The 2020 rap up

Dear readers,

Let’s be clear: this year has been a real … as I said on FB, I said it was a cluster something. Some might call it a cluster fuck, a real conniving cluster fuck that ruined the futures of 300,000 people plus and their families. Let’s take a look though at some of the good and the bad that happened to me and this blog this year.

  1. In January, things started out okay. When February came, Trenton and I celebrated four years together. It seems like a billion years ago we were able to go to a restaurant and eat. A restaurant such as red Lobster or perhaps Olive Garden would have served you indoors, period. But see below for why not.
  2. I experienced a pandemic year for the first damn time. It was 102 years ago that the Spanish influenza pandemic swept the world. What have we learnt? Well, in 1918, there were little hope for vaccinations for the flu, let alone polio and diphtheria and other diseases. In 2020, we somehow come up with a vaccine that took years in the old days to come to at all. In 1918, kids dropped like flies if they were under 5 years of age. But in 2020, we now have the resources to fix things like childbed fever and the common cold for crying out loud. This year is the year of the Corona Virus. That’s no Chinese New Year’s joke either. While the Chinese have tried to wipe off the Tiananmen Square massacre from their Internet, they are also trying to wipe off the Ouigars who are Muslim from their list of identities. YOu are either a Han Chinese person or you’re not. It all starts in Wuhan, in Hubei Province in China where all this got started, and I have a message for the people who want to sell the wet meat there. Don’t. Now you see what can happen if you don’t clean and do hygiene on yourselves and your meat wares. Just don’t let the virus mess your lives up, and watch with microscopes next time, eh?
  3. This year we had canceled events everywhere, including conventions and concerts. The blind conventions went virtual. And online learning is a priority, even for those with disabilities. But disabled students suffer now.
  4. In March of this year, I received a death threat. Note that I’m using the names that popped up in a screenshot I shared in March of this year. Wes Derby and Bill Boules’ names are written all over this screenshot, and they claim that police accountability boards are a way to give criminals power, and to add insult to injury, Mr. D. decided to tell me that the guardianship was correct. First and foremost, guardianships are evil, plain and simple abuse, and furthermore, allow the person in question to be beat up, imprisoned, and perhaps killed for money and or behaviorism. and ableism. There is a lot of white supremacist ableists in the blind community itself, which makes me sad. Wes and Bill had to go from my life, and I did something I thought I’d never even do. I wrote them off my Skype list, and furthermore, I am no longer afraid to say it. Thet Karen who called me up threatening me to death will not be named because she didn’t leave me her name, but let this be a lesson to anyone who strikes at the heart of my advocacy work: don’t do it. Target me and your twitter or Facebook might just get blocked. Target me and you might find yourself out of a job, out of a life of your own. I’m sorry, sorry that you have alcohol use problems or epilepsy or anything else, or if your socks keep walking away from you, but you are not invincible, but frankly neither am I. I’m not perfect, but if you target someone trying to work her way up out of poverty, you’re off your roster, or as Tom Hanks’s Woody says in Toy Story, you’re out of your box.
  5. In May and June of this year, there was nothing more to do. Trenton and I decided to change our commitment ceremony plans for like the umpteenth time and we had to do what we had to. We canceled an event that could have taken place in June, and moved it all the way to November. We could have easily tried a day in March, but corona virus ruined our plans. I’ll write more about the commitment ceremony in a bit.
  6. I was frequently trolled on this blog over evidence that my ex Jason Owens is a stalker and possibly could have committed murder. Well, while the evidence is there that he’s a stalker, and I received multiple calls from other sources confirming his pattern of abusive behaviors, I do not know where anyone would say he committed murder. As an old friend once told me, you do the crime, you do the time. Jason should have done time for what he did to me, what he also did to several girls in my community, and I had multiple victims come forward with stories about him individually. I may be talking about these on my new season of The Throne Room with Beth Taurasi. Stay tuned.
  7. I started my podcast back up again, and Anchor has changed a lot. For one, Spotify owns it. For another, I like the trailer part of the podcast where I made what is supposed to be a great ear catching trailer about what my podcast is about. I’ll be changing the trailer for season III soon. The first two seasons were good, but I had a lot to talk about. School is important and I covered that, and I covered all the things that needed to be covered. Shootings of black males became the forefront of the year 2020, and I was no exception to reporting that Jacob Blake was shot and paralyzed. Why? Police brutality. This is something Mr. D. would advocate, but worse off, there are other blind people who are sweeping things under the rug. As I’ve said in prior items, there’s supremacy and bigotry in my own community, and it needs to quit.
  8. In September, I’m pretty sure I went to Chili’s and the doc says I might have gotten corona virus, but who knew. I had the following symptoms: swollen throat, cough, loss of voice for a bit, two weeks of this crap, stuffy nose, loss of smell and taste. Before you run into me and say the corona virus taught me not to mes with certain people, I’m gonna say this. I could have died. Do you wish death on me? No. I hope not. But dear readers, you really should evaluate what your priorities are, and think about who you want to wish blessings upon. I’m only here reporting what needs to be reported here in WordPress, and the truth is the truth. I shared the screenshot in March, stamped out the stalkers and I’m going to be honest: I’m going to fight psychos and trolls throughout my advocacy journey, so … just shut up and keep reading. I recovered from the corona like symptoms, but don’t know if I truly had it. I couldn’t eat and couldn’t drink for some time and had to lay down a lot. It just makes me ill thinking that I might have had this big bad virus, it might have been a super nasty cold. Either way, my voice sounded like crap compared to what it could have sounded like on my commitment ceremony. More on that later.
  9. In October, I met my minister, Jenny, from Jefferson Unitarian Church, through nothing more than a casual google search for a UU church that might support a commitment ceremony. Jenny was amazing, and she was the intern minister, and best of all, a female which I refuse to take a male at that time because the male would or could charge a hefty sum, require counseling we couldn’t do because of the patriarchal nonsense I don’t subscribe to, and then there’s the point of religious churches who say you have to be a member to get married by the ministers there. JUC was amazing in allowing me to borrow their minister so I could have a better experience, and best of all, JUC is led by the honorable Reverend Wendy Williams, who is amazing at her work, and I’ve seen the main crew doing their thing at services. I’m proud of JUC for also confronting white supremacy in the face, making it safer for those of color and brown folks alike and white folks too. JUC has shown they are committed to ending the white culture embedded within the UU church, and confronting unsafe cultural practices so that those with color or women or blind people can be welcomed. I hope this church shows that it is welcoming to people with disabilities, including offering transport and such. When the services went completely online, I was thrilled to finally access church even though churches have since the pre pandemic days been unwelcoming. What JUC has done is something no church would bother with, only most churches as I’ve said time and time again make charity projects out of the disabled. Now, Jenny had the opportunity to perform a private spiritual ceremony for me and Trenton, did I say I was gonna write about that?
  10. I was committed on November 7, 2020. No, not committed to a hospital, but a spiritual commitment to Trenton. I want to do a two parts to this one. While the ceremony was great and grand, Jenny did a really great job of gathering great readings together to make the ceremony authentic to us, not some closed religious sect. For one, I couldn’t think of any but Biblical readings since I had so many biblically minded men in my life, but we had a reading by a famous author and several prayers that were amazing. The chalice lighting was beautifully done with a water powered thing so that Jenny didn’t have to burn down the building. We joked about the fire alarms, but Jenny said, don’t worry about this. She brought her water powered chalice and we did the ceremony right then and there. Our supports person was there and did the ring bearing job, something that should have been the job of a young girl or boy. However, we were only allowed five people total including our household of two. Therefore, we had Jenny, the supports lady, and her friend who volunteered to do camera angling so I could catch this ceremony on live video on Facebook. Why not Zoom, you may ask. I’ll tell you in part 2 of this item. That is, see next item.
  11. While the commitment ceremony was so beautiful, I wanted it to be a safe space for all to congratulate and wish us well, no trolls allowed, no Bills or Weses and crazies who would say that “You have a sick wife in your hands.” Not that my old friend’s godmother in law wasn’t correct about his divorce and I did advise my old friend Michael to let his wife Amy go because she could not communicate, could not do the things needed for a wife to be. Well, if I had to, I had to tell the truth. I wanted to make sure that nobody shared the link to our ceremony to the wrong people, so I blocked the bad guys on Facebook, blocked them on Twitter, and made our ceremony a hybrid so that Jenny could light the chalice at our apartment and do the spiritual part of things properly. That and I wanted the guests to feel like they could be safe, and nobody would have to mute since I didn’t allow guests in that video. Above all, safety was the number one priority for the ceremony. I had one friend who doubted we’d stay together, doubted marriage altogether but we’re still going and that’s what’s right about the year. When we finished our ceremony, Trenton had a ring on his hand, I am currently wearing both my rings. I am typing this at my desk on the Mac, and I love the mac, but Trenton’s resolution is that he’s getting his self a Mac Mini. I hope that the Mac Mini won’t be so bad for either of us. For Trenton, it will be an M1 chip. So what? We played RS Games with my mac, his PC. But still, we have pics of the wedding still. I now made my minister’s favorite pic my wallpaper, watch face, and so much more. Anyway, the big bad thing about this ceremony was that I had to order the dress online, not enough showed up on the video, only 13 out of 23 interested bothered to show up, and most of those were Colorado locals. So we’re not going to invite more than three quarters of the blind community in Colorado because they didn’t bother to invite me. Not anywhere, but they did leave a bad mark and impression on me. I’m not saying every single person here is guilty, but there are people who can’t be part of my life because they committed vile acts against me I can’t deal with anymore.
  12. In december of this year, we celebrated not only our commitment last month, but we know that Joe Biden was elected President of the United States of America. Thank you to JUC’s people for taking me and Trenton out voting, and we stole a moment to pose for a picture with our voting stickers on. It was liberating to see the election results, on top of that our wedding/commitment ceremony was held the very same day. We had a bunch to celebrate.

