Concert Weekend Overview: Make Them Hear You

Dear readers,

I’m a busy working woman but not getting paid to sing with the Denver Women’s Chorus. This is not supposed to be an elitist club, but there might be those who say it should be because the dues are expensive, no retreat scholarships, and so on. However, I managed to do the dues with scholarship, then I managed to get the retreat and costume fees paid, which total in $50. For you blind musicians who are fluent in Braille music, there would be absolutely no way that anyone could translate the music into Braille without increasing costs. That’s the problem, and I don’t want to focus on it now. What I do want to focus on, however, is the fact that the chorus has sung something amazing. I also want to talk a bit about MLK’s vision and how we’re doing with it.

First and foremost, I’d like to think J. E. Pinto for being the enthusiastic audience to the concert, as well as anyone else who’s ever been to a concert with the Denver Women’s Chorus. I personally had a lot of adventures with this music, so to hear the great commentary from people about the music was uplifting and great stuff all around. Let me say that we weren’t perfect, but then again, not a single concert is perfect. I’ve been in marching band concerts and festivals where people’s drumsticks split, and people’s clothes almost fell off and stuff. This is absolutely one of the better days I’ve seen. While nobody’s drumsticks split apart, nobody’s outfits were weird, uniformity was observed all around. I must say though that I almost came to Brighton with a mismatched knee-high, and I had one white and one black one on. Ugh. I almost didn’t have a pair of dark blue jeans, solid with no glitter or sparkles or anything, just a damn solid dark blue. Someone was able to pull that through, and my wardrobe needs a serious makeover anyway.

Then there was the food sauce stain that almost ruined my blouse. Ugh. If only if only I wasn’t eating and if only the sauce didn’t drip on my blouse, but oh well, my superhero choir members jumped in, and yes, I vow that I will buy a huge thing of shout wipes and pens to keep the stains off and all that stuff. Yes, fab, tide, and shout pens are your best friend.

Anyway, enough of my mishaps. Mark said we did good, and he’s the artistic guy. He’s the one who conducts, and seriously considers all the notes the choir gets every time we perform. I personally enjoy the diversity of women that I perform with in the DWC, but there’s something else I would like to share. J.E. Pinto liked the concert a lot, and also shared a recording of one of our songs, but done by Sweet Honey in the Rock. We did a choral version of Ella’s Song, a song with words by a black woman suffragette, which I love that song.

This brings me to another point before I get further into voting rights. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is today, and it honors the memory of a black man who stood up to white power bosses who wanted to eliminate civil rights, still happening today. I wish that Richmond in Virginia would please cancel the gun rally because of the number of white hooded supremacists hanging out at that rally, some of whom would have gone but were arrested by the FBI and identified. MLK would be proud of this.

There’s one thing I don’t like, however. MLK Jr. would have been furious to know that blind and black and gay all mean a barrier to enjoying the lives we want. My fiancé is African American, some splashes of Blackfoot and part Florida Seminole. Okay, that doesn’t shock me, but what doesn’t also shock me anymore is the killing of black mothers’ sons. As stated in Ella’s song, we can’t rest until freedom comes. We won’t stop until true equality is achieved. And even if Commander Judds show up to try to silence us, I say, just put those bastards in the trash and tell them they must submit to our wisdom, our feminine knowledge and teachings. Why? Because I don’t want some white dude sticking his spare parts up my spare parts and reading some justified mean scripture in which Rachel and Leah fight over kids, and get the maidservants involved. I will not be silenced, told not to read or write, or worse, told to bow subserviantly to men. Any man who demands that my body belong to him can grow his own, and try carrying a child and having a stick up his so yeah, it’s a difficult process for a woman to do it. Imagine a male person trying to understand where women come from.

Anyway, enough with the Handmaid’s Tale references here, but to prove a point, I want to state that the killing of women, black people, and disabled people must matter as much if not more than the killing of a frilly white dude who sits there playing golf and not paying attention to what his countrymen want. I’m probably the most militant feminist on the block, but I had to find my voice, had to differentiate between good and bad stuff, good and misinformation. Now, what will happen if we sit quiet and don’t speak?

We will have white men running the show, and the Proud Boys are much like the Commanders of Gilead, and they are ruthless in their pursuit of pleasure at the expense of woman’s dignity and comfort. Let’s just say this: I won’t be a Martha, handmaid, wife, or anything else, neither will our daughters or granddaughters. I will not rest until I make for darn sure my gay and queer friends are not hanging on walls, and where justice is served, I want it served on a golden platter with fries on the side. My friends who can’t stand up for themselves, those whose words fall on deaf ears should know this: I’m stronger than you think. I’m not gonna have a gunman stride into the Central Presbyterian Church and say something rather stupid, where the end of our rights is concerned. Yes, I worry, but I do have a reason to. It’s a five letter word I won’t write here, but to be fair, the guy is a menace to our country and he emboldens hate groups to take up the cause of killing perfectly good people.

Let’s just say that if my fiancé were killed, I’d be at the courthouse screaming justice because he is a black mother’s son. And I’d demand a high price on the head of the man who does this, since I’m blind and isolated and I’d have been even more lonely if Trenton hadn’t come into the picture. He’s amazing, sweet, loving, full of life. But there’s a fat chance that someone who doesn’t like him could do something to him and I’d have to be responsible for it.

If any of my other friends, friends I’ve come to know and love, were aced and speared by such ruthless people, I’d want to make for darn sure that well, let’s just say I’d make it plain that anyone caught in my house trying to perform things like this so called ceremony and so on will have to face trial for what I would call ceremonial violence, which is a book title too. Though the ceremonial violence I’ve thought of is actually the rape of women who are used as reproductive surrogates. This must end. All surrogate mothers should be paid, and the whole process should include insemination, which would be a lot more comfortable than having to lay in the lap of a ruthless wife while a commander unzips his fly and does what he does. The woman who chooses to be a surrogate carrier is already paid a certain amount anyway by insurance companies, and Kim Kardashian has used surrogates to have her kids. She can’t honestly be pregnant because it would kill her anyway. Kanye and Kim are lucky, however, and so many others are not.

