Mock my pants, not my sister

The following was written by Brian Skotko , MD, MPP, a Physician at Children’s Hospital Boston’s Down Syndrome Program. It’s in response to a feature in GQ magazine that used insensitive language.

Brian Skotko and his sister, Kristin

On July 15, John B. Thompson of GQ magazine slammed Bostonians as the worst dressed in the nation.  Evidently, our beloved Beantown is actually a “bad-taste storm sewer” where all the worst fashion ideas come to “stagnate and putrefy.”  He further decries, “Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome , where a little extra ends up ruining everything.”

Go ahead, GQ, and mock my blue whale-emblemed Nantucket-red pants. Laugh if you want at the loud argyles that I prefer to wear with my black suit. I don’t even care if you dismiss the sexy pink polka-dotted tie that I like to wear with my blue-checkered shirt in clinic. But, whatever you do, do not mess with my sister.

My sister, Kristin, has Down syndrome, and let me explain what “Style Down Syndrome” really is.  “Style Down Syndrome” is smiling when everyone else prefers to frown. It’s spending three summers, in sheer determination, learning to ride a bike because you want the freedom to be like everyone else. It’s singing tunes from Grease at the top of your lungs with your friends. It’s celebrating a third-place victory at a swim meet with as much gusto as the gold medalist.

Style Down Syndrome is strong-willed, persevering, and forgiving—because it has to be.

People with Down syndrome are ridiculed on a daily basis. Although not as obvious as GQ’s sport, children with Down syndrome do not always get invited to birthday parties just because they have Down syndrome. Young adults, freshly minted from high school, sometimes have trouble finding post-secondary opportunities. And, adults with Down syndrome are often the first to be fired when the economy tanks.

All of this comes at a time when people with Down syndrome are achieving previously unimagined successes. They are graduating, working, living and loving within our communities.  So, why do people underestimate their abilities?  It must be because they do not know someone with Down syndrome. Because, if they did, they would come to appreciate the life lessons that accompany their extra chromosome.

If my friends who are black were mocked, they would not take it. If my friends who are gay were slurred, they would not take it. My 400,000 fellow Americans with Down syndrome have been cheapened, and I will not take it. I invite GQ magazine to introduce its readers to real people with Down syndrome through the My Great Story campaign of the National Down Syndrome Society.

* Editor’s note: Mock my pants not my sister has created a lot of dialogue on the subject of advocacy for the Down syndrome community as well as the use of insensitive language, and resulted in plenty of mainstream media attention to the issue. To date the blog has been referenced in the Washington Post, Boston Business Journal, Boston Magazine, the Boston Globe and FOX News. To learn more about the many social and mainstream media platforms Dr. Skotko’s post has influenced, please click here.

  • http://www.kaitlinmaud.com/ Kaitlin Maud

    Thank you for writing this, Dr. Skoto! I hope that GQ hears your message.

  • Deb Frazier

    People should be so lucky to have a child never mind putting them down because of their health or disabilities.

  • Jbordis

    Great job… Thank you!

  • Kathleen

    Bravo, Brian!  

  • Christina47926

    Shame on GQ….To make use of a rhyme with Down Syndrome to make a catchy phrase …IS NOT HIP…Shem on GQ

  • Kimlegendre

    Thanks so much….this is perfect! 

  • Gabrielahasanov

    Well said Doctor …. shame on GQ

  • http://ourdailysmiles.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Kaczmarzyk

    Thank you Brian!!! I’m thinking RI’s not much better dressed than Boston except in the genes dept! it’s an honor to be part of “Style Down syndrome” with you and your sister!

  • Mavridisc

    Great job for standing up for your sister and shame on GQ for putting down people just because of being different which everyone is anyways we are all different but we need and deserve the same things like respect. GQ magazine is not a magazine I will buy or look at any time soon.I am a parent to two wonderful young men who both have Down syndrome and they are identical twins as well. They are the most polite generous helpful courteous young man. Even when people are not nice to them they just walk away and never make fun of anyone else. They are caring and love unconditionally. Shame on GQ for being such cowards and saying what they did in a article and thinking it was okay because no one really cares. Well they are wrong

  • Karriemom

    Thank you from not only myself, but on behalf of my daughter, too!

  • http://4-guys.blogspot.com Karen

    Thank you, Dr. Skotko, for your eloquent response!  My best wish for the staff of GQ is that Someone with a Little Extra will find them and love them until they know, as I do, the magic that is ours in that world of 47 chromosomes.  Extra love, extra compassion, extra vision, extra-ordinary—oh yes!

  • Chinru

    Thank you on behalf of my twin girls, both of whom have Down’s syndrome. I read that article the other day on the internet and thought the same thing.If they saw what we see every day, I’m sure their eyes would be opened,their lives fuller and more meaningful, as ours has been and see a style that has nothing to do with clothes. Maybe we should invite him to meet our heroes and show him what real style is about.   

    • Lorraine_cridge

      Hi, I am also Mum to identical twins girls both with DS, they are 22 years old, if you are on facebook my name is Lorraine Cridge – please stop by and say hello!

    • Noah’s Dad

      Awesome! By the way we have written a letter to GQ on here site. We’d love for anyone and everyone to stop by and “sign” (comment) on it!  I’m sure GQ is reading it (and this post.) Thanks everyone. 

      http://www.noahsdad.com/gq-magazine

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1587158552 Romney Croft

    Brian 
    Thank you for your response! Nicely done.
    Romney Croft

  • Tapple529

    Thank you for speaking up and for putting GQ in its place. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562412225 Carol Richards- AnCel

    You go Brian!! That was a great response to a completely thoughtless and cruel article in GQ—- Gentlemen, my foot!

  • http://twitter.com/ASA_Tutoring Adrienne Dancey

    Wonderful article! Thank you for standing up for what is, so obviously, right. As an educator, I tackle insensitivity like this all too often. I hope that this will make others think twice about what they deem as “funny” when in actuality it is hurtful and wrong. 

  • Beth H

    Thanks for writing this – for speaking up for your sister, my daughter and all who have Down syndrome. Thank you!

  • Paulette

    Thanks for a great response to a horrible remark in GQ.

  • Cheryl Caira

    As always a perfect response to a very imperfect comment, thanks for all you continue to do for our children with Down Syndrome!!

  • Christine

    You are so awesome Brian!  Thanks for always standing up for our friends, children and loved ones!  You said everything my head and heart carry every day!

  • Michelle

    Thank you! I saw the mention of this article in the Boston Herald yesterday, but couldn’t find the reference on GQs website – do you know if they edited it after receiving the negative publicity about it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1629661709 Elizabeth O’Brien

    As a mother to a wonderful daughter with DS I am thoroughly disappointed in GQ’s ignorant choice of words but am all smiles about this article. My daughter lights up my life and it saddens me to know the kind of insensitivity that awaits her in this world. Thank you Brian on behalf of my daughter Madison and the rest of our family!

  • sassysoutherngal

    Thank you Brian for once again nailing it.  We are so fortunate to have you on the Down syndrome team.  I wrote my blog about this today.  

  • Steevesc

    My daughter’s extra chromosome did not ruin anything, in fact she has enriched our lives more than we could have ever imagined!  I am thankful for that extra little chromosome, and I hope that this unbelievably bad comment will actually turn into something good by getting people talking.  Thank you Brian for speaking out!

    • http://noahsdad.com/ Rick Smith

      Amen! 

  • patti

    hmmm, I think a photo montage would be a wonderful response to GQ. Thanks for the inspiration, Brian!
    If you are a parent or sibling of an individual with Down syndrome, feel free to contact me. I’d love to put a montage together of photos just like the one above!

    • http://4-guys.blogspot.com Karen

      I’d have some photos for your montage!

