Content/trigger warning: discussion of ableism, mention of eugenics, abuse discussion
Hello, dear readers!
So I pushed off the entry to cover #StopTheShock and am now writing about disability pride the month after Disability Pride Month. Oh well. Here we go anyway.
I was surprised to learn that some Disabled people don’t like Disability Pride Month because it was officially codified by former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who is not Disabled. I think this is silly, especially because Disability Pride Month was codified in honor of the 25th anniversary of the ADA. Still other Disabled people don’t like Disability Pride Month because they think it’s appropriative of queer Pride. As a queer Disabled person, this makes me roll my eyes so hard I’m afraid they’re going to get stuck looking at the back of my head. Look, in social justice movements, slogans often inspire other slogans. Did anyone scream “APPROPRIATION!!!1” at Frank Kameny when he was inspired by “Black Is Beautiful” to create “Gay is Good”? No. And if you don’t know who Frank Kameny is and aren’t familiar with “Gay Is Good,” you probably don’t know enough to be judging what is and isn’t appropriative of queer people.
With that out of the way, disability pride. A lot of abled people are shocked to their very cores at the idea that Disabled people might be–gasp!–PROUD of being Disabled. Well, in the words of Sigrid Ellis, “When you are accused of being a hated, vile thing, you can take two paths. You can deny being the thing and agree with your accuser that this thing is AWFUL. The WORST. Of course you are not that thing. Or. Or. You can INCREASE BEING THE MOTHERFUCKING THING.” That quote is actually about the word “queer,” but to me, it applies to being Disabled too. If you polled abled people, I bet the majority of them would say that they’d rather die than be Disabled. The anti-vax movement is predicated on the idea that it’s better to be dead than Autistic. Eugenic abortion of fetuses with trisomy 21 is common. So when abled people say they’d rather be dead than be like us…well, I obviously can’t speak for the entire Disabled community, but “INCREASE BEING THE MOTHERFUCKING THING” is awfully tempting, especially since the alternative is being horribly depressed. I’ve done a lot of being horribly depressed. -1000/10 do not recommend. (See: my blog entry on songs that saved my life.)
Some of you might be immensely puzzled by my comparison between queer pride and disability pride. You might be saying, “Queerness doesn’t cause suffering; queermisia does! But disability? That causes suffering! You just said that depression caused suffering for you!” Well, that’s a little reductive of you, but you’re right about the first part. And you have something of a point. Some disabilities do just suck. CPTSD, for instance. What didn’t kill me turned me into a clusterfuck of traumas in a trenchcoat. CPTSD can go fuck itself. You know how in X-Men 3 how Rogue wanted to be “cured” and Storm insisted that there was nothing wrong with mutants? If you want to see that as a metaphor for disabilities I have, Storm’s powers are Autisticness and Rogue’s powers are CPTSD. Still, I’m proud of surviving CPTSD (and my other mental illnesses that can get bent) and existing despite them. I’m also proud of putting up with ableism, despite the fact that nobody should fucking have to put up with ableism. What I’m trying to say here is that there are a lot of reasons a Disabled person might be proud of being Disabled, regardless of what kind of disabling condition they have.
Some Disabled people may have pride in the specific disabilities they have in addition to being proud of being Disabled in general. For instance, I’m very proud of being Autistic. In addition to the “INCREASE BEING THE MOTHERFUCKING THING” need to be proud of something that the vast majority of people see as a dreadful tragedy, I feel like there are some genuinely positive parts of my Autisticness. It gives me a strong sense of justice and makes me highly detail-oriented. I love my special interests and just how into them I can get, and how much joy they bring me. I love love LOVE stimming. Also, I’m proud of how I figured out I was Autistic despite my shitty abusive parents insisting throughout my entire childhood and teenagerhood that I was allistic while trying to abuse the Autisticness out of me.
Yeah, okay, this entry is a little focused on how I feel about disability pride. Well, that’s because I feel like disability pride can be very individual, and I don’t know if it’s possible for one Disabled person to cover all of the reasons Disabled people might be proud of being Disabled. This entry is also a little short. That’s because I’m in agonizing pain from cramps at the moment, and pain makes me bad at thinking (and writing). Sorry this entry is a little subpar, but I had to finish an entry this month and this is what I’m capable of right now.
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