What would a moral and pure society look like? I’ll tell you what it would look like without being weird, but let’s say that the number one emblem of equality is the right to vote. We are currently experiencing an attack on voting rights. Florida wants to tax the shit out of felons who get their rights restored, but that’s just not right. There are women who are routinely disenfranchised from the ballot box and must be allowed to speak. Let me say that we sang a beautiful commission piece about that. But does anyone know that the voting rights of blind people are under attack as well? Voter registration is often done by paper, and there are those who say well, fuck blind people because they are stupid. So they want all ballots to be paper print ones, but Utah took a step forward by allowing blind people to vote by app on a phone. Where we are failing is this entirely. I want an app that allows me to vote in an election, so that some ruthless Republican does not accidentally mark the wrong thing in a mail in ballot. Braille ballots are great, but you still have to mark the darn thing. People are trying to talk voter fraud and security, but here’s the problem: I think Trump doesn’t like anyone but himself. He might use the mighty I word a million times in a speech, misquote and misstate a lot of other things, and lie about where we are in American life. I’d like to tell the president that if he knows what’s good for him, resign, Commander Judd. Seriously, this commander better resign before Gilead becomes a reality.

We sang a lot of great songs at the concert, but what happened when we sang What Happens When a Woman was phenomenal. I’ll tell you what I’d do if a woman takes power, especially if it was me.

  1. I’d outlaw antiabortion groups from harassing women and girls outside clinics. It’s their damn body, people, and it belongs to them, not you. That’s what I’d tell the rest of those folks.
  2. I’d give Native Americans free houses, and grants would be open to pay the mortgages of any Native who is unable to obtain employment based on not only American indigenous identity, but disability as well. I’d also have to figure out how to restructure the laws about who qualifies for low income housing, and allow felons and those who commit nonviolent drug offenses to have housing because we have so much damn homelessness. I’d start this process in Denver, changing what it means to also be disabled and unemployed in the process.
  3. I’d also tackle the rent rate problem in states like California, and I’d assist the Californian government in making sure that there’s plenty of power and help all the country’s power companies keep electricity on, especially for people dealing with disability, who might need to charge a power chair and so on. Then there’s the issue of electricity powering things like my Mac, my friend and her phone, and oh so many other things. I have a friend who lives in Palm Desert who loves to bake, but she can’t bake without electricity. Before you say, “Well, she can make a fire and use a camp grill in place of the stove”, think again. Not a safe option, according to a lot of experts. My knowledge of this is quite clear. We need electricity to be powered on for all the time someone lives in a home or apartment building, and disabled customers in places like California and other states with wildfire danger must in any case of a power knockout get huge discounts on the bill. I hope PG&E is doing its part, but if I take over, they better do their darnedest or they could be liable for gross negligence of persons with disabilities. I’d make that charge a thing, and that would lead to the next item.
  4. If I took power in the capital, there would not be a single nursing home that would not go noodling under the radar because so many elders need our help. Elderly and disabled voters would get that long awaited app, and I’d say, “Fuck voter security for this moment. You are being inconsiderate.” Then I’d turn around and help app devs design an app for disabled U.S. voters, and it would have a registration thingy that would register you to vote online. No excuses, we’d have the hottest votes ever, and we’d certainly be able to cast private ballots at home.
  5. I would shackle Old Mr. Orange and put him in jail for the crimes he committed against immigrants, children, and the disabled primarily because he could continue influencing hateful groups out there. I’d demand that all hate groups register as hate groups, and when they are seen as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, there would be some rules about not funding these groups. There’d be lots more Terrorist orgs under my watch, including the Proud Boys, any white hate groups that want to shoot down women’s and black people’s rights. I’d even go so far as to keep all hate groups off federal property, including the White House. I would have to make for darn sure that if you want to form a 501c3 org, it would have to go toward the cause you care about, not a hate org. I’d have to label some of the Christian groups like the Family International a terrorist org because of the hateful things they say about homosexuals and such. I’d have a few different things, write a rubric about what a good group looks like, what a proper charity and tax exempt group does and is. Yes, people would shoot me in the foot for this, but we have to get the hate groups under control so that people can live safely.
  6. On another point dealing with hate groups, I’d eliminate the KKK and other groups and their funding sources, including certain churches. Yes, there might be churches who fall under level 1 Hate group status, and I’ll talk about levels next. But I’d have to outlaw Christians and other religious churches from sending money to antigay orgs, and like in the prior item, the money would have to go toward correcting a social injustice, something like feed the poor, feed the poor, feed the homeless or the poor, help the disabled get housing. What ever!
  7. There would be three tiers in hate groups I’d have to put on a database registry kind of like sex offender levels, but it helps some with classification. Let’s start with level 3. Level 3 is a moderately hateful group that despises certain people, is elitist, and is caught up in a hate filled agenda to preach against things like homosexuality and marriage equality for disabled and homosexuals alike. Level 3 groups might include a lot of Christian churches that say that “We’re not going to accept and love you for being gay etc.” Or it might be a church that panders its congregants for too much money, and yet does nothing but pay its own way. Churches should be less elitist and more socially accepting. Mile High church is not at all a hate group. I would not classify DWC as a level 3 hate group either, neither would first Mennonite or Soar. Those groups are fine, safe, and exempt from such status.
  8. Level 2 hate groups are a bit worse, and they’d include the Proud Boys and KKK or some NeoNazi groups. It all depends on what the group’s agenda is. But some groups like this would be considered level 2 if they applaud violence, but don’t act on it, and these groups would have supported Terrorist or level 1 hate orgs. See next item.
  9. Level 1, the worst hate groups in America, support terror and fear and do commit violence as well as applaud it. Such groups might include an arm of the Proud Boys and members of the KKK and a Mafia family. Groups like this would be ineligible for all government funding, and no, the Catholic Church would not be classified as a hate group per se, but I’d end tax exempt status for that church because of the virginity propaganda that hurts many females with disabilities. See next item.
  10. All schools, including private ones, would have to have a safe sex workshop. Don’t growl at me, if you are a St. Teresa alumnus, listen up. The whole thing about morality is wrong, and the whole sex before marriage is bad thing is also wrong. Why? 85% of females with disabilities will be raped this year. We need to teach consent for both sexes, and all the LGBTQI+ students who enter for a good education can learn about the religion, but do not impose it on anyone. So what if you’re private? Offer scholarships to low income Catholics who want to enroll their kids, but no more of this virginity propaganda. It hurts girls who are raped, and it hurts those who could be sexually assaulted in college. We’re not handmaids, of course, so please don’t preach about the book of Genesis, and don’t expect me to pick up a bible any time soon.

