Gatica: Is This For Real?

Imagine a world where your DNA determines where you go in life, what job you have, who you will marry, the probability or what have you of your being dead at age 32. This is the vision of Andrew Nichol, the director of the movie Gatica, but it seems quite disturbing.

The premise of the movie is centered around a “god child”, a guy who was conceived in our natural view of things. He wants to be an astronaut, but another man is doing this, all because of his genome.

The world in Gatica almost seems to be like discrimination by DNA. With the prenatal testing of infants before their birth, parents now have a choice to kill a child because of the possibility of Down’s Syndrome. Because of this, Trenton and I are probably going to forego any tests that could get a doc worried and have that same doc tell us, “Abort this baby because it has a high chance of this or that.” Do we really need to tell our little Junior or Violet that he or she or they for this matter will die at thirty years because of a disease they will develop? I don’t like this idea of predicting the future. It scares me, and it should scare anyone reading this.

Prenatal testing should be banned if the tests reveal disabling conditions in the child that are compatible with life such as Down’s Syndrome. I can’t imagine life without my disability, being that I have one myself. If we prenatally test disabled children to death, we will be able to discriminate further, think that life is a “club” in which your DNA must have 46 Chromosomes to exist and in which you must be able to see the writing on your screen. This is not true. This thinking is full of fowl thoughts in and of itself, thoughts against the disabled.

And the only way to change the social attitudes toward disabled people is pretty simple but hard.

  1. We must first start by coming up with a slogan. Educate, don’t eradicate might work. Eradicating disabled people would have meant wiping out Stevie Wonders and Ray Charles and other greats who are indeed disabled. Where would FDR be? So educating people on the matter of disability is essential. I fail in some way to educate the public by the NFB standard, but seriously, I have spatial and travel issues as spawned by breakups and trauma and some judgments suffered by my own self at the hands of my parents, inadequate O and M services, etc. All disabilities should be held to the highest bar, and unfortunately, traumatic events and focusing one’s attention in the wrong direction can cause problems for that bar being high. I must say, some teachers I’ve worked with were great, but it didn’t help matters that my ankle was swollen at CCB because I fell through the infamous ankle biter, ugh. But Dominique (name has been changed to protect privacy), my travel teacher, has proved one and another time again that I can do things. Trenton can travel, but we’re seriously considering going out more, but it’s like I can’t just walk at a quick pace. Not anymore. Traveling scares me because of lots of things. Things I can’t tell you more about.
  2. The second step is acceptance. While educating the public about disability is essential, acceptance is one hard thing to do. The Kennedys, the family of political greats we all know and love, had a daughter they could not accept. Rosemary was lobotomized because of nonacceptance, but had she been given more acceptable status in her family, which prided itself in competition to win, she would not have gone through the hateful surgery. The Nazi party in Germany and some groups in the U.S. are also against disabling conditions in people. Some people believe Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned parenthood, does not like or accept blacks, disabled people, poor people, etc., but I think her mission has its place. If a woman doesn’t want a baby, then by God if that baby is healthy enough not to be abandoned so many times, she could consider adoption. However, some women can’t bear to see the future for what it would hold for such a child, a child of rape and incest. How could Elizabeth Fritzl cope with having seven kids by her own dad! I can hardly imagine what Ms. Fritzl has gone through, honestly I don’t think her dad deserved his weapon of choice at all.
  3. The next step in acceptance is employment. I wouldn’t go for quotas, I’d go for qualifications. Do not ask about a person’s disability till the interview, then ask how the person can perform the job. For instance, an executive admin job sometimes requires phone answering. I would say, “If given the proper training and equipment with a phone and electronic mail, I can certainly do the task at hand.” There is a visually impaired IL specialist at mine and Trenton’s local Atlantis community center for people with disabilities, and she does her job well. With the assistance of her dog guide, this lady gets around the city, traveling sometimes to see us, me and Trenton. I offered her a cup of water, she accepted. The lady has a pc, and somehow she and Trent got to talking about technology, Trenton’s favorite subject matter. If only Trent could do tech seminars at Atlantis because there’s so much more to the tech land than JAWS now, which the lady is using. She uses a Windows 7 web based database which is fully usable, all she needs is Wifi. She doesn’t have to read paper mail necessarily. But people at this place are more than willing to hire.
  4. Don’t discriminate. We must be able to accept the disabled in jobs, on buses, and in housing situations. I think we need housing more than nondisabled people at all cities in our nation. Trent and I are currently in crisis hunting for an apartment, an all inclusive place maybe, but a place nonetheless that has a more flexible guest policy. That and a place that won’t racially target blacks as drug users as what happened to our last guest, Dan, will not happen again. The management could make a hardship of us, but we must if anything pack our things if evicted and go to his family’s home where both can live. Grandma is happy with us, and thank God the family supports us, even if we did rush things a bit. The thing is that we really need to be able to stay together because that will mean a lot to both of us. In psychological aspects of things, Trent and I will need to get going on couples therapy. We found someone finally, but it’s obvious. We must be able to live together and I feel the recovery process is all about acceptance on both ends. I am learning to accept Trenton’s differences with his CP in one leg and one hand, and he is learning to accept my quirks and such. However, we have serious issues with my family, to whom I am forced to say I’m a part of. The immediate nuclear family I can say I’m done with, but sadly, they aren’t done with me. Acceptance isn’t a part of my family’s vocabulary when it comes to disability, and that’s what we must stop. I say ban all guardianship of folks with physical and mental disability that does not hinder the life they want for themselves or does not hinder public health. An aggressive male can have guardians if he has committed domestic violence and such, as an example, but not a blind person who’s been abused by the same aggressive male, known as … JDO. I’ll shut up now.

