Queer And Queerer Ep. 80 – Toto, We’re Not In Kansas Anymore


Zack and Peterson have new stories to tell about foreign worlds. Peterson’s new projects addressing climate change are not getting the warmest reception in LGBT spaces, nor are there many LGBT people at the climate change conferences he’s attended. Likewise, Zack attended his first atheist conference, speaking at the American Atheists national conference in April, and similarly observed that queer people were simply underrepresented. What’s it like being queer in these accepting yet strangely uninclusive spaces? Oh, and Marvin Bloom’s around somewhere too.

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week's episode:  

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» The new PetersonToscano.com!

» Watch all of the panels from this year’s American Atheists conference, including Zack’s on Atheism and LGBT Activism!


Queer And Queerer Ep. 79 – Quest of the Holy Placenta


Zack and Peterson are together for the holidays, and rather than yak about Utah or Duck Dynasty, the two follow the travels of the afterbirth of Jesus in the Lost Gospel of the Holy Placenta. Enjoy this lighthearted and only slightly blasphemous holiday episode and let us know what you want to hear from us in 2014. Also, make sure to go see Zack in New York City Monday night and check out all of Peterson’s new upcoming projects!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week's episode:  

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Learn more about the #HolyPlacenta from Peterson’s tweets.

» Check out the show Zack is accompanying in New York on December 30!

» Watch Grey Gardens.

» Check out the art that benefits the Trans Justice Funding Project.

» Here are some books by Dr. Lynn Huber about the apocalypse.

» Here’s the entire Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 19 haikus.

» Watch Kiki and Herb perform “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”


Hate Mail From Sharon Kass: ‘Zack Ford, Captive of Gay-ness’

My best approximation of Sharon Kass.

My best approximation of Sharon Kass.

I got some very amusing hate mail this week!

Many folks out in the LGBT activism world are familiar with Sharon Kass. She regularly trolls advocates of equality with emails extolling ex-gay therapy and the ex-gay group NARTH. In fact, Truth Wins Out has been tracking her for some time, and she’s also had run-ins with my friends at The Bilerico Project, Good As You, and others. She contributes occasionally to some uber-conservative sites like WorldNetDaily, where her schtick is the same.

Most recently, Kass targeted Tennessee 11-year-old Marcel Neergaard, who successfully petitioned Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst group to rescind an education award from state Rep. John Ragan (R), sponsor of the pro-bullying “Don’t Say Gay” bill. (I met Marcel’s mom, Misty, this summer at Netroots Nation, and let me just say that the world would be lucky to have more moms like her.) Kass wrote to Marcel’s dad telling him that he was responsible for Marcel’s homosexuality, which she called a “disorder of deep-seated gender self-alienation.” She went on to explain how the family clearly didn’t want a second boy and so the distance between father and son is what caused Marcel to be gay. “The ex-gay truth,” she wrote, “will prevail in this country.”

A Change.org petition asking Kass to stop sending hate mail currently has over 600 signatures.

I’ve heard from Kass plenty of times myself. Back in September, she even suggested that we hold a public debate. After exchanging a few emails, she decided I was not a “worthy opponent” because I sneer at “Christians” (her quotes, not mine) and ignore “original sources” (those quotes are mine) like NARTH, Joseph use-gay-porn-to-cure-homosexuality Nicolosi, and Richard hit-a-pillow-with-a-tennis-racket Cohen.

I was disappointed, actually, because I don’t know if “Sharon Kass” is a real person. I’ve never seen a picture of her anywhere. I’ve never seen her make a public appearance anywhere. Her name outside of her hate mail might not even be Sharon — she might not even be a she. (That would be disappointing, because I hate misgendering people.) During the should-we-have-a-debate debate, I asked to see a picture of her, and I think that may have put her off.

