Info & Resources for #StrawBan #SuckItAbleism Advocates

If you’re here, either you’re trying to understand why people with disabilities need easy access to single-use, bendy, plastic drinking straws — OR, you already know and need easy access to links, resources, and ammunition.

This is NOT a comprehensive round-up of media links or resources. It never will be because there’s too many. I’ll be adding a few at a time, sporadically, as and when I’m able. Come back from time to time to see the additions.

But first, let me extend tremendous gratitude to Kirsten Schultz, who gathered MANY of these links in one place in Facebook. I have cribbed extensively from her work, so she deserves most of the credit.

Infographics

So why don’t those alternate straw solutions work for disabled people, like compostable paper straws, or metal, glass, silicon, pasta, etc.? Click here to find three handy infographics that summarize this complicated issue into a few bullets and charts. (Image descriptions are available at the link. And if you keep scrolling down past the last infographic and description, you’ll find a few answers to some of the more common questions and reactions to the infographics.)

Yes, Cities Really Are Banning Straws

Just a few examples of cities and companies that have either done it or are still debating it.

Why Straw Bans Harm Disabled People

Yes, disabled people care about the environment too. And disabled people are already doing what we can to save the environment. But some disabled folks confront more barriers in trying to engage in eco-friendly behavior. Want to fix the problem? Start listening to disabled people to understand the actual barriers.

Hint: Listening for five minutes then saying, “But why can’t you just–” isn’t really listening. All this is more complicated than most non-disabled people seem to realize. All this is more complicated than even *I* realized, and I already knew why straws are an important accessibility need for some disabled people. There is so much nuance and complexity I had not grasped until I started reading DOZENS of stories from people with disabilities. If you’ve only been reading for an hour or three? Then, honey, you haven’t even started.

Why Straw Bans are a Misguided Way of Helping the Environment

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Infographics for #StrawBan #SuckItAbleism Advocates

For the past few months, an increasing number of cities and states either have passed bans against single-use plastic straws or are thinking about it. And in the rush to push through these straw bans, decision makers have not spent nearly enough time listening to disabled people explaining how poorly considered or poorly designed laws could threaten their ability to hydrate out of their home. And people trying to argue that disabled people “should just use” one of the alternate types of straws don’t have all the facts either.

Fortunately, various people with great visual design skills have developed great that summarize some (not all) of the key concerns that people with disabilities have about alternate straw solutions. I provide the three I am aware of on this page for easy access (see below)

These infographics are not mine. I’m just passing them along. If anyone knows the name of the creators so I can give due credit, please let me know.

I have added an alt tag for each image. Alt tags are designed so that people can read them only if they are listening to a web page via screen reading software, or otherwise accessing the web with the images turned off. Alt tags are normally invisible (hidden) for sighted people viewing the images. But unfortunately alt tags cannot be transferred with the picture from one website to another (or from, say, a website to Facebook or Twitter or vice versa). Which means we have to insert the text into the alt tag field each and every time we post it somewhere, even if it already had an alt tag in the original source! I know many of you will want to make these images accessible for people who are blind or have other print disabilities. I am therefore providing the same image description below each infographic on this page so you can copy/paste as needed when circulating these images. Feel free to revise the descriptions if you can improve them, as long as you remain dedicated to clarity and accuracy.

In some contexts (for example, in Twitter) too little space may be allowed for the full image description. Even the description field for the images you add to your Tweet is still much too short! In these cases you may wish to link to this page so people can read the full description here. Or copy/paste the text to your own website if you prefer.

This is an image of a spreadsheet chart entitled "Just use blank fill in the word space straws." Along the left side there is column listing materials straws may be made out of. Across the top row are columns titled each with a barrier or problem. Each category of straw material has an x in the column of barrier depending on which barrier is relevant to that material. Metal straws have allergy risk, injury risk, not positionable, not hot liquid safe, hard to sanitize, and high cost marked as barriers. Paper straws have allergy risk, chocking hazard, not positionable, not hot liquid safe, and dissolve with long use marked as barriers. Glass straws have injury risk, not positionable, hard to sanitize, and high cost marked as barriers. Silicone straws have allergy risk, not positionable, hard to sanitize, and high cost marked as barriers. Acrylic straws have allergy risk, injury risk, not positionable, not hot liquid safe, hard to sanitize, and high cost marked as barriers. Pasta or rice straws have allergy risk, chocking hazard, injury risk, not positionable, not hot liquid safe, and dissolve with long use marked as barriers. Bamboo straws have allergy risk, injury risk, not positionable, and high cost marked as barriers. Biodegradable straws have allergy risk, choking hazard, not hot liquid safe, and dissolve with long use marked as barriers. Single use straws are have no barriers marked. Undearneath the chart is a text that reads "Many disabled individuals require straws for foods, meds, and to be social with friends. We can ALL reduce plastic use, but banning items many depend on harms a very vulnerable population. Pressure companies to make safe alternatives available to all and reduce waste in larger ways. Hurt turtles are devastating. So are children and adults aspirating liquid into their lungs." At the very bottom it is signed by "Hell on Wheels" with a burning yellow flame in front and the blue icon of a wheelchair stick figure at the end.

