Last Saturday, as people marched down San Francisco’s Market Street protesting Republican Donald Trump’s election as president, James Robinson, CEO of Free2Be in Huntsville, Alabama, wept as he said, “I’m very proud of the people peacefully protesting in our big cities where they’re able to do that … I wish I could be with them.”
Like many LGBTs across the country, Robinson, 53, is concerned about what Trump’s administration may do. The billionaire businessman’s rhetoric during the campaign has encouraged hostility toward LGBTs, Muslims, people of color, immigrants, and other groups.
People at LGBT organizations in several states said that the election has been tough on clients and heightened worries about funding, but they’ve also seen support.
“Huntsville is by far the most progressive city in Alabama,” and the city is one of the most progressive cities in the South, said Robinson, whose organization provides counseling, advocacy, and other services.
However, he said, many LGBTs, especially transgender people, are still worried about how a Trump administration may impact them.
Clients who came in for regular appointments the day after the election “were so traumatized our therapist felt the need to do risk assessments on them” to try to ensure they weren’t going to harm themselves, he said.
Vincent Rutherford, 52, who’s gay and serves as director of Huntsville’s Rocket City Pride, said the election “gave me flashbacks to the 1980s. … I just had to lock myself in the house that next day and try to deal with it. I kept having flashbacks to other horrible times in my life and being afraid.”