But this week, I heard from her out of the blue! And this time, she wrote a custom article about me! It includes some quite random quotes from here at ZackFord Blogs as well as over at ThinkProgress. I replied to ask her if it was published anywhere, but her only reply was, “To quote Hillary… what difference does it make?” I sure hope that my sexual identity doesn’t become an overblown fake scandal like Benghazi, but I assume — with some Google confirmation — that she meant “no.” So, I’ll solve her that problem and print it here because I think it’s just so amusing. To be nice, I’ll even toss in some links to my posts and her sources (since she only included the reference list at the bottom). Here is a direct copy and paste of her email:

Zack Ford, Captive of Gayness

Sharon Kass
October 29, 2013

I’m just a regular guy, I think.  Well, maybe.–Zack Ford, “Who is Zack Ford?”  ZackFordBlogs.com

He’s young.  He’s Leftist.  He’s gay.

Welcome to the world of Zack Ford, head gay at the Leftist D.C. think tank the Center for American Progress.

He’s a self-described atheist.  Psychologist Paul Vitz, in his Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, explains how an early troubled relationship (or nonrelationship) with the father contributes to a lifelong troubled relationship with authority.  God, of course, is the Ultimate Authority.

Male homosexuality originates in faulty bonding and identification with the father, starting at or before age two.  Psychologist Joseph Nicolosi discusses this in his article “Fathers of Male Homosexuals: A Collective Clinical Profile.”  To the male homosexual, with his insecure masculinity, the male object of desire is not the object of mature erotic love but a source of a masculine fix.  (A “gay” relationship may have an element of true friendship, but the erotic part is neurotic.)

He says, of himself, that being adopted is “just kind of cool.”  He’s in denial.  Being casual about family ties is a pose he puts on in order to escape his feeling of hurt.  Deep down, he wonders what role his having been adopted played in his father’s difficulty relating to him.

He loves knocking ex-gays and critics of homosexuality.  But he’s got no opposing case.  He’s very invested in being a “sexual minority” because then he gets to be part of a “protected class” like blacks and gets to force his fellow Americans to affirm his “gay identity.”  Nicolosi’s “Gay as Self-Reinvention” explains this.

More Fordisms:

It [the assertion that "gay" is psychotherapeutically treatable]‘s the latest evidence that all of these groups [such as Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays and the Family Research Council] are actively working against the lives of LGBT people ….

How to Invalidate Gays: Validate Ex-Gays

Ex-gay Rich Wyler, founder of People Can Change, had the opportunity to reiterate many untrue ex-gay talking points, including unfounded “causes” for a gay orientation, the misguided notion that it’s ethical to support a patient who wants ex-gay therapy, and a completely inaccurate comparison between ex-gay and transgender patients.  ….  NPR [National Public Radio] has no obligation to highlight their [ex-gays'] harmful, anti-scientific, and anti-gay views as having any merit.

Ford lives in a bubble of denial, a Leftist bubble.  All his life, he has been among the millions of Americans who have been used for bogus civil rights cache.  He makes his living repeating unsubstantiated talking points.  He is a captive of gay-ness.

GayScam could end as soon as 2021.  If Zack Ford is smart, he’ll get real help and start working on learning who is really is.  No time to waste.  ///

Sources:  http://thinkprogress.org.feedsportal.com, www.zackfordblogs.com.  For real information, see www.narth.com, www.gaytostraight.org, www.peoplecanchange.com, www.jonahweb.org, www.janellehallman.com, www.josephnicolosi.com, www.voiceofthevoiceless.info, and www.pfox.org.  The 2013 meeting of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality is November 8-9 in Phoenix.  

So, a couple quick thoughts:

  • I don’t think I’m the “head gay” at CAP. Lots of other people are doing great LGBT work there, and they definitely do not report to me.
  • If gay sex is “neurotic,” so what?
  • Why is GayScam, whatever it is, going to end in 2021? I didn’t get any memos.
  • Why is everything my dad’s fault? Is it his fault I also don’t like peanut butter?

Speaking of my dad, I showed him Kass’s letter. He wrote me the following response:


Tell her the next meeting of the National Association of “Hypocrites of America” is on November 3, 2013, at your local church. Remember Ms. Sharon, Jesus despised the hypocrites and the money lenders (rich white right wing bankers).



