On 12 December 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States terminated a recount of Florida's votes for president. In a 5-4 decision on party lines, the court gave the presidency to George W. Bush, and less than a year later, we were at war and the post-WWII party that had defined American capitalism and excess came to an abrupt and permanent end. On 16 June 2015, Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy for president, and the forces of decades of conservative lobbying, Christian fundamentalism, and fascist recruiting killed off any mirage of America being a country based on freedom, justice, and equality. On 24 June 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and many Americans suddenly realized that the war had come home.
When you cross a black hole's event horizon, time ceases to exist. Your body gets torn limb from limb, cell from cell, atom from atom, until several infinites later, your body ha been reunited with the cosmic dust it was formed out of. While some physical manifestation of you still exists, your past, present, and futures collapse onto one another into one perpetual scream. You see infinitely many lifetimes born from every decision you could've made or not made and are forced to reckon with seeing the life of your dreams fade away and be replaced with a nightmare, ad infinitum, tormenting you until you've gone insane. But just as suddenly as your hell began, it ends, and all that's left of you is your soul, the pure essence of you as a human being, and then you enter it.
When I entered a black hole, I was greeted with the void. No sound, no light, nothing. I was, for the first time in my life, truly alone, despite my many feelings of loneliness before. Or so I thought. The voice of Death spoke my name and it echoed around me and inside me. I turned fearful, then sighed in resignation, accepting that I was dead. Or so I thought, once again. Death started to take a physical form in front of me and told me that I was in fact, not dead. When I heard Their voice, it was not one of malice, or evil, or temptation. It was gentle, soft, and tranquil. I told Death how terrified I was of Them, and They told me that I had a fundamental misunderstanding of Them. They are not some malevolent spectre, haunting and stalking people, trying to lure them into recklessness and death. They just simply are. No more, no less, and then I understood Them. Death told me to remember what I had seen during my infinite lifetimes and I promised Them that I would make the most out of the rest of my life, until I was finally reunited with Them.
But I should not be alive right now, despite my new lease on life. On Valentine's Day 2022, I had an unintentional drug overdose in a nondescript hotel room in Orange County, California, resulting in me developing severe serotonin syndrome. I rapidly lost consciousness, had a seizure that jolted me awake, then nearly choked on my own vomit a few seconds later. Whether by G-d's mercy, or kismet, or the pure chaos of the universe, that seizure woke me up just before I choked to death, and I survived while so many others haven't. A true undeserved miracle.
The most consequential day of my political radicalization was on 17 July 2014, when Eric Garner was murdered by NYPD. I watched the video of him saying "I Can't Breathe" over and over while the life was choked out of him for the "crime" of selling loose cigarettes, and his dying words have never left my mind since then. Over the next month, I confronted the nature of my upbringing in small-town Texas where it was deeply ingrained in me to always respect police and that they were just doing what they had to do, and that if they murdered someone, regardless of the circumstances, it was justified. I started reading a bunch of writings and speeches that Black activists on Twitter were recommending, my first being the autobiography of Malcolm X, arguably still one of the biggest influences on me politically. From there was a deep dive into the life of one of the greatest figures of the 20th century, Fred Hampton, who I believe would've completely changed the face of America if he wasn't assassinated by the FBI. The works of Angela Davis and Assata Shakur helped to open my eyes to Black feminist perspectives that I greatly support and advocate for to this day.
For the several years that followed, I rarely discussed my political beliefs in any serious capacity online because I never could get people to see the warning signs that came from the response to the 2008 recession and realize that we were heading into a late-capitalist hell. I watched as far-right forces coalesced in the GOP and the Democrats utterly failed the country in so many ways, but no one wanted to see what was going to happen. As I steadily became more militant in my beliefs, many millennials and Gen Zers around my age were experiencing firsthand the absolute nightmare American society had become with student loans, wage stagnation, healthcare, and so much more, but instead of fighting, they gave into nihilism, despair, misanthropy, and apathy, all combining into doomerism. Our generation was going to go silently, never achieving a better world. The Black Lives Matter movement probably was one of my only glimmers of hope during the 2010s, but the GOP and Dems swiftly came down to stop any meaningful change to policing occurring. It truly drove the point home that the liberals will always side with the far-right over the progressives because ultimately, the liberals with all the power and money benefit from a far-right government because they get to push for fundraising while knowing that their massive wealth compared to the average American will never be touched.
