Current Occupation: Student and Tutor
Former Occupation: Barista
Contact Information: West Gipson is a student, writer, and activist currently living in Towson, MD. West is the product of a scientist, a school counselor, and Washington, DC, where she was born, and where she plans on returning. Living in DC has heavily influenced West, who attended her first protest at five years old. West is a dedicated writer and passionate activist who is particularly interested in the intersection between fiction and politics. West has been previously published in Potluck Mag and Mobius Literary Journal.
To Whom it May Concern
1438 16th St NW
January 13th, 2098
FDA Headquarters, White Oak, MD
To Whom it May Concern:
This letter will serve as my formal resignation from my post as senior research scientist on the Sexual Misconduct Chemical Solutions project, which I have been working on for thirty-one years. I am leaving the FDA for reasons I will explain later in this letter. I am not giving two weeks notice. I have packed my important possessions from my station and do not intend to ever return.
I understand this may come as somewhat of a shock to the administration, especially Commissioner Nguyen, with whom I have worked closely for many years. Therefore I have decided to explain, as best I can, my reasons for leaving, in the hope that some of my truth may resonate with others and potentially lead to the disbandment of the project. I will admit I am pessimistic about this, but I know if I do not attempt to explain myself, I will regret it terribly in the future.
When I was first appointed to the task force which would later create the SMCS project, I had high hopes for what I saw as a worthy cause. The shift, however brief it may have been, away from punishment for criminals and towards rehabilitation was a promising one. I had always been more inclined towards rehabilitation myself. After my internship at the FDA learning about drugs related to sexual intercourse, in accordance with my degrees in human sexuality and psychopharmacology, I was immediately recruited for a new project – the goal of which was to attempt to create a drug which would rehabilitate sexual offenders. Myself and my team then spent the next two years developing the drug now known as antico, taken from its nickname as the “Anti-Coitus Solution.” It did well in animal studies, and we followed to closely monitored human trials. The drug was a success and was soon being administered to sexual offenders as a way to prevent repeat offenses. Antico’s effect was simple: take away all sexual impulses.
I was proud of my project, my team, and antico itself. We felt that we were contributing to a worthy cause. After the trials, it quickly became standard practice for prisons to administer antico to sexual offenders. The prevalence of sexual offenses decreased rapidly.
I was the youngest person on my team, and, in fact, the youngest person to have been hired by the FDA as a full-time research scientist. I was very bright as a kid, skipping several grades at once and finishing college at eighteen. During my time as an intern, I became fascinated by the FDA’s goal, or at least as I saw it at the time. I believed that I could make a true difference there. I set my ambitions high, and was rewarded with this powerful position in the government headquarters.
All was well for several years. Although I oversaw the team that created antico, and was the leader on the SMCS project, when another task force was created to deal with the intricacies of antico’s distribution, I was not invited to join this task force. Instead it was made up by people who had no experience with the SMCS project. I also learned quickly that their goals were very different from ours.
I watched as antico became not only a rehabilitory drug, but a preventative one as well, something which it was not developed for. The progress made in genetic testing in the late 70’s also came with a belief that it was possible to find the gene for any trait at all. I was never entirely convinced of this. Supposedly the gene for sexual misconduct was found. I was horrified to discover that during routine genetic testing on fetuses, if the “sexual misconduct” gene was found, then once the fetus was born they would begin administering antico on the children. Antico was not developed for children, and the side effects, which ranged from genital mutilation to chronic mental illness, were doubly negative.
I optimistically and naively assumed this was only a momentary blip, and that once the side effects were understood as unacceptable, the practice of administering antico on young children would be wholly abandoned. However, this did not occur, and, in fact, the administration of the drug found new patients.
When the AIDs scare of the 80’s came about, I watched in horror as the whole thing was, wrongly, blamed on homosexuality. This was a snap judgment which many people, such as myself, were skeptical of. What followed, as you know, was a mass administration of the drug to all people suspected of being homosexual. I voiced my concerns to many coworkers, including you, Commissioner Nguyen, but they were not heeded. The culture of fear enveloped our country so entirely that sympathy with homosexuals was equated with not caring about the health of our country. At this point I attempted to distance myself from antico, while my coworkers enjoyed the publicity. Ad campaigns convinced the public that antico was a necessary addition to our lives. It was presented as as integral to human survival as Vitamin C.
And then as quickly as the press came it left. The ads stopped because they were no longer needed. Antico use spread to all persons as it was decided that human sexuality itself – even in its most basic form as procreation – was the enemy. Americans, shockingly, did not seem to care enough to question the drug at all. To this day I remain confused and scared by this reaction. Uncomfortable though I remained, I watched the world drug itself into asexuality from the comfort of my office as one of the highest-paid employees at the FDA.
It was at this point that the guilt set in. It set in and did not leave. I sought comfort from coworkers but was disappointed every time. They believed that our mission had not changed and that antico remained a good thing, despite the changes in its administration. Why my coworkers, who I have always regarded as intelligent, creative, and sensible, were so passive in these changes continues to escape me. It was at this point that I realized things had changed for the worse and I could no longer with good conscious participate in the SMCS project.
My personal life, which I was generally able to separate clearly from work, has become increasingly endangered in recent years. I can no longer assume that it is safe. For these reasons I am forced to resign.
I’m not foolish. I know what happens to those who leave and to those who critique the state. I have taken my spouse and we are fleeing. You will not be able to find us and you will never hear from me again.
May you wake up before it’s too late.
Lead Researcher SMCS Project
Federal Drug Administration