My dad always jokes that he likes to read the last lines of my posts (which he reads daily, by the way), because he enjoys how I drive home whatever point I’m trying to make. I think I’ll let his be the final point here, though.


Queer And Queerer Ep. 78 – Taking Liberties With Religion


Two episodes within less than a month’s time! It’s like some government shutdown miracle! This week’s episode is dedicated to talking about that “religious liberty” concept conservatives are always throwing around. What do they mean when they say it and how are they trying to use it do keep discriminating against LGBT people? Does a Quaker school have to hire a Neo-Nazi? Zack and Peterson break it all down. We had a little technical glitch or two, so apologies for that, but it shouldn’t interfere too much with enjoying our delightful banter and brilliant insights.

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week's episode:  

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Learn more about ENDA’s religious exemption.

» Learn more about that Washington florist.

» Learn more about that Oregon bakery that closed, and the cakes that they would make.

» Learn more about that New Mexico photographer.

» Learn more about that Iowa wedding venue suing for the right to discriminate.

» In fact, here’s a whole list of religious liberty concerns conservatives are worried about.


Should Transgender People Have To ‘Compromise’ On Which Facilities They Can Use?


This post continues a dialogue with Brandon McGinley of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, who opposes transgender nondicrimination protections because sex-segregated locker rooms allow for “camaraderie” while reducing the “sexual nature” of a space where there is usually nudity. I countered at ThinkProgress that the safety of transgender students, like those protected by California’s new law, trumps such fears. McGinley has written a follow-up, and though back-and-forth debates aren’t conducive to how we publish at TP, I wanted to continue the dialogue with him here.

His primary concern seems to be genitals:

To be clear, I am not arguing that transgender people should go in the woods. All the examples I gave of the troubling implications of this type of legislation were of people who appeared as one sex being granted access to facilities reserved for the opposite sex. I didn’t address the question of what facilities people who have undergone sex change surgery should use because, to my understanding, it is not a source of controversy.

The common sense answer is this: Folks should use the facilities where they would appear, regardless of their own convictions about their gender, most at home, or a private unisex facility. Some gender non-conforming people might prefer to use facilities in accord with their (internal) gender identity, and some other people might be uncomfortable even with a post-op transgender person in the bathroom; though both of these impulses are understandable, this is the type of compromise on which social comity is built. But more than that, it just makes sense given the purpose of sex-segregated facilities to begin with, as I argued in the Public Discourse essay.

First, let me say this: If McGinley believes that transgender people who have had sex-reassignment surgery should be protected from discrimination, I’m glad to hear it. It’s certainly a start. Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of people who identify as trans actually have the surgery. In addition to being too expensive for many trans people (who also tend to experience high rates of poverty thanks to employment discrimination), it also results in losing their reproductive ability. Some trans people find coherence with their gender identity without making this very personal sacrifice. It’s my hope that McGinley is not in favor of forcing people to be sterilized in order to participate equally in society; perhaps he can clarify this point in another response.

Moreover, let’s talk a little bit about appearance. Perhaps McGinley doesn’t appreciate the definition of gender identity, which is an enduring aspect of identity. It’s not a switch that is flipped daily. In other words, there’s nothing about gender identity protections that enables people to “fake” being the other gender just to sneak into the other restroom. They are designed to protect people who live their whole lives according to their gender identity.

Given his caveat for people who’ve had gender reassignment surgery, it thus seems that he is defining “appearance” entirely by genitals. But that’s really not what appearance means to most transgender people. If we’re talking how safe other people feel in the locker room, let’s take a look at a few test cases.

Here’s Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center:

Masen Davis

Davis is transgender, which means he was technically born female, but he identifies as a man and has used hormone therapy as a part of his transition. I think most people would look at him and agree he sure looks like a man. Now, I don’t know what surgeries Davis may or may not have had, and it’s frankly not anybody’s business but his, and it’s an irrelevant point to the rest of his appearance. I don’t think anybody looks at a bald man with a beard and concludes that he must use the women’s room. (I’m pretty sure Davis won’t mind me using him as an example like this since he uses himself as an example in media appearances all the time — thanks Masen!)

