This is How You Get Your Point Across

I have been following Lauren McNamara’s blog and YouTube Channel for a number of years now, and she has consistently impressed me with her outstanding ability to form a tight, well-thought out, well-researched, and interesting argument.  The arguments she makes in her videos and blog posts are so tight and concise that there is no real way for people to poke holes in it.  Lately, McNamara has been getting national media attention for being a witness for the Chelsea Manning case.  Much of her time in interviews, however, have been about Manning receiving hormonal treatments while she is in prison.  Here is McNamara’s latest interview on CNN:

As you can see from this video, McNamara gives factual, concise answers to each of the questions she is asked.  This is nothing surprising to me, since I am already aware of her intellect and the way she conveys an argument.  What I am really impressed by, however, is her ability to remain calm and collected while she speaks to the reporter.  The reporter doesn’t seem to accept being transgender as something that is legitimate, frequently referring to Chelsea Manning as “he”.  McNamara frequently corrects him without getting visibly angry or annoyed.  Her ability to maintain calm during that interview is impressive.

I hope we see a lot more of Lauren McNamara on a national stage.  Her type of commentary is something the world needs much more of!

Her YouTube Channel:

Her blog:

“If you won’t listen to reason, there’s always…Towanda.”

Dear “One pissed off mother”

***Warning: Extreme Amounts of Snark Ahead!***

How are you?  I just saw the sweet little letter you wrote to “lady living at this address,” and, as a person on the autism spectrum, I feel I and the autistic community owes you an apology.

I’m sure you didn’t think your letter would end up making the Huffington Post, but it did.  Now, a incredibly large audience is aware of your feelings about an autistic neighbor of yours.  Now, I know it must be awful that a woman had the audacity to not only give birth to a cognitive disabled child, but then had to nerve to live in a house which happened to be in your neighborhood?  Where does she get off?  And then she maliciously allows her child to go outside.  Call the National Guard!  I can only imagine the pain and anguish you must feel when you are at the park with your children, and this mother and child show up, and the child has the nerve to be openly autistic, “scaring” your “normal” children.  And where does this child get off making weird noises in a residential neighborhood?  I find it hard to believe that you didn’t suggest the mother get the child a muzzle!  At least that would somewhat drown out the sound!  I mean, how dare he?  How insensitive can this child be, making noise in a residential area and all?  And how insensitive is this mother by allowing the child to make these noises?  Something must be done!

***end snark***

OK, now I’m being serious.  I was going to be snarky with the rest of this woman’s letter as well, but it gets so horrid that I am not mentally able to do it.  Instead, here’s is an actual letter to this woman:

Dear “One pissed off mother,”

Where the fuck do you get off writing a letter like that?  What on Earth made you think it’s acceptable to antagonize a woman and her child just because the child is disabled?  The child you speak about is a person, despite your belief that he is a “wild animal.”  Along with being a person, this child has rights, such as being able to live in a residential neighborhood.  This child also has the right to make any noise he chooses (or doesn’t choose).  Although you write that his noises “scare the hell out of your normal children,” I can’t attest to how much they actually do.  Perhaps they scare you more than they scare your children.  Or, perhaps, the noises just make you uncomfortable.  Additionally, I have to note your use of the word “normal” within that sentence.  You use the term “normal” to posit your children as, somehow, superior to hers, thereby implicitly saying they have more rights than her child.  You make out being normal as something to be revered when it’s not.  At the same time, you imply that people who don’t fit within your standard of “normal” are less worthy, not only of rights, but of existing.

And, who are you to determine the entire outcome of this child’s life?  What makes you so certain that he’ll never marry, have a job, and spend the rest of his life being a “hindrance to everyone”?  Based on your comment about donating “whatever non-retarded body parts” he has “to science”, it is clear that you have little to no knowledge of anatomy and physiology, not to mention psychology, neuroscience, biology, and probably anything else related to science.  In short, you having nothing to offer this child or his mother in the realm of scientific advise, and you have no business mentioning it in the first place.

