At the Edge of Night: Who Owns a Woman’s Truth?

Chloe Sagal.

Chloe Sagal.

UPDATE 2: Chloe is doing a good deal better and has started a new fundraiser for her SRS which can be found here. She has also told her side of the story in a revealing post at Indie Stone here.

UPDATE: I’m leaving this article up for the time being but everyone concerned with the issues discussed here should read this roundtable between Chloe and Allistair at Gamers Against Bigotry. This post at Destructoid also gives some further updates and details about the case, and Allistair Pinsof himself has replied to this article; you can read his response and my reply here. Needless to say, I’m overjoyed Chloe Sagal is well enough to discuss what happened and I look forward to her joining our community very soon. I still welcome you with open arms, sis.

By now word has spread like a nauseating shockwave through the various channels and tributaries of the Internet: independent game developer Chloe Sagal “defrauded” online contributors to her IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign for what she’d called a “lifesaving surgery;” in the wake of the internet-mob-justice bacchanal that followed, Chloe made an apparent suicide attempt on a Twitch.tv stream. She is, as of this writing and to the best of my knowledge, recovering in a hospital.

The outpouring of internet vigilantism that followed was an indistinctly undulating sea of noise, hate, and entitled egoistic rage. But there was one Tweet that bubbled to the surface and got everyone’s attention.

Allistair Pinsof, a journalist at Destructoid, ponderously shuffled up to his Twitter podium to unburden himself and reveal that he knew and spoke to Sagal, and knew “the truth”: Chloe was a trans woman who’d actually intended to use the proceeds from her IndieGogo campaign to fund sexual reassignment surgery (SRS).

He writes that he was freed to do this because Sagal had attempted the very thing that had kept his mouth shut—he alleges that Sagal had told him not to reveal the truth or she would kill herself; since she tried to do so anyway, he used the eminently appropriate opportunity of her hospital stay to tweet to the world Chloe Sagal’s most personal business and position himself as an objective interpreter of her feelings, struggles, and situation. As she lay recovering from the brink of death and eternal night, he knowingly adds incalculable weight to her woes.

He has written at length about the affair here, and has done so in a way that is measured in tone and avoids rank transphobia, but remains profoundly paternalistic and patronising. The more base transphobia is something he saved for Twitter (all conveniently listed here):

“If you are seriously angry at me for calling her a ‘HE’ you can screw off. He is a he in real life. I supported her. Telling the truth now.”

This alone should speak volumes about the actual amount of respect he had for Sagal and should, at the very least, invite scepticism about his motives here, as well as his claims in his essay. I would especially draw the reader’s attention to the following from Pinsof’s essay:

“She just didn’t trust that people would support her for who she is. I told her I do and I still do.”

With undue respect, Mr. Pinsof, I think your Twitter performance rather validates her anxieties. What matters here is the incredulity Pinsof expresses—he seems to ask how could Sagal not believe she would be accepted. Trans people know the marrow-deep answer to that question; it’s written in Pinsof’s own words and deformed judgements of this entire tragic situation.

Let us address one significant moral matter before I dive into the rest of this: a woman has nearly died—she has been, and doubtless will continue to be, suffering from severe depression and dysphoria. In the throes of that depression she made an ill-advised choice: misrepresenting herself on IndieGogo to secure funding for SRS. In the grand scheme of things, this was a certain kind of fraud; but the crimes perpetrated against her were far greater and, without any doubt, validate her strenuous efforts to keep her true intentions secret. For many trans people, SRS is the definition of a lifesaving surgery; we have the misfortune of living in a society where this is not only poorly understood, but actively vilified, pathologised, and morally panicked about. Throughout Pinsof’s writing on the subject there is a very subtle underccurent of judgement and contempt—he writes on Twitter that “[the surgery] was non-vital, in the sense that her body would go on even if her mind couldn’t let it. But I understand you.” The last line was written to a woman criticising the fact that he diminished Sagal’s vital need; I’d gently posit that he does not actually understand.