Just to provide a reverse example, here’s Jenna Talackova, who placed in the Top 12 in last year’s Miss Universe Canada contest:

Jenna Talackova

Which locker room would Talackova be safer in, the men’s or the women’s? I think it’s fair to objectively say that she is quite a beautiful woman, and subjecting her to a men’s locker room because she was born male is most definitely not in the best interest of her safety and well-being.

According to what I think McGinley is saying though, Davis and Talackova should have to drop trou and let someone else assess the current state of their genitals in order to determine which facility they’re allowed to use. Exposing transgender people to that kind of skepticism and humiliation surely cannot be the only solution “on which social comity is built.” And what exactly does that “social comity” mean, exactly? That women won’t have to see a trans woman’s penis? What exactly is the problem that really needs to be solved? If the answer is “safety,” then that’s just an unfounded, prejudiced assumption that trans people are somehow more likely to be dangerous or predatory. If the answer is, “trans people’s bodies are icky,” that’s outright intolerance. And if the answer is just that people should never have to see a genital that they don’t have one of themselves, that’s an argument with no foundation whatsoever.

McGinley also defends the idea that imposing heteronormative standards is not a problematic thing to do:

One might object that this second point is heteronormative, and indeed it is because the world is heteronormative. We can never completely de-sexualize any aspect of the human experience, but we can try to minimize the sexual nature of places and experiences that ought not to be sexual. And the fact of the matter is that opposite-sex sexual attraction is the norm in the human species, both in terms of raw numbers and its orientation toward procreation. Nude men and women comingling is more sexually-charged, more often than nude men or nude women comingling. Only the most abstract and obdurate sexual theoretician could deny this fact.

We should clarify some language here. The world is not heteronormative; it is simply hetero-majoritarian. Imposing the norms of a ruling class of people — say, white people — on a smaller segment of the population — say, African Americans — is not really a precedent that is easily defended.

To be fair, I do see some merit to what he is saying, at least to the extent that I am not advocating for gender-neutral locker rooms. But heteronormativity doesn’t justify discrimination against transgender people. McGinley doesn’t seem to have any problem letting gay men use men’s locker rooms or lesbian women use women’s locker rooms, so I don’t see how this argument warrants any different kind of policy against transgender people. In particular, transgender people identify as something other than straight about 77 percent of the time; in fact, there is an incredible diversity of sexual orientations within the trans community. There’s really no valid way to justify that trans people would somehow add to how “sexually charged” a locker room is. If anything, this assumption once again echoes the prejudiced beliefs that trans people are somehow more deviant or are somehow a threat to “safety” — stigma, not “common sense.”

Despite his best efforts, I still don’t see a compelling argument against gender identity nondiscrimination protection that isn’t simply based on some degree of discomfort regarding transgender people. Discomfort alone does not justify depriving trans people of equal access to society, including the freedom to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the trans people in my life, it’s that their genitals are pretty much the least interesting thing about them.


Queer and Queerer Ep. 77 – Not All Popes Are Married Like That


Thanks to the flattery of Ben, Zack and Peterson found time for a new episode. (It may have helped that Zack is under the weather.) Among the topics are Christians are “not all like that” (NALT), how the Pope really is like that, and Peterson’s second wedding — don’t worry, it’s to the same person as the first. But maybe there will be a third or more! There are lots of different state options to choose from. There’s also an interjection about foot cream, but it’s probably lacking in validity. If you like what you hear and want to hear more, leave lots of comments and shower us with praise. Positive reinforcement works!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week's episode:  

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Not All Like That, a video project about LGBT-supportive Christians.

» The hodgepodge of state marriage fights.

» That big long interview the Pope gave.

» The random story about foot cream that Zack found.


Queer and Queerer Ep. 76 – Is The Marin Foundation Building Bridges?