Then, immediately after you call her child worthless for a second time, you have the audacity of accusing her of doing something negative to you?  Do you have no self-awareness at all?  You’re acting like she is committing a crime by simply raising her child.  As I have said before, her child has the right to live and has the right to be in public.  This mother probably takes her child to the park for the same reasons you take your child to the park, so your vile malice and intolerance should have no place in your thoughts about her actions.  Her taking her child to the park is not “special treatment” if that is what you are insinuating (although you don’t make clear what “special treatment” means at any point in this letter).

Finally, telling her to euthanize her child brings any reader of this letter to the awful, irrefutable conclusion about the type of person you are.  You are a vile human being with no shred of decency within yourself.  I find it ironic that many people believe that people like me are incapable of empathy, when you, a presumably neurotypical person, demonstrate such an incredible lack of compassion and understanding that I cannot even comprehend.  If anybody deserves to be cut off from society in the way you suggest this mother and child should be, it’s you.  Writing a letter like the one you did shows, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you have no business interacting with the public in any fashion.  If I thought you were capable, I would tell you that you need to look long and hard at your actions and try to find a way to improve in the future, but I don’t think you’re able to do that.  You are someone who will probably live out their days holding on to your vile and disgusting attitudes along with your false sense of superiority.  I realize none of what I said will probably get though to you, but at least it is being said.  I’m glad your letter reached the Huffington Post, and I will revel in whatever isolation and ridicule it will cause you for the rest of your life.



Now can the media admit to there not being two legitimate sides to every issue?

A large majority of news shows feature panels debating an issue during one of its segments.  One person will be defending one position and the other person will be defending the opposing position.  It is a good way for news watchers to get a cursory view of an issue from both sides and allow for them to come to their own conclusion.  But what if one side ‘s positions are not based on objective fact or sound evidence?  There are many cases in which two people are invited on to a news show to discuss an issue and one side bases its entire position on half-truths and outright lies.  Issues such as climate change, gay marriage and the existence of trans* people are what immediately come to my mind.

Yesterday, CNN hosted a discussion of the passage of transgender rights laws in the state of California.  They featured and Transgender Law Center’s Masen Davis alongside Randy Thomasson, the leader of the SPLC-identified hate group, Save California.  In this segment, Thomasson calls trans* people “sexually confused” and “in need of counseling.”  He also believes being transgender is not immutable and that gender and sex are synonymous terms.  None of Thomasson’s assertions are backed by any credible evidence.  The interview ends with Thomasson saying, “Hey, nice talking to you ladies,” in reference to the host and Davis.  Davis is a transgender man.

I understand that new stations want to look fair and balanced, but there are times, such as this one, where looking fair and balanced allows for dangerous misinformation and harmful attitudes to be spread.  For Thomasson to refer to Davis as a lady is not only offensive and insulting, it portrays an attitude that it is ok for people to refer to transgender individuals as a gender they do not identify with. It allows for other people to mimic the childish, cowardly, and crass attitudes Thomasson displayed.  Additionally, it is clear that Thomasson has no idea what he is talking about from this segment.  Between his failure to understand the difference between gender and sex and his attempts to tie being trans* to child abuse and divorce, it is clear that he is pulling stuff out of his ass.  It irks me that someone is allowed to say these things without being fact checked all for the sake of “balance.”

I realize this is not a new phenomenon by any means.  I am speaking about this issue because it seems like people are starting to become cognizant of news stations showing two sides to a story when only one is legitimate.  There is demonstrable evidence which points to the existence of climate change.  Gay people and gay couples exist and should have access to a marriage license.  Trans* people exist and deserve to have access to facilities that match their gender identity.  There is no reasonable opposition to any of these.  The news media shouldn’t be intimating that there is.  It may be of good entertainment value, but it is not good journalism.

“If you won’t listen to reason, there’s always…Towanda.”