Sympathy for the Dead

I don't often post in response to cases of abuse and murder of disabled persons, and I almost never bother diving into the morass that is most news hub comments sections, let alone replying... but this aroused my ire so deeply that I spent the better part of a day and a half pulling up news articles in order to compose a response.

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"I celebrate myself, and sing myself..."

I celebrate pride not only as a feeling of accomplishment- although to survive, achieve, and possibly even thrive in a society that demonizes, pities,silences and attempts to extinguish that which it considers too different to be allowed can, in and of itself be a prideworthy achievement. Nor is my pride only a shared joy in the notable achievements of others.

Pride is, at its core, about self-respect. Pride exists as a rejection of humiliation and hatred. It is a declaration that yes, we are worth no less than the rest of you, whether we are capable of 'passing' or not; that our value as human beings is not determined by our abilities or our impairments; that just like everyone else we have the right to live and love and choose and be.

I am proud because I refuse to be ashamed.

Happy Autistic Pride Day, everyone.

First Post of 2008

Nothing really interesting to say at the moment, but I had some interesting links I wanted to share.

Creature Discomforts- a series of ads about physical disabilities produced by Leonard Cheshire Disability and the creators of Wallace and Gromit. All of the claymation Aardman animals are voice-acted by real people talking about life with their disabilities and the obstacles they face because of inaccessibility and stigma.

D-PAN- music videos beautifully re-interpreted in ASL by deaf performers. I've kinda been perseverating on their version of "Waiting on the World to Change" and watching it over and over. :-)

the seam of skin and scales- Poem by Little Light. Very powerful and moving, regardless of whether you're cis- or transsexual.

Happy New Year, everyone!

And to All a Good Night

My gifts this holiday season included a DVD of one of my favorite movies, a few interesting-looking books, a couple of scented candles, a pair of home-made pillows just the right shape for hugging, and a tentacle ball the size of my head.

Life is good.
  • Current Music
    HP Lovecraft Historical Society- "Here Comes Yog-Sothoth"

A Letter I Don't Need to Send

They did it. They actually did it.

I was in the process of writing a sad, timid little post about the offensiveness of The NYU's Ransom Notes campaign, questioning how such a campaign could be compatible with their stated mission to "eliminate the stigma of being or having a child with a psychiatric disorder", or how they intend to promote 'awareness' by conflating the effects of disorders with the effects of ostracization and stigma (not to mention conflating psychiatric disorders and developmental/neurological disabilities), by presenting exaggerated worst-case scenarios without even the slightest mention of how to recognize the conditions that they were painting such bleak pictures of.

The post was going to be entitled "A Letter I'll Never Send", because I saw no point in sending it. I was nervous and frightened of taking even these first tiny baby steps towards public self-advocacy because I'd already seen others try and fail. When a corporation's only response to criticism and outrage is to take it as "evidence that [their] approach is working", what good can one more outraged voice do? When eloquent speakers, concerned parents, and even entire disability rights organizations all seem to be falling on closed ears, what use is one more person? I felt more small and insignificant than I ever had before I'd become aware of the disability rights movement. If the best we can do is still not good enough, is there any point to even trying?

Except that it worked. Whether it was the media coverage of the criticism or the online petition or the deluge of blogs and emails and phonecalls or the fact that someone noticed Koplewicz's affiliations with Pfizer and his participation in the infamous Paxil Study 329... it worked. As of today, the ads appear to be gone, hopefully for good.

Thank you, Ari Ne'eman, Kristina Chew, Mike Stanton, Bob Kafka, Jim Ward, Autism Hub, Not Dead Yet, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, ADAPT, TAAP, Alliance for Disabled in Action, and every blogger, advocate, parent, psychologist or other person of any creed or kind who spoke out against this. Thank you not allowing yourselves to be silenced, for fighting even when it seemed to be in vain. Thank you for making it a bit easier for people like me to add our voices to your chorus next time.

Thank you for hope.

Public Service Announcment

I am really not processing coherently enough at the moment to write out a full-fledged journal entry on the matter, but I thought it to be worth mentioning that today is the International Day of Disabled Persons, set aside by the UN since 1992 "to celebrate and acknowledge the experience and capabilities of people with disabilities".

This year's theme focuses on un/under-employment and workplace discrimination. The rest of the site appears to have some pretty interesting articles as well.

In Which I Am Apparently Not Pro-Choice

Many months ago, a friend of mine posted an entry asserting that anyone who would make a "I'm pro-choice, but..." statement or otherwise has any reservations about their reproductive rights stance should not truly consider themselves "pro-choice". I didn't say anything at the time; I was even less courageous about my advocacy than I am now, and everyone else commenting was falling over themselves in agreement. I didn't have the time, energy, or confidence to speak up then. I guess I still don't entirely have the confidence since I'm saying this here and now rather than at the time or somewhere they're likely to read it. Better late than never, I suppose.

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I am pro-choice, and I long for the day when all lives will be seen as having equal dignity and value.