Thank you for reading.


What Home Means to Me

Shania Twain may have said once that “home is where the heart is”, and she’s right. Whether one likes it or not, home is more than a roof over your head. There’s a few things that make a good home, so please read carefully, and look shockingly at yourself in the mirror.

Home starts with a house, but ends with a tight knit group of people who actually give a crap. Two thirds of all prisoners and homeless people in Denver combined are African American and minority populations such as the disabled, Muslims, and Jews. But the sad truth of the matter is that being without a roof is classified as “homelessness” in the United States. In this country, for those worldwide audiences who did not read the previous post, we have lost the true definition of home.

For me, being at home means being with my love. Trenton is where my heart is and staying where the heart is is my ultimate goal. Trenton and I have to have a place to call ours, and do we need a live inner? Home should be a place where we keep things clean, we do the dishes, and for us, we make the rules. Being in the HUD housing building I’m in, I consider myself virtually homeless, even though I have a roof over my head. Money is scarce, resources are scarce, and being told that you have to leave scares me more. Trenton is African American, blind, and very refined. All three of his favorite words involve flowers, and because workers and clients have differences, it is important to note this if a client is like him. He has differences from most males in the African American community. While he stands by his black neighbor, Trenton does not put up with anything, not even retaliation. Homelessness could result in guys like Joe, a dude we saw on the way to a community center by bus. Joe (name has been changed to protect privacy.) has been homeless forever, and because of this, he has almost no access to a bath or shower, resulting in the unhygienic appearance that sometimes lingers with most of this sort. Our buddy, Dan (name has been changed to protect privacy), also had the streetwise funk that is carried around when you don’t access a bath or shower. Homeless people are likely to sicken and die of colds and flu in the snow stricken parts of Denver, a northern city. Imagine a world where homelessness wasn’t a problem.

As stated in a previous press post, home is not just a roof, a bath or shower, or communal living. Home is a place of supports that extend to all aspects needed in the supports arena. For instance, Trenton and I have come up with a plan B in case things don’t work here at the building, but we don’t know if we can get a house due to the American credit and housing/home loan system. As a virtually unsupported person, I don’t truly feel that home is just in a mere building. But for the truly homeless, the ones like Joe do not have many family who can take him in for the night. Yes, we know that homeless men can cause problems, that most renters wouldn’t give an African American with disabilities a chance to thrive. Dan has some disabilities, recent paperwork from docs, but then there’s the question of forgery and burglary, larseny, and other problems that surround most homeless adults between 21-40. Homeless folks are generally penniless but a monetary donation is never enough. Dan reports unsafe conditions both on the street or in a prison or some shelters. Many overflow units won’t allow him to stay. I seriously don’t know what is going on in Dan’s head, but I know Trenton does, and he’s all right with him staying.

What Dan needs is a good network of supports, i.e. parental figures, siblings, some exes, etc. Maybe a good family is best, but Dan also says he wants someone in his life, a right he has as a human being.

Homelessness means you have none of the supports mentioned above on top of not having a roof on your head. Over my head is the Colorado skyline, and yes, a roof, but where are good neighbors, good friends, people who don’t give a care? We’re seriously trying to find that out. Since Trent and I moved in and started our lives, sort of, my church fellows abandoned me out of concern that marriage was the rule of law in God’s word. Whatever religious practice you follow, marriage has become second to nothing. Marriage is far too expensive to undertake, but seriously, it is the right thing to do. I told Trent that marriage would get us better supports which are crucial to our survival, however, I didn’t want to rush the engagements and all.

Our buddy has wished us well, so yeah.

Home to me is where my heart is, and that is with people I care about and who actually take an interest in my well being, including social workers, psychologists, and so on. Thanks for reading, and as a quick little public service reminder, keep your pets spayed or neutered.

A Spotlight on Responding to Homelessness

Blogger’s note: In my quest to help a buddy in need of a home, I came across this piece by an Australian Jewish homelessness care person in the Daily Advocate, a blog site that talks about lots of issues of pain and such. Homelessness is a lot deeper than just not having a roof over your head. This post is so enlightening I could have stopped short and read it again. This post uses an example of Jewish persons as an example of those who are homeless. More to come in another post.

By Marilyn Kraner, Manager Individual & Family Services As today is the start of National Homelessness Week 2016 (Aug 1-7), The Jewish Care Individual and Family Services team have had cause to…

Source: A Spotlight on Responding to Homelessness

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