By anneeone at the mssinenomineblog.
By Ingrid Tischer at the Tales From the Crip blog site
Issue No. 3: The Ally Issue
or You Can Lead a Nondisabled Ally to The Google But You Can’t Make Them Use a 100% Familiar Search Engine to Find Available Access Tools Themselves
In which Mx. Crip-Manners points out how good manners make good allies
“We’re super-excited you’ll connect us with disabled women for our project! We don’t know how to clean out a conference room though so can you take that on?”
Yes, it really is that basic: You don’t invite other potential partners to muck out your space for the meeting or event because you know that’s your responsibility. But you expect your disabled invitees to either resolve your access barriers or teach you granular how-tos. I know this from decades in grassroots women’s organizations and philanthropy.
My considered position is the result of 20-plus years of waxy bummer build-up that comes from first being invited to be…
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By blogger BlondeHistorian
By author ChrisTiana ObeySumner
by ChrisTiana ObeySumner
After more than a decade advocating for Intersectional Disability Justice, I received the honor of being voted the first Co-Chair of the Seattle Disabilities Commission who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color. Ever since, I have turbo-charged my advocacy and study of intersectional disability and fought for the amplification of voices and lived experiences of people whose intersectionality included one or more disability, a non-White racial identity, and other socially marginalized intersections. This work has also brought to light the horrendous lack of awareness or representation of intersectionally disabled people — especially Black Autistic folks like myself.
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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.
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.
- New York
- San Francisco, Seattle, and also companies like Disney, Marriott, Starbucks, and certain airlines
- Vancouver. (Yeah, in Canada.)
- Santa Barbara — this is one of the most draconian bans which has NO EXEMPTIONS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE.
- Paris, Miami Beach, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Taiwan. (Yeah, it’s international.)
- And more. No, I’m not going to complete this list because that isn’t the point. The point is just so people have a few links to throw at the people who have been living under a rock and are now trying to insist, “Oh, come on, no one is trying to ban straws!”
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.
- Read this worthwhile Twitter thread by Laura Dorwart @LauraWritesIt on why people wanting to understand the perspectives of disabled people should take the time to educate themselves and do their own research rather than expecting disabled people to do the work of educating or answering your questions. You can begin with the many links listed below, some of which will lead you to yet more links to review.
- CRITICAL COMMENTARY: The Rise and Fall of the Plastic Straw: Sucking in Crip Defiance by Alice Wong (Disability Visibility Project) .A marvelous parody leads into more serious commentary about how straw bans are hurting disabled people. Do scroll all the way to the bottom to see a long list of source citations and rich sources of information and analysis.
- Straw Bans are DANGEROUS for Disabled People. YouTube Video by Annie Segura. Explains just some of the reasons why alternatives to plastic straws are unusable or even a safety hazard for some disabled people. Also explains how banning plastic straws can be dangerous for disabled people and has been stigmatizing them. Video has human-edited captions, you may need to hit the CC symbol to toggle them on/off. October 6, 2019.
- The Plastic Straw Ban and how it Harms Disabled People. Blog post by Shona Louise, November 19, 2018
- StrawGate: The Ableism Behind Exclusionary Activism. The Establishment, July 27, 2018 (Talks about both the harm to disabled people and also why the focus on straws is a misguided way of helping the environment.)
- The bendy plastic straw was originally used in hospitals and vital for people with disabilities. Quartz, July 9, 2018
- The Last Straw: Why Disabled People Need Plastic Straws, by Alice Wong, Eater, July 19, 2018
- Plastic Straw Bans Ignore People with Disabilities. The Mercury News, July 29, 2018
- Milo Cress, the kid who started the straw ban movement doesn’t think banning straws is the answer. Mic, July 27, 2018
- Being Disabled isn’t Eco Friendly: Get Off Our Backs and Put In The Work. Crutches and Spice (personal blog by Imani Barbarin), June 6, 2018
- I rely on plastic straws and baby wipes. I’m disabled – I have no choice. The Guardian, July 9, 2018
- Ban inaccessibility, not plastic straws. Rooted in Rights (a disability rights blog), June 7, 2018
- Some People Rely on Straws to Drink. BBC Yorkshire, April 23, 2018
- Knee-Jerk Responses to Plastic Straw Campaigns ‘Risk Isolating Disabled People’. Disability News Service, February 22, 2018
- Anti-straw movement isn’t considering people with disabilities, advocates say. The Star, April 23, 2018
- Plastic straw ban disadvantages disabled people, says Paralympian. BBC News March 21, 2018.
- Why People with Disabilities Want Bans on Plastic Straws to Be More Flexible. NPR, July 11, 2018
- Disabled often forgotten in the effort to ban plastics. Daily Democrat, July 31, 2018
- Banning Straws Hurts People // The Last Straw. YouTube video, with human-edited captions, by Jessica Kelgren-Fozard, August 3, 2018
- Action on Plastic Shouldn’t Make Life Suck for Disabled People, Greenpeace UK, March 14, 2018.
- Another collection of resources on the Straw Ban issue, this one compiled by @RollWithThePunches
- If you’re in Twitter, follow the hashtag #SuckItAbleism for more insights from people with various disabilities on how straw bans affect their lives.
