Trans After Trump

If it’s not too cliché to say, the past few weeks have left me reeling. It’s as though I’ve been swimming in a bog, unable to crawl out of the political morass and onto firm ground. Every time my head surfaced, I was dragged back down again by the ensnaring grasp of some terrible swamp creature.

I think I’ve finally clawed my way back out of the quagmire, and while my footing is still shaky, my spirit is stronger than ever. I’m ready for the long haul.

Since the election news broke, I’ve heard a number of trans folx discuss their intents to detransition. I’ve had two queer friends decide to go back in the closet. I had a colleague come out to me for the first time, only to tell me that the political vitriol we’re witnessing is the reason she never plans to come out publicly. A friend of a friend died by suicide.

“In times as turbulent as these, you need to do whatever you can to keep your precious selves safe.”

I sincerely hope that none of the people listed above will be given an ounce of grief for their decisions. And, dear reader, if you decide to stay in the closet, go back in the closet, go stealth, detransition, or end your existence on this plane I could never harbor any ill will toward you. In times as turbulent as these, you need to do whatever you can to keep your precious selves safe. (Note: I’m not advocating suicide, but I understand it as a tactic of preserving one’s spirit or soul from further torment. For some, it’s a method of harm-reduction on a cosmic scale. If you are struggling with suicidal ideation please call the Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255, or text “Go” to the Crisis Text Line: 741741.)

For others, closets are no longer an option, or they aren’t the route we’d take even if we could. Some of us are safer out of the closet than in.

Some of us have the option of going stealth. Some wish we could, but lack the ability.

Some of us can’t detransition, some won’t, and some feel like we don’t have enough miles on the clock to trade in just yet.

Personally, I have no intention of detransitioning, going stealth, or heading back into the closet, and I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’m on the f*cking grid, and no amount of scrubbing my social media is going to make my trans status any less public. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, more than ever, the younglings coming behind us need examples of what it means to be a gender transgressor, a visible trans person, or an out queer.

“I was trans before Trump was elected, I’ll be trans during the fiasco of the next four years, and I’ll sure as hell be trans after.”

I was trans before Trump was elected, I’ll be trans during the fiasco of the next four years, and I’ll sure as hell be trans after.

And that, friends, is the key thing to remember. There will be life after Trump: we just have to make sure as many of us as possible are around to see that glorious day.

It’s daunting to know that we have a fight ahead of us. We’ll need the full support of our communities and our chosen families to make it through the coming months. It will take humor and self-care. It will take bravery, creativity, and an abundance of love.

We don’t know exactly what’s coming, but one way or another, the Gendertrash Café will be around for whatever lies ahead. Feel free to join us.

In love and solidarity,


Jackson Wright Shultz is an educator, activist, and the author of Trans/Portraits: Voices from Transgender Communities. He can usually be found teaching writing to college students, working on nerdy research projects, or playing with his obnoxiously-large Newfoundland dog. You can read more of his writing on the higher ed blog, Conditionally Accepted.


2 thoughts on “Trans After Trump

  1. As long as there is breath in my body I will stand in support. Let’s not feed on fear of the unknown. Patience, and critical thinking will get us through the these coming years. Nothing’s going to turn our train around.🎸


  2. I feel a deep solidarity with your sentiments. Judging others decisions on how they’ll handle the coming years and increasing aggression’s is not my direction. I was thinking about how this will be the seventeenth presidential term during the arc of my life – and it’s pretty hard to see how any of them terribly altered or ever stopped the main parabola of my sexual, broader personal, familial, or even professional lives. I’m still thinking about this line of thought and experiences, and it’s implications. But it’s got my attention.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s