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2/18 #FilmDis Chat: 20th Anniversary of #Gattaca & Human Gene Editing

#FilmDis Twitter Chat

20th Anniversary of Gattaca

& Human Gene Editing Today

Saturday, February 18, 2017

6 pm Pacific/ 9 pm Eastern


Truth *is* stranger than fiction. Join Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project™ and Dominick Evans as they co-host a Twitter chat about current reproductive technologies that will impact people with disabilities and a look back on Gattaca, a 1997 film starring Jude Law and Ethan Hawke that envisions a world where genetic imperfections can be eliminated before people are born.

The story centers on two characters: Jerome, a person with ‘perfect’ genes and an acquired disability, and Vincent, a person with ‘imperfect’ genes who faces a life of discrimination based on his ‘invalid’ status.

You don’t need to watch Gattaca ahead of time to participate in the chat. Check the links below after the chat questions if you want to learn more.

This #FilmDis chat, part of a weekly series created by Dominick Evans, is in partnership with an upcoming webinar by the Center for Genetics and Society on February 27, 1 pm Pacific: “A conversation on disability justice and human genetic engineering.” For more information about the webinar:

Co-sponsors of this webinar will also join the chat: The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, Disability Rights and Education Defense Fund, the Center for Genetics and Society, and the Disability Visibility Project™.

How to Participate

Follow @dominickevans @C_G_S  @longmoreinst @DisVisibility @DREDF on Twitter

When it’s time, search #FilmDis on Twitter for the series of live tweets under the ‘Latest’ tab for the full conversation.

If you might be overwhelmed by the volume of tweets and only want to see the chat’s questions so you can respond to them, check @DisVisibility’s account. Each question will tweeted 6-8 minutes apart.

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a twitter chat by Ruti Regan:

Check out this captioned #ASL explanation of how to participate in a chat by @behearddc

Introductory Tweets and Questions for 2/18 Chat

Welcome to the #FilmDis chat on the film #Gattaca & gene editing technology today. This chat is co-hosted by @dominickevans & @disvisibility.  

We also have guest hosts @DREDF @C_G_S and @LongmoreInst who will provide some context & info on gene editing & bioethics #FilmDis

Please remember to use the #FilmDis hashtag when you tweet.

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #FilmDis”

It’s ok if you haven’t seen the 1997 film #Gattaca to take part in this chat. FYI: #FilmDis

Throughout the chat, we may use ‘HGE’ or ‘gene editing’ when talking about human gene editing. For more: #FilmDis

‘Human germline gene editing’ and ‘genetic modifications’ are other terms you may encounter when reading about this subject #FilmDis

For this chat we will focus on using ‘HGE’ or ‘human gene editing’ when discussing the film #Gattaca & bioethical issues #FilmDis

#Gattaca is a sci-fi film that imagines a society of “valids” and “invalids,” inequality based on genetic imperfections #FilmDis

Warning: if you haven’t watched #Gattaca yet, this chat will reveal major spoilers about the characters #FilmDis

Q1 If you’ve seen #Gattaca or just read a bit about it, what are your thoughts about this film 20 years after its release? #FilmDis

There are many times sci-fi has been prescient in changes or consequences of technology on society.  #FilmDis

Q2 What do you see today in the latest scientific developments in human gene editing that will impact the disability community?  #FilmDis

Q3 How would you describe the framing of disability and health in media coverage of human genetic editing? What are your concerns? #FilmDis

In #Gattaca, Vincent (played by Ethan Hawke) is funneled into menial work & discriminated because of his genetic status.  #FilmDis

Q4 Are there examples of disability discrimination you see today similar to #Gattaca? What do you imagine in the future with HGE? #FilmDis

Q5 Are there any pitfalls w/ the idea that gene editing can eliminate suffering, stigma & disease? What are the potential benefits? #FilmDis

The character Jerome (played by Jude Law) injured himself when he failed to be ‘the best’ despite being engineered for it #FilmDis

Q6 What are the unintended consequences in wanting ‘the best’ for a child? How will advantages via HGE exacerbate inequality? #FilmDis

Q7 In addition to people with disabilities, what other groups might be disproportionately affected by gene editing & related technology? #FilmDis

Q8 Any final thoughts or questions about disability justice, reproductive justice, and the bioethics of HGE as seen in #Gattaca? #FilmDis

Thank you for participating in this #FilmDis chat! Please keep the conversation about #Gattaca going!

If you are interested in learning more about human gene editing, join the @C_G_S webinar on 2/27:  #FilmDis

Thanks again to @dominickevans, the host of #FilmDis and our guest hosts: @C_G_S @LongmoreInst @DREDF!

Additional Links

Gattaca (Wikipedia)

The Disablist Nature of Desiring Perfection in Gattaca (Dominick Evans, January 31, 2017)

Review of Gattaca (Philosophical Films)

Center for Genetics and Society resource page on human gene editing for reproduction

Human gene editing: a timeline of CRISPR cover stories (Center for Genetics and Society)

5 reasons why we need people with disabilities in the CRISPR debates by Emily Beitiks

New Gene-Editing Techniques Hold the Promise of Altering the Fundamentals of Life (NPR, January 12, 2017).

The Rhetorical Two-Step: Steven Pinker, CRISPR, and Disability (Bioethics Tracker Blog, September 4, 2015)

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