Chanel changers: I read with great interest your article about Chanel ["A Diva in the Making," by Melissa Hung, November 16], having been involved with her situation for about six weeks now. I thought you did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the individual and her character.
I was deeply disappointed in her statement referring to the transgender community's feeling about her being on The Jerry Springer Show. So she wants to be a champion for transgender rights? Sorry -- the first thing you need to do is care. To say that she did not care was a slap in the face to a community that rallied to her support when she was down, that gave time, money and energy to ensure her safety and well-being. When she acts like she did, it makes our entire group wonder why we do the things we do, why we try. The bottom line is we care. Those of us who put ourselves on the line daily so that those who come behind us may have it a little better will never stop caring.
My heart goes out to her for everything she has gone through, and I hope that over the course of time we can save others who follow in her footsteps. Having spent years as a substance abuse counselor for adolescents, I learned that we cannot save everyone, we only hope to reach a few. I, for one, will never give up the fight. Thank you for bringing this subject to the attention of your readers.
Brenda Thomas, founder, HTGA
Rush and Hush
Slave factory? The two authors did extensive research and an absolutely marvelous job on this article ["Catch Us If You Can," by Brian Wallstin and Margaret Downing, November 9]. I was a therapist at MHMRA for four years.
This system proves to be self-defeating and abusive of its workers. We worked all day long, sometimes with no bathroom breaks and a 15-minute lunch, and still would not meet the "quotas" (as set by the top people). At one time, it was demanded that we see clients, or "consumers," as they are called, at 30-minute intervals. And yes, appointments were also double booked.
Have you ever tried to come in to see your therapist for 30 minutes a week and work through all of your issues and treatment goals? Mind you, these are "the sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor." We were constantly audited and reprimanded and devalued if we did not "bring the money" into the agency.
The only regret I had is that the authors were not able to interview caseworkers (clinicians) or case managers. The people who suffer the most are the patients. The supervisors get the biggest agency paychecks to run a slave factory, and they still can't get the system to work right!
Thank you for your wonderful story. It is very much a catharsis for me to read. Keep up the good work. I don't think the Chronicle has the guts to print stories like this. But someone has to speak for the voiceless patients.
Name withheld by request
Graham's shame: Wendy Grossman does the justice system an injustice to publicize Gloria Rubac's support of Gary Graham ["She Doth Protest Too Much?" November 9] without telling the horrible, inhumane crimes he committed. Shame on you, Houston Press, for allowing that. May we now have an article that exposes his crimes?
Ring it out: Maybe Azita Bayat ["Altar Ego," by Wendy Grossman, November 16] should exchange her "platinum, two-carat princess-cut diamond (flanked by .55-carat baguettes and trillions)" ring for something more modest. I'm sure the price difference would help a lot. I don't feel sorry for her.
Vows don't need wows: I just finished reading your article, and I am somewhere between disgusted and amazed. As a future bride, I know the struggle of having to pay for a wedding. My budget being $8,000 (including honeymoon), I don't understand how Miss Bayat could expect a $30,000 handout from people. Poor Azita couldn't find anything at Tiffany & Co. or Cartier, only to get a platinum two-carat ring! There's where all the money for her wedding went.
You can still have a nice wedding if you don't have much money. You can rent the Rothko Chapel for $300. The old Heights fire station rents for $700. You could have your ceremony in the River Oaks Theatre for $150 during the week. Of course she wants to feel like a princess for a day -- what bride doesn't? People get married every day for a lot less than what she is asking. She just needs to lower her standards.
I wish you the best of luck in your wedding planning, Azita, but I hope no one feels sorry for you.
Don't Lean on Me
Cause for concern: If I wanted to read articles like Lisa Gray's "Leaning on Caduceus" [November 16] (gag!), I would buy Family Circle or Redbook. But I don't. I always look forward to reading your paper and appreciate the causes you pursue. But if you are changing your format to include more of the same and less real news, then I won't even bother to read the weekly rag, even if it is free.
I really enjoyed your article, especially in light of my recent experience at M.D. Anderson. Since I work at UTMB, my cancer treatment has been more peer-to-peer than God-to-supplicant.
It was as if Anderson expected patients to be utterly uninformed idiots. When I told my medical oncologist that I didn't want to take tamoxifen because there was no study to prove its effectiveness on my type of breast cancer, plus I didn't want to begin menopause at age 37, he seemed startled. He looked down at my chart and said he'd discuss it with his "group." I've never heard a word from him.
Not to mention the snotty nurse practitioner who snapped at me, "Who told you you were high risk" for a recurrence? She quieted down when I responded, "My surgeon, my radiation oncologist, my family history, the statistics" Ye gods.
Elizabeth M. Camp
Department of Legal Affairs
UT Medical Branch at Galveston
Public exposure: Why do people care if the person at the next table is on a cell phone ["Hell Phone," by George Alexander, November 16]? It's okay to have a conversation at your table, have a screaming kid and an obnoxious drunk, but not a call on a cell phone? This makes no sense to me.
Didn't some restaurants of yesteryear make phones available at your table if you needed one? Why don't people just mind their own business? When you go out in public, you are exposed to all kinds of things that you don't agree with, but you don't make policies because they aren't what you believe in.