One of Chloe Sagal's games, Homesick.

One of Chloe Sagal’s games, Homesick.

Not Enough For Heaven

“Faith, here’s an equivocator… who committed enough treason for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven,” drawls the comic porter in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, lamenting the equivocating Jesuits who lied enough to keep their faith against oppression yet were condemned to the fires of Hell nevertheless for their subtle lie. It puts me in the mind of Chloe Sagal, for she too equivocated; she petitioned for a lifesaving surgery—and in this she was quite correct—she simply mislead the public as to which she needed. We can debate merrily ‘til the heat death of the universe about whether this was right, whether Sagal’s use of deceptive speech for the greater good of her survival is defensible or not (as far as I am concerned, it is).

But it does not justify Pinsof’s actions, especially in a public forum where Sagal is not capable of defending herself; Pinsof violated her trust in a way likely to cause hatred against other transgender people. I cannot overemphasise this point: he has contributed to a welter of stereotypes about trans women and publicly invalidated Sagal’s experience by comparing her to “good” trans women who, he feels, have handled their transitions better. In the process he is shaming every trans person who may see their story in Sagal’s, and who’ve known her desperation.

While he might argue that the ultimate cause of all of this was Sagal’s decision to start her campaign, I’d say the ultimate cause was her pain and the society in which we live. Pinsof’s moral and ethical duty to her, and to everyone like her, was to avoid enflaming this situation and providing grist for those who would condemn us. Even as he professes compassion, he paints her as a hopeless “lost cause” who refused all attempts to help and not only had the audacity to commit suicide, but do so publicly.

He says of her, in his essay, “Even after the awful things she has done — scamming good people and broadcasting her suicide — I have a place in my heart to help her,” as if her suicide itself were a sin that should count against her; the broadcasting of it is, so far as I am concerned, irrelevant to ethical consideration. Perhaps she did not wish to feel as if she were dying alone, perhaps it was a cry for help; in either case, Pinsof’s condemnation is ill timed and deeply unfair to Sagal. There may be a time for her to better understand the meaning she makes of this tragedy. It is not now. If indeed Mr. Pinsof “has a place” in his heart to help her, he would have been better off doing so privately instead of publicly humiliating her and then attempting to appear magnanimous, inviting many others to follow along with him in this display of sanctimony.

And sanctimony it is, for what else can I call this:

“If everyone so hellbent on harming me today could put as much effort in giving Chloe a support circle, she could really have a chance at having a happy life where she is honest about who she is to herself and everyone around her. It’s unfortunate that so much harm, to herself and others, had to occur first, but the optimist in me likes to think it won’t be in vein [sic]…

“But I can’t understand people who will put so much anger out at me before putting an equal amount of support for Chloe and others like her. I don’t expect you to understand my unique predicament but I hope you can put some effort into understanding her’s [sic]”

Let me explain two things to you, Mr. Pinsof:

1)      You do not get to decide for a trans person when they should come out. Period. There is no way for me to garland this with pretty words. You simply do not do this. You do not get to decide where, when, and how coming out is “for their own good.” Especially not when she is in the hospital and completely unable to have input on the decision.

I cannot, however, better the woman’s own words, posted not long before her last suicide attempt:

“I also have to say that all this talk about what people feel my gender expression consists of is extremely foolish, and it breaks my heart. Not only is it no one’s business, but you seem to have failed to realize that there have been a good deal of the lgbt who have been killed, or have killed themselves over being outed. Unless someone gives you their permission to talk about it, you never, ever talk about it with anyone but that person directly. It has never been okay to act like that, and you should be ashamed, though that statement won’t be as effective coming from myself. Outing someone who does not want to be outed not only invites physical danger on to that person, but a host of emotional problems when others feel the need to insult them over it. And if anyone is going to make the argument that if they don’t do it, someone else will, don’t bother. You are better than this.”

Indeed, you should have been better than this, Mr. Pinsof.