      • patti

        Karen, here is my blog, and you can contact me there:
        http://babynumber10.blogspot.com

        • Noah’s Dad

          Awesome! By the way we have written a letter to GQ on here site. We’d love for anyone and everyone to stop by and “sign” (comment) on it!  I’m sure GQ is reading it (and this post.) Thanks everyone. 

          http://www.noahsdad.com/gq-magazine

    • Joannydav

      sounds great!

  • Ewood323

    great response! Very classy and well thought out…unlike the GQ article.

  • Kat

    Excellent response. From my brother-in-law to the special children of my friends, every person with Downs Syndrome that I have met has enriched my life. 

  • Kellyjcpelletier

    Thank you, Dr. Skotko.  So glad you took the time to respond to that article. It was the perfect response. 
    P.S. And, if you are wearing those pants when we come visit you at the clinic on Tuesday, Aug. 9th, I just might mock your pants.

  • Danielle

    excellent response to a poorly written article by a man who has to use such vulgarity to get his articles read.

  • PolicyPolly

    EXCELLENT … someone posted this on Facebook – Sarah Palin page.  Someone like that probably is critical of his own mother.  You have the best attitute.  Keep it up … you are a blessing to many, surely.

  • Klszen

    thank you for taking the time to write this story it made my day. People are so quick to judge and don’t realize how hurtful their words can be. I have a brother who is developmentally delayed, and I work daily with folks from all walks of life if everyone could take a step back, and see the world through the eyes of someone else they would live a longer happier life that is for sure.

  • Jennabreeze

    excellent article! and you nailed it when you said that the people who underestimate those with trisomy 21 are people who don’t know someone with trisomy 21. keep up the good work!

  • Tallman2406

    As the father of a daughter with autism, I can empathize with you, Doc.  Let’s focus on abilities not on disabilities. Kristin is a human being and deserves to be treated with respect.  She is lucky to have a brother like you.

    • Pilonsrock

      As I teach my sons who have a movement disorder, “I am not dystonia!” Another one is, “I might have dystonia but dystonia does not have me.” We work so hard as parents to keep the world from judging and defining our children based on a diagnosis or a difference of any kind. This THIS cruel and irresponsible language is released in a prominent publication like GQ. “Words speak what is in truly in your heart.” Their willingness to allow these “words” reflects on all of them of how heartless they are to allow such language to slip through editing, let a lone be written to begin with. Shame on them. And fix it!

  • Theresa

    Thank you- add GQ to my boycott list.

  • Dbblamr

    I’m still in shock that GQ , a well established magazine would make such inflammatory remarks!!!  I have met Dr. Skotko and he is very nice and very funny.  I’m going to mock your pants but would love to meet your sister.  You are very lucky to have each other.

  • MN

    Ironic that the GQ reporter’s piece reveals (to I’m sure everyone but himself and his editor) his own absence of a critical piece of humanity which is wholly present in everyone with trisomy 21 that I’ve ever met – the ability to get over one’s self…

  • http://twitter.com/bloomingpsycho Blooming Psycho

    Nicely said, Brian. And I like the loud pants. They have a Patch Adams-esque quality. Although these days most people do not make racist comments they still think it’s somehow “okay” to mock people with learning disabilities or cognitive impairments, mental illness, or large bodies. I am glad you called them on this. Your sister is lucky to have you as a brother.

  • http://twitter.com/DottieMc Dottie McClurg

    Shame on GQ magazine!  

  • OBKB

    Thank you, doc!! You and Kristin are lucky to have each other! Her smile just brightened my day!

  • Stratus687

    As a proud dad of a beautiful child with Down Syndrome I know what it’s like to fight the good fight and never give up on them!

  • Viva

    I know a few people with Downs Syndrome and I believe that extra little chromosome somehow removes all the ugliness from a persons charactor
     because all of them are extremely sweet and loving.  You got it  Scot!!!

    • C_wningen

      Honestly, people with Downs are just as capable of being selfish, imperfect, arrogant and vile as any other person.

      • rlmlet

         So What? Do you have anyone with Autism or DS in your family? How do you know their capabilities? You write like a arrogant, frightened, domineering person. And whats with the “Honestly” opening? Are you talking down to us?

        • Moby

          I think s/he means that you sound condescending when you say “they are extremely sweet and loving”.  That’s a really one-dimensional portrayal of complex people who feel many more emotions than simply joy and sweetness.  

          • Eee

            I believe what Viva meant by “all of them” is all of the people they know with Down Syndrome, not every single person with DS.

        • C_wningen

          You completely misunderstood me, dear. I meant that when you said “because all of them are extremely sweet and loving” made it sound like people with Downs are incapable of having human faults, such as selfishness. 

          FYI, I have Aspergers, and my cousin has DS – Of course I know their capabilities, but I also know that people with these disabilities are human, and have faults just like anybody else. I wasn’t “talking down” to you, and I am not frightened nor arrogant – I’m just not a one-dimensional person who thinks everybody with DS is perfect, and selfless and wonderful.

          • Chinru

            Hey Everyone…aren’t we forgetting the real reason we are all blogging about this….we are on the same team…let’s stay that way.

          • Justin

            Well said Chinru!

            I would hate to see an arugment break out on this articles’ comments section and prove that we without DS are less capable of controling our tempers than (the ones ive known) those that DO have DS!  (the several that ive had the privilege of knowing throughout my life have been very capable of it…not speaking for all with DS of course)

      • Noah’s Dad

        Amen! Thanks for not grouping us all into one lump! 

        Awesome! By the way we have written a letter to GQ on here site. We’d love for anyone and everyone to stop by and “sign” (comment) on it!  I’m sure GQ is reading it (and this post.) Thanks everyone. www.noahsdad.com/gq-magazine

        • C_wningen

          No problem! I wish more people would realise that disabled people aren’t as perfect as people assume. (=

          I’ll check that out.

      • Roger Woodcock

        You know you are a sad and self centered person who doesn’t have a clue. Go back into your Parents basement.

  • Sandibt

    What an awesome response to an ignorant writer!

  • OBKB

    Rick, Noah’s so beautiful, I cried! That doesn’t happen often. I just adore a baby but almost never enough to cry. Thank you for sharing him with all of us!

  • http://twitter.com/DottieMc Dottie McClurg

    Shame on GQ magazine!!  Very disappointed in disrespectful article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/marie.aviza Marie Aviza

    As always Children’s and their fabulous physicians, nurse and therapist turn a negative into a positive.  The negative being GQ’s arrogant comment and the positive bringing all of us together to support our friends and loved ones with Down Syndrome (or any other chromosomal abnormality)!  Everyone that I have ever met with Down Syndrome has been beautiful on both the inside and out.

  • Leaningi

    Well said.  Our daughter will be eighteen soon.  She has been blessed with many wonderful experiences but there are many she is not afforded as well.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1578010966 Tricia O’Reilly Novak

    Thank you for writing this!  You are so right when you say that other groups who are targeted negatively don’t stand for it, so why should people with Down syndrome?  As a mom of two boys, one with Down syndrome, and one without, it makes me proud that the Brother’s out there are standing up for their siblings!

    • Noah’s Dad

      Awesome! By the way we have written a letter to GQ on here site. We’d love for anyone and everyone to stop by and “sign” (comment) on it!  I’m sure GQ is reading it (and this post.) Thanks everyone. 

      http://www.noahsdad.com/gq-magazine

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peggy-Blount-Jernigan/100000230439488 Peggy Blount Jernigan

    GQ should be ashamed…

  • Hawklaw

    What a wonderful response to such a hateful statement.

  • Kevinsgirl425

    As a new grandparent to a beautiful little girl with down syndrome who everyday surprises us with something new she can do or keeps trying to do.. Thank you Scot, how dare these uneducated writers say what they did.  As every child is different, so is every down syndrome child..

  • Alfs3099

    Thank you for not standing for someone’s ignorance – a mom with a wonderful 12 year old son who happens to have Down syndrome

  • M. Lyons

    I might mock your pants, but never the level of class you’ve displayed in response to a piece that showed so little of its own. I’d say GQ’s got a lot more to learn about style than it thinks.

