Helicopter Story: A Crash and Burn

I invite everyone to read this piece on Vox about a short story and the impact it can have on readers, on non readers, on editors, and on its author. I won’t attempt to summarize.

I will say, though, that the Vox story about the pseudonymous author Isabel Fall is heartbreaking enough, but the concluding sentence is an entangling tongue of Hell’s fire, binding me in a paralytic agony. The heat sears ever deeper, even to the bone, when I strain against the materiality of my confinement. It is an injury of the 4th degree that violates what we thought we new about the merciful destruction of our nerves with our flesh. My very marrow feels the heat, boiling in its attempt to escape this inescapable sensation. There is no relief from the pain. There is not even a reduction in the rate of its increase. I cannot even feel distraction; I gain not even a moment’s freedom from the qualia of my torture when Hell’s mouth rises up to consume me.

I wonder if there is any non trans person on earth who could ever understand.




  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    What a nightmare. Yeah, the last quote is gut-wrenching.

    I remember when PZ linked to the story last year. I thought it was a cool story, and would’ve loved to see more.

  2. Allison says

    When I read the Vox story, my mind went immediately to Lucy Meadows, the trans schoolteacher in England who ended up committing suicide from the relentless attacks by the UK Tabloid press. Isabel Fall didn’t actually commit suicide, but she came close. And she has apparently concluded that she cannot and should not transition, because she would be a fraud and a lie if she did. (A victory for transphobia.) Since many (most?) of us transition when we realize that life is not worth living if we can’t, it’s a kind of suicide right there (and may yet turn into a literal one.)

    To me, the heart of the article was the author’s comment:

    … one simple factor often gets washed away: These things happened to someone.

    Isabel Fall was and is a person, a human being. And in the squabbling over her story, her humanity was forgotten; she was reduced to a debating point. It doesn’t matter whether she was really a transphobe, or her story intended to be transphobic (if it was, it was IMO a failure), she is a human being. But they either didn’t think of it, or didn’t care.

    I’ve noticed this here on FtB, when a debate gets going over some flap over something transphobic. At some level, it doesn’t matter whether the people slugging it out are ostensibly on your side or not, the fact that our right to exist is treated as something that may legitimately be questioned, rather than something self-evident, feels invalidating and dehumanising.

  3. John Morales says

    I read the article. Haven’t read the story.

    Certainly don’t understand, but then, I don’t understand most forms of angst.

  4. says

    @3 John Morales

    Certainly don’t understand, but then, I don’t understand most forms of angst.

    That’s the empathy blockage that privilege tends to cause.

  5. John Morales says

    abbeycadabra, probably.

    Still, I may not understand the basis of of someone’s anguish, but I can still see and empathise with the anguish itself.
    And I can still accept the given cause, though I may not fathom exactly why it’s so harmful.

    And if the cause is lack of tolerance or lack of acceptance, well, I’m happy to do my bit to help remove that cause. Feels the right thing to do.

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