fleeing the country if he won started popping up all around us.  From celebrities to friends in our newsfeeds, many were letting it be known that the idea of a Trump presidency was so unacceptable to them that they would abandon ship.

This is not new.  Every election cycle people break out the ultimatums and Canada is always the obvious choice for liberals.  But let’s face it — 99% of you are not going to Canada.

I say this as someone who was born and raised in America but whose family on both sides is only one generation removed from Canadian immigrants to the United States.  Every summer vacation I ever went on as a kid was to Canada.  I know all the words to O Canada and I can name all the provinces and territories and their capitals.  My mother proudly holds dual citizenship and God willing, so will I – but don’t think that desire is an election-based whim – it’s been a lifelong plan.

And that’s where my exasperation at those who declare “I’m moving to Canada” originates.  Moving to Canada is not like moving across state lines.  They have immigration laws, and obtaining a visa and later, citizenship, is a process that costs both years of your life and hundreds to thousands of dollars.  It is not something that can or should be done on a whim.

Yet, I do understand the impulse.  We are faced with a frightening consequence of our election — a president who has inspired the ugliest underbelly of our country to step into the light and make their hateful statements heard.  For anyone who is not a straight, white, cisgendered, Christian male, it’s a scary time.  And for anyone with a conscience, it’s just downright embarrassing to be associated with our new orange overlord.

The thing is, you can escape a Trump presidency without abandoning your country.  Living and working abroad does not require you to relinquish US citizenship and you can still vote absentee (and you should because in 2018 all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33/100 seats in the Senate will be contested).

Continue reading “You’re Not Going to Canada”

Advertisements

Marriage Equality, Pride, & Refusing to Be Invisible

NYC Pride as seen looking east on 5th Ave, between 12th and 13th St.

A few weekends ago, a couple friends and I went to the NYC Pride Parade.  It had been ten years since I had been to an LGBT event.  I’m not afraid of being out, nor am I suffering from internalized homophobia, but I do get exhausted by the internal politics of gay culture, and for awhile it was less uplifting and more frustrating to participate.

This year we had more than our usual annual pride.  We saw an undeniably historic SCOTUS decision.  I remember well when gay marriage was legalized in my home state of Massachusetts — I was 12 years old, had recently come out (or rather, been outed), and I ended up writing a paper for my English class on the issue.  At the time of writing said paper, I saw the issue, and the community, as fairly black and white.  Gay people and straight allies were categorically good — it was the kind of immature and dichotomous thinking that is characteristic of young teenagers (and that we see so often in Tumblr-brand slacktivism).  Later that same school year I attended my first pride parade in Northampton.  And it was one of the most depressing days of my young life.  The participants were all very homogenous: butch-adjacent lesbian couples in hiking mandals with young children.  The parade was for gay marriage and gay adoption rights.  It was — and there’s really no other word for it — conservative.

Continue reading “Marriage Equality, Pride, & Refusing to Be Invisible”