No, none of these infographics is mine. This one is by Hell On Wheels (Twitter handle @rollwthepunches). The creator is going to DM me a high-quality image that will soon replace this one, so come back here to check.

I cannot take credit for this description either. I am using a description written by Cole Jurceka in response to this Facebook post  Only the final line (noting the signature by Hell on Wheels) is mine:

“This is an image of a spreadsheet chart entitled “Just use blank fill in the word space straws.” Along the left side there is column listing materials straws may be made out of. Across the top row are columns titled each with a barrier or problem. Each category of straw material has an x in the column of barrier depending on which barrier is relevant to that material. Metal straws have allergy risk, injury risk, not positionable, not hot liquid safe, hard to sanitize, and high cost marked as barriers. Paper straws have allergy risk, chocking hazard, not positionable, not hot liquid safe, and dissolve with long use marked as barriers. Glass straws have injury risk, not positionable, hard to sanitize, and high cost marked as barriers. Silicone straws have allergy risk, not positionable, hard to sanitize, and high cost marked as barriers. Acrylic straws have allergy risk, injury risk, not positionable, not hot liquid safe, hard to sanitize, and high cost marked as barriers. Pasta or rice straws have allergy risk, chocking hazard, injury risk, not positionable, not hot liquid safe, and dissolve with long use marked as barriers. Bamboo straws have allergy risk, injury risk, not positionable, and high cost marked as barriers. Biodegradable straws have allergy risk, choking hazard, not hot liquid safe, and dissolve with long use marked as barriers. Single use straws are have no barriers marked. Undearneath the chart is a text that reads “Many disabled individuals require straws for foods, meds, and to be social with friends. We can ALL reduce plastic use, but banning items many depend on harms a very vulnerable population. Pressure companies to make safe alternatives available to all and reduce waste in larger ways. Hurt turtles are devastating. So are children and adults aspirating liquid into their lungs.” At the very bottom it is signed by “Hell on Wheels” with a burning yellow flame in front and the blue icon of a wheelchair stick figure at the end.”

 

The background shows plastic drinking straws in different colors. The main image over the background is a chart. The text above the chart says, "Many disabled plastic people need plastic straws to drink, eat, take medications, etc. Here's how current alternative, reusable options are a harm to us." The left side column lists the options: Metal, Bamboo, Glass, Silicone, Acrylic, Paper, Pasta, Single-use. The top row lists the possible harms: Choking hazard, Injury risk, Not positionable, Costly for consumer, Not high-temp safe. For metal, the columns for injury risk, not positionable, and costly for consumer are marked with a check. For Bamboo, the same three columns are marked. For Glass, almost all columns (except choking hazard) are marked. For Silicone, the columns for not Positionable and Costly for consumer are marked. For acrylic, almost all columns (except choking hazard) are marked. For paper, the columns for choking hazard, not positionable, and not high-temp safe are marked. For Pasta, almost all columns (except "costly for consumer") are marked. None of the columns are marked for "single-use". Below the chart are these two bullet points: "*Pressure to create bio-degradable straw options that are safe for the environment AND for all disabled people should fall upon manufacturer, NOT marginalized disabled consumers. *Once we accept the necessity of plastic straws, we can work together on other environmental initiatives that are effective, inclusive and accessible."

This infographic is by Sarah Packwood, here is the link to her first use of this infographic in May 2018, complete with image description in her tweet thread!