2)      The trans community online and in the trans gaming community is—as you yourself observe—able to provide a home for her. We would welcome her. I would proudly call her my sister. But my first act of supporting her in public is to stand here and set the record straight on who we are, and why what you did to Chloe Sagal was morally wrong. We will be there for her as a community when, heaven willing, she is able to leave the hospital on her own and rejoin online communities. Do not think to lecture us, however, because we hold you accountable and responsible for your words.

For Want of Understanding

Further, I do understand her predicament. All too well. More, in fact, than you know, Mr. Pinsof. I have wanted to commit suicide more times than I care to count—before I transitioned, I remember standing quietly in my dorm room at the University of Connecticut, inexplicably furious, alone, shaking, quietly sobbing and fantasising about putting a shotgun in my mouth and pulling the trigger. Moments like that pockmarked my adolescence and the first few years of adulthood. The bottomlessness of that despair was incalculable. I pray and hope you never have to know what that feels like; in the meantime I ask you not to judge too harshly what those in such a headspace might say or do. In hindsight, I regret certain things I said and did in those heady, pretransition days of ignorance; but I did what I had to in order to survive one day further.

Pinsof himself says that Sagal lives in an unsupportive “small town.” I had the good fortune of starting my transition in a major city; two, to be exact. I ended up coming out and making my “debut” so to speak in Toronto, with a supportive girlfriend and her dauntless mother at my side, smiling and cheering me on. I would not be here today without them—without the fortune I had in meeting them. When I broke down in tears and felt that my life would end, my girlfriend’s mother dropped everything she was doing and raced through the streets of a busy city to be at my side.

In time, my own mother and father would stand with me as well. But for a febrile few months, I was on a rickety bridge over an abyss, my legs knocking and wobbling; I needed people there to hold me up and prevent me from tumbling into that void, vertiginously beckoning me.

Sagal needed that too. And Pinsof seems to say that, for a time, he tried to be that for her. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that, perhaps with good intentions, he tried. But whatever spirit may have driven him, its anima was clearly sapped after a while. He talked her down from one suicide attempt and then, he writes,

“I decided to distance myself from Chloe who sent me emails thanking me for saving her. She also referred to me in postings online. This made me worried as things were growing more personal, so I ignored in fear of where things could lead if I continued communications. I wanted to help her tell her story, not become a part of it, especially after the concerning state of health she announced to me.”

The fact that Pinsof withdrew at that point suggests to me that he misunderstood what was happening, and in his withering condemnation of Sagal he seems to ignore the fact that he pulled back when she was reaching out. When we as trans people are still in the closet and at the cusp of transition, we may—perhaps naively—get attached to anyone who seems even remotely supportive. Could you really blame us? Now Pinsof might be able to understand how betrayed Sagal might feel. She thought he was an ally, a friend—and then he does this.

Destructoid, the site which employs Allistair Pinsof and, as of this writing, continues to support him.

Destructoid, the site which employs Allistair Pinsof and, as of this writing, continues to support him.

The most charitable thing I can say for Mr. Pinsof is that he, at some point, meant well and tried to do the right thing; what overrode him at the end was the fact that he did not, and could not, take a trans woman at her word and accept her experience from her perspective—he at last submitted to an angle of vision more readily supported by the non-trans majority.

Nothing about this is easy; I have been in dark places myself and consoled many sisters who have been in even darker places. It is profoundly challenging and sometimes very draining; sometimes I simply can’t do it. But what I never do is take her pain and scatter it to the four winds in the misguided hope that I could crowdsource the responsibility. Even if Pinsof argues that Sagal had made this inevitable by holding a public funding campaign that does not suddenly absolve him of all ethical responsibility to her (and, indeed, to us all). He made a choice only he is responsible for, and his choice may actually hinder Sagal’s recovery.

I will conclude by saying this. For all the chest-beating on Twitter about how Sagal lied or committed a crime or defrauded others, I do not feel lied to. I see in her a sister who was doing what she had to do. Perhaps she could have done it better or in a less risky or misleading fashion, but you will forgive me if I am disinclined to count angels on the head of a pin at this moment.

