Notes and Comment Blog

The elleeet

Jun 21st, 2018 11:35 am | By

Trump wonders why “they” are called the elite when he is so much better in every single way. “I have a much better apartment than they do,” he said, smirking heavily.


Image result for trump apartment

Not his:

Image result for room with books

His is more expensive, for sure, but better?

20 days are enough for anyone surely

Jun 21st, 2018 11:01 am | By

There’s another kicker to Trump’s supposed rescinding of the policy to steal immigrants’ children: it’s good for only 20 days.

Though President Trump declared that the executive order he signed Wednesday would “solve” the problem of family separation while parents are prosecuted for illegal border crossing, the order is really only good for 20 days, CBS News’ Paula Reid reports, citing a source familiar with the drafting of the order. The order does not override the 1993 Flores v. Reno Supreme Court case, which says that detained migrant children cannot be held in government detention facilities for more than 20 days.

Essentially, this means that after the 20-day mark, children may still be separated from their parents.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) currently separates most families when they are apprehended for illegal border crossing, Reid notes. But now, with the executive order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take custody of the entire family. However, at the 20-day mark, under the Flores consent decree, the department will have to release the children from custody.

Mind you, other reporting I’ve seen says there are vague plans to try to tweak Flores in some way, but it also says it’s not clear that can be done, that it’s a can of worms, etc.

Oh (reading on) – this reporting too.

Nothing in the executive order stops the government from releasing the whole family, Reid says, but under Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ zero-tolerance policy, which states that the U.S. will prosecute all who cross the border illegally, releasing the family is unlikely.

Reid also reports that Sessions is expected to immediately ask a federal California judge to modify the Flores consent decree to permit the government to detain families together throughout the entire prosecution and deportation processes.

It is unclear how long this will take to litigate or whether the judges would be willing to permit indefinite detention of minors.

Of course the “zero-tolerance policy” is optional; they have chosen to treat unauthorized immigration as a crime.

Live that down, Donald

Jun 21st, 2018 10:41 am | By


He said with derision

Jun 21st, 2018 10:32 am | By

Yesterday Peter Baker and Katie Rogers at the Times wrote about Trump’s filthy dehumanizing language.

President Trump has railed against undocumented immigrants in recent days, branding many of them “murderers and thieves” who want to “infest our country.” Not long ago, he referred to them as “animals,” although he insisted he meant only those who join a violent gang.

The president’s unpresidential language has become the standard for some on his team. This week his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, made a mocking noise, “womp womp,” when a liberal strategist raised the case of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome separated from her parents at the border.

Mr. Trump’s descriptions of those trying to enter the country illegally have been so sharp that critics say they dehumanize people and lump together millions of migrants with the small minority that are violent. This approach traces back to the day Mr. Trump first announced his campaign for president in 2015, when he labeled many Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” a portrayal that drew furious protests.

Mr. Trump recalled that controversy just this week and doubled down on it. “Remember I made that speech and I was badly criticized? ‘Oh, it’s so terrible, what he said,’ ” he said with derision during a speech to the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday. “Turned out I was 100 percent right. That’s why I got elected.”

And here we are, trapped in this hell.

He has made insults the core of his presidential messaging. He has called Canada’s prime minister “weak & dishonest.” He has called journalists, lawmakers and political opponents “wacky,” “crazy,” “goofy,” “mentally deranged,” “psycho,” “sleazy” and “corrupt.” He has called some of his own appointees and Republican allies “very bad,” “VERY weak,” “failed” and “lightweight.”

Because that’s who he is – abusive. He’s an abusive sadistic bully, who enjoys being an abusive sadistic bully, and is simply loving being it on the world stage.

“Only Trump can get away with being Trump,” said Jennifer Mercieca, an associate professor at Texas A&M University who has studied his language closely over the last three years.

“Any time that other people have tried to use ad hominem attacks or swear or whatever, it rings false,” she said. “And other politicians tend to have more shame, so when they’re criticized they fold. And as you know, Trump doesn’t do that. And so because he refuses to be shamed, he can get away with sort of saying anything.”

In other words only Trump has no conscience and no empathy – only Trump is a psychopath.

“We’re sending them the hell back”

Jun 21st, 2018 10:20 am | By

The evil demon held another fascist rally last night, this time in Duluth, Minnesota. He was more monstrous than ever.