This episode features Peterson Toscano’s tell-all about Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation, best known for encouraging Christians to attend Pride events holding signs apologizing for how churches have harmed LGBT people. Zack listens as Peterson shares his roller coaster of confusing about whether or not The Marin Foundation is actually helping build bridges between evangelical Christians and the LGBT community — as it claims — or possibly humoring some dangerous ideas. The journey includes intersections with the work of Warren Throckmorton and Mark Yarhouse, both of whom have connections to the ex-gay movement. Are bridges being built, or are there reasons to be skeptical about this work… or both?

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week's episode:  

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Mark Yarhouse’s own reporting attempting to validate ex-gay therapy found that even those living an ex-gay life still admitted their orientations hadn’t changed.

» Check out the Trans Justice Funding Project, which Peterson helped support last week.

» Zack’s summer musical, Love, NY, opens this weekend, so if you’re in the DC area, check it out!


Queer and Queerer Ep. 75 – The Exodus Exodus


Not only are Zack and Peterson truly back, but for once they’re actually in the same room! Broadcasting from Zack’s apartment in Washington, DC, we discussed the epic change up at Exodus International — namely, Alan Chambers’s apology for the ex-gay ministry and announcement last week that he was shutting it down. A big chapter in the shaming of the gay community has come to an end, but what does it mean for evangelical Christians? Our conversation dives deep to see what will come of the end of this historically harmful conversation.

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week's episode:  

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Check out ThinkProgress’s reporting on the great survey of ex-gay survivors, the closure of Exodus International, and the backlash this week from Focus on the Family and other ex-gay groups.

» Beyond Ex-Gay continues to be a valuable resource for ex-gay survivors.

» Peterson’s rewrite of John Smid’s apology.


Queer and Queerer Ep. 74 – Coming Back and Moving On


Inspired by Arrested Development, Zack and Peterson have returned from their indeterminate hiatus. Peterson discusses the passing of his father, and Zack offers a few updates from the blogging world. Peterson is also now a climate activist, and rightfully so! If you’re excited that we’re back, you should leave some comments, or tweet us, and let us know you want us to keep coming back.

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week's episode:  

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Read Peter “Pete” Toscano’s obituary.

» Learn more about Zack’s upcoming show, “Love, NY,” by liking it on Facebookfollowing it on Twitter, or supporting it on Kickstarter!

» Follow Stephen Ira on Twitter: @supermattacine.

» Read Zack’s blogging at ThinkProgress LGBT.

» This week’s poem was:  “Meaning” by C.P. Cavaf,y from The Collected Poems of C.P. Cavafy, Translated by Aliki Barnstone, W.W. Norton 2006.


Being Adopted Does Not Mean My Parents Bought Me As ‘Chattel’


It’s been a long time since I’ve written here at ZFb, because I find my role as LGBT Editor at ThinkProgress provides me the venue to say most of what I feel needs to be said. Today is an exception, as I feel the need to write a personal response to an attack I received on me and my family from a semi-prominent spokesperson for the anti-equality movement.

This past week, the Republican National Committee approved a resolution affirming its opposition to same-sex marriage. I debunked that resolution earlier in the week, pointing out that its only foundation was the “bullshitjunk-science study on gay parenting by Mark Regnerus as well as a number of assertions that simply amount to declarations of heterosexual supremacy. This provoked a fairly heated response from one Robert Oscar Lopez.

Here’s what I know about Lopez’s story: he identifies as bisexual but has disowned his gay side, he blames his lesbian parents for his social ineptness, and he seems all too happy to help out groups who oppose same-sex marriage — at the state, federal, and international levels. Notably, he was among the featured speakers at the National Organization for Marriage’s “March for Marriage” last month.

Lopez’s primary talking point is that he was damaged by same-sex parenting and he wants to save other children the same fate. As my fellow blogger Joe Jervis describes his argument, “Nobody Likes Me,” and he makes it over and over. His argument against my “reckless dismissal” of the RNC resolution was similar:

 If you don’t see flashing red lights and a gigantic billboard saying “BAD IDEA” when you contemplate gay couples buying other adults out of their offspring and then raising kids as if one of the biological parents never existed, then there’s really no point in discussing the ethics of parenting. Please don’t call in the APA to settle the matter for you.

