For this letter, I would like to remain anonymous. But due to what happened in this country last night, I feel that I cannot remain silent.
I try my hardest to stay away from politics, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion — something I must respect. I would not call myself either a liberal or a conservative, but the result of Tuesday night’s election was just an absolute disgrace to the American people.
I am a homosexual male brought up from a conservative family. My father is staunch conservative, along with my uncles and grandfather. Through his words and actions, I know from my years of living with him that he, deep down, is homophobic. Although both of my parents have questioned my sexuality numerous times, I have never come out to them because of fear of my father.
Then, last year, I started school at Pitt. And everything began to change for me. While remaining in the closet back home, I started to become more open about who I am. Same-sex marriage was legalized in America a few months prior to starting college, and everything seemed to progress for me and the LGBTQ+ community.
And then this election happened.
For the entirety of this election cycle, I remained fairly silent about it on social media and to my peers. However, during the entire process, I was stricken by fear on what this country could become. Hearing the constant hate speech that Donald Trump had given throughout his campaign has become a wake-up call on how much hatred there is in this country. One would have thought that his rhetoric would have gotten him nowhere in this day and age, but the amount of support he received shows that all the progress made by women, minorities and the LGBTQ+ community has only been so little.
For months, I was wholeheartedly convinced that Hillary Clinton was going to easily win this election. None of the polling forecasts gave her much of a chance to lose, so I was very confident that Trump was going to be a thing of the past come Nov. 8.
I could not have been more wrong.
For the past year, I have become more and more open about my sexuality when I’m at school, but what happened last night makes me question if I will ever fully come out. Seeing that our next vice president opposes HIV research and wants conversion therapy instead is absolutely terrifying. I woke to my alarm this morning feeling extremely ill. Looking out on a gray sky as I awoke only seemed like a metaphor to the future of America. I have felt merely distraught and confused today, unsure what is next to come in our country. I skipped every class today because I was not in good mental health.
As I sit here and finish this letter, I question where this country will go next. Will the work that has been done by the LGBTQ+ community, women and minorities be set back to square one, or will we stand together and fight harder than we ever have? Where will we stand on foreign affairs, as our next commander in chief has been known for his bad temperament? What will happen to the environment as our country’s next leader has called global warming a hoax? And what will happen to the generation after me after a world led by this man? The answers to all of these seem murky. I write this letter thinking of one real positive: It simply cannot get worse than today. This may be the lowest point now, but we can pray for a better future.
– A Pitt sophomore