Disability is a very real human experience. Although often overlooked and under valued, disability is the only minority group anyone can join at anytime. It’s the one thing you’re born with, acquire, or if you’re lucky, age into.
It’s the only minority group that affects everyone and yet it’s hardly ever discussed or included. This lack of representation, resources, and opportunities makes the disability community the most marginalized of communities. But why?
Historically, society has had negative stigmas and stereotypes surrounding disability that have not benefited disabled people today. Most don’t even understand how vast of a world disability is. From 1867-1974, the ugly laws existed. This law restricted those with physical disabilities from going outside to public places unless it was for able bodied entertainment purposes. The last recorded arrest was in 1974 - that’s 50 years ago! Disabled people who are alive today had to deal with things like that. It also wasn’t until 1990 that the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed - a law that prohibits the discrimination of disabled people in public life. This includes schools, jobs, transportation, theaters, restaurants, and retail stores, etc…
Today, society is still very behind on disability education and disability rights. From the education system, media, employment, and even marriage. Children need to see disabled people in their classrooms as their teachers and as their peers, and also represented in their textbooks and educational materials. Mainstream media needs to start including proper disability representation in their shows, movies, commercials, etc - both on screen and behind the scenes. We need to listen to and hire disabled individuals in all careers. We need to stop putting restrictions on disabled individuals lives simply because we don’t understand. Society’s discomfort with disability affects only disabled people, and that needs to change.
Disabled people are human and disability is a human experience. Disability affects literally everyone and therefore, everyone should care about it!
More importantly, everyone needs to start understanding the intersectionalities of disabled people. We’re more than our disabled narratives and we’re affected by more than our disability. We’re writers, actors, teachers, doctors, moms and dads, students, innovators, etc.. Race, gender, sexuality, and religion are also a part of our identities and these factors impact our lives as well.
Disabled people are multidimensional humans and to box us into society’s idea of us is to lose our overall human experience. Disability is a part of our human experience but it’s not our only human experience.
As society begins to unlearn its bias and redefine disability as a human experience, we’ll see more of the beautiful world of disability. It won’t be a shock to see disabled people living their lives and working in their chosen careers because disability will be represented and included.
This all goes with our LL Official mission: We are all human. Regardless of race, sexuality, gender, disability, religion, etc. We are all experiencing, healing, learning, adapting, and growing. Simply being human.
The human experience is different for all and regardless of one’s identity, disability is or will be a part of that experience at some point.
Be loud and proud about your disabled identity!
Be proud about what makes you human!
And remember… We Are All Human!
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