The president was here in part to support Pete Stauber, a Republican candidate for a House seat. But, as he usually does on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump focused more on his agenda — and his enemies, at one point declaring that he had “a much better apartment” than his critics.

Turning to immigration, Mr. Trump castigated the Democrats.

“The Democrats want open borders: ‘Let everybody pour in, we don’t care,’” he said, as the crowd erupted into a chant of “Build the Wall,” and mocked a handful of people who tried to protest his policy. (“Go home to your mom,” the president told at least one demonstrator.)

I tell you what: there are two people we made a big mistake letting “pour in”: Trump’s father’s father and Trump’s mother. If they’d been turned away there would be no Donald Trump, and the world would be a significantly less awful place.

He said of other countries: “They’re not sending their finest. We’re sending them the hell back. That’s what we’re doing.”

He wouldn’t recognize “the finest” if it sat down in his lap and offered him a Big Mac. His criteria for what’s fine are entirely warped.

Trump thinks “Angela” is German for “bitch”

Jun 21st, 2018 6:00 am | By

There’s always worse to learn. Cast your mind back to the G7 and Trump sitting at the table scowling like a constipated goat at the adults trying to talk sense into him.

“It was at this point, towards the end of the summit, that Chancellor Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada got together with some of the allies and really wanted to press Trump directly to sign the communiqué, that talked about the commitment to a rules-based international order. Trump was sitting there with his arms crossed, clearly not liking the fact that they were ganging up on him. He eventually agreed and said OK he’ll sign it. And at that point, he stood up, put his hand in his pocket, his suit jacket pocket, and he took two Starburst candies out, threw them on the table and said to Merkel, ‘Here, Angela. Don’t say I never give you anything,’” Bremmer described to CBS.


I long for him to drop dead.

Today is World Refugee Day

Jun 20th, 2018 6:20 pm | By

I opened this story at the Huffington Post about Obama speaking up on Trump’s grab the children policy, and saw the subhead –

The former president calls out “the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms.”

I thought for a second about the phrase, which is a frequent trope in this story but also a literal statement – the children are much of the time literally ripped from their parents’ arms, and if they’re not it’s only because the parents are trying to minimize the trauma for the children so decide not to make it a physical struggle that they know they can’t win. The children are forcibly removed, and the parents would clutch them and resist if they had any hope it would work. I thought about that and then about the fact that of course Obama is a loving father so the expression is not a mere metaphor or emphatic rebuke to him. He can empathize with the parents very directly. Then I thought about Trump and before I could form the thought “why doesn’t it affect him the same way?” I remembered that it wouldn’t, because he was never involved with them when they were little. He has bragged about that – which is one of the reddest of red flags about his nature, that the idea of helping to raise his children is funny and disgusting to him. He was completely and determinedly hands-off, so that built-in knowledge is missing in him.

Maybe ultimately it doesn’t make any difference, because Republicans who did help raise their children still backed the hateful policy, and people who have no children are viscerally horrified by it, but…it’s one more thing. One more huge gaping hole in him where there should be something.

What Obama said was in a Facebook post today:

Today is World Refugee Day.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to have been born in America, imagine for a moment if circumstance had placed you somewhere else. Imagine if you’d been born in a country where you grew up fearing for your life, and eventually the lives of your children. A place where you finally found yourself so desperate to flee persecution, violence, and suffering that you’d be willing to travel thousands of miles under cover of darkness, enduring dangerous conditions, propelled forward by that very human impulse to create for our kids a better life.

That’s the reality for so many of the families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear. And to watch those families broken apart in real time puts to us a very simple question: are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together? Do we look away, or do we choose to see something of ourselves and our children?

Our ability to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others, to say “there but for the grace of God go I,” is part of what makes us human. And to find a way to welcome the refugee and the immigrant – to be big enough and wise enough to uphold our laws and honor our values at the same time – is part of what makes us American. After all, almost all of us were strangers once, too. Whether our families crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we’re only here because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, how our last names sound, or the way we worship. To be an American is to have a shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve the chance to become something better.

That’s the legacy our parents and grandparents and generations before created for us, and it’s something we have to protect for the generations to come. But we have to do more than say “this isn’t who we are.” We have to prove it – through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes.

Yeah we do.

Diddums doesn’t want to look weak

Jun 20th, 2018 5:24 pm | By

The squalor of it.

