Thoughts from Andrew

Identity

Many conditions I had thought of as illnesses emerged as identities in the course of my research. When one can experience a condition as an identity, one can find pride and satisfaction in it. People who don't share such a condition with their parents must build horizontal identity among others who do share it.

When I was younger, being gay was considered an illness, and that's how I experienced it; in adulthood, being gay is a key component of my identity. A shared identity is the cornerstone of liberation for those affected by a condition, and of tolerance for those who are not.

Difference unites us. While each of these experiences can isolate those who are affected, together they compose an aggregate of millions whose struggles…

Everyone is flawed and strange; most people are valiant, too. The reasonable corollary to the queer experience is that everyone has a defect, that everyone…

"What we have experienced is so similar: if you are Deaf, you know almost exactly what it is like to be gay, and vice versa." — MJ Bienvenu,…

"Deaf people never need hotels; you are always given a place to stay with other Deaf people. Though we used different signed languages, these Chinese…

"I sometimes wonder which has had a bigger effect on my life—my dwarfism, or my depression and all the other depression around me. The dwarfism…

"I think dwarfism shapes the soul as well as the body. There's an immediate bond between two LPs, be it same-sex friends, lifelong partners, or any…

"People still give up their child. People still have abortions when they find out. I'm not here to judge it. You hate lima beans, I love lima beans.…

"Genius is an abnormality, too." — Temple Grandin

"I’d like nothing more than for my daughter to develop the kind of consciousness that would allow her to join the neurodiversity movement. If Anna…

A friend said that when she found out her husband couldn’t fill her needs, she changed her needs; they’ve had a long, good life together.

Robert Sirota, president of the Manhattan School of Music, said, "Mothers had their little boys castrated in Renaissance Italy to give them a music…

"I understand why my parents turned against me. We all hate what we don’t understand." –Jonathan Floril

"He has an issue with intimacy. He doesn't want anybody on his back. I know, because he doesn't want me on his back. He's totally free, joking, and…

"It was a trio. The bass player is 65, the drummer is maybe 58, and I'm nine, and I’m the leader. I didn't pay attention to the audience. It's…

Small children go from nonverbal to verbal in two years, and to literate in five more. They can master several languages at the same time. They learn…

"I love her, but when she touches me, it feels like hundreds of razor blades scraping across my skin, like I'm going to die. There’s always that…

"One thing he's proud of in the gang is that he tells other people what to do. He’s always on that cell phone barking out orders in Spanish. I…

Criminality is an identity, and like any other form of organized brutality—football, war, arbitrage—it can beget great intimacy. There is a social…

"He’s my daughter," one mother explained to me as she introduced her transgender son.

"If he had been happy to be Paul, anybody would wish for that, but since he wasn't—I can't imagine the courage that it took. I had somebody say…

A wise psychiatrist once said to me, "People want to get better, but they don’t want to change." But I would propose that it is only by allowing…

Because John was less sure about wanting this child than I professed to be, I had to act as cheerleader for the enterprise. I was full of hopeful infatuation…

I want more than anything for my children to be happy, and I love them because they are sad, and the erratic project of kneading that sadness into joy…

Son Explore chapter from the book
Hope Explore other themes