6 Actions To Take Right Now To Protect Your Personal Rights In Trump's America
We don't know what our world will be like when president-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. But we do know there are precautions we can take right now to protect our personal rights in Trump's American — or at least, what could very well be Trump's America. People of all different backgrounds and areas of expertise have varying opinions on the likelihood of Trump's ability to follow through on his campaign promises (some are more likely to happen than others), but right now, it feels like it's better to be safe than sorry. While it might be initially comforting to tell ourselves that of course this or that wouldn't happen, when the president-elect tells us it will, we should take that to heart.
As with all advice, though, don't panic. Depending on your personal circumstances, you'll want to get moving on ways to protect yourself and your rights soon, but know that not everything can change overnight. Just start the process early, keep yourself informed, and know what protections and paths may require waiting periods, fees, and even legal consultation. The key is to make sure you're informed, and that you avoid waiting until the very last minute to get things started. But if you feel overwhelmed, it's OK to practice some self-care and take a break post-election.
While definitely not all-inclusive, here are some key starting points for how you can protect your rights under what a Trump Presidency might look like:
Get Your Identification Documents In Order
If you identify as transgender, non-binary, agender, or anything else which might necessitate changing your identification cards and documents to match your gender identity, now is the time to do it. For example, changing your identification on your passport helps you have a valid form of government ID even if you aren't planning to leave the country any time soon. If you have a driver's license or state-issued ID, look into changing that, too.
Requirements vary by area, so do your research and start your process now. If you need legal help or financial assistance, check out resources like #TransLawHelp and see what lawyers are volunteering in your specific area.
Look Into Long-Term Birth Control Options
Like anything medical, birth control is a personal decision. We don't yet know how Trump's presidency will impact organizations like Planned Parenthood, or our access to birth control or abortion; the uncertainty is enough, though, to inspire many women to look into getting a long-term form of birth control, such as an IUD, that will provide healthy and reliable protection for at least several years. Of course, some people experience side effects with IUDs, so it's important to do your research and do what is best for your body.
If You Have A Green Card, Apply For Citizenship
The path to citizenship in the United States is not always clear or easy, but one message is not to be ignored: If you have a green card now, apply for citizenship as soon as possible. We can't know for sure how serious Trump's plans to deport undocumented immigrants are, but if you are a green card holder, it's a good idea to begin the citizenships process now. if you don't have a green card, it's still a good idea to research what your options might be in terms of the citizenship process.
Make Sure You And Your Partner Are Named On Everything
If you're in a same-sex marriage, it's a good idea to make sure you and your partner are protected in case same-sex marriage is revoked or moved back to a state-by-state level. For example, make sure you and your partner have both of your names on shared bank accounts, your lease/mortgage, your car, and so on. Also make sure your wills are up to update, adoption/custody forms are in order, and that your Power of Attorney documents are ready to go. No one likes to think about the worst case scenario, but this stuff is really important should our marriage laws be altered.
Consider Encryption For Surveillance Self-Defense
When it comes to our online presence, it's always a good idea to know your rights and protect yourself. While it's great to know your privacy settings and what information is available via your social media or other web presence, some people prefer encrypted methods of communication as well. If you are concerned about potential surveillance, it's a good time to do your research on what apps and programs allow you some levels of encryption protection, such as the messaging service WhatsApp.
Build A Support System
Many of Trump's promises have been built on what people look like, what religious beliefs they hold, and harmful stereotypes about ethnic and racial backgrounds. If you're in a minority or marginalized group that has been targeted by Trump's campaign, please don't hesitate to develop a strong, reliable support system that can have your back both emotionally and physically. Whether you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to walk you home from work, know that there is often safety in numbers and that real friends, family, and even colleagues will be willing to help you feel safe and secure.
Images: Giphy (6)