Now, I want to talk about my New Year’s resolutions.

  1. First and foremost, I’m going to repair the damage that was done to me after the guardianship was held for fifteen years and about eleven months or so. It was discharged in December of this year, I’m reckoning.
  2. I will be losing weight, and doing fitness stuff. I want to try Apple Fitness Plus because yeah, the workouts are awesome, but I hope they work especially the high intensity trainings. I need those.
  3. I will also free Britney Spears singlehandedly if I must, so yeah.
  4. I will use the majority of my time advocating for all disabled adults to be free of damaging guardianships and bondage which can be compared to slavery. I’ll be around for the end of that practice, and I hope it becomes illegal by the end of this year coming up.
  5. No more corona virus, please, I want to get vaccinated.

Thank you all for reading this.

Happy new year.

Beth

Letter to the Racist Hackers who Threatened My Partner’s Life

Dear readers,

I know none of you readers here are responsible for the Denver Post’s twitter account being hacked, but let’s be clear on this. No newspaper or journalistic site deserves hacking, especially by racists. My partner’s black, and I won’t evacuate the city on january 1, as one tweet said. Do not use racial slurs when you tweet about this entry, by the way. I don’t tolerate racial slurs and epithets. You don’t know my wordpress passwords, I’m sure you readers know the rules. Please read the rules on my blog, and there are indeed two different rules pages I’ve created. I need to be frank though, the hackers should be prosecuted for hacking the Denver Post and posting all those racist things on the twitter account. The Denver Post’s editor in chief clearly said that the tweets don’t reflect the views of the post, but Trenton, my partner, and I do not ordinarily read the post unless it’s important. That’s the paper for Denver, but still, if you don’t live in Denver, this doesn’t apply. Hacking pranks aren’t nice. They’re pranks, and they can be scary and lead to prosecution. Here’s a run down of what I will never write here in this blog.

