Dear Donald Trump.

Dear Donald Trump,

I can’t bring myself to put the words of “President” and “Trump” adjacent to each other because I don’t think you really wanted the job as much as you wanted the notoriety, so please understand when I refer to you as “Mr. Trump”. I still respect the office of the President of the United States, probably more so than some of the folks in your administration. I also have respect for when I’m visiting a location other than my own home and I don’t put my feet up on their couch. But I digress.

I want to thank you, Mr. Trump, for kicking my apathetic little butt and helping me find my way to education, protest and standing up for my beliefs again. Because of your empowerment to those that enjoy and embrace being racist, homophobic, religious-phobic and the like, I no longer tolerate people telling off-colored jokes about minorities in my presence. I reject those that make homophobic remarks even though “they have gay friends”. Instead of being silent, I speak out. I speak up. You have empowered me.

My internalized self-homophobia, something that I have lived with for much of my life, has dissipated. At 48 years old I am no longer afraid to be a gay man. I won’t be bullied. I won’t be afraid of who I am. I won’t be ashamed of who I am. I am the gay man that God intended me to be and anyone that can’t give me or my family the respect we deserve has no place in my life. I’m no longer afraid to say “no”. I’m no longer afraid to sever ties that were damaging, lest I settle for second best. I’m worthy of top prize, and you made me realize that.

I care about the LGBTQ community again. I no longer see gender as binary. I care about us and what will happen to us, all of us, under your administration. I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and let others speak for me. I will not tolerate my rights being determined by a bunch of old, white men who have no interest outside of monetary gain and power. I have found my voice. I will lend my voice. I have found my passion again. I have found my fire. The weekend after your election I participated in a protest for the first time in nearly 30 years. I’m sure it won’t be my last.

But most importantly, I know what the United States of America can be and I will fight and do everything I can do to make our country of the people for the people. All people. I have no fear. I am not afraid of being heard. I will do everything I can to keep you in check. I will join the chorus of voices that proclaim that we should be building bridges, not walls.

So thank you, Mr. Trump, for making me realize I can’t sit back and just let things happen. It’s time to bring this folly to an end and I believe those wheels are fully in motion.

And I’m going to do everything to make sure those wheels turn faster and faster.