A senior administration official, after Axios asked whether Trump thinks the family separation issue is a political winner because it makes him look “hardcore” on the border:

  • “Not at all. He’s doing it to press the case with Congress. He’s moved personally, but also doesn’t want to look weak. He feels boxed in, is frustrated and knows it’s bad politics — but also understands it’s not a fight he can back down from.”

Right because that’s definitely the important thing – whether or not a stupid petulant cruel toad of a man “looks weak” or not. That definitely outweighs the anguish of infants and toddlers and children yanked away from their parents, and the anguish of the parents they’re yanked away from.

Also it’s absolutely fine and ok for a lying abusive thieving rat of a man to make policy decisions based on what serves him rather than the welfare of the people affected or the good of the country as a whole. We’re certainly all just furniture in the life of Donald Trump, the only human who matters.

Also it’s assuredly not a matter of morality or principle or ordinary compassion but of a “fight” that he must not “back down from.”

A bible in every pot

Jun 20th, 2018 4:11 pm | By


Jesus and Mo on Patreon

Set the oceans free

Jun 20th, 2018 3:42 pm | By

Also Trump wants to wreck the oceans. It’s not as if we need them for anything.

President Trump on Wednesday ended an eight-year-old policy to protect oceans, which was created as hundreds of millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from a broken well, covering more than 65,000 square miles, killing untold numbers of wildlife and devastating fisheries in several Gulf Coast states.

President Barack Obama mentioned the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the largest and costliest oil spill in the nation’s history, in the second sentence of an executive order that detailed the first national ocean policy and called on federal agencies to work closely with states and local governments to manage the waters off their coasts.

“The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and resulting environmental crisis is a stark reminder of how vulnerable our marine environments are, and how much communities and the nation rely on healthy and resilient ocean and coastal ecosystems,” Obama’s July 2010 order said.

In contrast, Trump’s order does not mention the explosion that killed nearly a dozen workers and the spill of 210 million gallons of oil. The second sentence gives a nod to domestic energy production, the jobs it could provide and the financial rewards that can be reaped.

Beautiful clean coal.

In a statement, National Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi praised the new executive order as a “renewed broad vision” to foster energy security and create jobs. Luthi called the Obama policy “an uber-bureaucratic solution to a government self-imposed problem.”

“The offshore energy industry has successfully operated side by side with other ocean users, without major conflict, guided by the planning inherent in the five-year offshore national program and the leasing process mandated by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act,” Luthi said.

Except for the Deepwater Horizon thing that is, and Exxon Valdez before that, and all the other oil spills.

Image result for oil spill


You never thank the kidnapper

Jun 20th, 2018 3:21 pm | By


With the purpose of enlightenment

Jun 20th, 2018 12:21 pm | By

Stephen Miller is literally trolling us.

A seasoned conservative troll, Miller told me during our interview that he has often found value in generating what he calls “constructive controversy—with the purpose of enlightenment.” This belief traces back to the snowflake-melting and lib-triggering of his youth. As a conservative teen growing up in Santa Monica, he wrote op-eds comparing his liberal classmates to terrorists and musing that Osama bin Laden would fit in at his high school. In college, he coordinated an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” These efforts were not calibrated for persuasion; they were designed to agitate. And now that he’s in the White House, he is deploying similar tactics.

Take the travel ban, for example. During Trump’s first week in office, Miller worked with Steve Bannon to craft an executive order banning travel to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. Trump signed the order on a Friday afternoon, unleashing chaos at airports across the country, complete with mass protests, wall-to-wall media coverage, and a slew of legal challenges. Afterward, Bannon reportedly boasted that they had enacted the measure on a weekend “so the snowflakes would show up at the airports and riot.”

It seems implausible, that administration policy and PR are being shaped by the kind of people who spend their lives on Twitter harassing “snowflakes,” but there it is.

He’ll be doing something

Jun 20th, 2018 11:15 am | By

Trump now says, no doubt sullenly, that he’ll sign “something” to end family separations at the border.

He’ll do the least he can get away with, and meanwhile we’ll be accepting all the lesser evils because he made this one concession. If he does in fact make it.

Trump, whose administration weeks ago began separating hundreds of children from their parents at the border, did not describe the specifics of the order.

“I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat pre-emptive but ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

And the ogre strolled away, picking bits of human flesh out of his teeth.