1. I will never write racially charged epithets or slurs against any group of people.

2. I will never support ableism.

3. I will not threaten a bomb on anyone as happened on the Post’s twitter account.

4. I will not bash a particular organization but only state facts.

5. I will never write something that could threaten someone’s very core of life, however if the person I’m writing about committed a crime, including my ex, Nathan Larson, and others, their names go here no matter who or what it is.

6. I will not write that a religion is a cult unless it has the three characteristics of a cult: rigid boundaries, a godlike charismatic leader (such as Jane Whaley), and a rigid chain of command. There you have it.

Please note that this blog is not a bad place for anyone, and I want to make every effort to make sure that whoever is responsible for hacking my friends and the Denver Post and or my blog or anyone else for racist purposes is prosecuted under the full extent of the law. Period end of topic.

Was Jesus Really Born in Bethlehem?

Dear readers,

It makes me wonder if our nativity scenes are even accurate, but I knew Jesus could not possibly have been born in Bethlehem, but has anyone asked to question Mary’s or … her peasant name was Marium, but her virginity. She could have, according to some finds, been raped by a Roman soldier because of the law of Rome back in the day. No surprises. But the virginity of Mary was mentioned because of the laws against maidens who were to be married at the time. Read the below story though and prepare to have your brain tangled up with questions.

a.msn.com/r/2/BB1cdOgc

Guide Dogs and Spiritual Centers: How to Include Your Congregants with Guide and Service Animals Who Are Disabled

Dear readers,

You’re probably a cleric or minister who’s had a guide dog or service animal user in your congregation. You probably don’t know much about the dog or other animal’s ability to do its job and not mess up your building space. So here’s the question: have you considered making your space welcoming for these people and their dogs? Let’s take a look at guide dogs and service animals, and I’ll tell you how my guide dog handler friends would like you to address these issues.

Guide dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California is a great example of a guide dog school. Note: Seeing Eye dogs are usually only dogs trained and registered at the Seeing Eye dog school in Morristown, NJ, so please refer to all other types of mobility assistance dogs for the blind as simply “guide dogs.” Guide dogs help their blind owners walk around and they will be able to walk up and down your church aisle. While you’re busy making your church or spiritual place of worship welcoming to the wheelchair user, there are some issues with blind people who use guide dogs being asked to leave or not let the dog in the communion line or otherwise don’t bring the dog at all.

First and foremost, guide dog training takes a lot of effort, love, and money. The dogs are raised with puppy raisers as young as eight weeks old, right after weaning from the mother dog. When they are removed from the mother, they are individually given to a family or person who wants to help instill the fundamentals of obedience and socialization. This sort of training includes the sit, down, stay, and other sorts of basics. They also learn to do some commands like forward, left, right, etc. They don’t do harness stuff till they leave the puppy raiser and go to what we blind people would call “dog college.” At the dog school, you as the dog handler would learn how to control your dog, give corrections gently and such, and how to work with the dog in harness. There are also dogs at the schools that are in training to become guides. If you want all kinds of cuteness and puppy love, watch Pick of the Litter, and watch GDB pups go into training. Some will become breeders, others will become working guides. The working guides are amazing guides indeed, so when you meet a guide dog user for the first time, ask them questions about what your dog user friend uses their service animal for. They will be glad to answer, but please don’t give a standoffish comment like, “Oh, you can’t bring the dog here.” I’ve had people complement my dog handler friends on how beautiful their dogs are. If I personally had a guide dog, I would groom the dog like crazy to perfection, put bows and ribbons on their collar, and make sure the dog is spiffy and all dressed up to impress, just like myself. This would be great for job interviews, and making a good first impression on a church or spiritual leader in a center of spiritual knowledge.

Service animals for wheelchair users follow the same sort of path, and some disabled people have diabetic alert dogs. Here’s a profile you guys might want to consider: there’s this one dog who was a breeder, and after she bred two or more litters of successful working guides, she became a diabetic alert dog for her custodian breeder, Jim. I believe her name was Charity, but I forget the name altogether but wait, Trinity. How appropriate. Trinity might be her name, but I know it had a y at the end, that’s all I remember. This dog had also bred a son, Jenkins, who also went on to become the breeder stud behind several chocolate labs. Chocolate labs are adorable dogs with brown coats as brown as, well, chocolate. German shepherds are highly responsible dogs with high intelligence, but the dogs frequently chosen by guide dog schools these days include labs and golden retrievers, beautiful dogs with great devotion to their masters and they are highly intelligent and responsible dogs. Goldens are known for being good family dogs, but I think their spirits can be a bit high, and they can sometimes be class clowns. That’s just my observation for me of some guide dog users and their guides.

When you first meet a guide dog user, don’t be alarmed. If you’re a Muslim imam or cleric in a mosque, you may recall that the nose of a dog is dirty, I get it, but think of this. The dog has its own natural way of doing a kneeling pose, the sort of pose you do when you pray. When a dog is lying down, it looks so cute with the legs all done that way. My ex said something about that in a riddle. Anyway, if you’re Muslim and come across a guide dog user, don’t be alarmed. The dog won’t lick unless your hand is right underneath their nose, but keep your distance from the team as they work, and they will follow you if commanded. That is, the handler may tell the dog to follow you to a seat. Let the team do its job. The dog will be content lying down on the floor, so the brother or sister handler will be happy to go off and pray in the center of the circle. For Christian and Jewish establishments, don’t be afraid to bless the guide or service animal. My choir director goes to a Mennonite church, and dogs are a frequent love of hers. I have a guide dog handler friend who comes in to choir, barring the pandemic, and sometimes she gets a break at the church. Even animals need to relax too, so when you are able, for all religious areas, let the team play together and designate a guide or service dog relief spot. Tell your congregants with dogs for service exactly where they can and cannot relieve their animals, and this will assure your congregation is safe. Don’t be alarmed if the dog is lying on the floor, but dogs make great conversation starters when they greet people, wag their tails, and do their work with grace and dignity, and with a sense of animal humor. Don’t forget about the guide and service dog retirement stage. Your congregant will want to retire their guide or service animal at a certain age. For example, some guide dog schools recommend retiring your dog at age eight or nine. That is, in human years. Dog years is different in calculation than those of humans for some strange reason.

