The Women of #BlackPanther and the Gospel of Doing It Yo’ Damn Self

Blog post by author Imani

Crutches & Spice

1536479_10201604289883231_83945034_nThere’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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Review: Connection Error by Annabeth Albert

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.

Sense and Disability

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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Autistic Moments: Autistics Should Be Sterilized

Blog post by Amalena Caldwell

Some Girl with a Braid

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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An Open Letter To @Twitter — Protect Epileptic Users From Flashing GIFs

My Autistic Dance

A couple of weeks ago, on and around August 10th there was yet another long-running argument being conducted on Twitter between anti-vaccine supporters on the one hand and autistic advocates on the other.

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Just Say the Word, Disability!

No, “disability” is not a bad word.

No, having a disability is not shameful.

No, disability does not mean being “less than”.

No, disability does NOT mean a complete inability to do things. It only means, needing to do things differently from everyone else.

No, it does not mean that your life loses value. Disabled lives are LIVES WORTH LIVING.

Claiming the disability label for yourself or for your children and other loved ones is NOT a form of “giving up”. It doesn’t mean that you stop working toward greater autonomy, improved abilities, integration into society, or a more fulfilled life. It just means, acknowledging that you may need to do things differently. Sometimes accepting a disability can be an important step toward achieving your life goals. You can’t imagine away limitations, but you can imagine how to work around them.

Claiming the disability label can be an act of pride. Many disabled warriors have fought for everything from the right to ride public transportation, to attend school, to have the same access to information and communication as everyone else, and more. Even if you’re not disabled, then you have still benefited from our advocacy. Every curb cut you’ve ever used for your baby stroller, every line of captions that enables you to understand television in a noisy bar, and many more things are there because we fought for them.

If you’re worried about “appropriating” the term from people who need it? If you are worried that your difficulties are too “minor” to “count”? If you think the best way to show respect for disabled people is to disclaim the label? Please relax. Most of us want MORE people, not fewer, to feel entitled to identify with the word “disability”. Even people who experience different degrees of difficulty may still share a common need for accessible environments and respect for our value as human beings. You’re not taking anything away from us by claiming the identity. On the contrary: you are identifying common ground that lets us work together toward common goals.

If you still believe disability isn’t an accurate descriptor for you? Or if you need to think about it more first? You have a right to define your own identity. You do you.

But please, have the courtesy to disclaim the label in a way that doesn’t imply that being a person with talents, autonomy, and value as a human being is somehow a contradiction to being also a person with disabilities.

And, please, learn what the term means before explaining why it doesn’t fit. If you say you’re not disabled because there are so many things you can do, then you haven’t understood what it means. If you say you’re not disabled because you “only need to do things differently,” then you have just given the definition for what “disability” means. Wouldn’t it feel silly to learn that your explanation for disclaiming the label instead explains why you have a right to claim it after all?

Forced Intimacy: An Ableist Norm

Written by Mia Mingus, at her blog “Leaving Evidence”

Leaving Evidence

Photo of my wheelchair in a dark room, silhouetted against a doorway, with a large shirt outlined in lights hanging against a dark wall.

“Forced Intimacy” is a term I have been using for years to refer to the common, daily experience of disabled people being expected to share personal parts of ourselves to survive in an ableist world. This often takes the form of being expected to share (very) personal information with able bodied people to get basic access, but it also includes forced physical intimacy, especially for those of us who need physical help that often requires touching of our bodies. Forced intimacy can also include the ways that disabled people have to build and sustain emotional intimacy and relationships with someone in order to get access—to get safe, appropriate and good access.

I have experienced forced intimacy my entire life as a disabled child, youth and adult…

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