What would a good and just society look like? I’ll tell you what it would look like.

  1. Women rule. That’s right, so back off boys.
  2. Women would be allowed to be themselves and buy vibrators at adult stores, even in the most backwoods states like Florida and … Kay Ivy, are you listening?, Alabama.
  3. Women would not have to worry about being raped on a date or god forbid at a frat party in college. Boys would treat girls like goddesses, and because of this, they’d never force them into having sex and shame them if they do or don’t. We’re not prudes, okay? We’re not sluts, okay?
  4. Women and men alike would read and write. Aunt Lydia, are you so insolvent and listening that you want to raise that baton? Don’t raise that stun baton yet, because I’m writing this and you’re just a character of imagination, but you better not pop out into the world I live in … Women can read, and write, and do many things that men can. Right?
  5. When a woman is eighteen, she goes to college, or doesn’t. If she does or doesn’t, she might meet a cute guy on the street, marry him with both parties consenting, and so on. If she likes ladies, I’d be fine with that. Traditional marriage is off the table, and for most women, we want the choice to be there.
  6. When a woman leads a country or provincial principality, she leads with love and empathy. She roots out hate and shows the people what love looks like.
  7. Babies who are disabled will be given homes that absolutely foster their potential independence.
  8. Babies born out of wedlock are never bastard children, but in my kind of world, the DNA doesn’t lie.

Thank you all for reading my rants, but trust me, this concert weekend, think about all the things you want to do. I’ll tell you what I want to do:

 

  1. I want to write this blog without judgment.
  2. I want to read The Testaments without having my finger cut off.
  3. I want a concert weekend that is empowering and awesome, with women and guys attending who understand what we need or want.
  4. I want to sing, “What Happens When a Woman”, and give it all I have, without a gunman striding in and saying, “No, your bodies are all mine.” Nope, that guy is going to be somewhere quite miserable and stuff.
  5. I want an opinion and not have to please anyone, because that’s just me.
  6. If anyone wants to lend me Aunt Lydia’s stun baton, please do so I can stun a few of the bad guys, not the innocent women in our land. I’d only use it for self defense reasons, especially for being blind and all.

Thank you again for those who went to the concert. I’d be happy if the concert weekend of this week went by with no incident, so there you go.

Sincerely,

Beth

Kill 14c: Why Goodwill Is No Option for Blind People and Other Job Matters

Dear readers,

It took a bit of processing to write this, but one man who commented on my post about my commitment ceremony suggested the worst possible outcome for myself and my fiancé. He said we should work at Goodwill. First and foremost, we need a meaningful living wage, and Goodwill cannot provide that because of a few things:

  1. It is a section 14c workplace environment. Colorado does not particularly like those, and the DVR of Colorado might have changed their tune about Bayaud Enterprises too, but both Goodwill and Bayaud employ severely disabled people for a little bit of money. We need a modest income to get a modest living arrangement, and a modest sum of money means a lot of that plus we need benefits to keep a family together. None of these things is available at Goodwill, not for blind and multiple disabilities clientele.
  2. Goodwill may lay off workers quicker than McDonald’s.
  3. Section 14c permits, in my opinion, the enslavement of disabled people because they are disabled. The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind, and many other disability advocate groups besides, are all seeking to phase out this little piece of hell for disabled people.

As a blind and mentally traumatized woman, I’m not atypical among disabled females. Many disabled females are abused as children, some even molested as children. While childhood abuse and molestation are not direct reasons not to work, they are almost very hard to manage in adulthood. Imagine saying to your boss, “I need a couple hours because therapists want to see me.” You just have to be honest with your boss. If you have frequent doctor appointments, then what? This is why I don’t feel comfortable sharing some information with people about mentally ill symptoms and all. I don’t feel comfortable sharing information about why I should work, and there are reasons why I would work. Here they are:

