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Aftermath and Reaction: Election Analysis from Two Targeted Groups

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The rhetoric being espoused by candidate Donald Trump and some of his surrogates during the campaign caused fear and trepidation within several groups of people in America: such as immigrants, Muslims, the LGBTQ community and African-Americans.

Now that Trump has won the election and has become President-Elect Trump how do some of these groups feel about his ability to lead? Will their group be targeted for Presidential scrutiny or for negative actions to be taken by Presidential appointees?

SPECTRUM endeavored to find some answers from members of two of these communities. We spoke with delfin bautista* — the director of the LGBTQ Center at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and an African-American mother and judge – Judge Gayle Williams Byers from South Euclid, Ohio in the southeast corner of Cuyahoga County near Cleveland.

delfin claims the LGBTQ community is currently confused, dazed and in a state of frustration. Many, according to delfin, have a defeatist attitude and are girding themselves for regression and for fights to come.

delfin states that progress has been made in civil rights over the last 10 years for the LGBTQ community but there are fears that all of the progress will disappear under a Trump Administration. There are special concerns since Vice President-Elect Mike Pence has taken over Trump’s transition efforts.

delfin notes that Pence was a strong proponent of a religious freedom act in Indiana that was perceived as being discriminatory against gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. Pence also is a believer in “conversion therapies” to revert gay people “back” to being heterosexual even though such efforts have been debunked by the psychological and medical professions.

Amidst the depression and despondency from the election, delfin has seen a new spark of spirit in many LGBTQ people and a sense of urgency to fight harder and stronger against prejudice and to avidly promote greater civil rights.

Judge Gayle Byers Williams said she will give people at the top of the Trump Administration a chance and she touts the benefits of having three equal branches of government — each exercising checks and balances on the other.

She, however, expresses doubts that race relations will improve over the next four years. She said that she feels the real conversations about race and equality that had started in this country will cease and be replaced by heightened tensions, fear, and distrust.

She also noted, however, that her teenage son reacted even more strongly to the election results and started talking about fleeing to Canada because he fears African-Americans will be targeted for persecution and hatred.

He is a combination of angry, vocal and pensive all at once, according to Judge Gayle.

Judge Gayle is more optimistic. She feels that change will not come from Washington and cannot be mandated from the top down despite what the Trump Administration might do.

She feels that the new administration may breed a groundswell of grassroots/local counteractions that will build across the country. People will fight the perceived misuse or abuses of federal power at the local level with grassroots actions that will eventually negate any potential wrongdoing at upper levels.

Both delfin and Judge Gayle said there is a time for some people to mourn the election results but that there is a sense of urgency to regroup and refocus on the issues that need to be resolved in both the LGBTQ and the African-American communities.

*delfin bautista uses they/them pronouns and does not capitalize their name