Father’s Day

Dear readers,

This post is dedicated to all the blind fathers out there whose children were ripped from their lives by a government that doesn’t understand. Fathers with disabilities can and will father children, and I have a good example of several different fathers.

Meet Dishon. He’s a Louisiana born Colorado father of one little boy. This is the first child he’s fathered, and his wife is blind. He is happily not involved in a custody case, but his little boy is only 2 years old. I think. What move a father makes could spell the fate of the child, and this is true of any parent.

Meet Clayton, a blind man whose daughter was ripped from his custody upon the secon divorce from a sighted ex. He is not able to see his daughter, and this post is dedicated to him. He would like to be able to use his blindness skills and his other senses to track his daughter’s movements throughout a house or home, and she’s 3 years old. I could be wrong, but being a summer baby has its benefits, but having heard about her birthday, I called Clayton and just sat there with him on the phone. Father’s Day is not a day of gifts, spending time with children or a child, not for Clayton. It is only a reminder that he must reinstate his parental rights to his child, like most blind men should be doing. If a man fathers a child, he must take responsibility for that child, and Clayton swears he has. Unlike other men I’ve witnessed who have kids running around, and who are sighted, one blind man says he’ll father his child responsibly. What does this say about men these days?

Back to Dishon. His family will likely not be torn apart because Dishon’s family support is good, and both he and his blind/visually impaired wife use blindness skills to take care of little boy in the picture. There are many blind fathers and mothers alike who would like the government to stop ripping away children from their blind parents and unfairly terminating the rights of a blind father in Clayton’s case. Here’s a story that proves we need to do more. While Clayton’s case was in Iowa, this story wasn’t far off.

Scott Meade had five little children. HE divorced his sighted wife, and she ran off with the baby. Th children were taken from Meade and adopted out as a result of the state of Wisconsin and its negligence and perpetual expertise on blindness, which was not favorable to Meade himself. Now, he’s a single man, and he lives with friends out of state. He can never see his children, and it makes me sad. Clayton may never see his daughter up close, but I pray that this and other stories teach us that blind men have a right to father a child to the best of their abilities like everybody else.

Updates and Other Things

Dear Readers,

THe last vestiges of the church have been destroyed. I have sold the piano because, even though it was a loner from a friend, I can no longer keep the darn thing. That friend sided with a congregationwide vote to remove me from the church, something that will never happen again. The price was $450. But I went no lower than $400. The lucky buyer was a lady and her husband looking for an instrument for their children, and they’re musical themselves. I want to thank Yana from the bottom of my heart for at least taking the time to get to know me, and for her question about my iPhone. OF course, many blind people have iPHones, but her question was valid, she’d never seen Voiceover before, so I explained what it did. She was impressed, by God, I had never read a check written on by hand with Seeing AI, so I attempted a demo, but that sparked something. If you ever had questions, I’d say, give me a call. Friends forever, I hope? Well, as I begin watching this trashed up version of the dispassionate Paula Dean, I am thinking of all the potential that Yana’s kids will have. One day, I’d like to perhaps attend a recital and if Yana herself goes and plays in an orchestra, I hope she gets a solo. She herself is a violinist. HEr husband? THat’s a different story. Her husband’s a keeper for her, I’ll say. Now, the next steps.

  1. I’m going to get a Macintosh, complete it with a keyboard, magic pad, etc.
  2. I’m later going to save up to get a beautiful new MIDI controller, and maybe get a small one so I can later get a big one. But I want a Yamaha or Roland Midi controller. And the miniature dollhouse can wait, especially the moldy crisp bacon, the lazy little pinhead, and the swan face and the clock. And???
  3. I’m going to put together my press portfolio, or perhaps a sound portfolio, something that shows people I can compose. I don’t want college. Not yet.
  4. Going to see if DVR will support college.
  5. Black people should NOT be sold as “pieces of meat”, according to some video I’m watching about the making of hot dogs. Maybe I should make the background tracks to YTP videos and collaborate with others?
  6. Continue writing in this blog? Yes. I will continue writing in this blog, and anyone who objects, they will go into the Chokey with everybody else. Right, Miss Trunchbull?
  7. I will plop before I start laughing, and workers are not loose synthetic fibers. I think the maker of that YTP is amazingly weird.

