Inauguration day 2017 wasn’t supposed to go like this. Somehow Donald Trump is officially the most powerful man in the United States. It’s no secret that there are large swaths of people that have strong personal feelings about this election, from immigrants to members of the LGBTQ+ community to people of color and of course women. To so many Americans, this man's principles make our skin crawl.
I attended the women’s march in at the American consulate in Florence yesterday because I refuse to keep quiet about the things I see happening around me, and I’m worried for my country. I worry for women. I worry for my rights, and the election of Donald J. Trump has served as a sort of confirmation for a lot of deeply held fears. My parents raised me to believe that I can be anything I want to be regardless of my gender, but I’ve seen the way the world operates and those words can often feel hollow. There is the worry that, no matter how capable I may be, I am going to face scrutiny and doubt from society because of my gender. I was raised Baptist in the deep South; in different degrees of explicitness, women are told what their role is. I’ve been told time and time again what I can do. Because I am a woman, I worry that I will always be judged first and foremost on my looks. It’s a nagging fear that my intelligence and skills and accomplishments don’t matter if I don’t fit a certain aesthetic standard. That fear feels confirmed when Donald Trump calls women pigs and dogs, and yet we still put him in the White House. The president tells me that my merit isn’t what good I can contribute to this world, it’s whether or not I am a “hot piece of ass”. If I’m not up to that measure, then I’m sure the president would think I’m not of any use. It’s 2016, and I still have to fight for autonomy over my own body because the act of being a woman in America means that my body is still a battleground.
These are the issues that affect me directly, but this fight isn’t just for women who look and pray like me. This fight is for women of color who face issues that I will never experience. This fight is for transgender women. It’s for people of all genders who depend on our healthcare system. It’s for people with disabilities who had to watch their president mock them on live television. It’s for immigrants, and for those of different faiths and nationalities who suddenly feel unwelcome. This fight is for the fate of our planet, and it’s against the anti-intellectualism and extreme nationalism that our country has adopted.
I come from a conservative background, and so I learned to keep my head down at a young age. Now, however, I won’t stop talking about any of these issues until our broken country is mended. If the global turnout for these marches yesterday is any indication, I am correct in my belief that the hatefulness Donald Trump embodies does not represent the majority. Though I couldn’t be in Washington yesterday, I stood alongside Americans and Italians alike here in Florence, and the experience gave me more hope than I’ve felt in quite some time. Yesterday's events, both in the US and abroad, were representative of an America I'm proud of. Florence looked like this today and it was beautiful.