This is how a gay atheist immigrant from Jordan is handling Trump’s election

“This is Osama, he’s not a terrorist.” That was how he was introduced to me. It was at a pool party a couple of years ago, a small affair where everybody either knew each other or was a close friend-of-a-friend. We were standing next to the pool at the time, and everyone smiled and laughed, understanding immediately why the introduction was performed that way. When your name is Osama, and you live in Dallas Texas, you pretty much have to lean into that joke from the get-go.

At that party I got to know the basics, the types of things you get from casual small-talk at a pool party. He works in construction. His family is in Jordan. No, they don’t know that he is gay. Neither do they know he is an atheist. He’s not sure which one would bother them more, if they found out. He came to the United States to study, and has his Masters in Engineering.

Osama's graduation picture

Since we met, I’ve gotten to know him as a friend. He’s always smiling and very down-to-earth: one of those people who is always ready to have goofy fun or a heartfelt conversation, whichever the moment demands. He doesn’t talk about politics much, and until recently that was because he was unsure of the status of his path to citizenship. Now that he knows he will be staying, he feels more comfortable expressing his opinions about the country that he has proudly chosen to be his own: the United States.

So with that context, and without further commentary, I’d like to present two of his reactions (taken from Facebook and distributed here with his permission) to the 2016 Election and the victory of Donald Trump:

Transcript for those with media disabled: "Called my sister today, who is a Ph.D Biology researcher at George Town University, to tell her to be careful when wearing her hijab in public... but all what [sic] she was horrified about was republicans reinforcing the ban on stem cell research that Obama lifted."

Transcript for those with media disabled:
“Called my sister today, who is a Ph.D Biology researcher at George Town University, to tell her to be careful when wearing her hijab in public… but all what [sic] she was horrified about was republicans reinforcing the ban on stem cell research that Obama lifted.”

Transcript: "Still trying to wrap my head around what happened last night but it was a wake up call that good things don't come for granted and you have to work hard to make the place where you live better for you and people around you: 1) I will fully respect and accept the election results as this is how the democratic system that I chose to live under works. 2. Not going anywhere. I chose to live here for the good and the bad. Unless new Republican legislation stopped my path to citizenship. 3. Work hard building and improving the urban context in Dallas cause it is about a county and never about a person. 4. Try hard to be the best version of myself and give a good image on immigrants, middle easterns, gays and atheists to hopefully reduce xenophobia in this country.

Transcript for those with media disabled: “Still trying to wrap my head around what happened last night but it was a wake up call that good things don’t come for granted and you have to work hard to make the place where you live better for you and people around you:
1) I will fully respect and accept the election results as this is how the democratic system that I chose to live under works.
2. Not going anywhere. I chose to live here for the good and the bad. Unless new Republican legislation stopped my path to citizenship.
3. Work hard building and improving the urban context in Dallas cause it is about a county and never about a person.
4. Try hard to be the best version of myself and give a good image on immigrants, middle easterns, gays and atheists to hopefully reduce xenophobia in this country.

Post Scriptum: I’m not posting this to tell anyone how they should be reacting. I’m not posting this to make any kind of generalization about immigrants, or Muslims, or atheists, or anyone else. I think the reactions of both Osama and his sister are very classy, but I am in no way suggesting that people with different reactions to the election of Donald Trump are “wrong” in any way. Osama has been an inspiration to guide me in my own reaction to Trump’s victory, as I’ve written in another article. I’m sharing this because I hope you can feel inspired as well.

 



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  1. Bobby says:

    This is a positive way to look at the situation we find ourselves. Most of us have not had to experience this kind of situation but article reminds me of what MLK said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice ” we just have to continue moving forward fighting when we must.

  2. Angel says:

    Good luck, guy. All you’re missing is ovaries for Pence to attack.

  3. Red Ibrahim says:

    Those were very uplifting words both from you and Osama. Thank you for sharing

  4. Sandy Treece says:

    Wonderful

  5. mirella says:

    Let’s try and function from a higher level of intelligence: let’s get rid of limiting labeling and try make our own opinions – into EVERYTING

  6. Richard Quincy says:

    Inspiring and authentic of who you truly are as a person. Continue to be amazing!!!

  7. Sean Aus says:

    Oh, hey I know that gay atheist! Very sweet article

  8. BWW says:

    This is dumb. why should it be surprising that some guy who looks like he could blend in pretty much anywhere by the way based on his graduation picture, isn’t upset that Trump was elected?? are you trying to send some kind of message with this or what

  9. John W says:

    Great attitude and mindset. Anything worthwhile is always work, and I think a lot of young gays forget that. Lots of people are freaking out prematurely over Trump. Let’s wait and see what happens. If he tries to pull some shit, we can fight back but let’s not get in a tizzy before he’s even done anything.

  10. ANON says:

    He’s hot. More pics.

  11. Jay says:

    Good article but I worry that it may send a message of low expectations… like “Hey, look, all you Muslims shouldn’t be upset because here’s this guy who’s not freaking out”

    • Greg Stevens says:

      I know what you mean… I even added the little P.S. disclaimer at the end because I thought of that. Hopefully people can take the message for what it is — a positive outlook for people to embrace if they want to — without reading too much into it.



Pings to this post

  1. […] activist in opposition of the social and cultural values that he represents. I have shared the story of my friend Osama: his reaction to Trump’s election and how he plans to respond. I will not go gently into that […]

  2. […] yourself is radical. Sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for a movement. I recently wrote an article about my friend Osama, who told me that, as a gay atheist immigrant from the Middle East, he thinks the most activist […]

  3. […] Trump Wins: A previous guest on my ‘Write With Courage!’ Podcast and all round smart science writer Greg Stevens just posted this timely article so I’m sharing How a gay atheist immigrant from Jordan is handling Trump’s election […]


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