When this column is published on Friday, October 30, we’ll be just four days from the most important election of my lifetime. To say I’m preoccupied with electoral politics would be an understatement. As I sifted through my stack of possible topics for this week, I couldn’t settle on one that felt right. Blow-job techniques, innovations in lubricant, cuckolding, and dating during COVID-19 are all worthy topics, to be sure. But try as I might, I couldn’t type more than a sentence or two about any of them.
Most of us are tired of hearing about this election. Probably some of you are checking out this column in the hopes of reading about something, anything else. Last week I learned that the biggest political divide in our country isn’t actually between the right and the left. It’s between people like me who avidly follow politics on a daily basis (about 15 to 20 percent of folks), and people who only follow politics a little or not at all. If you, dear reader, are in that larger group, please consider staying here and reading this. I promise a sexier, more entertaining column next time.
I am not one to collect fear or spread despair. I genuinely love people, and I believe in their inherent goodness. For me, one of the hardest things about wearing a mask (and I wear a mask every damn day) is never knowing if people can tell that I’m smiling. For the record, I’m almost always smiling. Whatever the opposite of resting bitch face is—I have that. I constantly grin like a kid who just saw a puppy. (P.S. Resting bitch face is a shitty concept that seeks to shame people for allowing their facial muscles to relax.) I am generally delighted to be out in the world, interacting with other humans. But right now, I am afraid. For real.
I’m a sexuality educator and a licensed midwife focused on supporting LGBTQ+ families. I work in two fields that are intricately connected to the deepest intimacies of being human. As we have marched steadily toward the election next week, both of my professional communities have grown increasingly concerned about how we’ll continue our work if Trump were to win re-election. The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg (may her memory be a blessing) followed by the subsequent nomination and lightning-fast confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett greatly amplified those concerns.
When I say “continue our work” I don’t mean we’re worried about our paychecks. Both professions are woefully underpaid and under-appreciated. No, our fears are rooted in questions much deeper than that. How will we teach people how to be safe when they have sex? How will we support our youth when they come out as queer or trans? How do we facilitate bodily autonomy if Roe is overturned? How do we celebrate all of our beautiful diversity if we’re forced back into the closet by policy and popular opinion?
I have spent much time this week taking questions from people who are worried their marriages will be nullified, scared their adoptions will be dissolved, terrified their families will descend back into the legal hellscape that existed before the Supreme Court finally legalized gay marriage in 2015. I have spent just as much time in Zoom meetings and on phone calls with other educators and birthworkers. In the event that America really does transform into Gillead, we want to be ready to help people access birth control and abortion. Some of us are prepared to offer transportation, lodging, and funds for the cause. This is real. We are not panicked. We are planning.
Joe Biden is ahead in the polls, but it’s hard to find comfort in that. Hillary Clinton was also polling ahead on Election Day in 2016. Like Biden, Clinton was not an ideal candidate in my mind. I want so much more for all of us than the bare minimum the Democratic platform routinely promises. But with SCOTUS leaning so far right it might as well just lay down, re-electing Trump would be catastrophic for all of America’s most vulnerable populations.
Dear reader, if you haven’t voted yet, please do. People you love will not survive four more years under the Trump administration. In Milwaukee, early in-person voting is available until Sunday, November 1. And of course, you can vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. If you’re not registered, you can do that at the polls with your state-issued ID or driver’s license.
Love All Ways,