To those who defend Pinsof and the various social media mobs, all I ask is this: Does your sense of supposed injustice demand a woman’s life as payment?

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for your thoughts on the matter. So much has been said that were I to add anything more, it would be drowned in the beautiful noise of those more eloquent than me. I am grateful for this post.

  2. Do we even know for sure at this point that she actually intended to use the money for SRS, beyond Pinsof saying so? To me saying ‘she was just going to spend the money on SRS’, even if true, does everyone a huge disservice by assuming that we can somehow predict someone’s actions by knowing their intent.

    I can imagine a lot of reasons someone in Chloe’s position could have needed money for medical reason, ignoring SRS, whether it’s paying for insurance, paying for life-saving prescription medications, paying the bills from an emergency room visit that wasn’t covered by insurance (shockingly common), etc. Even if she expressed the intent to use the money for SRS, it upsets me that people are willing to jump directly to the conclusion that she was going to do so *when she hadn’t done anything wrong* (aside from being dishonest, that is).

    Categorizing SRS as non-vital is pretty depressing as well. There are still tons of places where you can’t change your birth certificate gender or even name without proving that you’ve had all the surgeries done. It’s an enormous roadblock to the mere act of ‘identifying’ as a gender in the real world to others, and poses real problems for getting hired, passing background checks, etc.

  3. Is it so impossible to accept and respect people as flawed human beings? I don’t wish any harm to either Chloe or Alistair. I believe they both said things that were unwise, and that had consequences they did not anticipate. Neither could see the wider picture from their own positions.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, one doesn’t negate the other. They both DID harm to others. I do not say that to condemn or hate them, merely to acknowledge.

    I feel it is profoundly damaging to the community as a whole to try and choose a villain in this piece.

    She needs our support now – that does not mean that he requires our hatred to balance it.

    • 1) There is no evidence to proof that Chloe “harmed” anybody beyond Alistair’s words.

      2) Even if Chloe “harmed” anybody with her dishonesty, it was an impersonal dishonesty that would affect people’s wallets, and said money was refunded when indiegogo changed their minds. Also, she was clearly in a depressed state already; depressed people don’t always act rationally.

      Alistair committed harm by breaching the trust of a suicidally depressed woman who probably could use a larger support network right now. Said breach of trust seems selfish rather than empathetic. This is not to say that Alistair might not also be acting out of a sense of desperation, but I currently have no evidence to suggest that Alistair IS depressed. But said breach of trust cannot be “refunded,” as with the indiegogo funds.

      3) I don’t want anybody to “hate” Alistair, but I will take a stand against his lack of empathy and those who support his lack of empathy. This doesn’t mean I expect him to be canned, or anything that drastic, but a simple “we’re sorry” probably wouldn’t cut it either. This situation needs to be resolved, and it needs to be clearly explained why Alistair’s actions were wrong.

  4. Jacob Rimmer says:

    This is a fantastic article that puts into words what I know a lot of people are struggling with, it’s all too hard to speak rationally when your emotions are pulled into the fray. Thank you so much for writing this and I can only hope Pinsof reads this and finally realises all his mistakes. I really cannot understand the people who say Sagal’s fraud excuses all the horrible things Pinsof and others are saying about her, as if money and respectability are more important than a person’s wellbeing and life. Anyway, thank you again for writing this and telling your story.

  5. I cannot for the life of me understand how he would think this was ok. Wanting to reveal the circumstances behind the IndieGoGo campaign is a bad excuse, it was closed down and the money refunded. Those affected got their money back, so what was the urgency? What required shouting “scam!” and revealing her situation to the world? “She lied”? Like one lie on the internet means consenting to have any and all information spread?

  6. I suspect Pinsof sees himself as something of a courageous truth-teller, and he chose to suspend basic compassion to serve that. When the situation was blowing up yesterday on Twitter, he made a post he has since deleted, something like “I told the truth, I wasn’t like the guy who hid the backpack of the Boston bombers.” Likening that to exposing a transwoman suggests that he thought there was some sort of life-or-death notion of justice at stake.

