Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My fifteen minutes; A blogger goes mainstream.

Below is the article - what's left of it - that I'm supposed to be producing for the December 18th issue of the NYTimes Sunday magazine. At my current rate of progress, however, it won't be appearing anywhere.

You guys have had strong opinions in the past, but now is when it counts; Read the article in its current state, read the history, and then let me hear from you. ALL feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Here it is so far:

American Genocide

(Should I have been denied the medication that saved my life? The other side of Proposition 313)
BENJAMIN LEO

She insists she's glad that I'm alive. She simply believes that the pressures of the choice I made at sixteen are too great for most teenagers to handle. Parents around the country, she warns, are forcing medication on their children before their children are capable of making the decision for themselves. She argues that her proposed legislation is needed to protect an entire generation from having their natural identities hijacked. When I calmly explain that her bill would have killed me if it had been enacted five years ago, she listens politely, but doesn’t seem to understand.

Her name is Rachael Sondheim and she is an ACLU attorney and the primary author of Proposition 313, an initiative that would create federal age requirements for obtaining anti-effeminate medications such as Hetracil. The law would affect physicians and psychoanalysts, imposing harsh penalties for doctors prescribing the drugs to patients under the age of eighteen.

While the pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to federal judicial hearings, there's something that sets this particular dispute apart: the plaintiff organization in this case does not contest the safety or effectiveness of the medication under scrutiny. Not hardly; in clinical trials, Hetracil had fewer side-effects than any neuropharmalogical medication in history, with zero symptoms reported at a higher frequency than that of its placebo control.

This unprecedented lab performance is ascribed not only to the precision with which anti-effeminates operate on their target enzymes, but the narrow role that the enzymes themselves perform. Hetracil works by inhibiting the re-absorption of Dionysocholine, the neurotransmitter in the male hypothalamus responsible for producing behavioral effeminacy. Because of Dionysocholine's hyper-specific (and for decades, elusive) role in the brain's chemistry, its minimization does not produce any but the intended neurological effect.

If the medication's effectiveness and safety are not under dispute, then what is motivating the ACLU's case against Hetracil? The answer is that this legislative action is being fueled by concerns about the anticipated social effects of the medication’s widespread success; The case for proposition 313 is founded on Rachael Sondheim's Huxleyesque vision of a population homogenized by force.

In its campaign to push Proposition 313, The ACLU has coined the phrase 'Identity Genocide'- a dramatic term used to suggest the disappearance of homosexuality from the mainstream population. The ACLU argues that this scenario is inevitable given the nation's skyrocketing consumption of anti-effeminate medications. (Forest Research estimates that market-leader Hetracil is currently prescribed to 47 million Americans, with 11,000 new prescriptions being written each day- Numbers that the ACLU ascribes to the phenomenon of parents who forcefully introduce the medication to their teenage sons.)

The decision to undergo Hetracil therapy is of enormous consequence, and to deprive anyone of this choice by forcing the course upon them is contemptible. It is ironic, however, that the ACLU proposes to remedy this situation by federally mandating an equally stifling deprival of choice.

The idea of depriving millions of the benefits of this medication have true libertarian advocates up in arms. The ACLU's implicit suggestion that this medication that is only appropriate for adults is mistaken and dangerous; on the contrary, it is frequently post-pubescent teenagers that suffer the difficulties of homosexual development the hardest; I know because I was one of them.

I'm a biochemical Engineer - not a politician. I’ve been drawn into the politics of this issue because of the impact that Hetracil has had on my own life. The jump from being the custodian of this buried blog to my recent appearances on nationally syndicated talk shows has been an unexpected leap - and it's a challenge that I've accepted because of how much the issue matters.

In the last 12 weeks my exposure has snowballed and I've emerged as the poster-boy for the opposition to Proposition 313. I myself only became convinced of this two weeks ago, upon receiving Rachael Sondheim's personal invitation to meet with her in her offices at Princeton University.

Suspending humility, Ms. Sondheim’s invitation makes perfect sense to me: As a young, reasonably articulate individual who owes my survival to taking Hetracil shortly after my sixteenth birthday, I’m more or less the ACLU’s worst nightmare.


That's what I've got so far. Yes, it's due in three days. No, I don't have any plan of action per se. With the deadline closing in on me, I’ve found it nearly impossible to gain any ground whatsoever.

next page>>