What should you not do with a service dog? Well, don’t encourage anyone to pet the dog while they’re in harness working. Most service dogs will only respond to their master in harness while working, and they don’t need doggy distractions. Do not ask for ID’s or papers for your potential congregant’s dogs because they don’t usually provide those. However, you can also ask where the dog was trained and contact the guide dog school. GDB and Guiding Eyes are amazing schools, to the most highest degree I can think of. I’ve heard that Pilot dogs is okay. Some prefer Leader dogs. But think about the dog and its training. GDB does have specific requirements for dogs, evaluations being done on the pups till they reach maturity and some are even cut well in to the guiding training. some dogs don’t make the cut, but others who do are lucky. Guide dog training also requires that the dog learn to effectively intelligently disobey their owner if the command could put the owner in danger. Examples of this include if there’s a car rolling down the street, I tell the guide dog “forward” while the car is going on the street, and the dog doesn’t move. I have to wait until there’s a deep and definite lull in the traffic, then tell the dog to go again. The command is usually a forward, and if you want to speed up, there’s a command for that. You want to ask as many questions as you want to ask, but they have to be good questions. Now, how does this relate to spiritual matters? Guide dogs can do just about everything guide related for their owners. For the wheelchair companion dogs, be careful of things that fall on the floor. Such dogs can be trained to pick them up, and ask first before attempting to pick up a dropped item for a service dog user. For dogs that assist the deaf, their job is to alert the person when someone is talking to them, when the phone rings, and sometimes to paw the owner if a fast moving vehicle is running down the road. Psychological service dogs count too, and so do diabetic alert and medical service dogs. Jim’s dog has had training to alert him when his blood sugar is too low or too high. Respect when the dog is alerting you to something, especially in the case where an epileptic person with seizures is using their alert dogs. Seizure dogs are great, but please note that such dogs are trained to lick their owners in the face. It may look like they’re giving them doggy kisses, but when I saw this one dog doing that, it stimulated the brain of the seizing woman on the floor. Also, dogs like these are supposed to alert the average Joe citizen for help if their owner is on the floor. I love dogs, as one can tell, and the amazing things they do for people. If the service dogs for veterans pop up, don’t be afraid to ask. But remember, veterans with PTSD service dogs should get no less than the guiding service dog for the blind. My cousin has a dog that helps him get over stuff, and he’s an army vet. My best friend from high school has a brace and balancee and PTSD service dog and … well, dogs are good for just about everything. Some dogs can predict seizures, so if the dog is alerting you or the owner to a seizure, please note that this is a natural occurrence, and if the person falls, get help immediately. That’s my story on service dogs and spiritual centers.

Beth

Overview of Inclusivity and Religion: Making Spiritual matters a Thing of Inclusion for Disabled Congregants

Dear readers,

I shared Ellen Stumbo’s post from the Mightete, a disabled news org, and she has a lot of things to probably unpack. Thank you for those who saw that story and wished to be a part of my spiritual life. I looked through this blog, and I saw some mistakes I might have made, identifying one man as Somali and another man as not. Who knows, but I want to truly open a timeline and a dialogue with all faiths and religions, notwithstanding the mistakes I made, but I want to put all the stuff I wrote prior to this post in one big summary timeline, and here it is. It includes what you should do with disabled congregants, and this is based on experiences I’ve had with churches.

1. First and foremost, your parking lot and door entrances have to be wide enough for wheelchairs, even if the building is rustic and old. Make some accommodations in your restrooms so that disabled people can use them. Place bars on the walls of each stall, and make the stalls wide enough so that a wheelchair user can use the stalls. Blind people should be able to ID the bathroom with a Braille sign. Place such signage above the door, or by the door on a wall in the alcove’s outer side. That’s how the signage can be easily seen, and I look for signs there. Also, make sure your Braille is proofread by a certified NLS Braille proofist, even if it’s the word handicapped. here’s a funny Braille story to show you why: The Braille sign for “and” is written with dots 1-2-3, then dots 4-6, all put together. it’s a letter y in Braille but written a bit backwards. So the dot combo is 1-2-3-4-6. However, there was a sign that was written with the “ing” sign: the dot 2 was missing from the “and” sign, so the sign that my cane teacher interpreted was the following: “Girls hingicapped.” Be careful with Braille contractions and lettering, and make sure you have a Braille cheat sheet on you to make sure all signage is correctly Brailled. The architecture of this building should reflect inclusivity. For Muslims, make sure the woodoo areas are completely user friendly, and if you insist on women and men being in separate prayer areas, do not use only stairs. Put the women in a place where wheelchairbound sisters can enjoy worship from the same floor as the men, but you must have wider doorways and the woodoo fountains should be at a level that is usable for those sisters who can’t raise their right or left hand to turn on the fountains. Make sure there are places to put shoes where a sister or brother won’t trip. This is something an old friend frequently would talk about while I was present at mosque. For Jewish ceremonies, always include your wheelchair using sisters and brothers, and for those who count themselves as orthodox or Hassidim, always always always have a door open for disabled congregants who want to join in. Even the goyem will admire your inclusivity.

