Trump’s win a concern for some New Hampshire women

  • Michelle Rosado of Barrington feels neither candidate this election season addressed the issues the country has been facing. She was surprised at Donald Trump’s win, and hopes the country will be able to come together. CAITLIN ANDREWS / Monitor staff

  • From left: Candace Dale, Susan Dow Johnson, C.N.M., Sandra Ackerman and Dalia Vidunas are all involved with the Equality Health Center in Concord. They are concerned about what Trump's presidency, as well as Republican local control will mean for access to abortion, family planning, and LGBTQ+ rights. —Monitor staff

  • Gretchen Steidle, founder of Global Grassroots, spoke at a luncheon event for the New Hampshire Women Foundation Wednesday afternoon. The event was meant to focus on community building, but the loss of Hillary Clinton hung over the event. —Monitor staff

  • Samantha Mckenzie, of Concord, is worried that a Donald Trump presidency will take away her access to healthcare. She is also fearful of what Mike Pence's vice candidacy will mean for queer and transgender people. —Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 11/11/2016 10:31:08 PM

Samantha Mckenzie is a pansexual, disabled woman.

She was not expecting Donald Trump to win the election Tuesday night.

Now, like many women, Mckenzie is concerned about what Trump’s candidacy will mean for people like her.

For her, the stakes are particularly high: as a self-identified queer and disabled woman, she feels many of Trump’s promises threaten her identity.

“I’m especially terrified of Mike Pence,” she said, noting Trump’s running mate’s history of being anti-marriage equality and pro-conversion therapy to counsel people away from homosexuality. She was also concerned about Pence’s announcement Wednesday that the Trump campaign would repeal President Obama’s executive order allowing transgender youth to access the bathroom of their choice.

“I have transgender friends who are talking about moving to Cambodia,” she said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Other women shared Mckenzie’s fears. For example, Elaine Bello is contemplating leaving the country.

The 61-year-old Concord resident said she reached out to her sister, who lives in Canada, as soon as she learned of Donald Trump’s victory Wednesday morning.

“I don’t want to waste any time,” she said.

Bello, who declined to be photographed out of fear of retribution for this article, said she checked the results of the election at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning and thought the election was still too close to call. But when she woke up around 6 a.m., she knew it was over, and dread set in.

“We’ve already discussed how the idea of Roe v. Wade and women’s health care is gone,” she said. “We discussed that over the breakfast table. I don’t think the idea of breaking any glass ceilings is going to happen for a while.”

For Bello, Trump’s victory, as well as the shifting control of the House and Senate to Republicans and the election of Chris Sununu as New Hampshire governor, could mean the loss of two vital aspects of her life: her husband’s career and her health insurance.

Her husband works in the solar industry and she’s worried he’ll be out of a job soon.

And when the Affordable Care Act passed in 2009, she said she was able to afford health insurance for the first time in 20 years.

“I know that’s gonna be gone too,” she said. “That was promised by many Republicans and Trump.”

With Trump in the White House, a Republican Congress, and GOP leadership in New Hampshire, there’s also a question of funding for Planned Parenthood.

Victoria Bonney, communications manger of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, called Trump’s win a “serious blow.”

“An overwhelming majority of Americans and Granite Staters, including Trump’s own voters, support access to health care at Planned Parenthood and want abortion to stay legal and safe,” she said. “We will fight alongside our partners to make sure that the progress of the past eight years, including emerging from the worst recession we’ve had in close to a century, expanding health care coverage to more than 20 million Americans, breaking down barriers of discrimination and racism, and upholding marriage equality, are protected.”

According to Planned Parenthood, 66 percent of New Hampshire residents supported funding for Planned Parenthood in 2015, and 73 percent supported access to safe and legal abortion, the highest level of support in the country.

Gretchen Steidle, founder of Global Grassroots spoke to members of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation the day after the election. She felt Trump’s campaign had succeeded by tapping into divided parts of the country.

“There are subsets of the population who feel not represented by the government, who have a lot of fear and anger,” she said. “It’s a wake-up call.”

Steidle was also concerned about how Trump’s statements about grabbing women and rating them on their looks reflected the country’s cultural values.

“The fact that the leader of a powerful country can objectify and attack his opponents, and have it accepted as locker-room talk, is not okay, because it never was locker-room talk,” she said.

But there was also a sense of cautious optimism and a desire to move forward.

“One thing is certain – we will never back down, and we will never stop fighting to protect the access to care that so many people across this country depend on, including 12,000 women and families in New Hampshire,” Bonney said.

Dalia Vidunas, executive director of the Equality Health Center in Concord, said the best way forward is to persevere in their work, which includes abortion services, birth control, gynecological care, men’s health and transgender health. The center is able to provide these services to their clients on a sliding scale fee, which can range from nothing to a small amount.

“Even though the work may be more difficult, it’s not impossible,” Vinduas said. “We must be willing to have open dialogues and not stagnate.”

And Mckenzie was focusing on looking to the future.

“This is the last election of the old guard,” she said. “Soon our generation will be in politics, and hopefully people with our views will be able to make a difference. And maybe some of the things he said about the economy will be good for us. But just because you say one good thing out of millions of bad things, that doesn’t make you a good person.”

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)




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