Zack Ford discredits Doug Mainwaring’s line that the same-sex marriage movement is turning children into “chattel” to serve the selfish demands of adults. Zack, how do gay men and lesbians come to be exclusive parents of children? They pay men for their sperm and women for use of their wombs, then pay them to go away. This is essentially buying other human beings as property because certain adults — not always gays, but here we are talking about gay adults — care more about having kids than about the kids’ right to half their ancestry. What part of “chattel” or “selfish” is unclear?

Mainwaring, I should point out, is another of NOM’s go-to “gays against gay marriage” — except they like to leave out the part that he’s a Tea Party activist essentially living an ex-gay life with a wife and children. Mainwaring and Lopez may both have sexual orientations that aren’t exclusively heterosexual, but if they’ve disavowed those identities except when it’s politically expedient, it’s hard to credit them as members of the LGBT community.

At any rate, I think Lopez’s argument is pretty offensive on its face and doesn’t require a whole lot of analysis on my part. It’s worth noting that he pits his own testimony and one fraudulent sociologist against the consensus of all psychological, psychiatric, and sociological groups. To prove his point, he made the following suggestion to me and my colleagues at ThinkProgress:

Maybe Zack’s compadres should talk to adoptees and people conceived with anonymous sperm donors or surrogate mothers.  While some are unaffected by the dislocation from their biological origins, many are haunted and scarred.  (As a descendant of slaves, I am haunted and scarred because my ancestors were cut off from me.)

But here’s the thing: I was adopted. I’ve also gotten to know a lot of other people who were adopted, as well as children of same-sex couples. As far as I know, none of us are “haunted and scarred.” I know essentially nothing about my blood-parents, but you know what? I know a lot about my actual parents — the ones I’ve known my whole life — and about their ancestors and whatnot. Just because I don’t share their genes doesn’t make me scarred. It’s actually just kind of cool. When I go to my cousin’s wedding next month, I’m not going to feel somehow ostracized from everyone there just because we have a few different strands of DNA. Family is family.

And I’ll be honest, while I think knowing about your past can be interesting and fulfilling, I don’t know that it’s healthy to feel like you need that information to define yourself and live your own life. I feel bad that Lopez doesn’t know anything about his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather — and obviously slavery was an egregious human atrocity — but is that what’s really holding him back in life?

That might be kind of a harsh personal challenge, but he did just insinuate that my parents were the equivalent slave-traders for adopting me. And given I’m also a gay man who someday hopes to have my own family, he also seems to think that I’m going to “buy” children for selfish reasons that will somehow impede their identity development.

Here are a couple questions I have for Lopez:

  • Were my (heterosexual) parents “selfish” for wanting to have a child in the first place?
  • Was my mom “selfish” when she put her body through hell (a.k.a. in vitro fertilization) trying to have a child?
  • Were my parents “selfish” when they adopted me after my mother failed to conceive?
  • Given you apparently oppose adoption, does that mean you fervently support a woman’s right to choose an abortion?

What I find most interesting about arguments like Lopez’s is how easy it is to see how they are the last remnants of past anti-gay talking points. It used to be that same-sex couples would either abuse their children or somehow turn them gay. Nowadays, the supposed threat to children is that they might just learn in school that same-sex families exist. The Regnerus study — and its knock-off imitations — are a last-ditch effort to try to convince people that there are consequences for the kids of same-sex couples. Now NOM is stuck arguing against adoption, suggesting the children of same-sex couples will resent their parents, and Lopez’s icing on the cake is that they will be deprived of “half their ancestry.” Is that compelling to anybody?

It just strikes me as sad that these groups have such antipathy against gays and lesbians that they actually have lost sight of what’s best for children. Adoption and foster care are good for children who don’t have parents to care for them. Marriage is good for same-sex couples and their children so that they have the same legal and financial protections as other families. Perhaps Lopez is just so troubled by the conflicting values he’s faced throughout his life that he’s lost sight of these common sense realities. I sincerely hope he can find a way to feel better about himself, his past, and his identity that doesn’t require attacking families like mine — both the one in which I was raised and the one I plan to raise myself one day.