Those are all the updates and list of things I’m going to do for the time being.

My #metoo Moment

Dear Readers,

It is coming to my attention that people are supposedly upset because supposedly I slandered exes in my blog. Well? This is a rumor and is false, for any of the exes that violated my trust did so because they wanted power. Before I proceed to tell the story of my #metoo moment, trigger warning applies here. The trigger warning applies to descriptions of sexual assault/harassment and graphic descriptions of what happened.

 

When I first met Jason, I was fooling around on Skype. I had been fresh out of a relationship with a Somali blind man who is still friends with me, though we barely talk. We could not marry in the Muslim community however because of perpetual misconceptions about blindness that were spread among the brothers. When I added Jason to Skype, the Skype account was at that time “jasondo374”, and we started out as friends, hitting it off pretty well. What I didn’t understand was that Jason wanted access to my Facebook messenger, AIM, Skype passwords, etc. He gave me an account, but later he stole the password and allowed someone else to change it for spiteful reasons. But back at the beginning.

WE visited each other in Georgia, I flew from Denver to Atlanta, and Jason greeted me there at the airport. It was recommended by his mother, an older woman in her sixties or so, that Jason not record every single moment, but that’s when I found out that he did all this and more. We went to a house in a small town where, one night, we decided to have some fun. I went to a karaoke bar the night before, but the next night, little did I know that Jason was recording the moment penis met vagina. He also recorded and made jokes about me talking while having sex, which spelled woman as property but I didn’t know this at the time.

After I got back from Atlanta the second time, little was I aware that Jason had recorded all the moments, and I had a bad experience with the whole art of oral. I remember the last night we were together, we were watching Borat. Unfortunately, it’s a racist comedy, but still, I remember Borat in the background, my head slipped downward, I had to at least give some. But it was not to last long enough. I got back to Denver, and things went downhill from there. Jason not only violated the terms of service for Skype, he violated my trust, showed people the intimate moments we were supposed to keep private, even then, he made awful sexual jokes about how I wasn’t good at sex, and this was later revealed to me in a troll. While I was with my current, Trenton, I found bad comments on this blog related to my ability to have sex. And sadly, the person who did this denies even doing it, but he impersonated Blake, my most recent long term ex.

Blake saw the recordings, and he didn’t believe Jason’s awful side of the story. What I understand now is that he uses the recordings to jack off. HE has been known to violate other girls in this way, and I invite victims to come forward. Victims he’s had include friends of mine who I haven’t spoken to online and he also violated and badly injured an Asian girl. This guy has made it known through the recordings that he’s the boss, but he treated all his women like property. The only difference I see between Jason and Mr. Weinstein is money, and yes, an occupation.

Girls, if you want to know why I’m writing this, I should have done so long ago. I should have listened to Jason’s schoolmates who came to me with many a concern about Jason’s eratic behavior. He should have been punished for this behavior, and fewer girls would have been hurt.

Thank you all so much for listening and reading this #metoo story.

Beth

Churches and the American with Disabilities Act

Dear Readers,

It has come to my attention that some places are exempt from being compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. This includes churches, mosques, temples, and other religious places. They are also tax exempt and exempt from the prying eyes of the federal government. This can mean a disabled person may not be welcome to a church or other religious facility. I don’t exclude synagogues, Orthodox churches, or even Mormon temples. So what can be done to make the religious facilities welcoming to people with disabilities? Here’s a list of suggestions for clergy and religious leaders. While Catholic churches are run under the jurisdiction of either Greece or Rome, all churches and facilities in the United States should not be tax exempt if they don’t welcome and integrate people with disabilities. THey should be made to pay taxes like everybody else, and those tax dollars can go to make disability agencies within the government bounds more bearable, if not, much better for their clients. Think of it as punishment for the churches that actually works, gives back to those most in need of help because the church refuses to integrate and make their places welcoming.