    • M. Lyons

      For those interested, I’ve just seen on my Twitter feed that Dr. Skotko will be on Fox25 tomorrow morning (July 19, 2011) at 9:20am to speak about this.

  • 1paulinecamillo

    If GQ made the statement to refer to Down
    Syndrome people with any malice that would be sad AND they should be
    reprimanded but sometimes you can’t fix mean. Also, I think Boston
    people have great style and whatever we lack in style we have the
    greatest hospitals, doctors and nurses in the world. I don’t think that a
    magazine with class would make a statement such as this with malice.

  • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

    Go Brian!  Excellent post, I’m with you completely.  And they should see my son Gabe’s style!

  • Karne Sussman-karten

    What a beautiful response to a thoughtless negative comment. I hope GQ will publish your response and think twice before publishing “clever” word play that is derogatory.

  • Italialena

    Great job!! Love the pants and the sister!

  • Mc2

    As a special education teacher, I am appalled that such insensitivity continues to exist!!! Thoroughly disgusted and disappointed!!!!

  • pegi

    BRAVO Dr. Skotko !!  <3

  • Rastas80

    Absolutely stellar response to the fine individual who obviousily was his head up his back side. Doc, you have 100% of my families support and I am very greatful you sent this response. Thank you for being “that guy”!!

  • Veronica_oddson

    good for you i wish there were more people is world like you

  • http://twitter.com/cape_codder Janet Eshbaugh

    Bravo, Dr. Skotko!!!  What a fortunate young lady Kristin is to have you as her brother, and how very lucky you are to have her as a sister!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/cape_codder Janet Eshbaugh

    Bravo, Dr. Skotko!!!  How very fortunate Kristin is to have the love and respect of her brother, and how lucky you are to call her sister!  Hang your heads, CG!

  • Guest

    They seem to have removed that part of the article now. I wonder if they’ll post anything apologising for publishing such a hurtful thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=3112186 Amy Heath-Carpentier

    GO Dr. Skotko!  As a former Bostonian myself, I’m so sad to hear that GQ allowed Mr. Thompson’s comment to go through unedited. Though I have no direct relationship to Down Syndrome, I firmly believe our world is richer for the diversity and inspiration they bring. Thanks for standing up and calling out such language!

  • Ambience 327

    Dear “professional journalists”. THINK BEFORE YOU WRITE. Thank you.

    (Way to let them have it Dr. Skotko!)

  • Momofspecialneedsson

    Wonderful response and an awesome big brother.

  • rkflowers913

    Great response to GQ!  I work with students who have Down Syndrome and have a friend who’s son has it.  These wonderful people are loving, hard-working, and are all a valuable part of our society! 

  • Tolly

    This makes me cry with joy.  What a privilege it is to love and be loved by someone with Down Syndrome.  I am a lucky one and I appreciate my love.

  • Andrewslis

    Oh Brian, your words are so eloquent and poignant.  Thank you for stating what all of us were thinking when we heard of this “writer” and his horribly offensive words used to belittle wonderful people like my 6 year – old angel.  I applaud you and your comments.

  • http://noahsdad.com/ Rick Smith

    Hello! Thank you so much for this article. I edited a comment to a link I posted earlier today and it for some reason got flagged.   I wanted to mention that I was about to post a letter to the editor of GQ magazine. It was about our website http://www.noahsdad.com where we do a 1 minute video every day about our son who was born with Down syndrome.  I didn’t know editing it would flag me. I wanted to see if who ever is reading these could please unflag it. Thanks so much.

  • Jessica Hilliard

    Fantastic Brian! A well-placed and thoughtful response to such sad ridicule. As the sister of two brothers with Down Syndrome and the mother of two children with special needs, I thank you for advocating from your personal and professional experience.

  • Mary Reconnu

    I am the parent of a special needs child with cerebral atrophy.  Mr. Thompson is ignorant and should try to educate himself before yapping off again.  Bless his heart.

    Mary Reconnu

    P.S.  I love your pants and I hope that you have a seersucker suit as well.  Although not as fashionable in Boston, it melts a southerner’s heart.  

  • barbara

    Way to tell those insensitive clods what kind of people they really are. I get steamed when young people use the word ‘retard’ to describe someone’s action that they don’t like. I want to ask them if they even understand what it means to be born with a disability; to say “There but for the grace of God go you.”  And maybe even say “God has graced that person more than you will ever know.” And so many of them never realize that all it takes to be disabled physically or mentally is one mistake that leads to a major accident, or a stroke, or being in a war, and they too might be physically and/or mentally challenged for the rest of their lives. 

  • Ellen

    ……..”GQ having a grandson with down syndrome I take great offense in your article connecting (style) Down Syndrome with in-breeding. It was like putting a knife in the… heart of all those who care for and love someone with a disability. Disabled people have spent years overcoming discrimination and you have now set that back and added a stereotype. As for style..Boston is proud to wear the symbols of our sports teams..and even prouder of our ” undergraduates” as Boston is a great college City. These “hooded undrgraduate monsters/unfortunate co-eds” as you put it go on to do amazing things (see past graduates) for this world albeit not being dressed as GQ deems fit and proper. Your words are your shame and you must live with it. Our grandson is our love and joy and we will happily live with him and all his challenges. May he never, ever, face such heartless, discrimination as he grows in love”

    • Dpmichael101

      Ellen..Your letter should go directly to GQ along with Dr.Skotko..Actually all of these reply’s should be mailed to the CEO of GQ….

  • A. Kos

    Thank you, Dr. Skotko, for speaking out for your sister, my daughter and everyone else living with Down syndrome.  As you so eloquently stated, if they knew someone with Down syndrome, they would have never spoken such hateful words.  Unfortunately, these words were not just spoken, they were typed, edited and probably re-edited and still made it to print.  Shame on you, GQ.

  • Clare Hitchens

    You rock, Brian! Thanks so much for writing this.

  • Don Roton

    Dr. Skotko, God bless you for saying what needs to be said.

  • Durell_sandy

    I have a 3 year old grandson with the extra chomosome, the changes that baby has made in our lives is unbelievable.  We have been introduced to many new friends because of his Down Syndrome…
    Thank you for speaking out for everyone.. 

  • Scang

    My 10 year old son has down syndrome and autism. Yesterday at swim lessons, my 7 year old daughter excitedly ran over to tell me she just saw a little boy with Down Syndrome at the pool and he smiled and said, “hi” to her! She acted as though she had just met a celebrity. Clearly she knows more than those over at GQ!
    P.S. Nice pants! : )

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Holly-Guillory-Fedele/1408549283 Holly Guillory Fedele

      I had to giggle at this.  Our three year old son has Down syndrome and my two older kids LOVE seeing someone else with Down syndrome.  Recently, my daughter said loudly (in a church full of people) “There is a Down syndrome lady!  Can we go hug her?”  We are still working on person first language with the older kids but wanting to hug her made up for the mistake I think.

      • Scang

        : )

  • Chris Bones

    Whatever people think of your pants, it’s clear that you’re the true Gentleman, not the purveyors of that magazine. Thanks for this.

  • lps

    Thank God there are people like you in this world..I’m so sorry we all have to endure GQ’s level of insensitivity.

  • Noah’s Dad

    This is great! My dad does a daily video for me every day on my stie to show the whole wide world that down syndrome is ok! It’s http://www.noahsdad.com We are going to be posting a letter to the GQ editor tomorrow morning. I hope you guys will check it out.  Also visit me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/noahsdaddotcom :)

  • Keenan Wellar

    What can I say? Right!

  • muffysmitty

    love it.  thank you!

  • angered in College Station, TX

    Let them volunteer at the Special Olympics and see if he still has the same outlook after.  I feel so much love everytime the Special olympians come to town.  Those athletes have more “style” in their little fingers than GQ has in their magazine.