He enjoys it

Jun 20th, 2018 10:01 am | By

Here’s a striking detail from a piece by Gabriel Sherman on rifts in Team Trump over the whole kidnapping babies thing:

Trump’s decision to double down on the family-separation policy is sowing chaos in the West Wing, two sources close to the White House told me. For the second day in a row, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders—already eyeing an exit, though not for months—did not hold an on-camera briefing with reporters. “She’s tired of taking on water for something she doesn’t believe in,” a friend of Sanders told me. “She continues to have a frustration that the policies are all over the map,” another person close to her said. “It’s not a good look for Sarah.” According to sources, if Sanders were to leave earlier than expected, Trump is high on former Fox & Friends anchor Heather Nauert, who’s currently the State Department spokesperson, to be his next press secretary. “Trump loves her,” one former administration official said. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.)

Meanwhile, as the border crisis spirals, the absence of a coordinated policy process has allowed the most extreme administration voices to fill the vacuum. White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has all but become the face of the issue, a development that even supporters of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” position say is damaging the White House. “Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border,” an outside White House adviser said. “He’s a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There’s always been a way he’s gone about this. He’s Waffen-SS.”

He enjoys seeing the pictures.

Just sign on the line

Jun 20th, 2018 9:54 am | By

All they have to do is rescind the order. It’s on them.

Tender age shelters

Jun 20th, 2018 9:31 am | By

It’s ok, the Administration is taking care of it.

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.

Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

Why aren’t city leaders thanking Trump for the new jobs?

Decades after the nation’s child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is starting up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents.

It seems odd that people haven’t always known that, but they haven’t. It took research to find it out.

On a practical level, the zero tolerance policy has overwhelmed the federal agency charged with caring for the new influx of children who tend to be much younger than teens who typically have been traveling to the U.S. alone. Indeed some recent detainees are infants, taken from their mothers.

Doctors and lawyers who have visited the shelters said the facilities were fine, clean and safe, but the kids — who have no idea where their parents are — were hysterical, crying and acting out.

“The shelters aren’t the problem, it’s taking kids from their parents that’s the problem,” said South Texas pediatrician Marsha Griffin, who has visited many.

Remember Harry Harlow’s studies? On infant Rhesus macaques removed from their mothers? Given the choice of a wire “mother” with milk and a fuzzy “mother” with no milk they would choose the fuzzy one every time? “Clean and safe” is necessary but so very not sufficient.

Bad to worse

Jun 20th, 2018 9:15 am | By

Jesus. My Twitter feed is filled to the rafters with grim news about the state-orphaned children including infants. That’s the algorithm because I was paying a lot of attention to it yesterday, but still, there’s so much of it. And it’s so god damn grim. The tent city being prepared on the Texas border where it’s going to be 106 F. today for instance.

I saw the clip of Corey Lewandowski jeering yesterday but I put off posting it.

As the country’s blood pressure continues to rise over the separation of migrant children from their parents at the border, tempers flared Tuesday night on Fox News.

On the cable news giant’s evening newscast, former senior Democratic National Committee adviser Zac Petkanas began relating an anecdote of a “10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage.”

In the middle of his comments, fellow guest Corey Lewandowski cut in.

“Womp womp,” President Trump’s former campaign manager said, making a dismissive trombone-like sound effect.

To me it sounds more like “wa wa” aka “waah waah” which is akin to “boo hoo” rather than a trombone, but everyone’s calling it womp womp so whatever.

“Did you just say ‘womp womp’ to a 10-year-old with Down syndrome?” Petkanas shot back.

“How dare you,” he repeated as Lewandowski attempted to speak. “How dare you. How dare you. How absolutely dare you, sir.”

How he dares is by being a Trumpian. This is who they are.

Lewandowski’s appearance immediately went viral. CNN’s Brian Stelter called the words “dismissive, despicable” in his nightly newsletter, Reliable Sources.

“There is no low to which this coward Corey Lewandowski won’t sink,” former Fox News star Megyn Kelly tweeted. “This man should not be afforded a national platform to spew his hate.”

And yet such national platforms exist and flourish.

Among other desperate, crying mothers

Jun 19th, 2018 4:40 pm | By

The AP reports:

The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life.

So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for the United States.

Two months later, she sits in a federal prison south of Seattle. The boy, Abel Alexander, is in custody at a children’s home across the country in upstate New York. She has no idea when she might see him again.

“I still haven’t been able to talk to him,” Orantes told The Associated Press in Spanish as she wept through a telephone interview Monday from the prison. “The most difficult is not seeing him.”

She fled a threat of kidnapping her child, so now she’s in prison and the US government has kidnapped her child.