Here, now, is the list:

 

  1. Make your building completely accessible. Multipurpose school buildings should have Braille signs, and wheelchair accessibility should be put into every bathroom stall, for if someone uses the handicapped stall while a wheelchair person is waiting, then what? People with disabilities are still human, and if we have to use the facilities, we have to go, darn it.
  2. Integrate your disabled patrons, members, or parishoners in the case of Catholicism completely and without fail. A good example of integration is allowing disabled adults a commitment ceremony treated as a wedding but not given documents or told to turn in their marriage papers to social security. A church that understands the plight of disabled adults is fully able to integrate them. Also, all activities should be open to disabled children and adults. The Mormon church, for instance, does not allow blind men or women to do missionary work. They also don’t allow disabled people to do many other things, and there’s sexism involved as well. Women in Relief Society should beware the sexism and dishonesty of folks who really don’t want blind people integrated into the church. Churches like this should never get tax exempt money because all that money isn’t going where it should, to those most in need of help, to members with disabilities.
  3. Treat all disabled people as equals to nondisabled people without going over the top. Churches who allow disabled people to attend and become a full member should treat that person as an equal, encouraging their nondisabled counterparts to visit the disabled if they are homebound, and take the person out if they are able. People should know that blind people, especially, are indeed able to go to movies and other recreational activities, but oftentimes that is a passed up opportunity because other church members are seriously not able to understand this. All that I’m saying should apply to Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and other religious facilities that practice some form of deity worship. Buddhist centers can integrate their members with disabilities as well in this manner, and hold meditative sessions in a park or backyard.
  4. Particularly for Christian and Jewish establishments, make your materials readable for blind folks. Your Roman misselettes and hymnals should not have to be pretranscribed by a member’s family but you should at least make it possible for your members to participate in singing of hymns. For instance, making an electronic copy of lyrics in a hymnal works if the person owns a digital Braille display etc.

There are many churches and synagogues and temples and other places that obviously don’t know what disability does to a person. I can show you examples of churches that have and have not integrated disabled members, but most of them don’t. Here’s a few examples of what churches should be doing to their dollars they collect.

 

  1. Supporting blind and physically disabled brides and their grooms, likely disabled, on their weddings, even going as far as financing the reception. I’d like to pick on St. Bernadette’s Catholic in Lakewood because they not only welcomed Arthur and Diana Yochim in to the congregation, but the priest went so far as to finance and arrange catering for the couple’s wedding. The priest went so far as to help this couple where other people might not. All religious establishments should follow the example of St. Bernadette’s, and do the same.
  2. Send blind people to missions. Mormons, take note. Blind people are just as willing to serve as sighted counterparts. I’d like to thank my buddy Clayton, also known as Esoteric Quality, for the notes on the Mormon church because this is duly noted earlier. God does love everybody equally, so it should be preached, so God encourages prophets like Jeremiah, who was mute at first, and Moses, who was elderly and possibly had a slow tongue, maybe he wasn’t that great at speaking, but God encouraged him to say his famous, “Let my people go.” Disabled people in the Bible do not number in millions, and Jesus does not truly understand that in his absence, blindness is not healed. Not till he becomes one with the Father. But God believes in equal opportunities, love, and equal rights. No false prophecy can say otherwise. All religious establishments should send blind and physically disabled people to do good works abroad along with their nondisabled counterparts.
  3. Help disabled adults’ families with childcare, education, and welfare stuff. If a family needs food and the lady’s pregnant, the establishment must, under all circumstances help the individuals in question. IF a disabled woman is raped, pregnant because of the rape, and then has a baby, the baby should be welcomed with joy, the woman given money for rape counseling, and if she chooses to adopt out the baby, no harm done. I would keep a product of rape if it is a female, likely, because if the male was sadistic enough, he could pass on bad traits to a male offspring. That doesn’t mean I’d abort. I don’t believe in abortion, but women and their bodies and mental health should always come first.
  4. Pay for a member’s funeral expenses. If a member dies, or if a child dies, or if a disabled member’s spouse dies, a church or other religious community should, after all is said and done, pay for funerary expenses including burial, cremation, and memorial flowers, or in lieu of flowers, all donations can be made to a person’s favorite charity. At the completion of someone’s life, that person should be given fanfare, a gentle and loving goodbye, and no condemnation to Hell for sexual preference or orientation, sexual or gender identity, or disability. Again, Clayton. When his sister was gunned down by Mesa police, he had to pay for funeral expenses, and went out of his way to find a celebrant that would not condemn his transgender sister, who identified later as male, to Hell. He found a female, but before this, most of his family condemned her, even after her abuse. She suffered at the hands of her family, and Clayton was the only one that understood.

