Disability Identity

Discrimination Diaries

Discrimination Diaries

It's hard to underscore the importance of the personal testimonies of Discrimination Diaries that lead to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Just hearing statistics and third person references about being disabled isn't the same thing as hearing what living with a disability is like, directly from someone who is living it.

April 1988, Justin Dart, then Chair of the Congressional Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of People with Disabilities, began traveling the country (at his own expense) to hold public hearings to gather evidence to support the need for broad anti-discrimination protections. The documents and audio recordings became the collective Discrimination Diaries. The forums were attended by thousands of people willing to step forward and document the injustice and discrimination they faced due to their disability. 63 forums were held in total, one in every state, including the territory of Guam. 

Civil Rights protections for disabled people was a key purpose of the ADA. To learn what needed to be included in the law, the disability community was asked to testify about how they are discriminated against in all areas of daily life. People were asked not only to describe physical barriers to access they encountered, but also societal prejudices and biases.

Why I Use and Advocate for Identity-First Language

Why I Use and Advocate for Identity-First Language

You have probably noticed in posts throughout my Love Disabled Life blog that I often write "disabled people" rather than "people with disabilities." This is known as "identity-first" language and not "person-first" language. Identity-first language embraces the term (or label) of disability as being at one with the identity of who a person is. The same as a person would do if they were referring to themselves racially or ethnically. For example it is not common nomenclature to say "person with a Swedishness" (I, happen to be of Swedish heritage) You would say, Swedish person.

Flirting With My Identity As A Disabled Woman

Flirting With My Identity As A Disabled Woman

A major part of my identity is that I am disabled. This is not a newsflash to those of you who know me. In fact you may be thinking, "This is the big revelation? Who cares." That's kind of true. One look at me and you can easily see that I am disabled. But what I draw issue with is the term of disability. It is a label that concludes a value judgement or assessment of ability. The truth is, I have pride in being disabled. It is part of who I am. But it is the often misguided negative associations with the label of disability that I reject.

Disability Pride: Not just slogans and protest posters

Disability Pride: Not just slogans and protest posters

Disability pride is the open and vocal declaration, dare I say unapologetic, of one's disability identity. Those who are disabled and proud not only acknowledge they are disabled, but they embrace it as part of their being. It reflects much more of the social model of disability. That is, that the construct of disability resides in the environment, and not in themselves. People who are proud to be disabled aren't looking to be cured, fixed or appeased. Rather, they seek the same rights, access and freedoms that any non-disabled person is afforded.