2. When a congregant walks in, make sure you are welcoming to them. For Christian churches, please make sure you have alternatives to hymnals that a disabled person may use, and as a blind person, I wish I had been able to read the words to worship service songs in detail. Give the blind congregant access to the lyrics at worship services ahead of time, or let them hear a recording of the hymns you will be singing in services. For Jewish folks, same sort of thing may apply to shabbats, and for those who hate tech during shabbat, please note that an exception should be made for blind folks using Braille. Braille displays should be used in Hebrew services so they can follow along with the rabbi or congregation cantor, and make sure that the persons leading the choir and rabinical folks know about this stuff. Your Jewish blind congregants should have as much access to Hebrew scripture, Hebrew chorale pieces, and so much more so they can sing and follow along. Of course, young Jewish students should be included in Hebrew school as well, so for teachers of such, make sure your texts are written in appropriately hebrew Braille. it is in my opinion the best way to get a student familiar with the Hebrew language. It’s similar to Arabic, and I’ve seen Arabic Braille written down, but face it, the letters are pretty similar to both Roman and Hebrew script. For religious educators in Catholic circles, you need to consult the publishers of your books. Make sure the Catholic faith textbooks are written for children in Braille, and if you’re a teacher, beg the publisher for the teacher’s edition in the same format. If not Braille, kids and teachers who are blind should be given access to the same materials but in electronic format. If they use a pc or mac with screen readers, the formatting should be excellent, top quality, arranged so that pictures are captioned and labeled accordingly. This also applies to Muslim folks. Sadly, I wasn’t able to participate in Qur’an classes with my sisters in islam, but for the young folks in TAQI, or Tasir Al Qur’an Institute schools, they should be given Braille copies or electronic Arabic and English copies of the Qur’an. This way, as the prophet said, you can still gain knowledge, even if you can’t see it.

3. For all religious centers, babies should be baptized or blessed with the same dignity and pomp as with normal babies.

4. When a kid grows up, and with adults growing in faith, let the person experiment or teach them the science behind the choices they make with procreation. While i’m not a fan of the Catholic or Christian ideological senses of don’t have sex until marriage, please note that disabled children and adults face the most poverty because of that very thing. Disabled men become predators sometimes because they are not taught how to keep their sex organs to themselves, and disabled women get objectified. We need to create a welcoming and safe space for all, including disabled people. All religious centers and community churches should include a consent class, a code of honor and consent for all congregants and brothers and sisters. While islam has strictures of family honor tied right into the religion itself, I would encourage Muslims to research and understand the rules about consent in modern culture. islam must conform to let females make all choices, and even in cultures where this is not the case, females must be able to say no if they see something wrong or abusive about a man. This definitely includes disabled females. I left islam because I didn’t want to have to marry a stranger, and I wasn’t about to get barefoot and pregnant with someone i hardly understood how to please anyway. I would have also had superiority games played on me if I married a sighted guy, which the Muslim brothers suggested. Unfortunately, for these brothers, I married a non Muslim blind guy, and I won’t be coming back. I love my sisters, and I understand if the sisters insist I walk back, but I can’t do any such thing because islam has become a contested religion here in this country. I’ve been disrespected by a doctor who swore i was “pretending to be Arab”, and was trolled on Facebook for this very thing. I don’t subscribe to religious views that contradict my own core beliefs about me, and that should be what matters.

5. When a bride and or grooms and brides or couple comes to you and your religious center for marriage, get their story. If a couple wanting to wed is disabled, offer the commitment ceremony option first. I want to shout out to Jenny, my minister from Jefferson unitarian Church. I wanted a woman minister to lead my wedding commitment ceremony because I was not, I repeat not, going to submit to a man in everything, and I was just about done with the patriarchal … dare I say it? Bullshit. patriarchs like some of the priests that abuse women and boys should never be allowed to do weddings anyway. If a bride or groom is not supported because of financial disability, physical disability, or anything else, offer to pay for everything. St. Bernadette’s Catholic church paid for the catering of the wedding of a dear friend of mine, but the bride also had the support of her family. Since Trenton and I did not have the support of church and family, and the pandemic had ruined all churchgoing plans, jenny came by our apartment and we had no ring bearer. We also had a guy doing camera angling for the phone. I recorded my commitment ceremony on Facebook Live. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I honestly wish I had more support, but it was true to us. We had a biblical reading of course, but we also had a wisdom reading from another spiritual source, something I really wish other Christians would consider. Weddings are an important part of life as a human being, and even if the bride is incapacitated, offer the support she needs to fight back and marry the man she loves. I had no support, and now I’m having to sue my own family for damages related to the guardianship. They are very hostile if confronted, but they don’t get it. They never wanted me to legally get married, and I didn’t, but I’m still committed to Trenton and will stay that way for life. Anyway, i’m glad I did my own wedding, but with church supports and no pandemic, it could have been better.

6. Offer support for disabled adults wishing to integrate kids into the mix. Whether the family is getting started or has been started, please, please welcome disabled people’s kids. Baptize them or commit them or dedicate them as above, if they consent. In most Protestant churches, baptism must be given if faith is strong enough and if you’re eighteen. Also, scriptural abuse cannot be tolerated whether it’s committed against the parental couple or the kids themselves. For parents everywhere, disabled or not, always have an open line of communication with your kids about sex abuse and spiritual abuse. If your child is abused spiritually by a church, leave that congregation immediately.

7. If a parent with disabilities wants to know how their kid is doing in spiritual circles, they need to ask about it. Churches should be a welcome and safe space for all kids, including those with disabilities and colored folks, any stripe and color included but not limited to black, brown, polka dots, purple, etc.

8. If the parent of a disabled congregant in your church dies, be with the person and show them the grieving process. Give them bereavement resources in your spiritual center, and let them come to you for guidance. As a minister or cleric in your spiritual center, you should be a good ear to bounce off all the stuff the child or young adult is facing in the death of their loved one. If the disabled adult is facing terminal conditions related to their disability, give them the hospice resources they deserve. Give them a good sendoff whether they are nonbinary or otherwise. Islam insists on strict gender conformity, but to those who practice Native beliefs, the two spirit people should be honored above all else. For those who are nonbinary who were shunned from communities for being nonbinary or LGBTQ+, please note that there are people who won’t condemn you to hell, so if you’re on the heaven bound train, find the right person for your funerary care. It will be worth your while.

