I’m Going to Say Some Unpopular Things About Leelah Alcorn

First of all, what a terrible tragedy.  What we know is that she felt trapped in her body, she went to her parents for help, and they decided that the help she needed was ‘therapy’ to make her feel male. When she realized that it would be too late for her to transition gracefully if she waited for legal autonomy, she killed herself, leaving a suicide note on social media asking that her death bring about help for teens like herself.  Her mother didn’t acknowledge either the suicide or the transgender identity when she announced her baby’s death.

I understand the outrage at the parents, I really do.  They did completely the wrong thing, they bought snake oil medicine, and when their child died they couldn’t (publicly) face the fact that their actions had something to do with it.  They still call her “Joshua”, and she will undoubtedly be buried under that name and in a suit.

The thing is, the parents of a suicide often have trouble acknowledging it.  I had a forty year old friend who took an overdose of medication for his chronic pain, and his mother couldn’t acknowledge it was suicide – even in a situation where there was no blame implied.  How could you expect Carla Alcorn to come to grips with the death of her child when her child blamed her for it?

I want to fix this, really, for all future Leelah’s.  I just don’t see how attacking her parents does that.   They attempted to get their child psychiatric treatment, they went to doctors they believed were reputable, and the depression deepened.

We certainly can say the mental health professional they took her to failed dramatically.  Ohio was on it’s way to banning conversion therapy last year, but that effort crashed and burned in the spring.  The fact that she didn’t get any help for suicidal depression is another BIG data point in favor of the ban.

But the truth is, even if she had gotten appropriate therapy (which I would guess would have been a combination of depression treatment and gender conversion therapy) there is no guarantee that she would have lived.  We will never know.

So let’s all respect Leelah’s wish, and do what we can to make the world better for Transgendered teens (and adults as well), but please, if we can, let’s do it without demonizing her family.  They have enough pain to deal with, and changing their minds won’t help the next Leelah.


Yeah, like that went well…

My last post here ended with a note about me doing better at keeping in touch.   As that was posted almost a year ago, you can see how well I did with it.

Just answered the door to a couple of Mormon Missionaries.  They asked me if I was religious, and had trouble processing the negative response.  Asked (quite politely) if I wanted to talk, and had no trouble processing the negative response.  Asked if I wanted a card for their website (which I took), and explained that we all have questions, and the website has answers.

The questions are:

  • What is the true nature of God?
  • Can families be forever together?
  • Where do we go after this life?

Dude, these questions are so far from being universal, they don’t even make sense unless you’re religious in the first place.  Honestly, if you’re going to try to convince me you have the answers, at least do me the courtesy of answering the questions I actually ask.  Make it a discussion, not a sales job.

It’s frustrating, because there are plenty of spiritual questions which are relevant to me.

  • Is there a purpose to life?
  • Is there a purpose to my life, beyond that which I assign to it?
  • Is it even possible to experience ‘objective’ events, or is constant confabulation an inherent part of human consciousness?
  • Is purpose itself a result of that confabulation?

and so on.  You get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, thinking of starting a photography project, just taking pictures (or movies) of police officers, in public places, doing their jobs.  After all, when I personally observe them they generally are doing their jobs, and they do deserve recognition for that.  Of course, if I were to observe a police officer NOT doing his/her job I’d want to give him/her recognition for that as well.

It’s more relevant than you might think, according to this recent story from WJZ news, which was also discusssed in Gizmodo.  Theoretically, if I do this I’m risking (false) arrest and imprisonment, but I’m doubtful that’s how it would play out.

Humor in a political vein

head bang-OR-

Election Results with Mr. Peabody…

Again I laugh [1]…  followed a link from an article on the current google news page and found this:

The Myth of Stagnant Wages

Got down to the third paragraph, to wit:

consider this: If the standard of living of the average American really had not improved for more than three decades, wouldn’t there have been a tremendous political backlash by now? Wouldn’t the Democratic Party have fully mutated into a full-scale social democratic party—nationalized healthcare, a return to superhigh tax rates—rather than moving right over the past three decades?

At which point I looked and saw the dateline on the article is  September 20, 2007

[1] Like the Comedian (Ob Watchman reference)

Awesome, thy name is EFBQ

Anybody remember that old commercial – I think it was for Geritol or somesuch, which is sadly ironic given this particular spelunking of the Memory Cave – which ended with the guy snarkily saying to the camera, “My wife. I think I’ll keep her.”?