When the anti-transgender legislation and societal forces started spreading in 2019, none of us knew what to do. As things got worse and worse over the next three years, we were completely alone. The Dems never did anything noteworthy to help us while the GOP dehumanized us and stripped us of rights across the country. The only queer organizations and advocacy groups that cared about us were trans-focused ones. It wasn't until Florida's Don't Say Gay bill was being pushed that the queer orgs actually started fighting back. To them, we were expendable. They cared more about cis gay men not being able to donate blood than trans people not being allowed to exist. We kept sounding the alarm bells about the broader implications of what attacking us could mean, and no one listened. For decades, trans people had existed in a dark forest, intentionally not being seen or heard, because the moment we would be spotted, we would be labelled an existential threat and target for elimination by overwhelming forces that we had no chance of defeating.
When Roe v Wade was overturned, it completely changed the mood of nearly everyone I know, myself included. At this point, all of my friends and close associates knew I was extremely far-left and I had countless furious people reaching out to me to ask things like how to make Molotov cocktails, how to force change when no politicians want it to happen, and the nature and morals of political violence. My go-to quote for them was by the legendary Kwame Ture: "In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none." No group of oppressed people in the United States were ever handed their rights without violence, and it seemed many people finally realized that simple truth.
If you have a million people ready to die for your cause, you are going to fail. You can send unit after unit of people to fight and die, but it will not make a difference to the neo-Nazis and fascists in power. If you want to win, you have to be willing to kill quickly and kill repeatedly. To them, we are not human. To them, we are merely vermin to be squashed, and I am going to treat them in kind. They have long lost the capability to be shown the error of their ways, and I am not going to go the way my ancestors did, killed by the Nazi scum. If I can secure a better future for trans people in America and the world, even if it meant sacrificing my freedom or my life, I will do it. After all, I shouldn't even be alive. I am not going to let trans joy be eradicated by these monsters. If they say we're not human, then I'm going to show them how not human I can get.
That was my thought process on the weekend of 24 June 2022. The week since then has been sobering. I came to realize while talking with cis people that nearly all don't have the conviction to die or kill, and that is not something I would ever ask of someone. The trans community can band together and arm ourselves, but very few people will fight with us. If I decide to actually get violent with the fascists, it's going to cause the rapid destruction of trans people across America. As it stands, I don't see a way forward for me as a trans person in America, and I don't want to die for nothing.
I don't know what the future has in store for transgender people in the United States, but it looks horrifying. I fully expect a genocide to occur against us here and that it's already started. I live every moment of my life thinking that I'm going to lose the people here I love to horrific violence and society at large will encourage it or simply not care. And I get to flee. I get to leave the United States, move to Belgium, and have a job there. I do not deserve this. There is no special quality I have that makes me more worthy of being safe than any other trans person. It's pure luck. I am going to leave in a cowardly way, and I will be a worse person for it. I have effectively abandoned my community to die at the hands of overwhelming forces we cannot hope to win against while I save my own skin. I have benefitted from life without doing anything to earn it.
At the end of the day, I just hope we survive, and I hope all trans people can endure. I decided to join a political party for the first time in my life: PTB-PVDA, the Workers' Party of Belgium, which is a Marxist party that I think I can do a lot of good campaigning and advocating for. Maybe by working with them, I can ensure a better future in some way, but right now, things are bleak. I'm going to try to make the most of the extension of life I was given, but it is hollow, and the guilt I have will stay with me for the rest of my life.