What happens when you’re a feminist and you fall in love with a Trump supporter
For Christmas I bought him a Margaret Thatcher colouring book
The morning of June 24th, 2016. The whole country was scared, worried, devastated or at least a bit shocked.
Except my boyfriend. He was positively gleeful.
Brexit, Trump and every other political movement people seem to dislike, he aligns with. The problem is I’m a feminist, so we don’t exactly make the perfect match.
We’d met at Sixth Form, where he was our student president. I disliked him at first, muttering under my breath whenever he made a sexist ‘joke’ in class.
But you don’t meet many teenage Thatcherites, especially not in Sheffield, and I was fascinated as to how a 21st century teenager could think like him. So I started talking to him. He said “no” when I asked him if he was a feminist, yet seemed to agree that men and women are of equal worth and value. Despite the un-ironic obsession with Nigel Farage, he was genuine, warm and charismatic.
I expected him to trip up somewhere, reveal a hidden alt-right dungeon with a Beyoncé dart board and an EDL membership card. He didn’t. We disagreed on almost everything, but that’s what made him interesting. I started to see the actual human person behind the vote leave badge, something I’d never tried to do before.
After they got over the initial shock of our ‘opposites attract’ relationship, the main reaction to him from my friends and family has been baffled amusement. Upon meeting him for the first time, one of my closest friends, who’s bisexual, got into an argument with him after he claimed her sexuality didn’t exist. Despite this, they’re now both good friends.
Introducing him to my parents was also a fun experience, especially the bit where I had to tell my ex-miner dad that my new boyfriend has a poster of dear Maggie Thatcher on his bedroom wall. But they respected my choice, and he now gets on brilliantly with my family, as I do with his.
Am I a bad feminist for dating him? A failed ally to my LGBT friends? I don’t think so, and I know no one else who does. We can’t change people, but we can teach them, and our relationship has been a learning curve for the both of us about tolerance, judgement and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
I no longer define someone’s intelligence or moral compass based purely on what they do in a polling station, and I like to think he’s mellowed slightly as well.
After all, I might be dating a Trump supporter, but he’s dating a feminist.