I didn’t bother unpacking my television when I moved to Platteville at the start of September; on top of not really using it that much in recent months, I also wasn’t sure just how I wanted to position it in my new apartment. After the chaos of my first weeks here, and especially after getting so sick in the middle of the month, my television kind of stayed on the back burner for a long time, especially since I had my streaming television app on my personal tablet. Because of how I’ve had to arrange things here, I wound up buying a stand with coasters for my television so I can place it where I need it for any given task, and after putting off the getting the stand assembled and the television mounted, I finally got everything working a couple of weeks ago.

This was right as the midterm election came up, and as much as I’m ashamed to admit this, I avoided election news for the most part in the months leading up to the election. On top of the dread of knowing that a significant chunk of Americans would insist that the results weren’t legitimate — regardless of who won — the possibility of a full Republican takeover here in Wisconsin was scaring the everloving crap out of me. I’ve been following what’s been happening with education in Florida these past few years, and had Republicans reclaimed the governorship here, there is little doubt in my mind that they would have rushed to pass similar bills here, bills that would result in me being de facto fired from my job. With polls being so close, and memories of 2016 still fresh in my head (especially since, like in 2016, Election Day fell on the eighth this year), I couldn’t shake the feeling that all my struggles to make it in Wisconsin, not just here in Platteville but also back in Richland Center, would vanish in a red mist.

The Republican candidate for governor here lost, so I guess I don’t have to worry about being legislated out of a job for another few years, but dealing with all those fears while I was also fighting everything else that’s happened to me these past three months was beyond nerve-wracking. I was starting to reduce my time in public even before the COVID-19 pandemic started, and as the anti-transgender rhetoric of recent years has kept getting louder, and I’ve read more and more stories from other transgender people becoming fearful of losing their lives as a result of the interactions they’ve had with right-wingers, the question of when I’ll become a bigger target, and what that will lead to in terms of me trying to just stay alive, keeps coming up.

Now I’m having to deal with these things in the wake of this past weekend’s mass shooting in the city I called home before I moved to Wisconsin, Colorado Springs. A couple of excursions to SAGA clubs in Toledo while I was a college student was more than enough to help me realize that clubbing is not for me, and I wasn’t even aware of the club where the shooting happened, but waking up to that news almost undid me, especially since some of my friends in Colorado Springs could have been at that club. No one was, but that’s not much comfort in light of not just the loss of life, but how even tragedies like this seem to amplify anti-transgender rhetoric all the more.

One of my online friends did a fundraiser yesterday for a group that supports SAGA elders, and I truly hope there comes a day when being a SAGA elder isn’t such an anomaly. Between the massive loss of life in the early years of the AIDS crisis, and the growing tide of unchecked violence against SAGA people, just trying to exist in this nation can often feel like it takes all one’s strength. All the signs out there seem to point to these problems just continuing to get worse, and unless that changes soon, a lot of us are going to keep feeling like that next fist, or that next bullet, will strike us.

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