  • Keenan Wellar

    What can I say but “BRAVO” and you’ve nailed it beautifully…yes, being a person who has Down syndrome has presented barriers for your sister. But she’s taken those on and done just fine. Like everyone else she’s had failures and successes. The problem here is not that she has Down syndrome. The problem is “John B. Thompson” who is far from alone in thinking it appropriate and reasonable to stigmatize and reinforce discrimination and ridicule of people who want to go about their daily lives without EXTRA barriers put up by ignorant and inconsiderate people. Forget special treatment. I bet Kristin would be just fine if the world would promise to give her the basic respect afforded all citizens. Nothing more nothing less. Let’s all keep calling out people like Mr. Thompson and the organizations that give voice to such behaviour until Kristin gets the world she deserves. All we can do is try!

  • Archerygirl27

    Thank you! I look at my child and think he is perfect. Life with him is challenging for sure but the rewards far out weigh the challenge. I wish that the writer of the GQ article could meet our children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles etc. I would hope that he would be open to their beautiful smiles, love filled laughter and a hug that comes from the soul. I know he would be forever changed.

  • Michleer

    Bravo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/johannah.back Johannah Bruns Back

    Amazing! Thank you for speaking for so many!! I hope they grace the cover of GQ with you and your sisters’ photo!

  • http://noahsdad.com/ Rick Smith

    Hey everyone. I just posted an Open Letter to GQ Magazine, feel free to retweet, post on your facebook , comment on it, etc. I hope GQ pays attention to this. Here is the link —->  http://noahsdad.com/gq-magazine/

  • missy duncan

    i love the dr’s story/response to the gq comment i believe downsyndrome style is unconditional because when a person with downsyndrome is your friend or if your lucky enough to have someone with downsyndrome love you its for ever and no matter what they will always love you their style never fades away.my daughter who is 15 has downsyndrome and i happen to think her style is awesome and i love it.

  • Gretchen Mather

    Dr. Skotko, You continue to amaze me with your strong voice, amazing writing and opinions. Thanks for standing up for us, and doing so in such an eloquent, funny way.

  • Liz

    Go get em’ Doc! Shame on you GQ. In this day and age you should have known better. I guess you don’t mind losing readers. I will NOT renew our subscription.

  • Mykidshaveautism

    I have 2 kids with severe autism…your article was AWESOME! Go get ‘em! GQ should be ashamed!

  • http://www.stimeyland.com/ Stimey

    Hear hear.

  • Cheroverton

    This is a beautifully written piece. Thank you!

  • Cdm128

    As a new mother to a 3 month old with T21, I applaud you. thank you so much for this. I wrote to GQ’s editor but have not heard back. 

  • Terri

    I saw a bumper sticker in NYC the other day that read “My child has one more extra chromosome than your student of the month”. I smiled all day!  God bless you <3

    • novie71

      That is AWESOME…..I’m gonna have to get one!

      • Mnems_mom

        I wish there was a “Love” button for this!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OMSHEKOHYPHHABENB5FBYP27NA Tanya

    Way to go, Brian!!!  Way to go!!!!  The whole world needs to read this!!!

  • A special needs mom

    Thank you Dr. Skotko for a wonderful and classy response.  GQ should be ashamed. 

  • jenn

    Terrific!  Thanks for a great response!

  • Calibrated

    It’s very unfortunate GQ made this silly comment that distracted from the real issue here: Boston is an impressively offensive place when it comes to fashion. The author should have just focused on how unbelievably bland Bostonians are and left people with DS alone.

  • Gail

    I’ll bet that people thought that White Knight on his trusted Steed dressed funny to..but He sure did get the job done… Just like you Dr. Skotko…Bravo!!

  • Kristen Cam

    Perfect response! Thank you for speaking out! It sounds like Kristin is lucky to have you! 

  • Malia

    My life has been greatly enriched by my cousin with Downs Syndrome. You are absolutely right, people who use this insensitive language obviously have never had the pleasure of loving and being loved by a fellow human being with Downs Syndrome.

  • Curious

    Curious to know GQ’s response.

  • vartabedian

    This is amazing, really.  And no response from GQ.  What’s more amazing is that I grew up in Westwood, MA in the 80’s and had a pair of pants just like that.  

  • Greg Lowry

    Brian:

    You are a good man.  Thanks for the blog!!

  • http://babynumber10.blogspot.com Patti

    So far I have twenty photos submitted similar to the one Dr.Skotko posted, for a photo montage I am putting together to send to GQ (as well as post on my blog.) I’d love about 80 more…you can email me to submit one- my email is on my profile page here : http://babynumber10.blogpsot.com   Just make sure you are dressed in something “unique” like Dr.Skotko, standing next to your loved one with Down syndrome. Have fun! 

  • stacyhanzely

    As a mother to identical twins both with DS, thanks for this wonderful article and being a great voice for your sister and others blessed with an extra chromosome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Holly-Guillory-Fedele/1408549283 Holly Guillory Fedele

    LOVE IT!!  You and your sister are beautiful people…inside and out.

  • Anonymous

    Bravo! As a mom of three special children I applaud your setting the record straight.  I am tired of being told I “rescued” my adopted children.  Truth is, they rescued me.  The things that make them special are not the medical terms assigned to them, but by the love and light they have brought into my life.

  • Rae

    I have had the honor of knowing a wonderful young man that came into our families lives, he has dowm syndrome. He is sweet,compassionate and has the enthusiasm of anyone I know.He is my hero and a hero to many.He loves unconditionally and we love him the same way.

  • Sarah

    <<>>>

    Canadian, and aunt to a child with autism

  • http://noahsdad.com/ Rick Smith

    I have written an online open letter to GQ magazine. I would like you all to go there and comment. We need them to take this serious. I’d like to have as many people as possible comment on this to see how serious we are.

    http://noahsdad.com/gq-magazine/

  • http://twitter.com/smsLilak Steph Synoracki

    Good for you! Your response to GQ’s comment was well-written. And great interview with Fox25 News this morning. 

  • http://twitter.com/smsLilak Steph Synoracki

    Good for you! Your response to GQ’s comment was well-written and beautifully expressed.

  • Ravensmommy

    LOVE IT!!!! thank you for rebutting that article with such comedy and class!!!!

  • Ejdelga

    That was AWESOME! Thanks for standing up for the people who can’t always stand up for themselves.

  • Burnsys

    I cannot believe this article was even printed.  Where was the editor?  I have a beautiful daughter with DS who is 15 years old.  She is the light of my life, and I know there are times in high school where people make fun of her but to have this kind of insensitivity published in a major magazine is just unbelievable to me. My daughter Jamie is the most fun loving and giving person I know, she would never say a bad word about anyone and she brings happiness to everyone she meets. Shame on you GQ for this article.
    Linda
    Omaha, Ne

    • http://noahsdad.com/ Rick Smith

      Yelp! Take a look at this, and be sure to leave a comment. —–> http://noahsdad.com/gq-magazine/

  • Donna Murray

    Bravo!  Thank you for sharing your words with the world.  My daughter does not have Down Syndrome, but she does have a lot of special needs.  She is a mystery, a blessing, a child of God.  Most certainly, she is not ruined.

  • Jmyjon

    Thank you sir!!  We had a child with Down’s and unfortunately, he was not long for this world.  We were not able to help him strive to do his best, help him learn and achieve so I appreciate your well-spoken rebuke to those who don’t understand people we call daughter, son, cousin, grandchild, friend!!  If we all strived to love without hinderance, smile as if we radiate the sun and persevere through all odds….well…. the world would be a better place.