The phone call that prompted Orantes’ monthlong journey to the U.S. border was no idle threat, she said. About three years ago, Abel’s uncle was kidnapped by extortionists and freed only after the family paid up, according to her attorney, Matt Adams, legal director of the Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

“When they don’t get their money, they kill people,” said Orantes, 26.

This time, the demand was more than they could muster. And they had only a week to pay, she said.

She and her son split from the boy’s father in Guatemala. He remains in hiding, and Orantes said she does not know where he is. Upon reaching the border, she and Abel found it impossible to apply for asylum at a port of entry, Adams said.

“A lot of people are showing up at the border to apply for asylum and are being told, ’We don’t have capacity for them,’” Adams said. “It’s not like they can just stand in a line for several days, because then the Mexican officials will grab them and deport them. So they’re then forced to go through the ravine or the river.”

That’s what they did. The pair crossed illegally into Texas and immediately reported themselves to immigration authorities and requested asylum, Adams said.

They were separated so Orantes could be prosecuted.

The woman said she was moved to different detention facilities, including in Laredo, Texas, and placed among other desperate, crying mothers. At one point, officials brought Abel to her, she said.

“They told me, ‘Say bye to him because he’s being transferred.’ I asked where,” she recounted. “They just told me to say bye to him. … He just started crying, saying, ‘Don’t leave me, Mom.’

“I just said, ‘It’ll be OK.’ That’s all I said.”

She was convicted of the misdemeanor of entering the US illegally, and sent to the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac to wait to learn if her asylum request will go anywhere.

Before Trump’s policy changes, she likely would not have been prosecuted, but instead allowed to remain with her son and granted an interview to determine whether she had a credible fear of persecution or torture in her home country. If officials found that she did, she and Abel would probably have been released while their immigration case continued.

It was weeks before she learned her son’s whereabouts, she said. She has not spoken with him. Her attorney said she has no money and is not allowed to make collect calls to the facility in Kingston, New York, where he is held. The boy has been able to call her sister, Maria Orantes, who lives in Maryland and has petitioned for custody, without success.

“He doesn’t feel well there,” Maria Orantes said in a phone interview. “When he calls, he’s crying. He doesn’t want to be there.”

In other words they’re both being tortured.

The American government has unleashed terror on immigrants

Jun 19th, 2018 4:08 pm | By

Masha Gessen published this at the New Yorker way back on May 9th, and damn did she see what was coming.

Hostage-taking is an instrument of terror. Capturing family members, especially children, is a tried-and-true instrument of totalitarian terror. Memoirs of Stalinist terror are full of stories of strong men and women disintegrating when their loved ones are threatened: this is the moment when a person will confess to anything. The single most searing literary document of Stalinist terror is “Requiem,” a cycle of poems written by Anna Akhmatova while her son, Lev Gumilev, was in prison. But, in the official Soviet imagination, it was the Nazis who tortured adults by torturing children. In “Seventeen Moments of Spring,” a fantastically popular miniseries about a Soviet spy in Nazi Germany, a German officer carries a newborn out into the cold of winter in an effort to compel a confession out of his mother, who is forced to listen to her baby cry.

Last weekend, independent Russian-language media published hundreds of photographs from protests that preceded Monday’s inauguration of Vladimir Putin, who has claimed the office of President for the fourth time. In many of the pictures, Russian police were detaining children: primarily, preteen boys were having their arms twisted behind their backs by police, being dragged and shoved into paddy wagons.

An unsubtle warning to their parents.

A few hours after Putin took his fourth oath of office, in Moscow, Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed a law-enforcement conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. He pledged to separate families that are detained crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you,” Sessions said. The Attorney General did not appear to be unveiling a new policy so much as amplifying a practice that has been adopted by the Trump Administration, which has been separating parents who are in immigration detention from their children. The Times reported in December that the federal government was considering a policy of separating families in order to discourage asylum seekers from entering. By that time, nonprofit groups were already raising the alarm about the practice, which they said had affected a number of families. In March, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the hundreds of families that had been separated when they entered the country with the intention of seeking asylum.

The practice, and Sessions’s speech, are explicitly intended as messages to parents who may consider seeking asylum in the United States. The American government has unleashed terror on immigrants, and in doing so has naturally reached for the most effective tools.

And here we are. We’re on a level with Putin’s Russia.

Guest post: To be allowed to be female in my own way

Jun 19th, 2018 11:55 am | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on Adolescence is fraught with uncertainty and identity searching.