  1. My kids would be in a modest house with a better neighborhood, safe from drugs and gangs, and I could afford to use the money to take them on vacation. With no money, SSI only, and no prospects for a job, the kids would never see a theme park vacation, Elitch’s or Elitch Gardens included. Any theme park vacation to me must include a modest amount of roller coaster rides, and there’s a little park in Lakewood, but it nickels and dimes you to death for tickets and how the hell am I to make sure that the tickets are well spent? Kids and families should not go without a road trip or some sort of vacation. Out of state vacations are important because then guess what the kids do? See next item, but they learn.
  2. More money equals better schools for the kids. I can’t imagine them in a dropout factory. I don’t have children, but a lot of the poorer areas of Denver may not have the resources to help a mixed race female let alone a male child who can’t read a book because “Mommy and daddy can’t see the print on my school assignments.” I want to see a club like Books and Bros here in Denver too, so that if I should have a little bro in my life, he can read books about his own people, study hard and be motivated to do well in school. However, even homeschool kids have to pay a huge sum of money to get books, crayons, pencils, the list goes on. I would prefer to be the one staying at home so the child can learn, not a strange nanny or eau pair who can’t figure out how to train a dragon much less a child. And a lot of times, you have to be careful with who you hire to do this work.
  3. Low income jobs means my kid or kids will go to care places, childcare or daycare which will or could take a toll on the children’s behavior should a traumatizing event happen to them. I’ve seen enough of the daycare worker headlines: toddler in daycare hanged by worker, for example. And there are times when daycare workers don’t do their jobs right, and who needs Care? The site, better known as care.com, is rife with problems. Consider it a Craig’s List for daycare provisions with children in mind. I would never want a child in the hands of a stranger, especially when the child is newly born and getting used to bonding with mom and dad. Daycare disrupts the bonding process, and if abuse occurs at any daycare facility, there’s a lot of stuff to blame.
  4. Many low income workers have cars, car insurance, gas, etc. Since we don’t have that kind of money to afford a car, forget it. We could never transport a child to school, daycare, or much less sick day appointments. How the hell does anyone expect us to take a bus with a car seat? Strollers must be folded prior to boarding, announces the Denver bus system for example. However, we could use a double handled stroller, one we can pull instead of push but then again, where to find it? Slings are important for a baby too, and toddlers should at the earliest stage learn to hold hands with an adult, any grownup for that matter so that safety and security are of importance. When they turn ten, we can quit holding hands with the child, making sure they walk about a foot away from us, maximum that is. But still, we need a way to transport the child to doctor visits, Grandma’s house, all kinds of things that children should be able to go to without issue. In this world of child abductions, human trafficking being somewhat the norm in Atlanta’s airport, I can’t take chances if I allow a child to run and play outside without my supervision. And if the child needs to go to school, I absolutely must find a school within walking distance, learn the route to the school, and take my kids or kid there every morning. There may not be a need for this if the school exhibits no interest in curbing bullying. More on this in the next item.
    1. Bullying is a big problem in schools these days. We would need to know by communicating only with a child or children if they’re being bullied. Anyone asked their child, “How is school?” Many parents often feel guilty if they know their child’s being bullied. What if the child becomes a bully? I don’t blame many parents, but sometimes when the child is bullied, the bully themselves are insecure and they don’t know what they’re dealing with. With females, I would have to see if she was raped in high school, especially when her fertility is at its peak time, between 12 and 25. Believe you me, I’ll have the whole sex with boys talk with her, but the big issue bugging me would be, if she comes out to the wrong person. If she told me, “Mom, I don’t like boys, I’m a lesbian.”, I’d be totally supportive, and I’d tell her about the Denver Women’s Chorus and all the Gala choruses out there, and she could end up with a nice female partner that would give her the same attention that a guy gives me right now. However, she could be bullied by girls and guys all saying things like, “Fag” and “Dike” and other things like that which could harm her. Same with a boy who wants to be a drag queen. I would support it, but what will society say? Thankfully, we have the Trevor project and Courage House in a state like Wisconsin. There are great places where the LGBTQI+ youth can find support and encouragement, but I personally want what’s best, and what’s best is letting them be who they are or wish to become. If my son said to me, “Mommy, this dress looks funny”, and I find him wearing my dress, I’d say, “Boy you look pretty flashy in that thing” but I’d never ever say anything like, “Take that off. You do look weird in that thing.” A bully might call my son a very mean slur or two, but I’d like to take the Michael approach. Michael Saddler, this guy who runs the whole show with RMAA (Rocky Mountain Arts Association) caught some guys redhanded calling him a name, and he said, “That’s Mr. Faggot to you.” I absolutely love this approach, and I’d encourage anyone who thinks that a bully can get the upper hand to somehow and in some way neutralize that. Alas, not all parents would be as supportive. Imagine what one parent might say if my daughter and I were sitting there, suppose I had a daughter and a son for instance, and the kids would say, “We went to Drag Queen Story hour.” Evangelicals among us would cringe. I cannot play with the haters, so what to do when a boy wants to be a drag queen? I’d say, let him. He should be a queen, if that’s what he wants to do. I mean, look at RuPaul. And his drag race is amazingly awesome and I’ve seen some good and bad clips from it. I prefer the bad clips because they’re funny to watch and stuff, but seeing guys like that inspires me to do what’s right by our next generation of drag queens. I say, boys, if you want to be a queen, or even a drag queen, go for it. The point here is that I want a safe environment where such a lifestyle is accepted.

In any case, I’d like to point you guys to some teachers who hate homosexuals, honestly the worst teachers I can find hate that sort of thing. As a gay person once said to me, you can’t really play nice with bigots. Even bisexual men and women will tell me the same thing. I would want my children of the future to learn about the history of being outside the supposed norms and understand that LGBTQI+ peoples are peoples too, just like all of us. And furthermore, I absolutely love the approaches that some men and women have developed in dealing with bullies, but then what happens when your child is bullied for being poor? The last thing I want to do is arrive home to find my kid hanging from the shower or ceiling or whatever. I’d scream that same way that my ex’s mom screamed when she found her son was gunned down by his then girlfriend, who later killed herself. It is widely rumored by my ex himself that it was done by a Henry rifle, otherwise he’d hear it himself. Guns are loud, but Henry rifles aren’t as loud, but they still make a sound. As it were, I would be pretty dizzy and I’d throw up if my own beloved ones were hanging in the shower, in the closet, or whatever. My child if he is gay or whatever, or if she’s lesbian, stands an 80% chance of suicide without my support, and in poverty, that support could come at a huge cost. IF I have a boy who wants to be a drag queen, I want that drag queen to be the best dressed drag queen in the nation. So what? If my child turns out to be a girl, and she wants to do what is good for her, I’m okay with that. I have friends who are supporters of transgender and gay girls and guys and nonconforming folks, and I wonder to myself, what if I had a child like that? Yes, it would at first be a shock, but I’d be prepared. I have a huge wide circle of adults who are gay/lesbian, transgender and intersex etc that would be willing to lend a hand to my future generations. And of course, they’d have a wide circle around them, a circle of love, but my job prospects are few, and I’d love to work trying to help others in some way. Here are some career possibilities.

 