  • Ginnym

    THank you for this wonderful post! What a great perspective that “Style” is not everything in the world! Understanding people, showing determination in life despite great odds, and showing kindness beats wearing what the “in” crowds think is “best” far out weighs “style”. You said it all! Mocking people for their disability, whether it is Down’s Syndrome, mental illness, epilepsy, or anything else should not be front line coverage. As you put it so very well, it is not OK when it is race related, it is not ok when it is sexual orientation. Why is a disability ( or ability) oriented? Ignorance of the sheer wonderful side of people who have to work two to three times harder than an average person yet remain wonderful human beings? Pick on the clothes, but chose words more carefully. 
    Well, Said doctor! Your sister is a very lucky young lady and so are your patients! THank you for sharing! (continue wearing your clothes. I think your patients appreciate your funky style)

    Ginny Miller

  • Hooha

    My dear cousin has Down Syndrome, and her style sense is better than mine, since I did not acquire the “style” gene, and she, evidently, did.  One of the wonderful things about life in the 2000’s is that we have been provided enough education that we have had an opportunity to surpass the previous century in our accessment of stereotypes. People with Down Syndrome have some specific challenges before them, but on the whole, they are the most loving human beings I have ever had the priviledge to know.  It’s not a situation that we’d prefer, but give it up, we all have challenges that are not so obvious that we have to deal with, and fewer excuses.

  • Muzikx

    Not to appear insensitive, but was she directly offended by it?  Sometimes I think we as a society are becoming overly-sensitive (not that we should be numb), and I’m just asking: are you more concerned for her feelings?  Or yours?

    • http://twitter.com/lysana Space Marine Lysana

      When language is offensive, it’s damaging to everyone. Whether an individual with Down Syndrome found it offensive is quite beside the point.

    • Sunshine

      If she didn’t understand the comment, would that make it ok?

    • Cathy

      Too late. You do appear insensitive. Is it OK to use an ethnic slur as long as no one of that ethnicity is around. Uh, NO!

  • Sarah-John

    I wrote to the editor of GQ yesterday saying I wouldn’t be buying the mag anymore and asking my friends to do the same.
    Today, I received a response apologizing for the comment and saying they were going to edit it out!

    I am sure others wrote in as well, so my email was probably one of many,
    but I’m feeling very encouraged today that speaking up does make a difference sometimes!

  • Josi_28

    From the mother of a beautiful 13 year daughter with DS…THANK YOU.  When I read this article, the first thing I did was a very long and I admit, not very nice letter to the Editor…I was a bit angry.  They just did not target all disabilities…they targeted Down syndrome and I dont know why.  I am very grateful for this and will do anything in my power to help, just let me know.  I am part of a Down syndrome support group in Southern Illinois, we would love to get this noticed.

  • Sj

    As a father with a 3 year old daugher with DS and a 2 year old brother. I can only hope he is a supportive of his sister when he reaches your age. Editors of GQ should hang their heads in shame

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carol-Diodati-Ouellette/1002433103 Carol Diodati Ouellette

    My hat off to you , Brian.  Our Grand daughter is a bright star in our life.  Makes us remember how more wonderful life is with her in it. When we look at her we just see Emily; our “Angel Face”.

  • MissLindsey

    I sobbed like a little baby. Thank you for standing up for our unyeilding rays of sunshine in this depressingly ignorant culture.

    I can’t believe some one would write such a comment! It breaks my heart what people will say in an attempt to be witty!

    Working with children with special needs has taught me that “special” is exactly the right word. Not “special” like “funny, haha” but as in a true gift from God, precious and invaluable – that kind of special.

  • HP

    I’m not condoning what GQ says in anyway and completely agree with Dr. Skotko but when I read that one statement I read it as style-down…..syndrome (an opposite of styling up). Bad choice on their part whether intentional or unintentional or if they are implying what the Dr. is saying. I have not read the GQ article so I may have missed the mark completely. Regardless, GQ’s choice with that “title” was still in bad taste but I’m trying to give people (anyone) the benefit of the doubt.

  • HP

    Well, should have read the article before commenting. I shall eat this crow. :o) I really could not believe someone would INTENTIONALLY say something so ignorant and mean.  (wow, I really am that naive) It was very mean spirited and totally uncalled for. Bravo Dr. Skotko.  Glad I don’t subscribe nor read GQ. I shall keep it that way.  

  • Mhsommer

    Well said. Thank you! As a mother of a beautiful child who lives with Autism, this is something I deal with on a daily basis.

  • Massies

    GQ may have style, but it certainly has no class.

  • Achristine117

    This was AMAZING!!! You said everything so much more eloquently than I ever could.  I emailed GQ about their insensitivity and encouraged all the readers on my blog to as well http://goamazinggrace.blogspot.com/ .  Thank you for standing up for your sister, my daughter, and all of the Down syndrome community!!!!

  • Joannydav

    I am a parent of a 7 year old who has DS and I personally thank you for advocating for the DS community.  Comments like that hurt those of us who love someone with DS.  It should bother all of us because it brings down society when you see magazines printing such comments that mock and belittle 400,000 people.  I stare at my son in awe of him.  I have never seen such love come out of a person.  For someone to make fun of his intellectual disability is outrageous.  What they really need is to be acknowledged for all the love and support that they give everyday.  For those of us who know you, you are always there for them.  I appreciate you giving them a voice by actively responding to what is inappropriate/ignorant.  We are their advocates and there should be zero tolerance for such actions/poor judgement.  I listened to your interview on the clip and you are correct… the “R” word needs to be eliminated completely.  Rosa’s Law was passed and the word is inappropriate and hurtful.  Why would someone use a slur word to label a person who has an intellectual disability? Where is the respect?  What about their feelings?  It hurts them.  The world needs more of you!  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Ingenito/1314298028 Jane Ingenito

    GQ – as a matter of fact my son has great taste and even better….class

  • Trudiger

    My 13 year old twins have “Designer Genes”(ADA), so I don’t know WHAT GQ was thinking when they compared Boston’s lack of fashion sense to these beautiful kids! 

    In fact, I think the whole world, including the “Fashion” industry could take some pointers from them on what’s truly beautiful-because it sure isn’t what they’re pushing on the rest of us!

  • Diana

    I have worked with Mentally Challenged young adults for 20 years and I think this was taken out of context.  GQ stated “Style Down” syndrome NOT “Style” Down Syndrome.  They were stated that Dressing Down was a syndrome.  I do not think in any way they were referring to Down Syndrome.
    “The term syndrome derives from the Greek συνδρομή (sundromē) and means “concurrence of symptoms, concourse” – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    GQ was stating that Boston had a concurrence of styling down.  As you can see by this website “Styling Down” is a term. http://lamixx.blogspot.com/2010/09/styling-down-to-t.html

    • Cathy

      I personally received an apology email from the editor and writer after I contacted them concerning this article. It was not taken out of context, they admitted their mistake and apologized for it. They changed the wording in the article. The Original wording was ” “Boston suffers from a kind of style Down syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything.”

      An excerpt from the email I was sent:
      What we initially posted was insensitive and ill-informed, and we’ve
      removed the offensive language from the website. We deeply regret our
      error in judgment. There is no excuse. We are both very sorry.

      It bothers me greatly if you have worked with Mentally challenged young adults for 20 years. I hope that isn’t true as they deserve more respect than what you obviously give. GQ didn’t even try to wiggle out of it. They accepted responsibility for their “error in judgment” and apologized.

      If you really do work with People with Disabilities, Be an Advocate, not an excuse maker.

  • Rbotts1214

    Good for you standing up to them that should never be used as an insult. Having said that those pants tie and shirt might make his claim as boston being worst dressed city the only thing right about that artical. J/k i dont think having down sydrome should be used as an insult or in a negative way ever

  • Julia

    Thanks Dr. Skotko! You are a great ambassador for our friends and families affected by Down syndrome.

  • pediatricsafety

    Well said Dr Skotko!  If you’d like, we’d be proud to rerun this post on Pediatric Safety.  In the meantime, thanks for sharing this!

  • Ginger

    Wish I could say it so eloquently.