Claire believes that her feeling that she was a boy stemmed from rigid views of gender roles that she had internalized

I had a lot of gender problems myself as a teen. My parents had rigid ideas of what a person should be based on their external genitalia. So I endured endless years of Home Ec when I would rather have been in Chemistry and Physics. I wore pink as a little girl when I preferred green. I washed dishes after dinner while my brothers watched Star Trek or played cribbage with Dad…or got to do fun things like going out and helping with the tractor. My mother was very firm in her conviction that there was something seriously wrong with me. I was too “mannish”. Not in my mannerisms, mind you, because I was never what she termed a “tom boy”. In my interests. I didn’t want a hope chest. I didn’t want a bridal registry. I didn’t want a boyfriend. I wanted books and magazines and science and politics and philosophy. She made it very plain, very clear, that I was wrong, I was messed up, I was seriously broken. I wasn’t fully a girl, oh no, not possibly. But she never suspected I might be a boy, because in her worldview boys were boys and girls were girls, and had nothing in common. For that, I am eternally grateful.

She also hated the idea of psychotherapy. To have one of her children in therapy would be more horror, more disgrace than she could handle. So I never had therapy for my depression until I was 25, married, and rapidly dropping weight from the most recent manifestation of a lifelong battle with anorexia, to that time untreated. So there were no therapists to ask “are you sure you aren’t really a boy?”

The day came when I finally realized what I was…I think I was about 14…and the truth hit me like a flash of light. It had nothing to do with whether I was a girl or a boy. It turns out, I was a feminist. A female who had her own interests and talents in spite of what society and my parents said. A female who was female and didn’t want to be male for some reason, but just wanted to be allowed to be female in my own way. The battle for ERA was raging, and I had many battles with my parents over the desirability of this particular constitutional amendment. They won on the national level; I won on the personal level by identifying for myself why I was not happy in the roles established for me, and why I didn’t want to wear pink (because I liked green better!) or take Home Ec (because Chemistry, Biology, and Physics are more interesting to me) or marry the first boy who asked me (actually, I did do that, but it was many years later, and a mistake).

That recognition did not solve my depression. It did not make my eating disorder go away. It did not give me control over my own life (frankly, I’m not in favor of 14 year olds having full control over their own life, but that view is not what I thought at 14). I was still an abused, unhappy, scared child who needed some serious help, but when I finally did get help 11 years later, it was the kind of help I needed, not the kind that would assume that my desire to do “boy” activities meant I was a boy inside.

What if the internet had been available when I was going through all this? What if I had been given YouTube videos to teach me the way to live, rather than sorting it out by working through the worst aspects of puberty and eventually discovering through a long, extensive, and still evolving process who I was, separate from my “gender identity” and separate from my “assigned at birth” and separate from my “parents think I am this”? What if I had been a member of the generation who thinks that vloggers hold more answers than experts, or that experts should tell me what I want to hear? Or, worse, that experts should get their information from vloggers and 4 year olds who happen not to like pink and people with baseball bats wrapped with barb wire?

I finally achieved a solution to my depression, my anorexia, and my other worries at the age of 35, and learned how to smile. I went back to school for the Biology degree I’d never dared dream of. I explored my own sexuality without fear or shame. And today, I am more content than most of my peers, and I appreciate that. I still suffer frequent flare ups of depression, but I no longer jump to easy, obvious answers and instead look at my world and myself and see if I can sort it out…if not, I ride it out. It Gets Better. And when my therapist one day asked me, when I explained I felt like some grotesque female-male mutant, “do you want to become a man?”, I had the courage, the knowledge, the insight, and the support behind me to say “no, I just want to be the woman I want to be”. And he had the good sense, the training, and the insight to support and respect that, and understand that I knew what the hell I was talking about. He never urged me to transition, to change my name or my “gender identity”, or to be anything other than the woman I wanted to be.

Thanks to all these things, I am today the woman I want to be, rather than a depressed, unhappy woman who can’t see her way to get out of bed in the morning, or a depressed, unhappy man who found out that my problem wasn’t solved by transitioning into a different body.

If my experience could be of some help to youth and teens who are suffering similar problems, I would gladly offer my assistance. But it seems that people don’t want to hear my story now, because it does not fit with the story they have incorporated into their worldview, and insist (loudly and violently) that everyone else should incorporate into not only their own worldviews, but into public policy and health care.