To the People Who Created the #Howeyeseeit Challenge

To the people who created the #Howeyeseeit challenge,

My name is Charlie, or Charles. I am 20 years old, a cat lover, a friend, a writer, a horse person, a transgender man and so many other things. I am also someone who is blind, and I have been since I was 18. I understand you created this challenge to help find cures for conditions that cause blindness, but the fact is in doing so you are throwing the very people you are trying to help under the bus.

You are making the sighted think blind people can’t go out to dinner, take care of their own children, walk down the street, or live a “normal” life.

Blindness isn’t something I would wish on anyone, but my options are to live as a blind person or not live at all. So I have chosen to live. I have chosen to catch buses and trains. Walk in downtown Minneapolis. Learn orientation and mobility training, which gives me the freedom to go anywhere I set my mind to.

One day I will be a father, and I will not need someone to watch over me and my children. I will not need someone checking up on me to see if I am parenting right, or to be dragged into court because your campaign made a social worker think blind parents can’t raise their own children. This didn’t stop happening 50 years ago; this happens today in our own country, and you are just feeding their fire.

There is a big difference between a person who puts on a blindfold and tries to do something, and blind people. We have had training. We have talked to those who have been blind before us. In some cases, we have been blind all our lives and know nothing different. So do yourself and us the favor and take off the blindfold. Ask us, blind people ourselves what it is like to be blind, and actually hear what we have to say. It will not make a cool hashtag, but your future and mine might be better off because of it.

Research on treatments for blindness is a worthy cause, but it could take 10, 20, or even 100 years to find a cure for even one of these conditions. Funding for my condition, cortical blindness, is very limited even though it is the most common cause of permanent visual impairment in children. Until the day they find a cure, I have a life to live. I plan on living the life I want and making every day count.


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