  • LMorgan

    A beautiful response from someone who truly understands what beauty is.  GQ celebrates the outward appearance.  How sad that so many still can’t see deeper and celebrate the diversity in our world. 

  • Geralynot

    Dr. Skotko, let GQ take note of how real gentleman act – and dress!!

  • Jason

    Well done, sir.

  • Luvepigsreo

    Wow!  I read all of these comments from brothers, mothers, sisters, aunts ,uncles and teachers. And I am inspired today.  My son who happens to have D.S. is going to be 47 years old this year has been an inspiration to me for 32 years as I am his step mom. I thank you for speaking out!  I wish all people could know the Joy these children have brought to us thru the years!

  • http://pinkpreppylillylover.blogspot.com Trish -Pink Preppy Lilly Lover

    Absolutely fabulous in every way.  You are a true gentelmen and a class act!! 

  • Emmysue

    As someone who has over the years collaborated professionally and creatively with countless folks with Down Syndrome, thank you, Dr. Skotko.  You rock on with your bad self and your bad pants.

  • Wendy

    Aaaaw, well done doctor!  Written so chic-ly and in style, unlike GQ.  And handled in good taste too, so proud of you.  On behalf of my daughter and my family, thank you.

  • Carolyn

    My son, who has Down Syndrome, is going into second grade, and he is one of the most popular kinds in his regular elementary school.  I’ve observed it myself and heard it from his teachers and the parents of other kids in his school.  It’s disgraceful that ignorant, insensitive adults at GQ and other areas of society try hard to cast doubt and poison the minds of others in regard to people with intellectual disabilities.  I’d call out the GQ writers on their immature and childish behavoir, but I don’t want to insult the young children at my son’s school, who get it right.  They may be young in age, but they are socially more aware than GQ!

    Way to go, Dr. Skotko for your excellent response to the GQ article and for continuing to advocate for the Down Syndrome community!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dizzmancan Chris Gillespie

    well… the pants do deserve some mocking!

  • hartwell

    Love those Pants, I wouldn’t wear them But they are ok, and so is your sister, I have worked with handicapped individuals most of my adult carreer and it has been nothing but a blessing and rewarding for me. God Bless both of you

  • Tricia

    I personally think your pants – and your sister – are fantastic. As an older sister of a young man with autism, I know what it’s like to fight discrimination like this. Keep up the good work. ^_^

  • Addymonica

    You are an awesome brother! 

    P.S. I actually like the pants. 

  • Clarencelittlefiel

    Amen, to the doctor….I have a little friend who has autism, and she has participated in many “Olympics” and has won medals…she has just learned to ride a bike, and now wants a princess bike…I have been a child care specialist and preschool teacher for many years, and this is my first “special” child and believe you me, she is a wonderful young lady…thank you for all your positive comments…Mimi

  • Clarencelittlefiel

    It does not matter what you are wearing….you speak the truth…thank you…..Mimi

  • Fasterthan3

    Good for you! I dont know why people who consider themselves “genetically normal” choose to be SO IGNORANT!  We were at Kaiser last year andsomeone came up to my 6 year old and said ” She’s so cute, do you have downs?” MY daughter replied ” Im usually up, but you look down!”  Gotta love’em!

  • Anne

    EXCELLENT!!  What a great read!  My niece, Jamie, is Downs and she is the most amazing person I will ever know!  She teaches me about unconditional love, acceptance and grace – the likes of which I have never seen!  GQ – whatever!   God bless you, Dr. Skotko AND your precious sister!!

  • Laura Olivos

    This only shows the grave ignorance of an already superficial skin deep magazine. They only wish they had half of the values and spirit of this beautiful population of human beings. Dr. Skotko, my brightly colored hat goes off to you.

  • Lkangel98

    I am disgusted with the comments made in GQ. I am horrified that it was considered fit to print!!! Shame on them! That was equally as offensive as a racial or gay slur.
    However, the gentleman who defended his sister is fantastic and I applaud him!

  • Luci

    Thanks Doc, I think you’ve said it all !

  • Carolw06

    I feel that peoplle insinute  handicaps into a converstion to make themselves look bigger or smarter, or even to see if they can get a laugh from the people they’re with.  I’m assuming this makes them feel good about themselves. I have only one thing to say … put yourself in that pair of shoes these people have to wear then turn around and look in that mirror and see who’s laughing.

  • Vonda

    Brian, thank you for speaking out!  I have volunteered for Special Olympics here in The States and in Germany and every minute I am able to spend time with the awesome children/young adults that participate, I am the one who is blessed!  

  • Imfriend

    I’d have read that as, “Style down” syndrome, not style “down syndrome”

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_25A2TZIWKBNRKSOYAZCFZPVKKA Cape

      If you had any question about how to read it, the rest of the sentence makes it pretty clear that the author is indeed talking about trisomy.

    • Cathy

      I would suggest you reread it. It is very clear. GQ even confirmed it was ” insensitive and ill-informed”.

  • Afsamy

    Thank you for your powerful words! Your letter is an amazing tribut to your amazing sister. She is one lucky gal!

  • Nianya

    As a mother of two autistic children, I can only say, YOU ROCK! This is not the first time, but maybe it will be the last time a magazine mocks or slights special needs.

  • N.D.B.

    Great article! But GQ is off, I love his pants and I dress amazingly well in a stylish yet classic way.

  • Melissa

    On behalf of our Moriah and our entire family, THANK YOU.  Moriah’s life is changing ours every day, creating a new way of seeing and, as you explain, a new perception of what life really means.  Thank you for representing our love for people with Down syndrome so fiercely, so eloquently, and so kindly. 

  • Myerk

    God Bless you Dr. Skotko, your beautiful sister is lucky to have you as her brother and you are lucky to have that beautiful sunshine for sister. It is the ignorance in some people that makes them come up with such comments like the one in GQ. magazine. Thank you for speaking out!

  • Maa1952

    I have three things to say about this article:
    1) you are one classy doctor in straightening folks out about their insensitivity to folks with Down Syndrome.
    2) your sister is a CUTIE PATOOTIE! and
    3) She DEFINITELY HAS a better FASHION SENSE than you do (no offense, Doc!)
    LOL!!!

  • babychic

    Thanks for this piece. You are so right, so many groups of people if ridiculed fight back, but your sister and so many others can’t, so thank you for standing up for them and for what’s right.

  • Cherman47

    BRAVO!!!!!!!

  • Katie

    Wow…What an articulate response to such a thoughtless article. You just made me smile today.

  • Roben Dixon

    Thank you, Brian!! My daughter with DS is awesome, it’s such a shame when people don’t get it!!

  • brandylis.com

    YEAHHHHH!!!!! I have tears in my eyes and goosebumps. I have two sons wiht autism so this truly hits close to home… Yeahhhh!!!! Kudos to you Doc.

  • Traceypaine

    Dr Skotko is my new hero – actually his sister is my new hero!  You both are amazing!  How lucky you BOTH are to have each other.  God Bless you. 

  • lrubright

    The Anna Foundation for Inclusive Education applauds Dr. Skotko’s response to GQ! We agree that the disability community is still tolerating ridicule, segregation and inappropriate comments no longer accepted as appropriate for our friends who are different races, religions or sexual orientation. Thank you Dr. Skotko for speaking so positively on behalf of those who have Down syndrome! We know of many honorable, hard working and fabulously dressed people who have Trisomy 21! Heck, our family lives with two honorable, hard working and fabulously dressed young ladies who have Down syndrome!  :-)

    Forwarding your article link to everyone on our list!
     
    Sincerely,
    Lin Rubright, Executive Director
    Anna Foundation For Inclusive Education
    http://www.affie.org

  • Jshoe712

    You go, Doc.  Stick up for those who cannot stick up for themselves.  My daughter has autism, and this spring my son’s Christian school yearbook published a slur about children on a special-needs cheerleading squad.  In my very long conversation with the headmaster I reminded him that mocking someone’s struggles is the lowest form of humor.  These kids work twice as hard to get half as far as everyone else.  They should be treated with the utmost respect.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.v.sanchez Amanda Vega Sanchez

    Down Syndrome should be UP Syndrome these earth angels changed my world great response for GQ’s poor comment!