    I don’t really see how one could arrive there given what he knew of the situation, but I think it’s worth understanding so we can be wiser in the future.

    Thanks so much for writing this post. I honestly think the message about how dire the consequences of outing someone is not very widely acknowledged outside a relatively small community; your articulation of that deserves a big signal boost. People like Chloe are suffering all over the world.

  7. Among the noise and anger on Twitter yesterday, this was the quality of discourse I hoped would arise. It makes me very happy to see you taking a thoughtful, thorough and honest approach to this complicated event. So, first and foremost, thanks for providing some clarity and heart. You are the positive role model.

    I’d also like to take this opportunity to apologize for the first tweet you quoted. In my efforts to provide clarity on the complicated situation with Chloe — as those outside the trans community may need more clarity than others — I was brash. In hindsight, I wish I took a gentler approach that would have conveyed the situation while not disrespecting the trans community.

    I am relieved knowing IndieGoGo’s name has been cleared and the way has been paved for future legitimate charities to appear there, as witnessing the well being poisoned was troubling — it got worse than people suspect, there was a kid dying from Lymphoma and it wasn’t getting reported on in the game community because Chloe’s illegitimate post the week before; it scared people away and it was a real shitty thing. Just as I couldn’t stomach seeing Chloe not getting the support she was asking for, when I first met her, I can’t stomach seeing people in need of help being doubted or denied because of her actions not being cleared — in the future, maybe Chloe will even post a charity for her SRS on IGG, as I and her friends once encouraged her to do. That’s all I wanted out of this. I don’t think it’s necessary to scam or steal money for SRS and I think it’s damaging to suggest that’s a acceptable thing to do — there are repercussions to these actions that affect more than just the individual, who may deserve help but not in an effort that hurts others.

    So many people were eager to help Chloe and still are — in fact, even more now despite the awful surrounding circumstances. You are a wonderful person to see past Chloe’s actions and recognize that she is just desperate for some love and support.

    Chloe is alive with her friends, right now. I hate how me revealing the truth hurt her and the trans community as she once thought she would do herself with her apology. But maybe this is all for the best, as she was so close to coming out and now people will hate me instead of her. Right now is the time for positive role models such as yourself and http://gamersagainstbigotry.org/ to help ease the noise and anger. I will not be discussing this further, as it’s in poor taste to further explain myself.

    It’s true I write for a site, but my interactions with Chloe were a personal mission. I let her know I would not publish anything about her on any site. My plan was for her was to come out on her own terms on Jezebel, Take This, or someplace with a welcoming community. Her teacher can verify this as can my chat logs and email history, though I will not be sharing any for the time being to keep her identity and location safe (in this sense, I have not “outed” her in the way some suggested.)

    I will be forwarding letters of support to Chloe I received to Gamers Against Bigotry and encourage others to send any there as well.

    Once more, I’d like to apologize to the trans* community for the upset that has come from my actions. Part of me wishes I never got involved, but I still believe in the best in people. I still believe in Chloe.

    • I’m sorry I didn’t approve your reply sooner; I was on the phone with a loved one I really needed to speak to.

      I want to first and foremost thank you for coming here and responding so thoughtfully to my article — and indeed for reading it in the first place.

      I do not expect you to respond and fully respect your wishes to not further engage in discussions around this; for what it’s worth, I think that’s probably for the best. Nevertheless I will reply to the things you’ve said here in ways that I hope will productively further understanding and discussion elsewhere, amongst others, since your words here will doubtless be cited and quoted elsewhere.

      I accept and agree that there were consequences to Ms. Sagal’s actions that hurt IndieGogo’s reputation and thus the credibility of other people in need whose campaigns were not signal boosted. I am sensitive to that; I’m not going to argue that point as it would be morally bankrupt of me to do so, frankly.