  1. I’d work with school students whose parents throw them out for being gay. Of course, I’d hook them up with the Trevor Project. See below. I’d also encourage them to find a LGBTQI+ friendly adoption agency if the parent expresses no desire to have the child back. Family reunification is the norm, but some people are just not accepting of that sort of thing.
  2. I’d love to work with elders and disabled folks bonded by guardianship. Since I went through this for fifteen years, I’d be able to share my experience and together with clients who are ranging from 18 to 108, and far between, we’d fight to end the practice of what looks like slavery and human trafficking of disabled adults and kids. I’d be more than happy to help females who are disabled and elders and such, all that so that I can make the world a better place. No bullshit jobs for me, please.
  3. I would love to work with those folks no one wants to work with. Even if it means I have to train to work with sex offenders, who really should be spending their lives thinking about how to adapt to a new way of thinking and living. I would be encouraging of these folks to hold themselves accountable for their criminal behavior, but I want to script their minds so that they see how I live, how my fiancé/husband to be lives, and they would understand that interacting with kids is a very serious thing. Yes, we often forget about sex offenders on the other side of the bridge, but the victims would be important too. I’d encourage victims to step forward, of course, and I’d believe my own small victims if they came running, all saying that so and so abused them, molested them, etc. However, the only way to keep molesters from molesting again is to work with these guys, mentally change them, provide them with therapy and meds and all that good stuff so they don’t do it again. Of course, there are some who are too far gone for this, guys like John Kiui, who raped and murdered Jessica Lunsford, and boy do I understand her father’s pain. Mark lost his daughter, but it is important to know that if a predator can benefit from rehab, sure, give him rehab. However, if the life ends in the hands of the predator, then he could possibly be sent to death row. If he has murder fantasies, they have to be stopped before they are acted upon, because if a guy acts upon those fantasies, it’s hard to undo them. There’s a ton of things to consider, stuff to think about when evaluating things like this. I’d be glad to get an MSW and LCSW for all those stupid things I could find myself in, and yes, I’d be glad to do groups of folks.
  4. I’d be happy to do music therapy as a minor, and with my experience as a social work major, and a music therapy minor, I’d do music at a shelter for homeless youth. Or I could work with homeless families, and I’d be happy to help anyone who needs it.

Think about all this, and tell me why I should then consider a career in a 14c sweat shop. Ugh. Thank you for reading this, and be bold, be brave, and be strong.

Beth

What I Believe About Marriage and Disability, Our Government, and the Community

Dear readers,

I was once again given pushback for posting about my wedding on Facebook. People expect too much from me, given the following scenarios and situations I’ve been in:

  1. I was in guardianship Hell for fifteen years, five of which was spent being punished, enslaved, and isolated by my family. They wanted a chore girl if I couldn’t work outside the home, and if this were the nineteenth century, they’d have put me in a group home or institution, or married me off to a husband of lesser quality because of how they tried to view me as less than them.
  2. I’ve been called names by a girl I will not name here, but I am and I swear to God, I’m not a slut or what she called me, and I won’t take the names lying down.
  3. Because of my parents’ misuse of therapy and begging the therapists to make me less of a person, tell me to obey my parents at all costs, etc etc, like it was for my own safety, I will never allow my parents to attend my personal ceremony for myself and Trenton. They totally misused my therapy appointments and the relationships I would be having with therapists, which would primarily be therapeutic in nature, to benefit their controlling ideological bullshit about disabled women. Now they have an elder who is male and has stage I dementia, and he needs constant care because of how dangerous he could be. Males with demential symptomology might become aggressive or worse, tear things up. Awful, right? But my grandfather only has stage I. This is important to know, but he can no longer ride or drive his motorcycle, and who the hell cares about me anyway? It’s him they have to look after now, and an age related social worker might have played a part in helping him and his wife, my grandmother, move to an assistive living facility for elders in Jacksonville, Florida. Bear in mind that Florida has the worst cases of guardianship abuse on record, and if my Papa ends up in solitary at a nursing facility, it’s death to anyone who hurts him. He needs to be as close to his family as possible, but keep this in mind too. Because of his diagnosis and his wife’s health too, I’m out of the picture except to serve as a possible advocate against possible elder guardianship abuse. My parents cannot misuse the therapeutic relationships that both Papa will need and I currently have. It is important to take this into consideration because therapists are supposed to make you feel better, not put you in dangerous situations. I’m sorry, but the therapists at LaAmistad put me in a dangerous situation, and it could have been more dangerous. See next item.
  4. I was told never to see  Orien Henry because of a so called mental health crisis they made up. They also did the same to Michael Bonhomme, and they could have done this to Trenton. Sorry, people, but Loving V. Virginia was decided in 1979, and this is 2020, so you can’t ban me from marrying the person I love, guardianship or otherwise. You need to understand, quite clearly in fact, that the whole idea of not allowing a person to marry gives the guardian an opportunity to accuse their victim of stalking and harassment, both very serious charges. Trenton and I are close enough, but what if Orien had actually done what he was supposed to do and actually took me to prom? Instead of a church service, I should have had the highlight of a young lady’s life, prom. And it was denied, along with grad bash, because of disability and people being stupid and ableist and … should I coin another word for it? Behaviorist. There’s a parallel between me and my friend Clayton’s high school experience at graduation. Clayton was flat out denied the chance to walk the stage because of ableist bullshit and propaganda that could be described as anti freedom of speech, purportedly because of his rap music. Well, I would have been happy to take Clayton’s and my own complaints to the school board and said, “Give me my prom gown. Let me dance. Let Clayton walk the stage, and the principal’s fired.” I would have fired Clayton’s entire school faculty if they agreed that rap music was a threat. It’s not. Do you want to know, people who see this, what Clayton’s life was like? Almost as weird and turbulent as mine. So there you now have it.
  5. Because I have to go to counseling once a month, a dental exam and many other problems, there will never be time for work to screw me up and fill my schedule. I want a work place willing to let me go to Soar and DWC practices, not make me choose one or the other. Soar is Wednesday nights, but then you have to factor in transport. Ugh. Also, Access a Ride tickets will cost more and more each year, more so than the wages I could earn at a place one man recommended. Goodwill has had a bad rap with the NFB, and they have tried and so far been somewhat successful in trying to get rid of Section 14c. I don’t want a section 14c job, and it’s demeaning. So here’s another reason I can’t have these 14c jobs:
  6. After my ceremony, I plan to take the first time home buyers course my buddy Art recommended a billion times. We’re just friends, so we just talk a lot about stuff. But here’s the kicker: first time home buyers have to have good credit history, and first of all, I do. I’ve paid my damn rent every goddamned month on time, only once because of Trenton’s bank snafus did we miss rental payments. I have had absolutely no problems, however, paying rent. But thirty per cent of that entire gross income will go to rent, and we could lose more dollars in rent than we’re supposed to. See next item for more on the other bills. Rent sucks, and we can’t modify things in the apartment we currently have, including not have smart lights and such, and we want more control over our lives. Tech has given us that.
  7. On top of this, bills will pile up. Power is important, but if we get a house, we could do Leap. We’ll think about it.

