I saw something disturbing today. I saw a young man, maybe twenty-two, in a bookstore with what looked to be his father. I figured the connection because those two noses had to have grown from the same patch of soil. They walked slowly, stopping now and then to look at something. The young man was significantly, severely, profoundly disabled. He was in a wheelchair, his body formed odd angles. His beard, neatly trimmed. His clothing, fashionable. His father, attentive.
There was was pure simplicity of the time they spent together. This was a young man who would take time to care for, who would need much, who some would call 'burdon'. But the burdon must have been light because his father seemed to have no difficulty in pushing the chair, and no difficulty finding words to chat with his son about what they saw together. And the son gave back. He glanced at his father with pure affection and love. He smiled at his father's jokes. He, once, reached out and held his Dad's hand. This was a relationship in the truest sense, it was reciprocal, both meeting the other's needs.
This man and his father, this man and his family will never be the focus of media. They will never be noticed by history. They will never be discussed in a public forum. They will simply be a family.
Yet they live here in Vancouver merely miles away from Seattle where a young woman, Ashley, was surgically butchered by her family to ease their care of her. Her insides were ripped out so that menstruation wouldn't be a bother, her breast buds and milk glands removed - to protect her from abuse (an irony if ever there was one), then she was placed on huge dosages of hormones to fuse her bones and make it such that she will not grow, not become too heavy, to difficult to care.
She is surgically altered by a family who claims love - while another family trims the beard of their son. It disturbs me that one family becomes the subject of discussion while another family goes quiet into the world, goes gently into love, goes well into care.
It disturbs me that I hear nothing about child protection agencies - isn't this their job? I hear nothing about advocacy groups taking legal action. If Ashley had been a Yorkshire Terrier, the humane society would have reacted with passion and anger. Why isn't it wrong to do Nazi experiments on children? Especially when other families deomonstrate, daily that care is possilbe. That growth isn't a burden. That love may mean the extra bother of trimming a beard!!
I sat in my wheelchair and watched the two of them leave Chapters, go out onto Granville and then go out of my vision.
I wanted to scream.
I wanted to make noise.
I want to do something.
Protest at an embassy.
Someone help me. What do we do? How do we respond?
Where do we put our anger?
What do we do with helplessness?
Does anyone know?
If there is any kind of organized resistance or protest to "Ashley's Treatment" as it is called, please please let me know.