9. Never put any sort of discipline in place that would disfavor disabled adults who are living in houses outside marital status with someone of the opposite sex. Trenton and I were abused and frequently targets of sin related comments from my former church. I feel that all churches should discipline anyone who abuses a disabled woman and calls her a whore, not blame her for being a whore at all. Churches must if anything have a discipline system in place to keep predators from working with youngsters, but above all, they should never define marriage as between a man and a woman who is able. Ableist marriage practices in churches make marriage difficult, along with those financial penalties from SSI. Please beware the issues we disabled people face.

10. Never tell someone they can’t come back because of their disability, and don’t make them confess sins they didn’t commit. I can’t fess up to sins, I didn’t commit the sins of being sexually abused. that’s not a sin. A sin is what my exes have done. Not my living with Trenton, not my commitment to him either.

Thank you all for reading this, and I hope you enjoy the blog further.

Beth

Can’t Say I Told you So

Dear readers,

I can’t say I warned you all ahead of time about the abuses of some blind men, within and without the National Federation of the Blind. Unfortunately, my story had a bad ending, and I was banned from the NFB National Association of Blind Students Mailing List, so I dropped out of college twice. I hate being a dropout, and I wish I could get more support from the disability community, but alas, that was not the case. With people such as Wes D. and Bill B. harassing and intimidating people like me, it gets a lot worse. They rallied around Jason and hee has been known to be a predator since he started dabbling in dating young girls. I don’t know if he was a member of the Georgia NFB, but it pains me to write that the patriarchy’s days are over. It’s time for women to band together and stand up for what has to happen next. Here are the reforms I will suggest to the higher ups if I must, but I want all of you to write these things down in your notes on your phones or tablets for safe keeping.

1. We need a female leader in the NFB, someone with passion and power beyond a white person’s understanding. I think that delegation should go to Monique Melton, my former travel instructor at Colorado Center for the Blind, if she still does things with the NFB. She’s a no nonsense woman who would say, “Enough of that lady crap.” She’d make us repeat the same damn routes, certainly, but with greater precision she’d map out what we needed to do. I was one of her star students, I knew the address system, and funny I can still repeat it back if asked. I nominate Mo because not only will she represent blind people and females, but those of color as well. If I’m not mistaken, she will represent all of us, color or no color. But we desperately need a female who can rule the federation with an iron will, someone who can do the equivalent of Margaret Thatcher, sort of, but it might offend some Irish folks if I wrote that. Thatcher was a tyrant to some poor Irish folks, so I don’t know what to use as an example, but Mo wouldn’t put up with men and their bullshit, not at all. She’s a powerhouse that I think works at DVR but she’s doing great things wherever she works. She should be given the leader position over any of the remarkable Marks or whatever because that’s who she is. She’s a born leader.

2. We need a survivor’s panel to discuss matters of the conduct code investigation, and no tribunals should be done at all in the org itself, rendering any defense of the accused null and void. IF someone gets accused of sexual or other misconduct, please report this to the NFB Code of Conduct people, I’ll post an email address below for those who want it. There is a phone number but I don’t want to be blindly accused of posting phone numbers in the blog, so I’ll do an email address instead. In any case, we need a survivor’s panel and an advisory board on this matter to investigate and interview victims with empathy and all the things that come with gentleness. We need to gently get the stories out of people who are abused, whether in or out of the organization. This may include some children in the summer programs, Buddy and Step programs included, and some in our Earn and Learn High School program in Colorado. I’m serious, this is something near and dear to my heart. We need to make these changes soon.

3. Any man who is accused and adjudicated by local authorities, including those in Louisiana and Colorado should be thinking about what they did wrong. They should be placed behind bars, under armed guard for a few years. Then, when they are released on parole, they need to be on probation, under strict controls just like nondisabled offenders. They need to be in psychological counseling and group therapy with nondisabled and likely other types of offending persons. IF they are male, they go to a men’s group. If female, the same. I know for a fact that there are pedophiles in every aspect of the world, including the disabled community. Situational molesters should be taken a lot more seriously though, and that’s because pedophiles are more often caught. We need to educate all our young people to watch for the Five Stages of Abuse, something I will write about and talk about later in the blog. Stay tuned.

4. We need to make consent classes mandatory for all students, regardless of gender identity and sexual preference. LGBTQi+ peoples are not exempt from bad behavior, and. pedophiles are not a sexual orientation, let me be clear. It’s a mental disorder that harms children. Situational molesters are harder to spot, more cunning in their seduction and the moves they make, so can easily go under the radar. What we need to do is do consent classes for all future students and staff at all live in training centers for disabled people, including the structured discovery places for blind people. Poor behavior should not be an excuse to dismisss a girl who’s going through shit, and if catcalling is detected in the halls, let the men who do it be called out for their actions.

I’m sad to say that the NFB did not take people seriously, so if you have a story to tell, please email them at the following email address: code@nfb.org

Please email your story to the email address I just provided and let them hear you. Vote out all the males in the top leadership positions, and we also need to nominate the right peeople to run the organization. Monique, if you’re reading this, I hope you forgive me for nominating you if you don’t want the job, but we need something other than a white privileged or white male leading this organization. There is so much intersectionality within the disabled community, and the indigenous peoples of that community are hurt most of all, especially because of lack of access to healthcare, frequent sexual abuse, and so much other crap. Minorities like Hispanics and Blacks are frequently targeted, but speaking out should not be a means for punishment. Please, Julie D.and others who are reading this, call on your staff to make reformatory decisions regarding the Colorado Center, and if Pam in Louisiana reads this, do something fast. To those who are at the training centers currently, I haven’t forgotten about you. BLIND Incorporated also needs to be a part of the conversation, and this may result in a firestorm, hopefully not too bad of one, but one of change and reflection on why the organization failed to protect its young people. Thank you for reading this blog, and for those who support the NFB, please do better. Fluffy press releases and codes of conduct must at all times be reevaluated, and they won’t do enough. Don’t just cover yourselves, and I don’t want to see death threats aimed at me. I don’t have the money for extra security for a building with a gated area. So please, if you’re the Karen in Avilar who thinks it’s funny to make death threats on me, don’t. Anyone who makes death threats will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement, I won’t bother publishing your number anywhere. But do know this: sexual abuse survivors I am on your team. We will march together as women, banded together by determination to dismantle the male privileged society that we can’t live with anymore.