Thanks in part to the comments I received on FB, almost nobody who commented is invited to the ceremony. I have to go now, equity and so on.

Beth

The challenges of Cord Cutting for Blind People: What’s Realistic And What’s Not?

Dear readers,

Cord cutting, the solution to high priced Cable. Or is it? As a totally blind person, I feel it is not a realistic solution, and there are a few reasons why.

Audio description is a very integral part of blind people’s equality and access to television and movies, along with plays and theater productions. Denver is known for some of the best audio descriptions in movie theaters these days, but cord cutting services do not have audio description. When I tweeted Sling TV, they regrettably tweeted back that they do not put audio description on their channel services. Therefore, Trenton and I decided wholeheartedly against cord cutting with Sling TV. YouTube TV may have some audio description, but USA is not described on YouTube TV to my knowledge. Cord cutting has many options, including Fubo TV and Phylo and many others, all that exclude audio descriptive tracks for the blind. Some of these apps are not usable to different platforms with screen reading softwares. LEt me move on to the next educational point on cord cutting.

While audio description is a highly important thing, being able to access a player and on demand content with description is even more so because blind people who don’t have the luxury of being royal African queens need to have independence, equality, and access to all movies, television, and more cord cutting options. If VoiceView, audio Guide, or even Voiceover or Talkback can’t access the cord cutting apps and services you request without bad labels, bad placement, and other pitfalls of apps done by third parties, you have an unrealistic expectation for low income blind people and cord cutting. While Cable is a high priced so called luxury, for blind people, it is not. Audio descriptive channels are important, and I’m watching one now. On channel 24, USA, Law and Order, SVU is fully described and I can flip on the audio track if I want to. However, Phylo, Sling TV, and most of Hulu are not equally accessible to the blind as YouTube TV is. Licensing is usually a poor excuse not to provide blind people with equal enjoyment of television and theater and movie visuals. Licensing should never be used as such but it is with cord cutting services, and they claim or would claim that they need to pay for such things, and that it would be passed on to the consumer. Wrongo, not if a civil right is at hand. So what’s the verdict on cord cutting for blind people?

While cord cutting seems like a great option for low income folks, it is not a very nice option for those who can’t see the screen. Audio descriptive tracks are not avaiable for 90% of cord cutting apps and services, and most companies don’t offer accessible on demand content. It’s harder and harder for blind people to justify cord cutting, and I know from experience that as the head of a household, you have to be careful what your kids watch too. While I don’t have kids yet, cord cutting services with live TV also have parental controls, which I don’t touch whatsoever but this is a recommended thing Id like to see a parent review such controls on all the cord cutting services. Popular ones include Sling TV, YouTube TV, and others such as Fubo TV, Phylo, and Pluto TV. Tubi TV is also quite popular. So how to get blind people to cord cut? Here’s the big consideration that all cord cutting services should consider. Understand why audio description is important for totally blind folks who can’t see what’s going on in the visual realm of the screen, and do not use this licensing tomfoolery to stop audio description from appearing in your apps and services. Blind people have needs, and we also enjoy a wide variety of stuff like sighted people do, but cord cutting is off the table for most of us, sadly, the ones who make under a thousand. Some low vision people could get a lot out of the cord cutting services, but for those who are blind completely, who and what and how are things going to be modified? Another thing that the company should do is to test the softwares with screen readers, and require that the testers be blindfolded, especially during the testing process. For audio description, make sure that the service is available and get your tracks from the networks, and the parent companies must cooperate so that licensing is not a good excuse, or rather a poor one, to deny a blind person equal access to television and theater productions.

Thank you for the support, and please download the Cord Cutters News app if you feel like following the not so wonderful world of cord cutting. If you cord cut, remember that Cable companies have monopolized audio description and not allowed it to come to cord cutting services. The only cord cutting option that a blind person could try is YouTube TV. I’ve seen reviews of it on blind bargains qast, so you guys can check that out too.

Beth

Fire TV Review

Dear readers,

While my Roku review is something I’m sure a lot of you might have found controversial and unbelievable, the Fire TV review is equally as concerning to me to write. So let me get to the meat and potatoes.

First, the Toshiba Fire TV Edition I own. The first thing to notice is that Ivona is used in the voice view screen reader, and Sally is much more discernible than the crappy flight voice in the Roku. The price is $359 plus depending on your country, and VoiceView is available in all parts of the world, especially U.S. and Canada. The fire TV does not, however, do free channels the way Roku does. A point off.

The one thing I like about my fire TV remote is how slim and beautiful it is. Yes, I know, you’re probably thinking, but what about the Roku? It’s the same thing, slim and beautiful, but the Fire OS Alexa remote has some beautiful features to it such as the distinguishable microphone button so you can talk to Alexa, the Amazon assistant. I could find no such button on the Roku. But the weird thing is that the roku remote has an app companion for smartphones which is more to say than the Fire TV remote. No points off for this one though because to each their own.

Is it possible to do cord cutting? With the Fire TV, it probably is. The Roku has more free options, however, but you can get more out of Fire’s voiceview. The overall rating should be 9 out of 10, which is more than the Roku got on my scale. I’ll talk about cord cutting challenges for blind people next entry.

Beth

My NEw Christmas Toy: a Roku Review

Dear readers,

I’m going to put this first entry of 2020 out there for the guys at Cord Cutters’ News because blind people looking to cut the cord should know the truth about a few things, and I want to start with a review of an affordable smart TV solution.

Meet my 32 inch TCL smart TV powered by the Roku smart operating system. It’s a little tyke, and compared to its older sister, the Fire TV edition, the Toshiba we bought for $359 plus at Best Buy, this one’s only $129. I was able to pay for this bad boy with a gift card, and two antennae later, I’d just about spent my whole $150 allotment on this stuff. So, now that you know the price I paid for this, let’s get to the meat and potatoes.

First, for blind people outside the United States, Roku is the bane of their existence. This will appear in the feedback list I’ll provide below. But let me talk about Audio Guide.

Yes, the guide works, and it is somewhat discernible. Roku made this accessible by use of the Flight speech synthesizer, which the female version of this voice is more of a problem for some ears, but I had to strain to listen to certain letters, and in some instances the keyboards had to do military alphabet call words associated with those letters. The hardest letters to hear are the ones like e, g, v, b, and p. A and J are fine, but those other letters are harder to hear with the crappy voice driver they’re using. Not complaining, however, because there’s a lot of personality to this affordable new system.

