The Invisible: Living Life Locked-In

(Image: Bigstock)

(Image: Bigstock)

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Locked-in Syndrome is a real condition in which a person is fully aware of their surroundings, but often due to a stroke that damages part of the brainstem, they are unable to move or communicate.

An example of this disconnected state was discussed in an article published in 2013. The article described a 50 year old man who, as a result of an accident in 1983, was believed to be in a coma for over twelve years. Imagine, stuck in your bed, conscious but unable to speak or move. In 2006 it was discovered he had actually been conscious all those years. Somehow, he remained sane and was ultimately able to communicate through a computer.

Needless to say, this scenario is one of the most terrifying thoughts imaginable. To be unable to communicate and the fear that goes along with being invisible to the world.


Can we visualize for a moment a situation where one has all of their physical capabilities, but in many ways are locked within themselves?

Imagine a child who feels different from everyone else, yet cannot express what they are feeling. They are unable to verbalize or understand their emotions. As they age, it is understood that what is felt is not considered “normal.” Every interaction is studied, looking for clues as to what kind of behavior is expected of them in a nerve-wracking struggle to fit in. A false front is constructed, and while living under such pretenses is less than desirable, it is understood that their natural inclinations are what society considers “wrong.”

When a glimpse of their inner self is revealed, it often elicits an awkward silence, followed by mockery and humiliation. This leads to a belief that the artificial construct must always be maintained: Life is easier hidden in the shadows. For the reality of the world is understood, living openly has consequences.

The resulting fear of such hidden realities drives many to self-loathing, severe substance abuse, depression and often suicide.

This is the plight of our transgender brothers and sisters. But I ask, as they have suffered through such circumstances and often more, shouldn’t we treat them with empathy and understanding?

They were born to a body that betrays their true gender. There is no choice here.

Everything within them screams to the world, “Please see me as I am.” And as our bigotry and anger fall away, with open eyes we can see a courageous person, whose struggle has led them to living their truth.

Whether straight, lesbian, gay or bi-sexual, how many times have you wished that you could live your truth, whatever that means for you, with no judgement, no hatred and without malice from others, isn’t it time?


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About the Author

Cary J. Giacalone joined the Upper Delaware GLBT Center (UDGLBT) in January 2012 as Secretary/Treasurer and Chair of the Planning Committee. He is also a facilitator of the UDGLBT’s P3 Youth Group. An original volunteer in one of the first HIV volunteer programs, Cary worked on the hotline and as a buddy to those living with HIV/AIDS. He also volunteered as a peer counselor at Identity House in New York. Cary was employed in the Banking industry for over 38 years. He and his husband Kris live in Milford, Pennsylvania.

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