Sincerely yours in service,

Your sister,

Beth

Guidelines for Gifts with Adults in Mind

Dear readers,

Have you been invited to the office Christmas party and not been able to find the perfect gift? Well, with Covid, offices have had to cancel their Christmas parties, but you can still buy gifts for people online, but I’m not here to tell you specifics. I’m only telling you what sort of thing to look for when choosing the perfect gift for your loved one this Christmas. Here’s the skinny.

First, get to know the recipient of a potentially awesome present. Think of this as the beginning of Secret Santa. We did this in chorus a lot, and we also did stuff like this in other settings. Ask the recipient what they like, dislike, and what’s special about them. Examples include that the recipient likes dogs, their favorite color is red, and they are allergic to nuts. I’m not thankfully allergic to nuts, but that is just an example. If a gift recipient is blind, take note of this and find a gift that fits the budget specified in the event you’re attending, but make sure that gift is usable and not something that you wouldn’t see ever again, or something you’d get in a landfill real fast.

Make sure you have a budget. For my chorus gifts, I think the budget was $20. Reasonable, as some of the things people want would be very highly expensive, but even a $20 gift would suffice. Here’s another idea for your budget: make sure you think about gift card values in $25. If your budget allows, ask your recipient where they like to go on a good day, what they want to do with money, etc. Gift cards are always a great idea or perhaps these days, purchase them something they can use. Does your friend or family member like Disney movies? Purchase them a free month of Disney Plus, the Disney streaming service. Does your friend like to read? Audible gift cards are a must. So, if you really want to buy something thoughtful, those are definitely good go to things to try.

When you are opening a gift with family, you want to know what that gift says in the symbolic nature of things. Never ever give out guns and rifles to anyone who is experiencing depression or suicidal ideations, etc. It is imperative that when you give a gift, especially for someone with disability or mental illness, you keep the message in mind. What does a gun say about your relationship with that person? Giving that recipient the family’s old weapons could lead to disaster. Always keep in mind what the person actually wants. If you give me a box of red and gold Christmas lights, I’ll be darned happy about that, but however, I want to make sure that those Christmas lights are used every year. And it has to be done in my own home. I got the most inconsiderate idea for a gift, a white elephant thing of party lights although it was a luck of the draw thing. Wrong colors, I thought. They were orange and blue, not reddish gold. Those are inappropriate to use for holidays, I thought. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for your gift, but you didn’t consider or take notes. White elephants are usually not thoughtful things, so I wouldn’t participate if I had a choice. In any case, please make sure your gift is inclusive, thoughtful, and kind this year. I had to tell my own parents that Denver has no indoor dining, same with Lakewood, etc etc. I told them that Olive Garden likely isn’t my choice of restaurant this year. GrubHub or Door Dash gift cards would be a better option and or a visa or something more flexible. It’s not that I’m telling them that I”m expecting this or that, or entitlement or all that. We are in a pandemic year, and restrictions are everywhere, so my parents should no doubt buy accordingly. If they send me that stupid card again, I’ll have to do curbside pickup for Olive Garden, the only restaurant that card goes to in Colorado. The other restaurants are in Florida, how convenient. But they have no locations near enough for myself and my partner. So we need to change how we do things, especially during Covid.

I hope everybody has a safe shopping experience. For tips on online shopping, you could turn to just about anyone for that. Pay attention to shipping deadlines, buy before deadlines and all that stuff. There’s something called shipageddon going on, which is sort of … well, shipments are overwhelming the system. Please, whatever you do, pay close attention to the deadlines for your kids and the adults in your life as well. Thank you for reading, and have a good Christmas. I hope to write more here soon.

Beth

Children’s Holiday Gift Guide

Dear readers,

While I don’t have any links to specific toys for your child, I do have some guidelines for parents shopping for a blind child today. For one, a lot of toys are interactive, board games seem visual, and there are a multitude of coding kits and so on, but almost none of the robots, board games, and educational games were made with blind children and adults in mind. I have blind parents who are enthusiastically trying to raise girls and boys and … well, nonbinary people too, of all ages and types. The big thing is that if your daughter wants a science toy, more power to her, but when you look at toys for blind kids, you have to look at toys the child can easily play with. Think about, for example, the toys you played with as a child if you’re the parent in this case. Did you like fashion dolls? Did you do beads? Sewing/ I can’t stand doing needlework, but I did do fashion dolls and stuff, but here’s the big thing: if youru son wants a doll, more power to him. Buy him that doll, even though your gendered programming may say otherwise. Here are some toys for all children you could try, and I’m not naming specifics, but here are some to buy and some to avoid.

1. Buy toys that educate, and think simple. Examples include Play Dough and slime. I did a ton of work with play dough when I was a kid, and there are still play dough kits and sets you can purchase online through Amazon. They have a compound kit for kids that’ pretty hot this year, so be on the look out. Play dough is a tactile alternative in my opinion to coloring books and such, where the coloring book has no tactile lines to color within. My mom had to puff paint one such book, and I’m not so sure those will work with totally blind kids with no color or light perception.

2. You can always get Star Wars toys. Those are always fun, but then there’s the risk of losing half the small pieces/parts and your 2-year-old mouthing those small parts and choking to death. Avoid buying small figures and small parts for the obviously very very small child. Just be careful, but if you have an older child who loves these toys, go for it.

