Like many people, I wholeheartedly believe that people can change, that online interaction too often brings out everyone's worst, and that we all at some point need a second chance.
I also do not for one moment buy that thirty days on the bench amount to either an appropriate punishment for or sufficient time to overcome the behavior that had come to light. From an outside perspective, this looks doomed.
Now, the punchline: when competitor Queerty rounded up statements condemning the move, they turned to Andrea James, who blasted The Advocate editors as foolish, opportunistic enablers. If that name rings a bell, it's probably because she rose to relative prominence by responding to psychologist J. Michael Bailey's book The Man Who Would Be Queen thusly:
James took from Bailey's homepage photos of his son Drew and daughter Kate when they were in junior high and primary school, respectively. She then superimposed black bands over their eyes, presumably to mimic the dehumanizing pictures of trans people in the medical literature. Under the picture of Drew, using mostly a line from Bailey's book about transwomen, she added the caption, "There are also kids like 'Drew' who work as waiters, hairdressers, receptionists, strippers, and prostitutes, as well as in many other occupations." Meanwhile James labeled Kate's picture this way: "'Kate': a cock-starved exhibitionist, or a paraphiliac who just gets off on the idea of it? We'll find out in 12 easy questions!" In an update on this page, James delighted "that professionals are reading this page and acting with disgust." Indeed, the negative reactions she was getting made her decide to ratchet up her satirical analogizing of Bailey's book to his children. She now imagined "a classification system to categorize Bailey's children. There are two types of children in the Bailey household: Type 1, who have been sodomized by their father, or Type 2, who have not."
Apparently, when seeking comment on appropriate online interaction, the good people at Queerty forgot that crowdsourcing at 4Chan was also an option.
James claims to have apologized to the children, who were twelve and fourteen at the time of the incident. Drew Bailey says that never happened.
And when bioethicist Alice Dreger objected to her appearance at Northwestern three years later, James allegedly threatened her child seriously enough that the university reported it to the police. Dreger touched very briefly on the exchange on her blog:
"Bad move, mommy" suggested she is still interested in dragging people's children (including now my own) into her intimidation tactics. Her further reference to my five-year-old son as my "precious womb turd" also suggested that she is astonishingly juvenile.
Well, I guess you go to the experts.