Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The word is out

As my perceptive colleague Lauren pointed out, the most important sentence in the mountain of words I heaped on folks yesterday was the one where I came out publicly as a person with mental illness. (Lauren is also responsible for such pithy wisdom as “We work so hard as new parents to get these kids to attach to us, and then we spend the next 18 years helping them to detach”; and “At this point in your dating life, Roger, it’s time to look for the weak couples.”)
I'm so used to the damned hair-pulling and everything else - and I've been so out as a gay man - that I sometimes forget about society's shame and discomfort with mental illness. 
In the venti version of my story, I observed that I overplayed my hand last year both because my colleagues were ignorant hacks, and also because my disability made me monomaniacally focused on the obvious solution to the problem. 
But I also learned the hard way that the law is terribly hostile to people with mental illness. In fact, it looks exactly as bad as the laws affecting LGBT people did 25 years ago when I first started my advocacy. Hopefully today's judges will be even quicker to move past the Neanderthal language in old precedents.
I am very blessed in so many other ways, and I think I'm brave enough to handle whatever happens. But the only way to remove the stigma from invisible minorities is for enough of us to come out and change the world.
(Unfortunately for Ogden Murphy, ordinary negligence principles apply to dishonest and incompetent private investigators. They made enough other mistakes that it won't matter if they try to hint to a jury that I deserved what happened to me.)

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