Churches and other religious places have a lot to think about. IF they want their tax exempt status taken away, more power to them. The procedure would be simple: any church or religious/faith based establishment that does not comply with the real teachings of God and Christ, Buddha, or whatever, including the teachings of love and equality, will be audited by the IRS and forced to comply or should be closed. IF it takes changing subtleties in the doctrines, that must happen.

This article was inspired by not only Clayton, but my friend Tyler McKinny, who hates all forms of God and supernatural things. A lot of what this guy says is correct. Religion may bring humans together, but love without end is even more powerful. Tyler says that supernatural belief without science is ridiculous. I tend to agree, and miracles have some scientific explanation. Although science won’t be able to explain creation or the beginning of the universe, it does explain evolution. And something put it there. Wisdom in such figures as the Dalai Lama and Buddha are extremely important for living a balanced life, and I’m in agreement that science does support meditation/prayer. It works in some weird ways, but people learn better when exposed to an inclusive environment. This means disabled people should be allowed to pray, meditate, whatever.

Beth

Open Letter to the Royal Newlyweds

Dear Readers and fans,

I’d like to share a few thoughts with the royal newlyweds as they are merrymaking and having a good time at their wedding. They first of all picked a fine time to marry as this particular day was a twelve year recovery anniversary, and it’s not easy having been discharged from a place that violated evry right in the book, violating privacy and confidential and social information for a blind patient. To HRH Prince Harry, you’re so lucky. As you said at the altar crown, you are indeed lucky. But being set up with Megan Markel on a blind date is nothing. For me, every date is a blind date. I kid you not. Being blind, my dates have to know in advance that I can’t see facial expressions and feeling someone up is not good in polite society. You are marrying an American, and now that you’ve taken your vows, please, I beg you, validate the peoples who are rendered not as “desirable”, the blind, the wheelchair users, the intellectually disabled, etc. These people are mistreated by the government and the Duchess of Sussex, as MEgan is now called, should be aware of this stuff. It happens everywhere, and someone should use their celebrity for good things such as validating the feelings and wants and desires of disabled people. We want to get married in style as you guys have, but did you know that 80% or more disabled adults can’t find jobs? 90% of disabled females are restricted to living at home with their parents, verbally/emotionally abused, or sexually assaulted? Think about those numbers and figures for a second. Disabled females are more at risk than the males because of misconceptions, emotional detachment by parents, and possible abandonment. My 90% comes from extensive conversations with many females in the disabled community. In Britain, this number could be different. Let MEgan do the research since this might be new to her. Megan, one thing I want to say is be blessed to have a husband like yours. Your husband and the rich connections you’ve made have awarded you a 53 meter around wedding veil, embroidered with all the flowers of the Commonwealth. It doesn’t matter how you look at it. I didn’t watch your wedding because for one, I’d never be invited to a wedding unless I was family or well connected. For another, the wedding option for me was written off the books because my parents think nobody will fall in love with me, and made my relationships look bad. They blame me for one sided relationships, one of which or maybe two of those relationships weren’t. What’s worse is that I was violated by a blind man from Georgia. I’m currently with a Denver man, and we should be able to express our love in whatever way we choose, including a lavish wedding. What you don’t see is that I’m probably mixed, come from the same Catholic family, and am marrying a black guy. My parents according to my fiance could send someone to shoot him. Well, I assure you, if you get racist commentary anywhere, it won’t be the last time, but that’s the burden we bear. My fiance won’t have bodyguards which he should have anyway because of the risk we face. I don’t want to lose him as much as His Highness Prince Harry doesn’t want to lose you. You may not be a virgin, neither am I, but that’s a small detail that really doesn’t matter. Trenton accepts me the way Harry accepts you. So think about it. Your wedding should not just be about the lavish diamonds, lace, and silk, but about the poor and downtrodden of your Commonwealth as well.

