Open Letter to the Director

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Dear Mr. Shyamalan,

We wish to inform you of the harm that will be done when your film, Split, is released on January 20, 2017.

We write to you on behalf of millions around the world who live as plural: that is, many people sharing one body.

In the media, plurality is only ever portrayed as a mental illness: “Multiple Personality Disorder”; now called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

Plurality and DID have always been sensationalized and were first brought into public discourse through film.
The Three Faces of Eve was released in 1957 and introduced “multiple personalities” as a strange and pitiable condition.
In 1976, Sybil was released. It was a film adaptation of a fictionalized account “based on true story”; a distortion of truth for which we are continually subjected to stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. Pop-culture has had an unhealthy obsession with us ever since.

In the 1980s and early ’90s, other fictionalized accounts “based on true stories” pulled us into scandals and moral panics that destroyed families, careers, lives and the credibility of all things related to plurality.
We became objects of unwelcome fascination and were said to have psychic powers.
We could fry kitchen appliances and change our bodies “with our minds.”

No “true story” has ever been told.

Split represents yet another gross parody of us based on fear, ignorance and sensationalism, only much worse. The harmful bigotry perpetuated by your horror film will inspire a new wave of revulsion and hatred against plurals and plurality.

It is a well known fact that persons with mental illness are 10 times more likely to be victims of crime than commit them. Your film is yet another in a long tradition of portraying us as dangerous and unpredictable villains.

It makes us targets and encourages violence against us.

Lawmakers call us “insane.”
Doctors dismiss us as delusional for believing in ourselves.
Academics ridicule our very existence when they teach of it as “controversial” to new generations of practitioners.
Laypeople objectify us with their pity while whispering to each other:

“Well, you’ve seen that movie haven’t you?”
Fictional portrayals have real-world consequences.

Those of us with DID already face barriers to care and often insurmountable life challenges and violence from society’s prejudice against neurominorities.

Those of us without DID, for whom plurality is not a disorder, live in fear of ever being discovered, psychiatrically labeled and blackmailed into treatment.

Plurality in and of itself is not a disorder.*
It exists both apart from and as a part of a disorder.
It is a way of being, living and relating to this world.
This is not a radical concept.
In fact, the criteria for DID in DSM 5** allow for the existence of non-disordered plurality beyond the purview of psychiatry.

In addition, many studies*** over the years estimate that anywhere from 1 to 3 percent of the general population meet the full criteria for DID.
This makes it at least as common as Schizophrenia (1%) to more common than Bipolar Disorder (2%).
1 to 3 percent translates into roughly 3 to more than 9 million people in the United States alone.
However, those of us meeting the criteria for DID and receiving treatment are the only plurals who can be documented.

The number of plurals living without DID may never be known.

Thus we remain invisible and afraid. Such is the life of a target.
As long as films like Split continue to be made and distributed, tens of millions across the world will suffer for it. Any hope for the visibility and dignity of the plural community diminishes with each ticket sold.

Now you know.

Kind Regards,

The undersigned members and allies of Plural Activism

L, G. et al. for ΝΥΞ
Simon for NVFG
Calen and Shawn for NS
Astraea Group
River and T.A.M. for AC
Jared and Jasmine for OF
Jason Hellwhicker of TCS
F.S.
Matryoshka
Phoenix L.S.
Kaimi et al. of K.M.
The Seaborn System
Freyas
Irenes
J, Z, Alli, and little joy of the Redwoods
Jim Bunkelman
Jazz & Tracee Abbotlane et al. of Oure Gaiya

References
* http://www.astraeasweb.net/plural/
** https://psychiatry.org/patients-families…-disorders
*** https://www.isst-d.org/downloads/GUIDELI…ED2011.pdf

Additional Signatures

Caroline Scott
Clara
C V Talbot
Alexandra Phillipe, MFT
Bri Jay
Petal Quartzdove
Skyler
Julio A. Rios
Ashton
Eli Baker
Ryan Gates
Elizabeth Limburg
Hannah Rogge
KyberusSystem
Stephanie Notablesay
Susan J Hyder
Lauren A Smith
billie rain
Rachel Dwight
eliza
Noel Janka
Emma Hryniewicz & The DreamWriters
Tara & the System
Rosella Bearden
James Firman
C
Laurine Reinwalt
Astrid Assmann
Sarah
Kat Dayton
Ashleigh Rentz
The System Fantasy
Grace H. Jacobson
Iris & The Pallida System
Shannon Wilder
A. M. Mitchell on behalf of the Sanchecks
Oliver P.
kiran nigam
Jacob
The Wonderland Collective
Heather Cronan
C
Evan
The Phoenyx System
Samantha S
Teale Harrison (Gupi)
Raven Hash-Lee
Ohana System
Hana Kim
Olivia, Bella, Cici
Kaitlin
Ness and Nella
Anisa.C
Nicolia
Lydia Ehmke
Douglas Jonathan Vincent
Keira Plozza


 

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A version of this letter was also published on The Mighty.

Site admin note: This letter was written by a team of many different multiples, completed and distributed starting in late December 2016. This site was created partly to host this letter with support of the writers. Those signed above are only endorsing the contents of the letter.

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