Yesterday, I shared my newest piece for Yahoo Life all about this month’s ADA anniversary. This year was a huge milestone — THIRTY YEARS — so I was excited to see all the coverage and disabled stories about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going in the next 30 years.
Well, Sunday’s official anniversary came and went. While, yes, there was coverage, one thing stuck out to me: The anniversary didn’t even trend on social media. And for some reason, I’ve been thinking about that a lot these past few days. Not because I’m sad or mad or annoyed, which I am (all three, actually), but because the lack of major recognition is just, well, the status quo when it comes to disabilities.
It’s something that disabled people like myself know all too well. It’s super disappointing that the ADA wasn’t even a blip in the news cycle ON THE ACTUAL ANNIVERSARY. At all. The anniversary of the biggest disability rights legislation and nope…nothing. What kind of inexcusable shenanigans are these??
I mean, this is what disabled people experience every day. This is our life, so I’m not surprised, but I would expect more from 2020.
On a deeper level, this lack of visibility is telling. It’s incredibly symbolic of how disabled people are still treated in 2020. We’re ignored. We’re left out. We’re forgotten about. We’re mocked. We’re undermined. We’re an after-thought.
So…why do I post photos of myself? To normalize disability. Maybe if more people saw disabled people, they would see us as actual human beings. Maybe they wouldn’t mock us with horrible names. Just a thought.
Disabled bodies are worthy
Disabled bodies are beautiful
Disabled bodies are hot
Disabled bodies are spectacular
Also, we need to start saying that word.
It’s not “differently abled”
It’s not “special needs”
Why are people so afraid to use that word?? I’ve seen people perform feats of word gymnastics trying to come up with a euphemism when really…
DISABLED IS NOT A BAD WORD
People are shocked when I say I’m PROUD to be disabled because we still live in a society where pride + disability don’t belong in the same sentence.
But I’m here to tell you they do belong together!! That’s why I’m so open about my life with a disability and want the world to see disabilities in a new way. My disability pride has taught me to be more vocal. To speak up. And, yes, to show my face — hi, selfies! Disabled people are here and we’re proud.
I recently asked my mom to take some new photos of me in my wheelchair for Disability Pride Month. Y’all know I haven’t always been comfortable in my body and that’s because I’m not used to seeing people like me, but that’s changing…and I couldn’t be more excited!! Disabled body representation is the future and I’m here for it.