Alice Wong The 2nd one is by Sarah Packwood and if you want to include the original link in your post https://twitter.com/sarahbreannep/status/998632056241307649

“The background shows plastic drinking straws in different colors. The main image on the background is a chart. The text above the chart says, “Many disabled plastic people need plastic straws to drink, eat, take medications, etc. Here’s how current alternative, reusable options are a harm to us.” The left side column lists the options: Metal, Bamboo, Glass, Silicone, Acrylic, Paper, Pasta, Single-use. The top row lists the possible harms: Choking hazard, Injury risk, Not positionable, Costly for consumer, Not high-temp safe. For metal, the columns for injury risk, not positionable, and costly for consumer are marked with a check. For Bamboo, the same three columns are marked. For Glass, almost all columns (except choking hazard) are marked. For Silicone, the columns for not Positionable and Costly for consumer are marked. For acrylic, almost all columns (except choking hazard) are marked. For paper, the columns for choking hazard, not positionable, and not high-temp safe are marked. For Pasta, almost all columns (except “costly for consumer”) are marked. None of the columns are marked for “single-use”. Below the chart are these two bullet points: “*Pressure to create bio-degradable straw options that are safe for the environment AND for all disabled people should fall upon manufacturer, NOT marginalized disabled consumers. *Once we accept the necessity of plastic straws, we can work together on other environmental initiatives that are effective, inclusive and accessible.”

 

This infographic shows a drawing of a pink/purple narwhal, a bendy straw, three question marks, and an image of the globe. The text says, “How do plastic straw bans hurt disabled people? Many disabled people need plastic straws to eat and drink. It provides access and they are literally keeping some of us alive! We don’t hate the earth, but we really like being alive and able to access our communities!” This text is followed by bullet points saying, Paper and biodegradable straws break down faster than many of us can use them. Metal straws can cause injury if they are too hot or cold and also if the person has a disability that affects movement and motor skills. Reusable straws are great if you have the ability to wash, store and bring them with you every time you leave your house. Many disabled people do not. If you don’t need a plastic straw, then don’t use one, but you don’t need to hurt disabled people to show that you love the earth. Punishing disabled people who need plastic straws to live will have very little impact on the environment but looking into creating a more viable and ACCESSIBLE alternative to single use plastic and placing greater regulations on businesses that are polluting the earth on a much larger, much more dangerous scale sure would! At the bottom of the infographic is the web link (not clickable in the infographic) for neurodiversitylibrary.org

Again, I have provided an alt tag to describe this second infographic. But for people who wish to copy/paste the same description for your use in circulating the infographic, here goes:

“This infographic shows a drawing of a pink/purple narwhal, a bendy straw, three question marks, and an image of the globe. The text says, “How do plastic straw bans hurt disabled people? Many disabled people need plastic straws to eat and drink. It provides access and they are literally keeping some of us alive! We don’t hate the earth, but we really like being alive and able to access our communities!” This text is followed by bullet points saying,

  • Paper and biodegradable straws break down faster than many of us can use them.
  • Metal straws can cause injury if they are too hot or cold and also if the person has a disability that affects movement and motor skills.
  • Reusable straws are great if you have the ability to wash, store and bring them with you every time you leave your house. Many disabled people do not.
  • If you don’t need a plastic straw, then don’t use one, but you don’t need to hurt disabled people to show that you love the earth.
  • Punishing disabled people who need plastic straws to live will have very little impact on the environment but looking into creating a more viable and ACCESSIBLE alternative to single use plastic and placing greater regulations on businesses that are polluting the earth on a much larger, much more dangerous scale sure would!

At the bottom of the infographic is the web link (not clickable in the infographic) for neurodiversitylibrary.org”How Poorly Considered Straw Bans Hurt Disabled People

Well, Okay, BUT …

So you think you have a reason to disagree with some of these infographics, or a question about some of the nuances. I can’t promise the answer to your question is here, but I’ll tackle some common ones.

