Do you feel that? A sinking, queasy feeling in your stomach, as if the floor might fall out from under you?
You aren’t alone. It’s election day in the United States—a day preceded by a nasty, surreal campaign and a Trump administration responsible for a disastrous COVID-19 death toll, the rolling back of trans protections and heated political division within the country.
Many polls suggest that tonight will be a nail-biter: Biden and Trump are in a tight race in most key states. In any event, it’s unlikely that a winner will be declared tonight, as a surge in mail-in ballots could prolong and complicate the vote-tallying process.
It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious about all this, particularly if you’re queer or trans. In the hopes of offering a template for how to cope with tonight’s events, Xtra asked several LGBTQ2S+ journalists, activists and writers how they’re planning on spending election night. Here are their media consumption suggestions and election self-care tips.
And be sure to tell us how you’re spending the evening. Tweet us @XtraMagazine!
Planning to be on the phone with my girlfriend and/or messaging friends. My ritual is… refreshing the results page. I already know I won’t be able to log off. The most I’ll try to manage is drinking tea instead of alcohol, at least to start 😭
— Julia Duchesne (@juliamusing) November 2, 2020
“I hope to be cuddled on a couch with cats, five pints of pre-ordered ice cream and a weighted blanket alternating between Twitter, old episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race and some of my other favourite reality TV. By the time we are watching returns, things will be largely out of our control as voters. To cope with the anxiety and flashbacks from 2016, I will definitely be surrounding myself with everything that makes me feel cozy and loved. I will also be gearing up for whatever comes next: litigation, advocacy, armed revolution (if need be).”
—Chase Strangio, lawyer and trans rights activist, American Civil Liberties Union
Watching with my boyfriend. There will be wine, there will be polls, there will be tweets.
— Aaron Gasch Burnett (@AaronGBurnett) November 2, 2020
“First off, I’m going to drink a lot of coffee and water, stretch and put on one of my favourite ties! I’m spending most of the day at my desk. I will be monitoring what is happening at polling locations all over the country by checking in with LGBTQ2S+ voters who will be casting ballots in-person on Tuesday. I will also be talking with LGBTQ2S+ organizations and leaders who are running voter hotlines and following queer candidates to see what they are hearing on the ground. Part of my job will be to co-ordinate that reporting with our coverage from reporters who are on the ground in swing states talking to women.
“As the polls close, I will set up camp in front of my TV (where I do plan on building myself a bed because who knows how long this is going to go on). We’re partnering with Decision Desk HQ to bring readers live results, so I will be watching things there. I will hopefully not be panic-tweeting, but will definitely be surviving on Halloween candy and caffeine.”
—Kate Sosin, LGBTQ+ reporter at The 19th
Orgasms for the apocalypse 🤘
— Madeline Taylor (@mjeantaylor) November 2, 2020
“On election night, I’ll be cutting my toenails. I’ve only gotten one pedicure through all of quarantine, and they are out of control! MSNBC will probably be on in the background, at least until my pizza gets delivered. My go-to order is a medium pan (pepperoni, bacon and spinach with extra sauce) from Domino’s. I’ll surely have a few glasses of something mixed with vodka to accompany that and a couple pints of cookie dough ice cream—just in case. Also, I’m thankful that weed is legal in California because I may need to escape to another realm for the foreseeable future.”
—Tre’vell Anderson, writer, journalist and columnist at Xtra
Not a ritual but I plan to turn off the internet and keep my phone out of reach. Animal Crossing all night, then an Ativan before bed.
I’m only keeping my phone on in case my dad calls and we need to hop into action to bring his siblings and their fam up here.
— 🌲kat barnes🦇 (@barnfeline) November 2, 2020
“If I could, my preferred way to cope would be to livestream some video games so I have something to keep busy with all night—at that point, it’s not like there’s any more that I can do to affect the outcome. But I’ll actually be helping to cover the returns for The Stranger here in Seattle, working with a team of colleagues to make sure people have up-to-date information. Once that’s all done… I’ll definitely be disappearing into a cloud of Animal Crossing, junk food and weed.”
—Matt Baume, journalist and podcaster