      But here’s why I wrote this article with the focus and emphasis I did:

      The feeling that one was defrauded *because* they do not believe SRS was lifesaving and thus constitutes a stain on IndieGogo’s reputation is a huge part of the problem. The proof is in the pudding, really; one only needs to see the hate directed at her by the internet justice mob, the revulsion, the rage, the disgust, *this* is why she did something that we can agree was ethically dubious, something wrong that may well have hurt other worthy causes. Yet all the hatred directed at her shows why she might have been afraid to come out with this openly.

      There are enough people out there, including other trans women, who can explain at length why her IndieGogo campaign was ultimately handled in the wrong way. I felt that the gap that needed filling was this: compassion and understanding for what would make that seem like an option for someone, as well as asking the important question with which I closed. Is her near-death, her continued depression and dysphoria, any kind of “justice” worthy of the name?

      To whatever extent I appeared to excuse her behaviour, that’s why. My interest is in helping her recover, and gaining understanding for her, rather than feeding the void of rage about how horrible she is for “theft” and “crimes” and “stealing” and all manner of fraud; that would not have been a novel contribution to this discussion.

      Nor a compassionate one. She is my sister, and I am willing to take the heat for this article for that.

      In other words, while I can see that what she did was wrong, I still want to and am fully willing to embrace her– and defend her from others whose idea of punishment vastly, vastly outsizes the reality of this situation. She’s my sister. I trust you know what one ought to do for one’s sister– and that’s defend them through thick and thin.

      I thank you for updating me on Chloe’s situation and obviously my thoughts, love, and best wishes are with her. As I said, there is a whole army of us waiting to welcome her home and give her a community where she can gather strength and rebuild, loved and accepted as her true self.

      For your part, it may be best to step back from all this. I understand this wasn’t an easy time for you; my thoughts, however, remain with the fact that it was a much, much worse time for Chloe– this may rank as the lowest point of her life and it is this which I prefer to focus on. But, Mr. Pinsof, you go with my fondest wishes and I hope we can all grow from this. I do not think you an evil person or a villain as some have claimed, and I hope you can believe that.

      In the final analysis it may be best to leave the “mission” to Chloe, her friends, loved ones, and community.

      Best wishes,

      Katherine Cross

  8. If Chloe started that IndieGogo with then intent to use the profits towards sexual reassignment surgery, while intentionally telling people it was something else, then she is in the wrong, no two ways about this. You can feel sorry for her, but it doesn’t change that fact.

    That said, Allistair Pinsof was also in the wrong for the way he handled things. Taking an incredibly private matter and making it so public isn’t the way to handle something like this.

    • There’s nothing implicitly wrong about having that as her intent, if you can even prove that it was her intent. The act of actually taking the funds and using them for a purpose other than their stated purpose would be *actively wrong* but simply intending to do so is not wrong. People think about and even intend to do bad things all the time that they don’t do.

      Is it unreasonable to ask for a degree of empathy and consideration for someone who is obviously in a really tough place? Yes, if Chloe had actually done the things she is now publicly accused of intending to do, that would be bad. But she didn’t. This is the core of what makes this whole mess a real problem: The situation was escalated by a careless, imprecise and overly public response to a perceived threat, not an actual threat. Even if the core goal is to prevent Indiegogo backers from being defrauded of funds, there are reasonable ways to do this that don’t involve outing a vulnerable person based on your understanding of their intent.

  9. As I said, she is clearly in a tough place, nothing wrong with empathy there.

    Like I said, *IF* she did. Not she did, but IF. And that’s just it, plenty of people do think bad think about and intend. But she wasn’t just thinking about it, she made the Indiegogo and said what she did. That’s acting on it. So *IF* she did intend to use it towards SRS, then she was in the wrong to make the page.

    Here being in a rough spot doesn’t make it alright to do something like that. Truthfully, we’ll probably never know the truth on this matter. So yes, Allistair Pinsof was absolutely in the wrong, but there’s every possibility that Chloe was also in the wrong, arguably more so.