People Impacted by Straw Bans
- Detailed explanation by @RollWithThePunches via twitter about why they need straws for hydration and why the alternatives don’t work
- Story of one woman who was denied a straw at a restaurant, even though the waiter had one on her. By @EhlerDanosGrl
Why Straw Bans are a Misguided Way of Helping the Environment
- Two Truths and a Lie: Straw Bans, by Julie Gunlock at Independent Women’s Forum, January 14, 2020. Did you think that the US was responsible for most plastic in the ocean? Will removing plastic straws even make a dent in the problem? Check your facts.
- The Personal Will Not Save You What’s Really at Stake When We Partake in Performative Environmentalism, by s.e. smith at bitchmedia. January 7, 2020. Explains why individual acts of performative environmentalism (like advocating for straw bans) is actually worse than doing nothing. Points to examples of evidence-based advocacy shown to have more impact.
- Sunscreen, Straws and Subtlety: The Dangers of Oversimplifying a Complex Environmental Problem, by Dr. David Shiffman, Scuba Diving, May 31, 2019. Marine biologist explains why he opposes the straw ban movement.
- Banishing straws from $5 iced coffees isn’t going to save the oceans. Vancouver Sun, July 23, 2018
- StrawGate: The Ableism Behind Exclusionary Activism. The Establishment, July 27, 2018 (Talks about both the harm to disabled people and also why the focus on straws is a misguided way of helping the environment.)
- Jourdan Vian: Banning straws not the answer to pollution woes. La Crosse Tribune, July 21, 2018
- Starbucks Bans Plastic Straws, Winds Up Using More Plastic. Reason, July 12, 2018
- Plastic Straws Aren’t the Problem Skipping straws may be hip. But there are much better ways to fight pollution. Politics and Policy June 7, 2018
For people who want to use satire to make their point, @dfergusson wrote this brilliant Twitter thread using a fictional future ban on tampons to satire some of the political conflicts we have seen around the real world straw bans. It invites the reader to consider how straw bans take energy away from more productive means of fighting environmentalism while causing a lot of unintended harm to marginalized communities.
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.
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.”
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.”
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?
- Here’s a great essay by Alice Wong with more thoughts on this issue, entitled “The Last Straw: I need plastic straws. Banning them puts a serious burden on people with disabilities.”
- 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” (August 3, 2018)
- Another great video by Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, entitled “What’s Wrong with Reusable Straws” (August 16, 2019) (Yes a whole year later, because many disabled people have been explaining these issues extensively, and over and over, for quite a while now. If you haven’t heard them, then you aren’t following enough disabled writers in social media, blogs, the news, etc. and should please try to do better, thanks.)
- Still need more? Find tons more web links, articles, etc., in the companion post to this one, Info & Resources for #StrawBan #SuckItAbleism Advocates.
By G Peters
By Mel Baggs
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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By Imani Barbarin
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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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:
By Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone
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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Blog post by author Imani
There’s a spirituality to black femme-dom. A current in the room when a group of black femmes get together. It is the lifeblood that courses through several nations–even ones we had no intention of traveling to to begin with. It is the reason I would go to church when it was hard to get out of bed. It is the feeling of home in the friends I’ve met from across the United States in a country none of us are from. It is the feeling of manicured fingers combing through 4C hair. It is the smell of oils in bottles labeled black woman and black love. It is laughing at cultural inside jokes expressed with just a glance between you and someone you barely know. It is the fierceness of revolutions and the sound of disembodied voices fighting in movements that refuse to represent us. And as always, it is…
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I don’t normally read romance as a genre (I’m really much more into fantasy and sci fi). But! Same sex romance? With a character with ADHD!!! And the other man in the couple is ALSO a guy with disabilities! I’ll at least put it on my list. I am realizing I really need more ADHD rep in the fiction I read because I haven’t had nearly enough.
Connection Error has great characters, great story, and pretty great disability rep. Both main characters are disabled, which seems pretty rare in romances (though I know quite a few real-life couples who are both disabled.) Josiah is a video game programmer who has ADHD. Ryan is a Navy SEAL who’s in rehab after losing both legs in Afghanistan.
Josiah starts off the book confident in his programming abilities, but not in much else. He knows that other people see him as flaky, and he often calls himself an “idiot” or “spaz.” He has a masters degree (which he says he got “by accident”) at 23, but still depends on his mother to help him with a lot of daily living. I appreciated that his ADHD was treated seriously as a disability — he has a medication schedule, and he sticks to a strict diet, and we see him acknowledging his…
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Blog post by Amalena Caldwell
Recently, I encountered an ‘Autism Mom’ who wrote that she thinks her son shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce. She uses these words: “I am still deeply worried about the idea that he could get someone pregnant and yet could never be a real father – which is why I will insist on having medical power of attorney, so that I will be able to make the decision about a vasectomy for him after he turns 18.” This is Judith Newman, author of ‘To Siri with Love’. (Updated)
She advocates, in fact, for (implied non-voluntary/forced) vasectomies for all autistic men. I’m not sure if she assumes autistic women only have sex with autistic men (in case she reads this and doesn’t know, we are not a separate species incapable of reproducing with neurotypicals), or if she thinks that I too should be sterilized, but men were the ones specifically mentioned. Full…
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