I’m not a big fan of reality TV, but Kirstin and I discovered a show we really like. It is called “Born this way.” All of the people on the show have Down Syndrome, and it is one of the happiest, most uplifting programs I have ever seen on television. It is on A&E on Tuesday nights.
Sean is a young man in search of a girl friend. In last week’s episode, he went to Vegas to see Justin Bieber–without his parents. While there, he went on a blind date. The date went well, until Sean decided that he needed to get a tattoo. So he took his date to a tattoo parlor and chose the tattoo he wanted. His chaperone suggested that he call his parents for permission first. I love his mom, she was so cool about it. She didn’t tell him he couldn’t get a tattoo, but she did tell the chaperone that it was okay because he didn’t have enough money. Sure enough, when the shop owner ran his debit card, it was declined. Sean had to settle for getting a temporary outline of the tattoo.
Megan is a beautiful young woman who has lofty goals. She has her own business, called Meganology. It is a on-line business where she sells items she makes from cloth she dyes using ice. They are really very lovely and she does pretty well selling them. In one episode, she was meeting with her staff. There was no doubt who was in charge. In last week’s episode, Megan and her friends traveled to Trinidad to attend the Down Syndrome World Conference, where she was a keynote speaker. Megan also has a very supportive mom, but she and her mom are at odds over one thing. Megan wants to move to Los Angeles to build her business–and live on her own away from family and friends. I can’t wait to see how that turns out.
The theme of the show seems to be “Don’t limit us.” Whether it is fighting to be in regular classes or to attend college, they all are equal to the task at hand. Like all young people, they have plans and dreams. They are not afraid of working hard and putting themselves out there to reach those dreams. Fortunately, they have families who support them and encourage them. Anyone who watches this program will find themselves believing in these remarkable people and rooting for their success.
It is tragically ironic that at a time when people with disabilities are being heralded as heroes, these very special people are in danger of being eradicated from the face of the earth. Medical advancements have made it possible to diagnose Down syndrome in utero. Currently, ninety-percent of the babies with Down syndrome are being aborted. When you consider all of the opportunities available today for people with Down syndrome, it is so sad to think that most of them aren’t even given a chance to live. Hopefully, television shows like this one will help stem the tide.