|Image description: The word 'horizons; written in metal across a cement wall|
I'm just going to answer the question in the title now, to save you waiting. No I should not. It is demonstrative of various power differentials at work, and also where normalcy mediates in an unhelpful way.
As someone who has been on the receiving practice of ableist practice once too many times (and once is too many times in my book), I know the impact of such practice that is possible. I have been spoken over, gaslighted, ignored, discredited, manipulated, etc etc in the past. I'm not out to name and shame, because that would just serve no purpose other than me airing off in the public domain. What I do intend to do, is to tell you why it is so problematic that I have to point out to you that there is a problem multiple that I have to tell you multiple times that you are discriminating against me, and that no one is willing to, or brave enough, to stand up alongside me while I say this.
Here are a short selection of rebuttals I have come across:
- 'Oh but it's not my place to say'.
- 'Oh but if I say something, the other person might take offence.'
- 'Oh, but I'm sorry, have you tried [some other nonsense which I know does not work, like bath salts].'
- 'Oh, I need to go now.'
- [refuses to comment]
- 'Take a deep breath, dear.'
- 'We can't always get our own way.'
- 'We can't be inclusive to everyone.'
I need one of those buzzers that says *bullshit* every single time one of those is said. I cannot even start to pick them apart currently...
This isn't about getting a 'way', or to cause trouble (although the way this escalates, yes it is trouble!) This is not being selfish or about preference on a level which. This is about needs, and when needs are ignored. Distress and sensitivity to what others need in regards to access, to participation and being among. The ability to not always be 'barred' into this idea of normalcy.
I shouldn't have to get angry as I should be understood, without this filter of 'oh diddums, put up with it because you are [a woman/disabled/autistic/short/etc]'. I shouldn't have to be faced with injustice so many times that I have to give out emotional labour to tell you what is wrong. I should not have to tell you, as it shows respect for others when we care for others in a meaningful way that they need, rather than some pity clap-trap which does not empower people, or respect their lived experience. It's out of respect for intrinsic value of people that we stand alongside them.
To those who have said something like this - I am severely disappointed in you all. You should know better, especially those who have said this to me in a church setting - I am most disappointed in you. To be a Christian is to stand in the firing line at times, sometimes most or all of the time. I'm not saying I don't forgive, however addressing this sort of thing, dialogue and self reflection is very much the sort of activity which is required in a faith setting from what we are asked of in those places. I would continue and reference to back myself up, however I will end that point here. This is not something which is setting specific. This happens everywhere.
Rights of disabled people, and the various other groups that we intersect, are a human rights issue. It's about time we started looking at this in that manner, rather than seeing it as 'something nice to do'. Lots of things are nice to do, like eating ice cream. Doesn't mean I do it all the time. This is something which needs to happen all the time, because it involves people, and we are all of worth and value. We are all of worth, even if we are not part of this normalisation agenda (how I call normalcy as most valued life to have), or however our bodies and brains are, or however we process the world. However rich, however poor, whatever religion, whatever ethnicity, whatever sexual orientation or however you define your gender.
We place the idea of 'disability rights' into silos (categorise into boxes) - of who they might apply to, or what they might look like. I'm not sure we can do that. I think we like to do that though, so we do it anyway. We think of things that could or might be more relevant to certain 'groups' over others. We also can have a 'hierarchy' of disability - who is the most 'disabled'. Again - I'll whack my button from above - no. In terms of autism - 'high functioning' and 'low functioning' come into this. These place value on people on account of observable 'capacity' (and note the ''). It discredits both groups. It is assumptive on so many levels. Autistic people are not all the same - some of us are physically disabled too, some of us have chronic pain conditions, some of us have other neurodivergent 'conditions'. But in spite of this, we all have the same value inherently as humans, as people, therefore we all have the same rights. It is just that how we might be disenfranchised might have differing dimensions (with some being the same in some cases).
Transformation to angry self-advocate: complete.