Rage and horror thanks to the Globe and Mail

18 11 2012

In the Globe and Mail Saturday (“Canada’s National Newspaper”) there was an article called “Love’s Outer Reaches”, by Ian Brown. In it he reviews a book by Andrew Solomon about children who don’t meet ‘normal’ expectations  (Far From the Tree). This is the graphic to go with the article that has the types of children the author obviously feels are not normal. They include: teen criminals, disabled, deaf, lesbian, autistic, my son, children of rape, prodigy, schizophrenic, down syndrome, transgendered. The point of the book is that these children are difficult and isn’t it great, they often get more love than a normal child.

I just about exploded upon seeing the graphic and the story was worse. Honestly, classifying these children as abnormal is so offensive I can barely stop spitting long enough to type. And, to be frank, no child is ‘normal’ really – they are all different from us, aren’t they, and because of that they don’t fit our inner description of normal, whatever that foolishness might be. In other times it meant they were hippies, in these times, maybe they’re the tattooed ones, the living off the land ones. To them, we are the non-normal ones. In my view, we are merely part of the colourful diversity of our species, no type better than the other. Heck, I’m abnormal myself, at my towering height of 4’113/4″.

Well, okay, murderers and rapists are maybe not quite as good as the other. I truly feel sorry for these parents, who have to cope with such evil coming from their loins. The feelings of guilt must be profound, the wish to have done something differently if only they knew what it was. And if there was any way to save their child and the world from such things. But I imagine they still find a corner of love for this child, the one they saw wearing sweet costumes on Halloween or cuddled to their heart.

I know I feel guilt, and always will, that I wasn’t able to protect my children from harm as much as I wished. But we aren’t omnipotent, and things happen outside out reach or sight or cognition. I am sorry I didn’t protect them more, but I tried my best, and really that’s all we can do.

In any case, I feel washes of anger at the thought that we are still classifying people as normal or not, and that we talk about gradations of love as if we deal it out in measuring cups. Parenting is parenting – sometimes easier and sometimes harder, even with the same child.  Normal is a moving target and merely a way of classifying people as “other”. It’s prejudice, pure and simple.

The most annoying thing about this article and the book is that it is phrased in how the child affects us, how  it’s really all about us. And it isn’t. It’s about them. It’s about the world we create, whether it is safe for “different ” folks. It’s about stopping the categorizing of love.

And a bit whether we force women to have babies after rape, babies that look like their rapist. Some women may be strong enough to love the face of their abuser. I don’t know that I would be – and raising a child without loving them, no matter what they are like, is a recipe for disaster for everyone.

But that’s more about my lacks, and not the child’s fault at all.

Read the article. It’s worth some thought.

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OKAY! ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

17 04 2012

http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/87595-updated-man-dies-after-gottingen-street-assault
So, apparently last night in my adopted and loved home, a man who was an outspoken but kind advocate for the gay and lesbian community, and the editor of Wayves, was beaten to death on the street.
From the Chronicle-Herald: “Although police have not released his identity, several sources said the victim is Raymond Taavel, the former longtime editor of Wayves, the monthly gay and lesbian magazine. Taavel was a well-known activist.”

This makes me want to throw my fists in the air and howl at the heavens. When will this stop?
It seems to me the world is evolving into a nastier, more hateful place. Gays and Lesbians are still being beaten to death; women’s rights are being taken away by men looking to control sexuality and behaviour; the wealthy work to further oppress the poor. Everywhere people seem to be finding reasons to hate this one, that one, the other one.

And then they kill them. Directly or by starvation or imprisonment.

What the hell is wrong with everyone????

Is it too much caffeine? Are we enraged by the excessive salt in our diet? Are men not getting enough sex and so feel they need to attack?

Yeah, I know, women can be mean, too. But there is a qualitative difference. And women seem to be less deeply offended by homosexuality, for some reason. Maybe we identify with oppression.

Maybe we just work behind the scenes in hateful ways.

Men pound the heck out of people. Apparently this attack used no weapons, solely body parts, and was totally brutal – the poor fellow died on the street.

The man who is in custody for this was for some reason on an unrestricted leave from a forensic institute, where he was sent for beating someone else. So now all of those who hate people with mental illness will have another reason to rant, when the real blame rests with the people who released him, and the overall lack of decent options for the mentally ill.

I wish people would understand how very lucky some of us are in this country, how we should be on guard against hatred, how wrong it is to kill people because of their beliefs or race or sexual orientation (or lack thereof) or in fact, at any time.

(Well, at least until the next time we want to send them overseas to kill “the enemy”. Grr.)

It is both freaky and odd that this happened on the anniversary of the passage of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms – one of the very very good things done by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his government. The Charter is viewed worldwide as the example of how to write such a charter (though I should point out Canada still hasn’t signed the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child).

But still, we hate. And kill and beat and treat people badly. As a parent, I feel horror. My kids are all their own people, with strong beliefs about sexual identity and religion and politics and life. I am glad of this, but fearful. I’ve been attacked often times for taking a position, and I know how hard that is on a person.

But are we all to be quiet? Say nothing? Avoid controversy?

Or can we be brave enough to differ politely, to discuss alternatives with respect for each other, to allow others to exist in their reality as long as they don’t punch into ours? Can we speak out more loudly about injustices, prejudice, poverty, the fact we seem to be losing our way?

Can we ever learn to love one another, but also hold one another to our Charter rights?

To basic human rights?

It is tough, and sad, and I feel despair.








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