  • Dc2w2

    I thought the G in GQ stood for “Gentlemen”. No true gentleman would make such an insensitive, prejudicial remark. It will be far more than a Q before I even glance at GQ in a waiting room. Bravo Dr. Skotko, for defending your sister, those living with “a little extra”, and for being a real gentleman in the process. Clothes may make the man, the heart makes the human being. Mr. Thompson probably cares more about appearances, so he was polishing his tin suit the day they passed out hearts.

  • Mistytackett

     GOD BLESS U  N EVERYONE ELSE WHO REALLY CARES!!!

  • B. Martin

    Well done sir! You spoke with style and grace and thanks for calling GQ out on their lack of sensitivity and poor writing and editing. You spoke on behalf of many of us.

  • Lorihogan

    Shame on GQ….who would ever write something like that, even in jest?  And it got past the editor?  How insensitive.  Your sister is lucky to have you!

    • Noah’s Dad

      I wrote a letter to the editor that we are getting as many people to “sign” (comment) as possible. Check it out —–> http://www.noahsdad.com/gq-magazine

  • Fligamapoof

    Absolutely agree with you. How ridiculously thoughtless of them to say such a thing. So many struggles in life characterizes individuals with down syndrome and yet they are generally cheerful and remarkably perserverent. We could all take lessons! I know Katie, who is a wonderful person and we’re blessed for having known her and her family. These individuals also often suffer physical problems.

  • Mammanraven

    Bravo

  • Ted Hanson

    You and your sister are lucky to have each other.

  • Sherry

    At the root of all of this is a failure to respect the dignity of EVERY human soul. I have an adopted daughter with Down Syndrome, who inspired me to write a trilogy of novels chronicling the impact a woman with Down Syndrome has on three generations of family. More information at http://www.lilytrilogy.com/

  • Dana

    On behalf of my brother, Dr. Sktoko, thank you! As always, you speak out beautifully, eloquently and intelligently for our family members with Down syndrome. May you and your family be blessed.

  • Kate Hutchinson

    Thank you so much for this! When I was in high school, I worked at a burger joint with a lovely man, John, who had Down Syndrome. John was a very hard worker and always got orders right, and constantly smiled. Like your sister, he made the most of his life, and didn’t let Down Syndrome stop him. 

  • Judd Mellinger-Blouch

    Thank you so much for this commentary. I have nothing more to add other than to say thank you to God for bringing my daughter Leah into our lives a little more than 21 years ago.

    • Noah’s Dad

      Awesome! By the way we have written a letter to GQ on here site. We’d love for anyone and everyone to stop by and “sign” (comment) on it!  I’m sure GQ is reading it (and this post.) Thanks everyone. 

      http://www.noahsdad.com/gq-magazine

  • Irish1941

    Ignorance is bliss! Very blissful at GQ

  • Ablack

    Thank you for that wonderful rebuttal to an obviously crass reporter!  I have children with disabilities and work in early intervention.  I am so thankful that you took the time to respond in the way you did to the GQ article.  Your comments were well thought out and very true!

  • Robin

    On behalf of my sister and for all people with intellectual disabilities, thank you.

  • Peggypie03106

    Absolutely AWESOME Doc!!!!  You’ve got more class in one sentence than that idiot has in an entire magazine!

    My Grandson has ‘Ups’ Syndrome – not Downs Syndrome –  because he will always be that smiling, happy face which lights up when I talk to him…he will be challenged but I know he will still be that smiling and happy person who is so enthusiastic about life and its discoveries and mysteries.  He faces many differences in living his life but he will be the heart and soul and personification of love and hope and faith in tomorrow!

  • Thereislightonthehorizon

    A wonderful article and lovingly written.  I just can’t shake the feeling that the GQ author didn’t mean the perceived insult. I genuinely read the term very much like “dressing down” and being seen as a “syndrome” of Bostonians lack of caring how they dressed regardless of what work or society may own or dictate. Maybe the young Doctor can utilize this article at the middle and high schools where those have not been taught yet.  I apologize for still not seeing the insult.

  • Anna

    Thanks, Dr. Skotko, for this great response, and thanks for all the work you do!

  • Lansingeverett

    Brian, you knocked it out of the park. Nice job.

  • Kate

    Brian, you have a level of class and sophistication that Mr,.Thompson will never acheive.  It is refreshing to see someone handle such a volatile situation with grace and style. You are obviously one wonderful brother!  Thank you from a parent and special educator who loves that you just showed how “special” these special peopel are.

  • Pat Allen

    Very will said. My life has never been more blessed since the birth of my precious grandaughter 4 1/2 years ago with Downs syndrome.  She is so precious.

  • steph

    I can’t find the words to say how sad this is.  And to think someone thought this might be funny.  My son with Down syndrome who is three, brightens up my world in so many ways as does his sister who is five and does not have Down syndrome.  I am my sons advocate and will always fight when he is directly or indirectly wronged. And this article is so wrong.

  • BradyMoss

    As a New Englander with a case of Cerebral Palsy that could’ve left me unable to walk or speak, I’ve spent my fair share of time in children’s hospitals. From surgery to recovery and Gait Labs, I’ve learned the drill, and now, at 30, I’ve taken a strong interest in how certain words can affect disabled people because the rush of new anti-bullying programs across America has finally allowed me to comfortably reflect on the bullying I faced.

    Having written all this, I think this article needs some unpacking. First, I’m not sure if what might be called “Able-ism,” the mindset that doubtless caused this idiotic outburst from John Thompson, the GQ writer, can be neatly compared to racism and homophobia. To write this is not to minimize the struggles of disabled people, it’s just that, as I’ve lived it, at least, I have come to associate disability with the medical world. Indeed, the most prominent mark of my Cerebral Palsy, a limp, has been changed -largely for the better-by numerous surgeries. Skin color and sexual orientation are not things that can be undone through surgery or medication. Whether I have constructed a distinction without a difference here is open to debate. I don’t think I have. The answer, it seems to me, is to call out language used to dehumanize the disabled, dull its sting through education, and be careful about comparisons. 

    As for something like Down Syndrome, while I am opposed to using the tools of science to eliminate  Down Syndrome BEFORE a baby is born (indeed, that kind of decision-making power seems like too much power for mere parents to handle) I wouldn’t be shocked if, one day, a safe medication were developed for those BORN with DS to take-if they chose to do so-that would reverse the effects of the condition and allow those challenged by it to live without its difficulties. I am rooting for this development. I can tell you that, were there something in a bottle that would make the last of my limp go away and improve my hand/eye coordination to the point where I could safely drive a car, I’d take it. Please know that I can’t help thinking this way. I am sure, for example, that I’m missing a terrific experience because I cannot immediately drive across America on my own. My larger point is that those of us who wish we could live without our disabilities are not self-hating, and we have just as much of a place in the discussion as those who, whatever their disability, wouldn’t change a thing.

    Returning to the power of words, debates have raged, and are still raging, in gay communities and communities of color about the “reclamation of language.” So can those of us with disabilities shock and shame those who bully us by turning their insults on them, or turning these insults into terms of endearment for each other? I’ve done this before; I’ve even used language approximating that which Dr. Skotko condemns above. I’m not writing this to be shock-jock, envelope-pushingly provocative, nor have I ever wanted to “fit in” with my worst bullies. But I think we have to acknowledge that the young can have a special talent for cruelty. Indeed, the worst youth bullies can get loud, and even physically violent. Hotheads of this kind will not quickly accept education, if they do at all, and to a victim who wants only to be left alone, harsh language is often the least-worst defensive option. As for those who do not bully us, who are open to education and want to ally themselves with the disabled, there is NEVER an excuse to turn harsh language on them.

