Your Trump-supporting relatives should get no free passes

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While many of us LGBTQ people have our chosen families who share our political and personal views, a lot of us also have biological relatives or extended family who support President Trump. Up until 2016, it might have been easy for some to see the occasional social media thumbs up or get a random happy birthday text message from those people. After the 2016 election, it became infinitely more difficult, especially as the Republican gloating and finger-wagging grew more and more prevalent, but certainly when Trump and his administration became the most anti-LGBTQ in history.

Some of us, like myself, chose to simply cut those people off, and that’s a fair choice. We already deal with enough negativity in our lives as LGBTQ people. Why should we deal with it among our biological family? My chosen family gives me more than enough joy and light.

But others, whether through choice or though force, don’t have the luxury of simply ignoring their biological family and relatives. And for those people, choosing whether or not to call out family or relatives who support Trump and his despotic efforts can be a difficult choice, especially if the power dynamics of the relationship are unbalanced.

However, for those who are in a powerful enough position to be able to speak the truth to their conservative relatives, there is no more excuse to stay silent. In fact, now is the time to be louder than ever.

A lot of comparisons are being drawn between the end of the Civil War and today. Some pundits have written that because the Confederacy was not punished enough, the racism we saw during Jim Crow and that we see today was allowed to continue relatively unchecked. Those same pundits now say that if we do not punish the behavior of Trump and his associates who are actively eroding belief in our democracy, the same behavior will continue.

The same thing can be applied to those who support Trump. If we don’t call them out, if we don’t give them anything to lose from their behavior, they will keep doing it. They will keep supporting a man who will lie, cheat, steal, and harm in order to stay in power. They will keep supporting a man who has lived his life by destroying the lives of others.  They will keep supporting a man who continues to undermine the next U.S. President and does not care about the destructiveness of his behavior.

Of course, trying to have an honest conversation with those who believe whatever Trump says can be difficult. But the point isn’t to convince them otherwise or make them change their ways (at least immediately). The point is just to say, out loud, that their behavior and their support of Trump, causes pain, hurt, anger, whatever adjective suits you best. And if they don’t care at all about that, then maybe it’s time to rethink the relationship entirely.

Taking that first step and having the conversation is vital right now. It has to be done, for the country’s sake, for the community’s sake, and for your sake.