3. For children who love being a bit nerdy or perhaps the child who is curious about the world around them, there are augmented reality toys and things that will quiz your kid on things like world geography and such, but I’d avoid those toys since they may require vision to operate and is the app accessible? That’s a question your blind child or you the parent should always always ask before you want to up and buy the latest gadget for your child.

4. For any child who is curious about women’s history, Pleasant Company has the American Girl collection, and I think they’ve come out with inclusive story lines and other things. If anything, books in the dolls’ collections may be in print, but there are Bard equivalents in the American Girl series available through NLS. Your child historian will enjoy these kinds of things, and these are stories as told through the eyes of such characters as a runaway slave, a Mexican immigrant, a Native American girl, a WWII era girl, a WWI era girl, and a girl from the Vietnam War era, and oh did I forget there’s a turn of the twentieth century girl too? And to round off all the girls, you have a colonial girl from Williamsburg, and it’s pretty interesting what the American Girl collection has in store for us these days. You could buy your own subscription to the American Girl magazine, I would hope it’s still there, but then there’s more to it than this. You can create customizable dolls with a variety of skin tones, abilities, and stories of their own. You can also buy lots of accessories for that doll. I want to point out that the Native doll is amazing, and she comes with different clothing and a powwow outfit and stuff like that. Through these dolls, your child will learn more about American women and, as an added bonus, literacy will come right along for the ride. Like I said, there are American girl stories available on NLS Bard, and you will be able to look at the history of each doll online.

5. Avoid toys that promote violence and gender discrimination. This may sound odd, but certain Disney characters may include the princess as a marriage piece. While it is okay as an adult to go through the Disney classics, I don’t want the next generation to get hurt when they realize that singing doesn’t get you anywhere, that marriage is not the end all destiny of every woman, and that dresses are not just women’s clothing today. These days, the princess culture can be seen as gendered and specifically geared toward putting a girl in her place. If your three year old daughter, however, wants a baby doll, fine. Just don’t necessarily emphasize caregiver roles for her. If your 6 year old son requests a paint ball gun, be smart about it. Why buy a paint ball gun for a boy his age? What will that encourage? My brother kept asking for a damn paint ball gun one year for Christmas, to which my mom said, I’m not buying it. Smart move, as this would have promoted violence against people. I don’t think paint balling is any fun when women in their underpants are forced to run around a little arena where men hunt them down and splatter them with paint from a gun. The women get paid, but I would feel sick about giving any male or female child a gun of any kind for Christmas.

6. Avoid toys that don’t include the child should this child be disabled. Also, if you have a black or mixed race child, there are plenty of inclusive options. There’s a Rosa Parks doll out there, but black fashion dolls are now becoming more needed than ever. Kids need to see themselves in the toys they play with, see themselves in stories they read. Refer to option 4 and learn about the American girl dolls I mentioned earlier. they have lots of dolls that are black, white, brown, whatever. Girls can customize the doll if they want to see themselves and write their own story.

7. For very young toddlers, see option 2, but avoid small parts and only buy toys that are easier to manage for this kind of child. Between 2 and 4 years of age, toys become things that a child can or will put in their mouths. You don’t want that to happen, so try buying toys that don’t promote wasteful packaging, contain small parts, or don’t have the bright fun coloring kids like. Toddlers of all types enjoy playing, no kidding, but plush toys and bigger packages and parts will work fine. IF your kid has any kind of diseases that include Pika, be careful when purchasing matchbox cars. Most kids love matchbox cars, even I had a couple of those myself.

8. Encourage your child to dream big. Buy them legos. when in doubt, buy legos, and legos are awesome. Why? Because everybody can play with them. Just remember, you don’t have to buy Lego Friends for your female child but if you wanted to buy that Harry Potter castle Hogwarts set for her, fine by me. You could also encourage your child to build legos into things they dream up, and here’s another reason why we need brainy people in the world. A seventh grader made a very much in need product out of lego blocks, a Braille embosser. Who knew! Legos are one of those fall back things you could try and when you buy them, encourage your kids to build the world they want to see.

9. Avoid the toys that belonged to a dead person. Depending on the psychological ramifications of a person’s death, please, I beg parents everywhere, listen to your child. the toy that belonged to someone in the family that choked to death or killed themselves is a recipe for disaster for the living child. Be extremely careful. Also avoid used and broken toys because what will your child say if your toys are broken before they have a chance to play with them?

10. Set a budget for all toys you buy for your kids. Given the Covid pandemic and so many families struggling financially, you might want to consider toys that are in budgetary consideration. Example, say you want to buy toys for four children, and you have a lot of bills to pay. Try setting a budget, say about $20 per child per toy. Or, you could try $25 per child per toy. Either way, budgetary concerns are real and you and your family may want to consider those a priority. $150 for all the kids’ toys is another idea, but don’t just go up and buy that Arendell play set from frozen because you can, and don’t just up and let your child purchase that thousand buck dollhouse and cookies. Oops, one six-year-old girl actually did that and her mom was like, what???? the mom and daughter eventually gave the stuff away to charity, and the mom? Well, she set up purchase pins and disabled voice purchasing for her daughter. Good on her because she couldn’t necessarily afford the cookies and the dollhouse. Ugh, the only thing a child really needs is validation, but pay attention to what the child says and does not say when you are surfing the web for gifts this year. If you are struggling, and cannot buy toys for your child at all, consider applying to do Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots is a very awesome organizational effort done by the U.S. Marine corps. they’ve been doing this for a long time. If you do have enough money, and you want to donate, consider donating money or a new unwrapped toy to Toys for Tots.

Be on the look out for the guide for adults, but for those families who fear Santa won’t be there, do not be alarmed at all. Santa will be socially distanced, or physically distanced should I say, for photos with the kids. Also, if you want to write a letter to Santa, write to 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888 as far as I know, and get your letters in for Operation Santa as soon as possible. The big man isn’t taking the year off.

Beth