  10. Lachlan Williams says:

    Great article, however I’d like to provide a quick correction:

    “[the surgery] was non-vital, in the sense that her body would go on even if her mind couldn’t let it. But I understand you.” The last line was written to a woman criticising the fact that he diminished Sagal’s vital need”

    The reply was in fact to two men, not a woman. Not a big deal, but just a small factual innacuracy.

  11. pindarninja says:

    “In the grand scheme of things, this was a certain kind of fraud; but the crimes perpetrated against her were far greater and, without any doubt, validate her strenuous efforts to keep her true intentions secret.”

    Hold on. This sentence is where the logic of this post falls apart. She misrepresented and committed fraud about the purpose of her crowdsourcing campaign. This whole post seems to be written with the view that the “ends justify the means,” i.e. it’s OK to do this if you are transgendered and in desperate need of help. Let me go out on a limb and say that it is never OK to commit fraud and misrepresent to people giving you money out of charity. SRS may be in one sense “life-saving” surgery, but the term “life-saving” has a very specific meaning i.e. “preventing imminent death,” a meaning she invoked with her story about a car accident and shrapnel. And sexual identity is a personal issue, but Chloe MADE it into a public issue. The moment when she set up a fraudulent campaign to support SRS, her sexuality became part of the story.

    Chloe Sagal deserves our sympathy because she clearly needs help, and honestly her story breaks my heart, but her actions were clearly wrong. Allistair Pinsof mishandled things, and I wish he would not have taken to Twitter for his comments

    • I would direct you to my reply to Allistair Pinsof’s comment in this thread.

      I think you’re misrepresenting me to say that I’m arguing the ends justify the means. Understanding is a quality oft strained, and in the rush to judge Chloe Sagal for her deception, people always seem to be tacitly suggesting that she deserved everything that happened to her– the hate mobs unto death. I’m not saying that you yourself are doing this, but ask yourself why your fixation is on whether or not we condemn the deception– instead of this:

      Why must a woman’s mistake be so irredeemably and mercilessly punished? And why must we accept so impoverished a state of moral affairs that everything that happened to Chloe Sagal is what passes for “justice”?

      Note, I am not arguing that this was right– though I do dispute your over-precise definition of lifesaving here, as one person remarked the fact that she nearly killed herself in despair over the feeling that all avenues were now closed to her rather proves that a path to surgery *may well have been lifesaving.*

      As to Chloe making the choice to make it public, that is an argument I addressed in my article. My point being that you and others treat Chloe as the only person with the power to make a moral choice and sole responsibility for what it entails– as if Allistair and everyone who attacked her with violent, vicious, and bigoted rhetoric did not *also* make choices to which responsibility and accountability must accrue.

      Here’s what one commenter on Destructoid has said:

      “Alister did fuck up, but who hasn’t at some point in their lives? The feeling I got from his tweets wasn’t that he was happy or felt “pious” in outing her, but that it was his last resort (someone he was at least moderately close to did attempt suicide in a very public venue; poorly thought out emotional responses are to be expected). He was wrong in doing so, but it happened. Allister told the truth, perhaps it wasn’t the time to do it, but that’s pretty much all he did. If someone makes an honest mistake (pun sort of intended, who doesn’t love puns?) with good intentions I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.”

      This is the tenor of more reasonable people in this discussion and I find it interesting; “yes, he made a mistake but we should forgive him,” versus “CHLOE MADE A MISTAKE, BURN HER, DIE!” Do you see what I’m getting at?

      I am not arguing that Chloe has zero accountability. My argument is that due to subtle prejudices we forget that everyone else involved has equal or greater accountability, and that while there will be a time for us to parse out the exact nature of Chloe’s responsibility, it is not while she is lying in a hospital bed at the lowest hour of her life– and it’s a discussion she herself should be a part of as a full, recovered person when she’s up to it.

      Also, thank you for commenting and for disagreeing in a respectful manner.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Last night, my friend Amy pinged me on Steam to ask me what I thought about ‘that IndieGoGo thing’. And that was how I first heard about Chloe Sagal. […]

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