Saturday, August 13, 2016

Seven Days Left: Who's who, and what's what

This is the last of seven items in seven days on left handedness.

Left Handedness - Who's Who, and What's What

Who's Who

There are many lists of left handed people so I will only link to some that exist, not repeat the names here.  There is some debate about whether certain people were or weren't left handed, and I don't have the resources to confirm it either way.  And when it comes to criminals and handedness, there's far too much "He's on YOUR team!" nonsense. Famous Left Handers Famous Left Handers Famous Lefies

The Guardian: One Hundred Famous Left-Handed People 60 Famous People Who Are Left Handed

One recently famous left handed person worth noting is Malala Yousafzai, the heroic Pakistani teen who won the Nobel Peace Prize and has become an advocate for women's rights around the world.  Which hand is she writing with?

What's What

There are two more important issues that I do want to focus on.
  • Children face the most risk with the least support

As stated in part 2 and part 3 of this series, children are and should be the focus of this discussion.  When girls and women face sexism and harassment, they have family, school and feminist groups to speak for them or call on for support.  When people face racism, they have family, school and human rights and civil rights groups to ask for help.  When atheists and LGBTQIA people face discrimination there are voices they can call on, including and even when their family and school are part of the problem.

But who do left handed children call on for help?  In nearly all of the cases, their harassers are their own parents and family, their teachers and schools.  The very people who should be their greatest source of support are the cause of their greatest problems, not society in general.  There is no external human rights group who speaks for them. 

As I've said elsewhere, left handed people may be the least likely oppressed group to face murder and other extreme violence, and adults have the experience and resources to cope with everyday problems, even in societies that are openly against left handedness.  But when it comes to children, they are subjected to mental, emotional and even physical abuse, with no one to speak out on their behalf.  And when they call on others for help, they are often told, "Just do what others are telling you to do."

Here's a woman who got the point, who learnt from the experience living outside of a theocracy, that left handedness is perfectly normal and not to abuse her daughter because of outdated ideas.
  • Left handedness is normal and natural
Left handedness has occurred thoughout human history as often and as naturally as homosexuality.  It is genetic, and any attempts to coerce or force people to change are forms of abuse.

German scientists have said unequivocally that left handedness is genetic.  However, they suggest that it is related to multiple genes, not a specific one.  They may act alone on in conjucntion with others, but regardless, they exist.  The two known genes linked to handedness and other conditions are PCSK6 and LRRTM1.

An Austrian study showed left handed children are also more likely to be gestated in the summer and born in the winter.  Another study links non-heterosexual orientation to left handness in both women and men.

  • Forcing people to switch hands causes harm
Forcing left handed children to switch hands is child abuse, not "correction".  It is mentally, emotionally and physically abusive.  It causes unnecessary stress in children for valid purpose other than entrenched bigotry.

Schizophrenia is wired into the brain at birth.  Some have claimed a link between schizophrenia and left handedness.  If this is true, then it is all the more reason not to force children to switch hands.  Chronic stress is thought to be a trigger of schizophrenia, so forcing children to switch hands may only makes schizophrenia more likely to occur.  People are exacerbating the problem, not stopping it.

Some have made the ugly and unverified claim that pedophiles are more likely to be left handed.  Even if that claim had any merit, what people suggesting?  Checking foetuses for genes and aborting them?  (I disagree and would suggest being a pedophile has a lot to do with being moralizing, socially conservative zealot, especially considering the history of sex abuse among catholics, fundamentalist christians and the republican party in the US.)

Regardless of whether any of this is verified or not, studies on gay children with straight parents and children with gay parents show the way forward: leave their hands alone, support them with unconditional love and fulfil their needs.  The children who grow up the most socially well-adjusted are those who grew up in loving homes with stress-free lives.


If you have been reading this, I thank you and hope you got something out of it.  If you have corrections or links, let me know.  If you don't consider this to be a social justice issue and/or have a bias against left handed people, tell someone who actually wants to hear it, because I don't.

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