To those who watched the wedding procession, be mindful that not everybody can afford a carriage, crowds, and pictures with photographers. Trenton and I have had to forego $5 out of $5000 we were trying to raise for a decent wedding, but were not awarded enough, so the money was refunded. This is a disgrace. I wanted a wedding to someone who would accept a lifetime marriage contract, no divorce, nothing. So … be mindful of what you all do.

Sincerely,

Beth Taurasi

Open Letter to Sudan

Dear Readers,

The following is a plea. Sudan supposedly is a Muslim country. They have the most cultish laws in place such as women marrying only Muslim men, forced marriage provisions to benefit the monsters who rape and destroy women’s lives, and laws that allow the hanging of a young girl, Nora, who killed her husband because she was fed up with being raped. Is this justice? No. I’ve ridden with men from Sudan, but to ask these men questions about girls and their treatment over there is bogus. I now plead with the international community. Free Nora, and hang the relatives who forced her to endure rape, not the other way around. That man who got her deserved to get whatever came to him. Nora needs our help, none of the men do. They don’t deserve brides for a price. Nora, if only you could read this, you have a right to the tree of life. Just get out of there, and unlike Miriam Ibrahim, you should get protection so you can not be rearrested for forging documents. Get out! Sudan is not safe for women and girls, especially those with disabilities. IF you need a hand, women of the world, I’m right here and if you need something, to those who don’t like the men they marry in force, just tell the husband you’re forced to have that he’ll get what’s coming if he even so much as touches you in a way that doesn’t make you happy.

With love and a bit of fire,

Beth

Blind People in Recovery

Dear Readers,

Imagine that you’re in an in or out patient recovery, and you can’t see. That’s not as easy to wrap your head around, but for me, that was the reality 12 years ago. Not much might have changed since LaAmistad violated my rights and the rights of other blind patients, so let me break down what it is we the blind may need in a recovery circle.

First and foremost, since blind people cannot read standard Print, it is the utmost importance that treatment providers must, even if it means changing policy, provide spoken or Braille materials for blind people to better understand and/or participate in recovery. Using HIPAA is not a good enough excuse not to allow a blind person to read their own recovery tools. Emailing recovery materials may be an option, and since most providers have a signature about confidential information, keep that signature, but send all materials as attachments. Braille materials can be embossed from these attachments or the treatment provider could pay a transcriptionist or emboss it themselves using a computer with a Braille embosser in sync with a transcriber program such as Duxbury or Perky Duck or something similar. Blind people must have full and equal access to all material related to them and their recovery. That’s the most important thing. Without it, your practice could end up in the same category as LaAmistad or any other company that violates the rights of blind people.