AS a blind person, the first thing you ought to know is I love entertainment modes. Netflix and Hulu work okay with Audio guide to set up at first. Hulu was harder to do because the code for activating the darn thing took many many tries to fix, and my fiance who’s also blind had to do it in the end because of the … well, should I say ultracrappy synthesizer lettering in the codes? We tried to get a discernible code, and it was a bear to set up. However, when we did get the darn thing to work, Hulu still had options for audio description that worked on the Roku and Fire TV alike.

While I’d like to say Roku is amazingly awesome and such, I don’t know for sure if the picture is right, and I’m totally blind. One thing I’d like to see the company do is focus its efforts on making the Roku free stuff described for blind audiences, especially those with total blindness from birth who’ve never seen, but when descriptions come alive on screen, we have our visual cortexes activated. This is scientifically proven, and Braille does the same thing. Roku should especially work harder to provide cord cutters who are totally blind and visually impaired with more options, other than antenna TV, where description is present. I’m serious. Now, for the ultimate feedback.

Because blind and visually impaired people exist all over the world, Roku must make an effort to deliver audio guide to other countries and other language groups, i.e. Spanish or French or Portuguese and Dutch. The blind in Europe and Canada don’t have audio guide as an option on Roku, and therefore are stuck with Fire OS or Samsung, both high end and Sony, another high end option. However, I’m going to be blunt. Only offering audio guide in the U.S. will be bad for the overall Roku user experience for those who are blind living outside it. Therefore, points off in the rating.

Another bit of feedback I already mentioned above. Making sure the apps work with audio guide will be challenging, but worth a good fight if you’re ready to yell at a few weirdos, tell someone else they’re a jerk, or go above the heads of Netflix Customer Service, and that’s a stretch. Points off.

Another bit of feedback, Roku televisions are highly affordable, but should blind and visually impaired people be stuck with a crappy synthesizer driver that they can’t understand? I mentioned the Hulu setup stuff, but there’s more. What if I tried to set up Prime Video? Netflix? Apple TV is highly usable with audio guide, but audio guide’s greatest weakness is, according to many Roku adopters, its altogether crappy synthesizer choice. Points off.

I love the sounds the TV emits, and the speaker is not bad. Thankfully, I can instantly turn on audio description on my Comcast xfinity streaming app channel thingy I added to the home screen. The trick is to navigate with the directional pad. The remote is simple, and you can reprogram some of the bottom four buttons. They are from top to bottom as follows, this being a Walmart TV: Netflix, Hulu, Roku Channel, and Voodoo, Walmart’s own entertainment service like Hulu and Netflix. Actually, I mixed two of the bottom buttons up, but you get the picture. There is a star button, which is great for doing options and menus I need to access the stuff I look for. The direction pad is a plus, almost looks like one of them Xbox game console controller things. They also have a back and home buttons above those plus buttons. The power button is easily distinguishable, a round thingy on the top that you can easily flip on and off the Roku. What would I rate my overall experience with this darn TV? Well, I’ll give it that the skills can’t access Netflix content yet, or ever if I know what’s up. However, I connected the Roku to both Google and Alexa in my apartment home. It works like a charm, but still needs essential work to be done in the discernible voice and accessing descriptive content category. I’m going to say, for all intent and purpose, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, this thing gets a 5. So it’s a fifty percent grade for Roku, and I’ll say it will do better, so this thing also needs improvement. To the guy who does Cord Cutting Today, you should read this blog entry because maybe you should consider my review of Roku very carefully. I’ll do a review of my Fire OS TV tomorrow or another day.

Thanks,

Beth

The 2019 Year End Rap up

Dear readers,

I want to wish everybody a happy new Year, and with that said, here is a list of twelve things, one per month, that happened in 2019.

  1. Lots of tech came into our home this year, including a new phone for Trenton and later, a Mac for me. January began as all Januaries do, cold and brutal.
  2. I started a lifestyles clinic, and discovered more about me that I could not discover outside the clinic.
  3. I gained a fan, though there were many people I’ve had to give up on along the way. Some of these people are insensitive to mentally ill people, slut shame women, and take pride in calling me entitled because they’re jealous of how many likes and follows I got on Twitter. These people also don’t understand that there are predators among us in the blind community, and they only want to protect predators. For more on this in general, read Ronan Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill, and you’ll be able to pin this tactic to what these Casanovas are doing.
  4. I was assaulted by a girl I thought shared a lot in common with me, but she turned sour because all she really cares about is one man, a recent ex who quit talking to me. He got bought out by a wealthy woman in Arizona who is despised by my friend Clayton, but this woman is buying people’s brains with her money, and she inadvertently bought out my old friend’s brain and my ex’s brain too.
  5. We went on without the girl, and both myself and Trenton had made a website and a discord server, more on that later, but then I tried to figure out Discord too. We discovered that this app is now usable by blind people.
  6. I joined the Denver Women’s choir that last May, and ended up doing a concert in July or so to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. For more, see previous blog posts on the subject. Sorry if I didn’t tag any of those.
  7. I continued with Soar, and Trenton swears he’s going to support them with his money. Great, because I can’t do the dues, but Denver Women’s chorus wants me to pay $5 dues every month. Their justification is that not everything is free, but well goddamn! I have to pay bills, and everything in life has a bill to it, but here’s the kicker: on SSI, you don’t get more than $800 and the raise isn’t always enough. Period.
  8. I discovered that not having a religion or practicing Pagan religions is better than practicing something you can’t practice because of exclusion and otherwise bad doctrine that conflicts with legal issues regarding marriage and disability. Wicca does not permit anyone to shit on other human beings, and I see no point in elaborating further on the subject because I could be judged.
  9. I tried a Star Trek roleplaying by email game, only to be removed because I supposedly failed their training. Ugh. Okay, but what am I going to do now? My life sucks anyway because I don’t have employment prospects still, and I won’t tell you why.
  10. I’ve spent the better parts of my 2019 battling the Jason Owenses of the world. I mentioned earlier that there are predators among us, and he is one of those people. I wrote a #metoo story about Jason and how we interacted and how he was poorly raised or now being enabled, and worse off, he hurt women and girls in the blind community. To the men out there who think this is abominable, well, if you help someone who traffics in victims and or tries to create victims, you are creating the victims yourselves. For example, let’s say Jason produced porn. I’m just saying. What if he produced child porn on his own, and had edited a child pornographic site. If he did this, he’d be creating victims of the children used for such enterprise. Jason thankfully never produced such things, but other men are helping him and standing up for him and not me. This has to stop, and I will continue to fight for women and girls with disabilities who might fall into this monster’s hands.
  11. I met the most amazing dear friends. Let me highlight these people. Clayton, who is a gifted and talented blind inventor, entrepreneur, rapper, and musician after my own heart; and Britney C., a flute player who swears she’s a fan of all things in my blog. I’d like to point to her blog, Life in the Key of Britney. She has the same things in mind that I had years ago. I’ll talk about the decade in a second but really, Clayton and Britney are the coolest friends I’ve run into. Clayton was one of two people I had problems with in March, but he was the only one of two people that ran off that actually came back. As Eddie Murphy’s character in Shrek often says when Shrek asks why the hell Donkey came back, and why he bothers to hang around, “That’s what friends do. They forgive each other!” And that’s what I’d like to say Clayton did, but someone else did not. It’s times like these you know who your friends are.
  12. Trenton swears he won’t be on Facebook, but I’m trying and failing to get him to see that everybody has one. But in social media news, it was done in the name of sanity when the two people I mentioned earlier that assaulted me or cozied up with wealthy benefactors blocked me. They two got blocked on Trenton’s Facebook because of toxicity and their wish to break us up. Overall, this year we became a stronger couple. Yes, we fight sometimes, but we do it fairly. We managed to get through couples’ counseling, which I would have required of any guy because the guy would have to learn to cope with me. I have been the victim of fifteen years of guardianship abuse.

