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Shaming Leelah Alcorn's Parents

YYW
Posts: 36,263
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1/17/2015 1:27:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I saw this stupid article in the Chicago Tribune, that I think is worth sharing... if only to mock it for its absurdity.

http://www.chicagotribune.com...

But I'm a bit wary of seeing Leelah's death appropriated into a symbol of transgender oppression " specifically oppression caused by ignorant parents. Doug and Carla Alcorn are conservative Christians who are not only mourning their child's death but being blamed for it in some quarters. Activist and columnist Dan Savage was an early participant in the pile-on, tweeting that Leelah's "parents threw her in front of that truck" and calling for them to be charged with child abuse or even manslaughter. He wasn't alone. Funeral services had to be moved to an undisclosed location because of threats to the family.

And I am with Dan Savage.

To those of us who occupy the kind of secular, urbane world depicted in "Transparent," it can be galling to hear the Alcorns insistently refer to Leelah as their "son" even as they are making statements like "we loved him unconditionally." From where we sit, it's easy to accuse these parents of being woefully confused about the definition of unconditional love.

Yes.

Although the Alcorns may have been tragically misguided, there is no evidence they deliberately set out to harm their child. It likely wasn't their transphobia that led to Leelah's death but, rather, their failure to see her as a person separate from them, their refusal to recognize her horizontal self. And while you may think such a refusal defines transphobia, it's just as accurate to say that shaming the parents is rooted in the same kind of bigotry and discomfort around difference that drove their lethal mistakes.

Bullsh!t.

But along with that rage should come compassion, not just for the Alcorns but for anyone who's ever been slow to reach acceptance, or whose circumscribed worldview has clouded their understanding of somebody else's experience.

Absolutely not.

--------------------

The fundamental issue here is whether the Alcorn's should have known what the rest of society knew was best for their child. The answer to that question is a resounding yes, so therefore the Alcorn's fell short of a reasonable standard of what they ought to have done.

It is really that simple.

The suggestion that a grown adult, and especially the fact that two grown adults, fully possessed of their senses, who live in the culture that we live in, might not have anticipated the monumental detriment that their actions would cause to their child is as absurd as it is asinine. Whether they "actually" knew what impact their actions did in fact have or not is immaterial; what matters is that they should have known.

The Alcorns had a responsibility to know what impact their actions would have on their kid because they were parents. Conservative parents don't get measured by a different standard than the rest of us because they're conservative. They are absolutely to blame for Leelah's death, because they failed to do what was in the best interest of their child. And they should be charged with child abuse for subjecting Leelah to conversion therapy.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,263
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1/17/2015 1:33:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Moreover, shaming the Alcorns for their catastrophic incompetence as parents is important because it is a harbinger to all other parents of transgender (or generally LGBT kids out there) that if they fail to do right by their kids, they will be harshly judged by society for it. So, the expectation is that parents must conform; not only because society will shame them if they fail to do so, but because at the very core of it all, it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Saying that conservative Christians should get a pass on their intransigence is like saying that Nazi's shouldn't be blamed for hating Jews. There is an expectation of reasonableness by which we are all measured, and falling short of that where it results in a kid's decision to take their own life is grounds for society's harshest condemnation.

Being an ignorant fool does not mean that being an ignorant fool is excusable.
Tsar of DDO
darthebearnc
Posts: 247
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1/17/2015 8:53:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/17/2015 1:27:44 PM, YYW wrote:
I saw this stupid article in the Chicago Tribune, that I think is worth sharing... if only to mock it for its absurdity.

http://www.chicagotribune.com...

But I'm a bit wary of seeing Leelah's death appropriated into a symbol of transgender oppression " specifically oppression caused by ignorant parents. Doug and Carla Alcorn are conservative Christians who are not only mourning their child's death but being blamed for it in some quarters. Activist and columnist Dan Savage was an early participant in the pile-on, tweeting that Leelah's "parents threw her in front of that truck" and calling for them to be charged with child abuse or even manslaughter. He wasn't alone. Funeral services had to be moved to an undisclosed location because of threats to the family.

And I am with Dan Savage.

To those of us who occupy the kind of secular, urbane world depicted in "Transparent," it can be galling to hear the Alcorns insistently refer to Leelah as their "son" even as they are making statements like "we loved him unconditionally." From where we sit, it's easy to accuse these parents of being woefully confused about the definition of unconditional love.

Yes.