Fast forward to Thursday, when I was due to head downtown to an interview for which I had no information whatsoever. The recruiter in this case was in New Jersey – I think. Fact is, he was an outsourced guy, of the sort that drives me nuts…I hate to say it, but I despair when hearing, “Ahhhh, hello…myee nem is Chonny, and I am being of culling you from New York-keh…” No. No, you are not; your name is Kirpal and you’re calling from Bangalore where it’s likely the middle of the night. I don’t have any personal issue with the Kirpals of the world, because they’re just trying to do a job and get a paycheck like anybody else; I do mind that they get paid a pittance compared to American workers, and I do mind that American companies exploit them due to that fact, and don’t hire qualified Americans, and I do mind that they aren’t always given a clear idea what they are supposed to be doing, and that they definitely, through no fault of their own, do not have any idea of the geography and culture – corporate or otherwise – of the United States. And yeah, I wish they could just say they were Kirpal from Bangalore, but I understand they can’t because there are bigots in the United States, giving me another reason to just hate the whole damned mess.

Anyway, here it was, Thursday morning, and this particular version of Kirpal had left me high ‘n’ dry. The night before, I checked the email he’d sent, which was, how you say, lacking in a few details: Continue reading

Cynical observations…

I used to feel that there were two types of friends. Those who will ‘tell you to your face’, and those who won’t. Since I tend to err on the side of directness myself, I tended to choose the first sort because, at least, I knew what their issues were. I figured those who won’t are probably more than likely to spread any problems they have with you around behind your back.

Experience has confirmed the existence of these two sorts of friends. It has also presented a few more categories, including those who honestly won’t notice your flaws. As lovely as that sounds, this third class tends to be no more saintly than the first two… Either they tend to be completely self absorbed, so your little shortcomings simply don’t register on their consciousness, or they have such massive issues of their own that they can’t afford to be aware of those of what friends they have.

In short, friends are flawed. As all human beings are flawed. Whatever choices you make regarding your circle of friends, there will be days when you come face to face with their shortcomings and deficiencies…. unless you have chosen to avoid friendships all together, in which case you will eventually be forced to deal with the ramifications and shortcomings of that choice.

For most of us, the benefits of having friends far outweighs the pitfalls, but there are still and always those days when the absence of humanity seems infinitely preferable.

Not today, actually, but I’m working through bits and snippets from my past, and I thought I’d preserve this particular piece of realization.

I hope all your friendships bring you joy today, and for many days to come.

…and we’ll never be ‘cool’ again

Still recovering from the cold from beyond the 8th DimensionTM. I’ve had time to muse on various things (which is always dangerous).

In the past 24 hours one child has been recognized as ‘indispensable’ by  the director of the school play (she’s on tech crew this time around).  The other one was told that there would be no Junior Prom for her class unless someone volunteered for the student council (she’s a Freshman), so (you guessed it) she signed up, because she wants to make sure it’s going to get done.  So it’s been a really good day for parental pride.

I’ve been thinking more about kids, parenting, and how our relationship changes as they get older.  There was a time when they were  younger when whatever Mommy & Daddy were doing was pretty cool, and they wanted to get involved.  Now they’re both still open to adult leadership and inspiration, and they want to be shown how to do things (then allowed to actually do them).   But what they want from Mommy and Daddy is recognition or their accomplishments and the freedom to make mistakes for themselves.

They’ve reached the stage where they want parental cheerleaders, and a little advice if (and only if) it can be delivered tactfully, with the understanding that they can follow it or not.

Not my area of strength, unfortunately.  but I’m going to have to do my best…

Would write more, but another coughing jag has convinced me this is enough for one post.

Pleasant fever dreams…

The last time I was sick for any period of time we still had cable, and I spent hours watching the worst monster movies I could find on the SciFi channel. I’ve got some sort of nasty virus again, and am seriously messed up, to the point where I can’t really see what I’m typing, or stay vertical for more than five minutes at a time.

When not coughing up a lung or traipsing back and forth to the commode I’ve been chilling out to the Wormwood podcast. I’ve just gotten to the point where it’s painfully obvious that there are no decent characters, that every one in the town is doomed, cursed, corrupt or just plain nasty. Usually I’d give up at this point, but it’s the perfect counterpoint to how I’m feeling… which is actually a good thing, because it’s a well written story and it would be a shame to give up on it….

So, no coherence here, just the pointer. I hope you all enjoy it.