  • But it’s only $8! — This price may seem cheap to you. But disabled people are at high risk of poverty. Not all of us (many of us work and have economic privilege, including me), but a high ratio. For someone who is poor, yes $8 is a heck of a lot of money.
  • It only takes me 2 minutes to wash this re-usable straw! – It may be easy and fast for you. But depending on the exact disability, it may take much longer for some disabled people–if it’s feasible at all. And, actually, NO, not all disabled people have a free personal care assistant to clean it for them.
  • Just have your carer clean it for you! — Are you offering to pay to hire the carer? Because many people with disabilities already have a lot of difficulty getting anywhere near the number of hours of assistance they actually need in a typical week.
  • Just carry it with you everywhere! – Some disabled people already do this. But some have cognitive issues that makes it difficult to track all the many things they already have to bring with them everywhere. And even for the best organized people who always have everything they need, things happen. Things get lost, or stolen, or suddenly ruined due to circumstances beyond control. People shouldn’t have to be denied access to hydration because of this. Also, it’s an issue of fairness. Non-disabled people can usually access hydration with minimal fuss or nuisance almost anywhere they go. Why shouldn’t disabled people expect the same?
  • If you’re still looking to learn more answers, go watch this great video by Jessica Kellgren-Fozard (yes, with human-edited captions), entitled “Banning Straws Huts People // The Last Straw“.
  • Still need more? Find tons more web links, articles, etc., in the companion post to this one, Info & Resources for #StrawBan #SuckItAbleism Advocates.

Nope – Don’t Need or Want Special Spaces – I Want Inclusive Spaces.

By G Peters

mssinenomineblog

Last week I wrote a letter. I posted it here.

I thought the letter was fairly straight forward. I am typically direct. I try hard to keep the sarcasm to a minimum. (If you doubt how hard I work at that, you should read the drafts I delete.) I try to examine the logic of a situation without robbing it of its humanity. I strive to give all involved the benefit of the doubt and assume intelligence and integrity unless and until proven otherwise.

I knew not everyone would agree with my letter or share my absolute stance on accessibility. Life informs me of this every day.

I also knew I was not privy to the back-story.

There is always a back-story. I am not naive.

Still, I felt I knew and cared enough about a principle I believe should be, but often isn’t, considered let alone adhered to when…

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Please quit telling me to ‘calm down’ when I give urgent information or ask questions.

By Mel Baggs

Cussin' and Discussin'

I’m going to lead with a quote from Jim Sinclair and discuss it:

Most autistic people who are capable of formulating questions have frequently experienced the following scenario: We ask for information that we need in order to prepare ourselves for a new experience. Instead of answering our questions, NT people tell us that we don’t need to ask these questions at all. We just need to relax and stop being so anxious. The fact is that being able to ask questions, and getting clear answers to our questions, and thus knowing what to expect, are often the very things autistic people need in order to be able to relax and not be anxious. Asking a lot of questions about the details of a situation is usually not a “maladaptive behavior” that increases an autistic person’s anxiety. More often it’s an adaptive strategy that an autistic person is using to…

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If Only Your Stare Meant You Actually See Disabled People

By Imani Barbarin

Crutches & Spice

I can feel your gaze. If you think you’re being slick, you’re not. I don’t even have to look in your direction, I caught your head on a swivel from the moment you heard me coming. Am I odd to you? What is the story you’re concocting in your head about me? What will you take from me? What assumptions are you making? Are you using my body to pull yourself out of your mediocrity? Did you get the motivation you needed? Is this when you’ll get to know my name? Will you even ask? Or will you demand even more? Will you demand to know what’s “wrong” with me? Will you yell at me; tell me I’m faking? Will you pull out your camera? How many likes do you think you’ll get? Followers? Words of encouragement? Will you pray over me? In front of all these strangers? I wonder…

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Julie Murphy’s Quest to Humanize Fat Girls, by s.e. smith

A rare interview with an author who has written unapologetically fat characters. Julie Murphy has written four young adult novels so far. In the article at the link, she is interviewed about her work, and her representation of fat girls, by writer s.e. smith. Click the title below to read the full interview:

Julie Murphy’s Quest to Humanize Fat Girls

I Was One of the Scary Kids

By Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone

Cracked Mirror in Shalott

Content note: ableism, stigmatization of Autistics and other PWDs, the Sandy Hook shooting

I didn’t want to write about the shootings at all. I knew a number of people (who I’ll link to throughout this post) and organizationswould be posting and writing, working to counter the inevitable stigma fail that would happen. I even was keeping to commenting on the links of people I care about, people who I know and who I want to have these sorts of discussions with. Then, it happened. I’ll leave the critiques of the post gawker promoted toothers, but I feel obligated to make a comment about some of the assumptions it is based on and promotes.

That comment starts with a declaration: I was one of those scary kids.

It’s not some great proud thing to say. It’s a truth, a truth that when I reveal it makes people…

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