Although the Alcorns may have been tragically misguided, there is no evidence they deliberately set out to harm their child. It likely wasn't their transphobia that led to Leelah's death but, rather, their failure to see her as a person separate from them, their refusal to recognize her horizontal self. And while you may think such a refusal defines transphobia, it's just as accurate to say that shaming the parents is rooted in the same kind of bigotry and discomfort around difference that drove their lethal mistakes.

Bullsh!t.

But along with that rage should come compassion, not just for the Alcorns but for anyone who's ever been slow to reach acceptance, or whose circumscribed worldview has clouded their understanding of somebody else's experience.

Absolutely not.

--------------------

The fundamental issue here is whether the Alcorn's should have known what the rest of society knew was best for their child. The answer to that question is a resounding yes, so therefore the Alcorn's fell short of a reasonable standard of what they ought to have done.

It is really that simple.

The suggestion that a grown adult, and especially the fact that two grown adults, fully possessed of their senses, who live in the culture that we live in, might not have anticipated the monumental detriment that their actions would cause to their child is as absurd as it is asinine. Whether they "actually" knew what impact their actions did in fact have or not is immaterial; what matters is that they should have known.

The Alcorns had a responsibility to know what impact their actions would have on their kid because they were parents. Conservative parents don't get measured by a different standard than the rest of us because they're conservative. They are absolutely to blame for Leelah's death, because they failed to do what was in the best interest of their child. And they should be charged with child abuse for subjecting Leelah to conversion therapy.

Amen.
ELDRITCH
Posts: 17
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1/19/2015 9:28:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
But aren't you aware that by the staunch refusal of the LGBT community to not be oppressed and subjected to treatment as second class citizens, they're hurting all of those poor, oppressed evangelical christians with their unassailable right to use shame and fear as methods of protecting outdated power structures and perpetuating hatred?
YYW
Posts: 36,263
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1/19/2015 10:26:29 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/19/2015 9:28:19 AM, ELDRITCH wrote:
But aren't you aware that by the staunch refusal of the LGBT community to not be oppressed and subjected to treatment as second class citizens, they're hurting all of those poor, oppressed evangelical christians with their unassailable right to use shame and fear as methods of protecting outdated power structures and perpetuating hatred?

lol

Clearly you're being sarcastic, but that raises an important point, which I think is necessary to address.

The view that some conservative Christians hold which rings to the tune of "chastising or condemning us for hating LGBT people, preaching that they will burn in hell, or the like, is bigotry" is a fundamentally stupid one. The reason it is stupid is because liberal tolerance does not require passive indifference to intolerance.

The argument from stupid white trash is basically this: "Oh, of you're so liberal then you must tolerate my homophobia because liberals are tolerant." This is an assault on the meaning of words.

Tolerance, within the scope of the meaning of the word, only requires that laws not be passed to prevent them from holding certain idiotic beliefs, such that their holing of those beliefs alone is sufficient to impose a legal penalty. Tolerance does not require, as stupid white people seem to believe, that bigots be allowed to promulgate their bigotry and inflict it on society under the guise of their right to freedom of speech.

Just as white trash has the right to be homophobic, so too does civilized society have a right to respond to that.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
Posts: 36,263
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1/19/2015 10:35:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
It is usually discussions like this that basically test the intellectual capacity of liberals. There are some liberals who, for instance, believe that criticizing anything impinges on the thing that is being criticizer's right to exist. That is not the case.

Saying "you are wrong to say [something]" does not mean that "you are not within your rights to believe [something]." The reason is because the scope of what people are entitled to believe is overwhelmingly broader than what is just, true and right.

It's the same situation, more or less, as when any human being alive criticizes Islam for anything, and Muslims and guilty-conscience liberals alike respond in outrage for how intolerant any person who says anything negative about Islam must be. (Reza Aslan and Bill Maher, case in point.)

But the kind of argument which purports that any person who criticizes anything is "in the wrong" because of the mere fact "that they criticized something" is stupid, without merit and totally lacking in substance or intellectual value.

So, realize at the same time that someone can be "homophobic" and "tolerant of homosexuality" so long as the person who either regards gay people with fear or antipathy does not actively resist gay people's right to exist. Merely holding "anti-gay views" isn't an issue I particularly care about.

Problems only arise when those stupid views translate into actions that hurt other people. So, while the Alcorns may have been fully within their rights to hold idiotic views about LGBT persons, whether they held those views or not, the fact that those views translated into actions that resulted in Leelah Alcorn's suicide makes them culpable -and they deserve society's harshest scorn and condemnation for it.
Tsar of DDO