Now, here are the things that happened in the decade, and moreover, these are ten things that highlight each of the years of the 2010s.

 

  1. 2010 started out as a difficult year. I applied and was denied the chance to go to training at CCB, only to have the Client assistance program tell my parents that fine, she can go to this, but you have to pay $3000 per month she’s there. My parents had no choice. I would not go to Louisiana because, as I’d later say, it’s a red state and it’s too fat, no healthcare, no Title II services or birth control, too Catholic for me. I started in Colorado that May. And I haven’t gone back except for Christmas vacation. I converted to Islam that year, but later, discovered it wasn’t right. See next highlights.
  2. 2. 2011 was the year I ended up not only trying to get back on my feet in college, it was the year I graduated CCB in April of that year. My boyfriend at the time was one of my biggest cheerleaders. Okay, really, I had a cheering section. Now he’s married to someone else, so I won’t go into his life here much.
  3. In 2012, I ended up meeting a guy who would change all the things I thought about men. I left the Islamic community because of concerns about the treatment of women, and I read a lot of books and literature discussing such things. I saw a lot happen in the news that convinced me that Islamic doctrine did not permit blind women to marry blind men, and there was too much ableism in the community in Denver, but it would not have mattered. Jason Owens changed everything. I realize now that because of Jason, I can’t be so sure that someone is legitimately in love with me. Jason ruined my perception of males, and I no longer respect any man who thinks that women are property. Worse, these men say that women should, as property, hold no property.
  4. In 2013, I ended up breaking ties with Jason, and barely struggled to get to the bottom of why he was who he was. In the midst of all this, there was Blake. Blake and I have still been friends since 2010, when we both went to CCB. Blake was seriously in love with me, and we tried. We tried dating in turn for two years and a half, and it wasn’t as big a waste as I thought, but there was a problem.
  5. In 2014, nothing much happened. I did not understand why it all did. The biggest thing that did happen was if I’m not mistaken, Blake’s brother was gunned down by a possessive girlfriend. I started this blog, and became an advocate of gun control and I still want to see an end to gun violence.
  6. In 2015, sadly, Blake and I were history. We broke up that December, and I don’t get this. He was insecure about things like a woman’s right to her body, blatantly telling me I could not have a vibrator or any other supplementary material regarding sexual matters, which bothers me to this day. This is a boundary I could never tell him he crossed, for he could have gotten crosser with me. This is probably why I won’t ever get back with him. Or anyone else, and that December, I met someone else who would ruin things and later, could have changed what it meant to me to be a liberal. Joey was not the smartest chip on the old block, but I thought he was appropriate. He didn’t seem judgmental, but his parents? Oops, judgments rained down on all sides in all places. The Hagemeier family seems to have worn out their welcome because of homophobia and transphobic comments made about friends, and I’ll discuss later why I have cut ties with such individuals. Joey Hagemeier might have seemed nice on the outside but see the next post for more.
  7. It was in 2016 that I met Trenton, but it was in dire circumstances. Joey broke it off too early, of course. He doesn’t know how to treat girls, I thought, and if this is how I’m going to be disposed of, I’m done dating. But then I remembered how isolated I became only in that one month alone. Trenton came into my life, a lover of tech and games, but still a drummer, which to me isn’t a troublemaker in this sense. Trenton is not a troublemaker, but he plays a better drum anyway. We both marched to the beat of the drum together, and have done so for four years.
  8. I joined the Soar Youth and Adult Choir in 2017. It is amazing what that choir has done for both myself and Trenton.
  9. Last year, in 2018, we had decided to try and plan our commitment ceremony, or an unregistered wedding per se. This is unsuccessful because of the following things: loss of friends, no prospects for moving to a better place, and of course, the lack of support from the bridal family.
  10. This past year has been fruitful, and joining the Denver Women’s chorus was the best thing that happened. The guardianship will be gone as of February of the coming year, and there will not be a parent’s name on medical charts. This way, my babies will be safe, Trenton will be safe, and we will have a family. See my previous post for my wish list.

Here’s to the previous decade, and cheers to a brand new year and decade of writing. In 2010, I got my Twitter. Later, I started writing this blog. And moreover, Facebook got bigger and better, but now it crashes. It won’t in a while. Happy new year, all.

Beth