I was one of those very co-operative sisters when it came to Stanford’s Program and all the follow ups.
Then came a movie called “Bladerunner”. One of those films that made me think. Harrison Ford played the ostensible hero but I identified with the Replicants, a race created by cloning and manufacturing.
By the mid-1980s the researchers had pulled enough shit for me to start viewing them as the enemy. Some of the stuff was so weird, the expectations so out of step with what was happening in the world that there was no way to check a box and answer their questions.
On some levels we are almost expected to disconnect the before from the after and the past shaped us even when many of the memories are unpleasent. One of the things about the movie that hit me was that Replicants emerged as adults without a childhood and their makers were attempting to implant false memories of a childhood that never existed.
I used the term Replicant in reference to how Judy Van Maasdam and those doing the follow-up were treating us. It is as though we were created and you want us to function in a stereotypical way. It is as though we look human but aren’t quite. She said that I was putting myself down when I said I was a Replicant in their eyes. I told her that in the movie Replicant was the respectful term. The slur was “skin-job” and that I had read the work of researchers who might just as well have called us “skin-jobs”.
But back to the memories. I am writing a book and that has meant examining the aspects of what made me who I am.
I just reconnected with a friend from High School. She was pretty, bright and kind to me. She has made me aware that she and other kids watched out for me and were seriously pissed off with the bullies who picked on me.
Stuff like this shaped me. Sometimes it seemed to me like we were supposed to deny our childhood and invent pasts that didn’t happen in order to please the researchers.
Sometimes and especially with many of the newer gate keepers and the language that gets used with all the gender stuff it seems as though we are expected to recite a set of incantations that would have seemed vaguely psychotic to many of us old timers.
I think I was right to call them on what was turning abusive.