So Arrest Me

On this recent Disability After Dark ( Andrew Gurza talks about the legalities of being disabled. The last of the ‘ugly laws’ didn’t get repealed until the 1970’s. Ugly laws deemed it illegal for persons who were “unsightly” or “unseemly” to appear in public. Being disabled was considered ugly. Check for a more detailed article. Criminalizing harmless behaviour is a great way of diverting attention from things that do need to be dealt with. (Footballers kneeling will soon be criminalized.)

I was unaware of this ‘law’ until hearing about it on the podcast. It does, in some way, explain why families often ended up keeping their disabled hidden – I thought it was solely out of shame – which no doubt it was – but didn’t know that shame had been ‘legalized’ by such laws. At one time it would have been impossible for Stephen Hawkins to have a TV show.

Andrew also talks about the forced sterilization of the ‘handicapped’ – whom it was assumed didn’t have either the mental capacity to consent to sex or the moral ability to control their sexual urges. Letting ‘them’ reproduce was terrifying. It brought to mind the chemical castration of Alan Turing: state control of expressing sexuality. In fact the whole notion of hiding disability is similar to the hiding of one’s illegal sexuality in the closet – well even now that it is ‘legal’ many still choose to hide it.

I know that when I was in my teens & aware that I was gay part of my fear of being out was the fear of being criminalized. It was illegal for men to dance together in bars etc etc. In some US states & even countries conversion therapy is legal (& can be forced upon a teen without that teen’s consent).

Things have changed over the decades, if you live in the right place, at the right time, have enough money & entitlement it isn’t as stressful being queer. Good thing the ‘ugly laws’ never extended to hair styles or footwear because there are days when most people wouldn’t be allowed on the streets.


there was a rumour

that the fission plant

effected the heath of families

who lived near its run off

children who played in the water

became consumptive


the scientists at the plant

claimed that was because of poor nutrition

bad genetic make up in breeding

too much moose pie not enough fish cakes

those doctors had a list of reasons

why the fission plant was not responsible

even though there had not been one case

of consumption or ocular degeneration

till it had opened


the doctors said that was because

we didn’t have the diagnostic ability

to find these things out

till there was fission plant

to bring the economy here to life


besides what was the big deal

a few coughing children

or work for lots and lots of people

something to keep everyone happy

the plant was not the reason

the  moose were no longer breeding

there was nothing in their waste run off

that would interrupt

the gestation cycle of any species

besides how can you stop the moose

from drinking in the streams

that were now radiant roiling

with purple blue in the sunset

thanks to the discharge from the plant


such pretty colors

why didn’t we like the pretty colors

what did we have against purple and blue

were we selfish monochromatic bores

who only cared about our health

we had to get with the program

come into the present

stop living in the past

suck it up pay the price

of stepping into the glorious

purple and blue future

think of all the good they were doing

soon we might even have light at night


the villagers were unimpressed

by these impassioned denials

the village didn’t want to retreat into the past

yet didn’t know if the price

we had to pay

to stay in the present was worth it


the parents of the consumptives

sat by the glittering purple blue stream

and began to weep

hoping their tears could undo the damage

chapbooks for sale


HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

November 1-30

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s – sweet,eh?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.