    I’ve likely rambled for much of this post, but then, it is late. I appreciate Dr. Skotko’s willingness to “get people talking,” as it were, through his article.

     

      

    • BradyMoss

      A couple of things: -I think this article needs to be updated to show how deeply Thompson’s language cut. He linked Down Syndrome to in – breeding (which I did not know before, having only read the above summary of the article), which is as anti – science and flat – out bigoted as it gets (whatever the flaws in my initial remarks about using against bullies the harsh language they’ve used on me, I’ve never gone as far as Thompson did in that instance, and never will.).  -Expanding on my argument about the reclamation of language, if we believe that disability is, in some sense, a loss of freedom for the person living with it, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to return some freedom to a person who has lost it, i.e. “While, for example, your freedom of movement may be limited, your freedom to define and defend yourself through words (sign language, writing, speaking, etc.) should not be, given that, ultimately, while the ability to walk may leave, the ability to communicate is not so quick to go.”  Again, I’m disabled, and I’m not comfortable with an able – bodied person making this choice for me. I want the freedom to decide, and while some may think that people with intellectual and physical disabilities lack the power to consent or the power of agency altogether, I find that viewpoint to be most degrading of all.

  • http://www.susiefinkbeiner.wordpress.com/ Susie Finkbeiner

    This is beautiful. 

  • Rosie

    It shows the Ignorance of the writer

  • Nikki Hammer

    Wonderful testimony!  I sincerely hope that GQ not only offers a retraction and sincere apology but makes a sizable donation to a Down Syndrome organization!

  • Roxannelkhan

    This brought tears to my eyes!

  • Roxannelkhan

    You’re sister is beautiful! she really is! You’re a lucky brother! :)

  • Pdarte

    Great post!

  • Pam

    Dr. Skotko – thanks for taking GQ to task. Too often the media, celebrities, movies think it’s funny to put down folks with a developmental disability.  We need to continue to tell them it is not OK. Thanks for speaking up!

  • ModeALN

    Hi Bryan, I randomly ran into your post on the GQ comments. I thought you may find this interested as well: http://modealanix.com/2011/07/online-journalism/

  • http://www.threeinthree.com Sarahbruce33

    Wouldn’t it be great to have a day of respect for those with DS by wearing funky, crazy, and make-funable pants (or other clothes) for one day? Down Syndrome Awareness day is March 21st (3/21.) Anyone with me on this??

  • Emily

    This is the best thing I’ve read all day. My mom told me about this, and I had to read it for myself. My brother has Downs and it bugs me how much the “r-word” is going around. He’s my best friend, and the extra chromosome doesn’t change the way I feel. I love him!

  • Coldheart213

    I think GQ might know about what to wear in today’s fashion but I can definitely tell you they obviously know nothing of class….I was 17 when i found out I was about to deliver my downs daughter (yes I know teen mother blah blah) When I was very discouraged but knew I was going to keep pushing on after the sonographer came and told me my beautiful baby girl has 3 air bubbles in her brain stem 2 holes in her heart and Very undersized kidneys and when i asked what it was he told me either she had something called the t virus or downs the t virus for some who dont know is not some crazy disease off of resident evil it is when your baby will live for a mo maybe a mo and a half the sonographer of a very big hospital looked at me and said i do not know who you pray to and is not my business but you better start praying…I did my  next appt I had a beautiful perfect little downs baby with no holes bubbles or anything of the sort and now 5 years later she has done nothing but show everyone like this up and throwing the fact that you may shove ridiculing downs people around mr GQ but my daughter at her last evaluation scored very high above what is actually “retarted” what is “retarted” is the people that mock and ridicule…there is not a damn thing wrong with my daughter but the ability to see the best in every situation with the biggest smile on her face!!!! Whoever wrote the article should definitely have their job shoved down the toilet….

  • PJ

    What a beautiful piece of writing.  Good on you doctor.  

  • Patricia Dailey

    Hopefully, QB will take the opportunity, while we are all watching, to turn its short-sighted story to one in which it will educate itself and its readers with  positive and true life facts. 

  • Cindyb13135

    On behalf of my three precious daughters who have Down syndrome, THANK YOU for a kind, intelligent response to an rude, ignorant article.
    Cindy B.  Heidi, Corrie, Laura Mae’s mom

  • Sharon Willits

    As the grandmother of an 18 yr old autistic Grandson.  I think that GQ’s article will generate a lot of negative sentiment as it should.  GQ has a lot to learn !!! 

  • 3kidtalk

    What an awesome family!  I love this man’s attitude!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Mallin/1501183100 Ann Mallin

    I was saddened by GQ’s comment about persons with Down Syndrome, but very touched by Dr. Skotko’s response. As a mother of a daughter with Down Syndrome, I hope that others learn to be respectful of all members of our society, especially those who are least able to defend themselves. Our thanks to Dr. Skotko for his articulate and thoughtful reply.

  • Bev Couzens

    I love your response, and your work Brian.  My son has Down Syndrome and every day my life is richer as a result.

    Keep up the fantastic work you do

    Bev

  • Norepliesplease

    Did it occur to anyone that the GQ author may not have been referring to Down’s Syndrome at all? Maybe he was coining the phrase “style down” vs “style up,” as an appearance sydrome. When people want to refer to something as being below par,  they do not generally use a diagnostic term like Down’s Syndrome. They usually simply state that something is ‘retarded.’ I am not defending that unkindness, simply observing that that is a common term. I do not think this was a reatardation reference, but let’s let the author speak for himself.

  • Karly

    thankyou for an awesome response to something that should never have been said let alone thought of!! We need to speak up about these things. Thankyou!!! 
    I see people in the store all the time they stop me and ask about my daughter, but a lot of the time I don’t think they realize she has down syndrome, one lady even said once “OH!! I need to get me one of those” and I thought…she has no idea what she just said. lol to me I thought, really you need a child with down syndrome. of course if i said something like that people would not kno what to say, my opinion is yeah you probably do…there are a LOT pf people out there that I think could benefit from having a child with DS. What a joy they are…oh some people just have no idea!!! We have been through great hardship with my daughter’s birth and surprise diagnosis, and my being injured during her birth…we’ve had one tough year…bt one thing remains sure, God has brought us through it all …and she is worth all the pain and suffering I have been through…We have her…she is alive, we could have lost her…

    I am in the process of trying to write about our story, it’s been tough with both of our recovery’s and just dealing with all the emotions…

    here’s my blog if you’d like to take a look hoping to have her birth story up soon. 

    http://www.theuplook.blogspot.com

    like the name. ;) 

  • Cmsweeney

    Thank You Dr. Skotko!!! My brother Dana really became a big part of my life as my parents became seriously ill and died. Dana is an ever present part of my families life that sings joyously to the heavens !! ( as my brother waves to our parents every time he sees the sun; as I told him that that the sun was mom and dads way of sending their love into our hearts) Dana is an amazing and loving man in our families lives:)

  • http://www.childrenstrousers.org.uk/ childrens trousers

    What you did was lovely and inspiring. And an eye catching title you have there. Thank you for sharing your story about your sister.

  • leximagnusson

    RICK FREAKING SMITH linked to this post 15 TIMES!  this is not about YOU!

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    Ultimately, a problem that I’m passionate about. I have looked for data of this caliber for the previous various hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  • Tom R. — dad

    Like your pants…
    Love what you have done for the Down Syndrome community.  The commuity that embraces and loves each person with that one extra chromosome.  The community that appreciates differences in people.  The community sets no limits, yet has high hopes for the opportunities that the future brings. Keep up the great work.

  • Missy Newcomer

    Right on Dr. Skotko!  My son has a big sister with Down syndrome, and he is already a wonderful advocate for her.  I am glad to know he will be more sensitive to those around him, with and without special needs, because of his life with his sister.  Too bad the guy at GQ missed out on those life lessons.  His loss!