'Hope Is Difficult': New York's Queer Community Reacts to Trump's Win

"This is forcing everyone to come together. I think the community just needs to help each other and force each other to stand up."
12 November 2016, 5:00am

As blue America took to the streets this week to rail against of an impending Trump presidency, young queer people especially came out in force—a group searching for answers and solidarity in face of an administration that threatens to roll back their civil rights over the next four years. We met them out in New York City to record their thoughts, feelings, and moods.

Mike Bailey-Gates, 23, Photographer

My greatest fear in the wake of this tragedy is the safety of the people I love—I fear that having a bigot as a popular symbol of power gives other bigots a fire, and gives them a sense of permission. It's already happening. I won't allow that to happen to anyone in front of me. You'll see more resisting, everyone being louder and coming together. Destroy this algorithm that separates our country from our media.

Yera, 23, Stylist

In such a time of despair, there's a lot of things coursing through my mind. What will happen to people of color? People with disabilities? Will my family get deported, even though they've been legal immigrants for years? Will people of color be pursued as criminals more aggressively (as if things weren't aggressive enough)? How brutal and strong will our nation's police forces become? What will happen to my affordable healthcare? Will I no longer have affordable access to my dosage of Truvada? Will that continue the spread of AIDS between low-income folks? What will happen to trans and queer folks? Will these women and men no longer be able to receive proper hormone therapy? Surgeries they need? Will women not be able to wear hijabs? Will they lose their rights to abortions, birth control and access to Planned Parenthood? Will rates of rape and sexual assault rise? Will I not be able to walk outside in heels, makeup, and skirts, and feel as safe as I do today—which is already pretty minimal? Will I have to go through shock therapy? Will I kill myself or will I have to buy a gun?

Hope is difficult, things are in such a terrible state. They will whitewash us like they've done to the news, to his supporters, and to everyone who falls deep into white supremacy—even my own father has fallen suit. It's fucking scary. I have a lot of hope. Some people don't have as much, and that's OK! It's OK to be scared! Hone it, and let it power you to see the change we need. We are more than what they spin us to be. We are such a strong, accepting, beautiful generation. Our hope for a better America is so concrete. I've seen so many colors of change from each side. We have to believe in the power of us—power in numbers, and power in our democracy. We have to believe in the power of people taking power of their government. Not the other way around. United, we are so much stronger than this president.

Quinton Mulvey, 20, Stylist

I'm feeling devastated but inspired. I feel like the only thing left to do is get involved, and I regret not doing it earlier. I'm fearful of everything right now, but most hopeful that love will persevere. This is forcing everyone to come together. I think the community just needs to help each other and force each other to stand up. I'm focusing on anything I can do toward social progress right now, even small things.

From left to right: Eddy, Myles, and Riley, Art Students

My greatest fear is that this election will make hate crimes and discrimination a more public act, just like after 9/11, where Muslims were publicly targeted and attacked. People are going to feel justified in committing crimes and spewing hate towards minorities. I'm hopeful that a majority of millennials were in support of Hillary and not Trump. It's comforting to know that the next generation is more progressive and doesn't share Trump's divisive and toxic mindset.

Sabrina Fuentes, 17, Casting Director

I just fear that he's going to have complete control of the Supreme Court if he chooses to put a Republican in. That's going to influence everything that happens to me. I'm a woman, and I'm afraid that rape cases are going to be dismissed and completely normalized. He's already normalizing sexual violence. He also wants to take back marriage equality, which would directly impact me and almost all of my friends. He wants to deport immigrants and I come from a long line of Latin immigrants.

I want to offer a hand to anybody in need during times like this and times to come, whether it be in the immediate or the long run. I just want to help whoever needs help. I don't know what I'm feeling hopeful for right now. I guess that there are as many people as are protesting tonight that agree with me. At least it seems like it.

Will Knutson, 18, Mixed Media Artist

I'm very frustrated and disappointed in our country. I moved to New York hoping to escape a lot of the beliefs that are common in South Carolina. I feel as if all those terrifying beliefs just became president.

I am so absolutely filled with fear. Who is going to represent the people? Who is going to stand up for women, people of color, LGBTQ people? The only ones who are being represented by Trump are white males. We were all filled with a lot of hope that's things would keep improving before this. We've come so far in the past few years, and this is a huge blow. This is 50 steps back. I'm hopeful that we can take it upon ourselves to promote change.

We need to stick together more now than ever, and we need to be looking out for each other, because we know that the White House is not looking out for us. I make a lot of queer art, and looking a few years ahead, are my First Amendment rights going to be infringed upon? I'm looking at all the artists of color, female artists, queer artists. Continue to grow, continue to work hard, and continue to push back. Make art. Promote change any way you can. Lend a hand to anyone in need.

Leo Avedon, 18, Illustrator

I would really like white gays to be in solidarity with us people of color, but also support and leave space for us to take the forefront, and not just reject our movement or take up space in our movement and force us to the background. I think that's really important for people to be aware of.

I'm fearful that people will become further desensitized to the kind of violence that has been going on in this country for as long as this country has been established. That's my fear because it's been happening and this only furthers it. I know a lot of my friends who had yet to be targeted now have, and that's scary. I don't really have a choice to help or not. This is my life, it's been my life, I've been living my life, I've always been in danger, and I don't have the privilege not to stand up for myself and my siblings of this movement, of this world, of this generation. I have to be working towards a collectively better future. I have no choice. So I'll be in the streets, whenever I can. Hope is something we need, but we also can't be blinded by it to the point where we succumb to ignorance, where we just hope for a better future but don't actively move towards one. I do think hope exists and it's important to not become bitter, and so blinded by our bitterness that we become stagnant.

Chad, 24, Performance Artist

I'm feeling hopefully but scared, you know? I'm hoping that we can come together, but at the same time I don't know how to support somebody who says things that I don't believe in.

My biggest fears are for those who are already scared by the campaign itself—Muslims, my friends, the gay community, people who are disabled, the people who felt disenfranchised by the words that Donald Trump said. I feel like it will only get worse or that they're just scared to even come out and speak up at this point, because now he's our president.

To be honest, I'm trying to find out what I can put into this. I came out here to feel what everyone else is feeling, to be part of a movement, you know? Yes, I am going to accept the fact that Donald Trump is our president, but I am also going to be around people who might not be happy about it, and I think that's OK. We don't have to accept it. We can be peaceful about it and move forward but we don't have to say that this is right, because it's not.

Simon Liber, 14, Painter

America betrayed me. I'm terrified knowing that there are still so many people out there who are against the liberation of queer culture, and so many who support such bigotry. I just hope that there will be a time in my life when I don't feel like this—that one day, I can know that the voices of the queer community are heard just as loudly as my cisgender, heterosexual peers.

Ryker Allen is a photographer based in New York. You can follow his work here.

Fran Tirado is an editor based in New York. You can follow his work here.