"What Should I Do Before January?" guide addresses concerns over Trump administration
Health care, immigration and safety are among topics covered
Are you a woman who’s worried about what life under President Donald Trump could possibly mean for access to birth control or abortion services?
Are you transgender and wondering if now’s the time to make sure your photo identification matches your gender identity, in case the new administration intends to pass a law to prevent you from doing so?
Are you an immigrant, documented or undocumented, and unsure of what your rights will be if Trump makes good on plans to enforce deportations? Or, what if you’re Muslim and worried about your safety amid rising reports of harassment and hate crimes?
If so, you’re not alone, and others want to help.
A Google Drive document with answers to those questions and more has been making the rounds since Thursday, growing in length and information. So many people were looking at “The ‘Oh S—! What Should I Do Before January?’ Guide” that its creator moved the guide from Google to a WordPress site to keep it from crashing.
New Yorker Ariel Federow started the guide to address concerns she had as a gay woman about what to do in the event her worst fears were realized. Such “survival guides” have long been a way for marginalized communities to share information and support each other, so it seemed like a natural solution in troubled times, she said.
“I wanted it to be a place where people were bringing together all this wisdom with regard to how to survive in a hostile environment,” she said. “Information is safety and information can be power and we can’t rely on official channels to take care of us, especially if we’re not white, especially if we’re queer, especially if we’re immigrants, especially if we’re poor.”
It’s not the only crowdsourced solution to address fears of harassment and violence amid increasing reports of hate crimes since the election of Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. A Brooklyn woman has set up an online form where citizens can volunteer to accompany vulnerable commuters who are worried about being harassed on their way to school or work.
What a Trump presidency could meant for LGBT Americans
Federow started the guide as a modest list of advice and links to resources for issues related to same-sex marriage, transgender document rights, abortion access and reproductive health. She posted a link to it on her Facebook page Thursday morning and went out to run a few errands. By noon, it had more than 100 viewers, the highest count a Google document goes to, and people were adding information about mental health, crisis hot lines, chronic illness and immigration issues.
The list continued to grow over the weekend as more and more people contributed. Federow has no way of knowing how many people viewed or edited it before she moved it to WordPress. Just one post on tumblr to the document was shared more than 7,300 times.
Since his election last week, Trump has seemed to walk back some of the hard-line positions on immigration policy and LGBT rights that came from his mouth or from Pence during the campaign and before.
As far as Federow and many others are concerned, that doesn’t change what he’s said in the past or alleviate their concerns, especially when it comes to his short list of conservative Cabinet members and Supreme Court justices.
“Based on the things that were coming out of his mouth for the length of his campaign, it is ludicrous to me that things he has been saying consistently are suddenly supposed to be disregarded,” she said.