In 2016 when several US states passed what have become known as the “bathroom bills” prohibiting transgendered people access to appropriate facilities, I joined in on the outrage. I tweeted about not to travelling to North Carolina and other states, withholding my tourist dollars, in protest. Someone on Twitter replied saying, quite reasonably, “yeah, big deal, you weren’t going to travel there anyway.”
He was right of course. It was an empty declaration. It had no real consequences.
At the beginning of this year, I decided that for the foreseeable future one way for me to protest the villainous actions and attitudes of the President of the United States was to refrain from any travel to the US. This includes academic travel as well as tourism.
I have not submitted papers to US conferences, I have not attended any US conferences, I’ve resigned from some associations that refuse to consider relocating their meetings, and I recently turned down an invitation to be a scholar-in-residence at a US liberal arts college. As an academic librarian and a PhD student, this decision has already impacted my ability to engage with colleagues and to advance my research work.
I know my decision can easily be viewed as pointless. I know that what I have given up is nothing compared to those in the US being deluded and oppressed by their own government. But it is something. And I felt I had to do something tangible and with consequences for me, however small and probably ineffective.