Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A WikiLeaks project I would support

According to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the purpose of the organization was to expose corruption within the government and among government officials and to provide a means for transparency in our government.  Now, I'm not going to get into what's going on in the news currently, you all have access to CNN's coverage and heck, maybe you've even sought after the supposed classified reports that are being leaked.  That's neither here nor there, though I believe that Assanage's current stunts are drifting from his purported mission.

However, the whole concept of the need for transparency in our government makes me think of one thing.

The fact that vital government documents about who I am are fraudulent and that our government not only supports these fraudulent documents, but sides with the industries that destroy any meaningful records that do exist.  My birth certificate is a fake.  It's a legally-instituted falsified identification form.

My original birth certificate stated that I only had a mother, no father whatsoever.  Now I have an "amended" birth certificate similar to adoptees which identifies my step/adopted dad as my biological father.  Both of these documents were created intentionally false.  Why wasn't my mother charged with a felony for falsifying vital information?!  Because apparently it's all fine to falsify birth records if the biological father commissioned his children to be sold.  Adoptees also have falsified birth records that claim that are the children of said adopted parents, and our wonderful government hides their true birth certificates under lock and key for eternity.

However, as donor-conceived adults, we do not even have the luxury of knowing that somewhere deep in a filing cabinet is a document that identifies our biological parent.  Olivia Pratten is currently suing the gov't of British Columbia for such damages...she claims that the doctors are destroying records that contain vital information about the biological parents of those created from third-party gametes, and that it is wrongful to destroy such records.  She is also claiming discrimination, because in BC adoptees are able to have access to their birth certificates at age 18, and she says that by denying donor-conceived adults the same rights is unjust.

Some doctors do keep decent records of what/whose sperm is used, but often that information is not privy to the donor-conceived adult.

Those conceived from sperm banks have even less hope as these banks do not keep records of what individuals order/use what sperm.  Some banks do keep records of all of their donors, but without the information identifying which donor it's up a creek without a paddle.

The bottom line is that there is no standard procedure, and there are no regulations about what information needs to be kept, for how long, and what information donor-conceived adults are legally able to have.  Some doctors/banks will give offspring a donor number, others will flip out and say that the said offspring should never even have been told of their conception to begin with and that they won't ever know anything.  Some play games with donor-conceived adults, sending them on wild goose chases, telling them that the donor was a medical student or resident, so the offspring is now paging through yearbooks hoping for one man to jump out.

There is also no regulation about what parents need to disclose.  Obviously for children created in same-sex relationships or to SMCs, they're going to be upfront with their kids about their conception.  However, in same-sex couples, the non-biological parent can adopt the child and be listed on the amended birth certificate.  In states that have legalized same-sex marriage, the non-biological parent can be listed on the original birth certificate!!  Talk about ridiculous!!  For children conceived to SMCs, we are truly fatherless.  Where it gets sticky is with heterosexual couples.  You see, they don't even have to tell anyone.  No government official ever knows that they are lying on government documents.  Some of these parents not only lie to their children but everyone else!  Heck, I've even heard of a woman who used a donor and didn't even tell her husband!!!

There is no notation on the birth certificate that signifies that the child was conceived from a third party.  Nothing.  So the lies continue....

With the new "embryo donations", or adoption as they should be rightfully called, these poor children are not related to either of their parents and yet unlike adoptees they do not have an original birth certificate (either sealed or not) that identifies their true origins.  This is a real tragedy, as these kids have no connection to ANY of their biological kin and have no government document that they know will provide them with those answers.

It is unethical that our government, that society as a whole, is supporting a system that denies its citizens the right to truthful identification and perpetuating the lies and secrecy that the infertility industry thrives on.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What it means to be a Clevelander...

"Believeland."  That's what Wright Thompson is calling us in his ESPN story - BELIEVELAND: A proud city forgets "The Player Who Left" and remembers what it used to be.

I saw a link to this story from like 30 of my FB friends (all in a row on my news feed this afternoon), and my first impression was it was going to be another one of those articles that makes Cleveland and Clevelanders out to be whiny, jersey-burning, lunatics.  However, I got hooked.

This is probably one of the greatest sports-related articles I've ever read, and Thompson truly did his research.  Yes, it was about LeBron.  But it was also about this city and those of us who call the North Coast home.  Thompson traveled throughout the city and suburbs of Cleveland, talking with natives about our city, its history, and our never-ending devotion to our teams.    It's nostalgia.  It's our past, our present.  But most importantly, it's our future.

No matter what happens when "he who must not be named" returns tonight, we must remember that he does not stand for Cleveland, and we will stand long after he is gone.

CLEVELAND -- There is a burly, angry man with a Chief Wahoo tattoo on the inside of his left forearm, and he knows I work for ESPN. That makes me the devil. We are standing inside the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room not long after their first game without LeBron James. The guy's name is Scott Raab, and besides being a native Clevelander, he's also one of America's best writers. His current project? A book that is part recount of James' breakup with the town and part meditation on the misery that comes with loving this place and its teams. Except he doesn't call him James. He calls him The Whore of Akron. You obviously see what's coming next.

He accosts me for my company's role in "The Decision" -- I actually understand his anger, though I won't say that to his face -- and I tell him what he can do to himself. He likes this answer, which is as Cleveland as his rage at the four letters on my press pass. Raab motions me over to the side of the locker room and digs around in his backpack until he finds it, safe in a plastic bag: a ticket stub. It's from the 1964 NFL Championship Game -- the last title the city won. He passes it to me carefully. Section 7, Row Z, Seat 19. Carrying this stub doesn't make him strange. It makes him a Cleveland sports fan.

Later that night, we head to a downtown bar. There, he begins telling a story. It was the day of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. The Cleveland Indians were favored to finally end the Curse of Rocky Colavito, to bring a title back to northeast Ohio. Raab's friend wanted to make sure all the forces of the universe were aligned with them, so he formulated a plan. A crazy, unhinged plan. Only in Cleveland could one demented citizen come up with something so desperate and strange. He'd visit the grave of Ray Chapman -- the only major league player ever killed by a pitched ball and, naturally, a Cleveland Indian -- and on the tombstone, he'd place a coin.

This is where Raab begins sobbing, wiping his eyes with a red bandanna, embarrassed, trying to get himself under control so he can finish the story. He changes the subject, composes himself and, 15 or so minutes later, continues.

When his friend got to Chapman's grave, he found it covered in coins.

That is Cleveland.

Then the Indians lost in the bottom of the 11th.

That is Cleveland, too.

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