Secondly, as with autistics, all threatment providers should talk to their client directly, not expecting eye contact. Blind people with shrunken eyes like myself can’t give you the “evil eye” and other eye related expressions but we can face you when you talk, and we exist, so unless the client has a vocal disorder or speech impediment, please, please talk to your client directly. Find out the reason the client is in therapy. A representative such as a parent or public guardian may have forced your client into mental health counseling for all the wrong reasons, so be sure that this is not the case. 80% of blind females may need rape crisis counseling and another 10% may be added for the high rate of abuse such as sex abuse, physical battery, or emotional/verbal and mental abuse. Females with disabilities are seen as less valuable and not desirable, so it is often said that they are “sexless saints.” They aren’t. As a treatment provider, your job is to treat the whole picture, not “fix my child” in the case of parents begging you to, for instance, convert a gay person to a state of heterosexuality. Applied behavior analysis should never be used on blind autistics, just as with sighted ones. Parents should not be allowed access to your client if they say so. Participation of families may be hard because either the client is battered by one or both parents or a guardian, so take the reason for treatment seriously.

Your relationship with the client matters. If you say or do misconceiving things to your blind client such as ask them why they can’t open their eyes, they may be off put. IF your client uses a guide dog, allow them access to your facility because really, it’s the law. Ask your client the question of the dog’s purpose but not so much whether that’s a pet or service dog. If a client uses a wheelchair, your practice should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including not have architectural barriers such as lack of a ramp or no elevator so the client can remain mobile. Some blind clients do use wheelchairs, so be aware of what needs to be done.

As you progress in therapy with your blind and physically disabled client, do what you normally do in asking about the client’s life story, talk about the onset of your client’s disability. Some disabilities are a direct result of abuse, so don’t be shy about the onset questions.

For some blind people, art is great for coping with stress and abusive situations. For children, use of three dimensional play things is fine, as with regular children who are not blind. The difference with blind clientel is that we prefer to have differing ways to artistically express ourselves such as weaving, clay sculpting, or three dimensional and tactile artwork. Collages are great ways to build art projects, and paper folding art such as the Japanese origami is a really good way to allow your clients to express themselves. Art therapy is excellent, but what if your client isn’t an artist? As with regular clients, blind clients may want outdoor activities supervised by a therapist such as horseback riding, playing fetch with a dog, or a nature walk. Some therapists’ offices are cramped, so this might work. You can come up with all kinds of creative things to do outdoors with a blind client who might have suffered anything from rape/abuse to night terrors/nightmares. The possibilities are endless, but make sure you get the logistics and resources before you do what you want to do.

Blind clients who are deaf will likely need Braille materials or computerized Braille files to participate in recovery. Sign language may not be the best, unless you want tactile interpretation like in the case of Helen Keller’s teacher Annie, who had to spell into her hand. The best way to address a deafblind client depends on the level of hearing loss but the best way I see to address said clientel is to use something like the Deafblind communicator, and use of writing software such as that can break down barriers of communication common in the deafblind arena. Sighted or hearing treatment providers should always be aware of what the deaf and blind client’s needs are just as with anyone else.

Group therapy can be a challenge for blind people, both in and out patient being where groups abound. Always make sure Braille materials are available, and allow your blind clients to bring whatever works for writing down answers and filling out worksheets. Allow them to email you the results if they must be turned in. When homework is assigned, make sure the client is given the same assignments as the rest of the group, but there may be triggers in some of the content of group discussion. Allow all clients equally to discuss things, but set your group rules as you would with regular clients. Blind clientel may need time to get to know group members’ voices, so icebreaker activities can be a great way for all members to remember each other. Blind people may be unable to transport to certain places by bus or train such as a field or horse barn, so if you are a treatment provider, and you wish to do therapy in a field, be sure to provide some form of assistance with transportation for your blind client as they can’t get a license to drive. IF a representative is unwilling to drive, you may be able to put some backbone into why they should, and be sure to remind the rep why the client benefits from your services. This step applies to treatment providers in rural areas where buses and trains may not be present.

In the advent of technology, some blind people may benefit from e-therapy. Some therapy resources are available through electronic means such as the phone or computer. E-therapy through a platform such as Google Hangouts or Skype might work, provided you don’t use an accessible counseling or e-therapy platform. Online counseling must be delivered in a way that benefits the blind clients, so use a screen reader or Braille display or both when testing e-therapy options.

I hope you find these tips helpful.

Beth