#ShitAbledPeopleSay: Why We Need This Hashtag

blue or teal background with #ShitAbledPeopleSay in black and white text alternating between the words

What does it mean to be disabled and exist in a society that purposely excludes you? What are some comments or micro-aggressions disabled people encounter in their daily lives? #ShitAbledPeopleSay (pardon my French) is a hashtag that answers these questions with honesty, bluntness, care, empathy, and humor. It was a tweetstorm of epic proportions.

We need this hashtag because it exposes our truths; it gives us space to communicate and empathize with each other. We need it because it’s time folks know how pervasive ableism affects our sense of self-worth, self-love, mental health, and position in society.

You can check out the Storify below, which contains a sample of the important and much-needed discussions happening around this hashtag. I encourage everyone to read, reflect, and share. If you have something to contribute, please do – the conversation is still going strong.

Edited to add: If the slideshow below is not accessible, try visiting the Storify’s permanent link.

Pokemon Go: Developers Drop the Pokeball on Accessibility

Three shelves filled with plush Pikachu at a store

I was excited for a new, free Pokémon game – until I realized it wasn’t accessible.

I don’t begrudge anyone their fun with Pokémon Go. It’s a good way to get folks out and around in their community if they have the ability to do so. Seeing strangers bond over a shared interest is fantastic. Some have said it helps with their mental and emotional well-being. But developers are ignoring a significant portion of gamers – disabled people. Inaccessible games are nothing new (listen to me talk about it), but we can’t accept the status quo when it increasingly and continually marginalizes us.

So, what makes Pokémon Go not accessible for me and other disabled users?Read more…

Richard Marx and Fair-weather Friends

Red, tiny robot made out of paper, a black tear from his right eye, holding a paper heart that's been torn in half

By guest blogger Noemi Martinez, a poet-curandera and writer with Mexican and Caribbean roots living in South Texas. Her poem and photo collection South Texas Experience: Love Letters can be purchased on Hermana Resist Press’ website. You can also read her previous guest blog on selfie sticks.

When was the first time a friend broke up with you?

Lyrics for Endless Summer Nights-Richard Marx:

https://medium.com/@hermanaresist/lyrics-for-endless-summer-nights-eb3b995f004e#.t6a9do7zo

For me, it was the last day of school in the fifth grade. Before the end of the day, my best friend told me when we came back in the fall for the beginning of our 6th grade year, she wouldn’t be my best friend anymore. She brought a cookbook from home that day to give me, and I spent the summer learning how to make peanut-butter blondies and petit fours.

She knew I loved to bake, but I guess didn’t understand how heart broken I’d be coming into the sixth grade – an awkward tall girl who sneezed too much and was too much for their ex-best friend. … Read more…

Don’t Label Me Undateable – featured on Easter Seals

someone coloring a pink heart on a piece of paper using pastels. box of other colors in the distance

Recently, I published an article on Easter Seals Thrive about my experience dating as a disabled woman.

“People told me I would never find love, and no romantic partner would accept everything that comes along with my disability. I refused to believe them, and it worked – just ask my boyfriend.”

To read the rest, visit this Thrive website.

Thrive is a microsite and social network community for young women with disabilities. 

The Geeky Gimp Presents – Disability and Star Trek: live panel recording!

Video is closed-captioned, and the transcript is below!

In this live (recording) of our Google hangout, we chat about disability and Star Trek, including the episodes: “The Managerie,” “Melora,” “Ethics,” “The Loss,” and “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” We also discussed Geordi LaForge and the portrayal of blind characters, whether or not Data represents disability, and so much more!

The guests were:

Thank you to all my guests for a wonderful discussion! … Read more…

The Geeky Gimp Presents #6 – A Podcast with Chris!

Chris (@preiman709 on Twitter) and I chat about Daredevil, blindness portrayed in Star Trek, RPGs, and dating while disabled. You can subscribe to my podcast by searching for “The Geeky Gimp” on iTunes, or using the subscribe button in the right menu. As always, English subtitles are available on the YouTube video, and the transcript is below. Enjoy!

Thank you to Todd for providing us with this transcript and subtitles. Please support him by visiting his blog at http://boardgamemadness.blogspot.com! … Read more…

Gender in the Movies – Inamorata

Inamorata is a short film about women’s rights and sexuality in the 1960s. It’s being made by director Dominick Evans, who identifies as disabled. This is an important film, and is currently being funded on Indiegogo. You can check out the campaign by clicking here, or at the end of this interview. Since this movie is one I think needs to be made, I wanted to support the project as much as possible. It’s crucial that we include marginalized voices in the media we digest, and Dominick is striving to promote that through his work. I got a chance to speak to him about directing, education, films, and the ableism he has faced in his career.

Dominick talking about his film
Dominick talking about his film, Inamorata

Hi, Dominick. Can you tell us a little about yourself, and how you got involved in film-making?

I’m 33 years old and was born and raised in Toledo, OH. I actually grew up in a little town outside of Toledo city limits called Walbridge. It was so small I used to cruise around in my wheelchair, and could get from one side of town to the other in about 15 minutes. At 4 I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type III. I walked until I was 16, but started using a scooter when I was 11, due to inability to walk long distances. I am the baby of my family. I have two, much older, half brothers, and one full-blooded brother. I’m Polish on my dad’s side and have a rich Polish heritage I have enjoyed discovering as I have gotten older. My maternal side is mostly British and Irish. I was very close to my Irish grandfather, Willie, who died last year, at 94. Other than my dad, who died when I was 20, Willie was my biggest fan. He always encouraged me to follow my dreams no matter what anyone else said about me. I currently live in Dayton, OH with my girlfriend of almost 12 years, Ashtyn, our teenage son, and our adorable shih tzu, Molly. Ash is from Michigan and we lived up there until I decided to return to Ohio to go to film school down in Dayton. … Read more…

TV Review #2 – Star Trek: TNG’s “Ethics”

When I reviewed “The Loss” from Next Generation, I wrote about my general disappointment with the show. At that point, I’d only seen up to season four, and I felt it was bogged down by too many crew meetings and negotiations. Well, now that I’ve seen the series in its entirety, I have to say that I ended up loving it. Season five was an overall masterpiece, especially the episode “The Inner Light” – it changed my attitude toward the show, and the episodes continued to impress until the end of the series. The episode I’m reviewing now, “Ethics,” is the 16th installment from season five. I decided to review it because it’s sort of the opposite of “The Loss”; while there are a few misfires regarding disability, “Ethics” tends to get it right. I expected lots of cringe-worthy moments based on the synopsis and ableist trailer, but was pleasantly surprised by the points raised in the script. So let’s take a look at the episode, and see if you agree.      

We open with Worf and La Forge investigating some chemical leak in cargo bay three. As they scan the area, they discuss a recent poker game. Thanks to his VISOR, Geordi can see through the cards, but he only admits to peeking after the hand is over. I liked this little banter between the two because it connects the reality of disability with everyday life. Some suggest that Geordi’s disability/VISOR are only used to make him “special” or “superhuman,” thus falling into a disability trope, but I disagree. His VISOR helps him navigate the world, just like my wheelchair helps me navigate the world. The fact that his VISOR can sometimes be helpful in a mission or, in this case, give him an advantage in a poker game, doesn’t take away from his fully-developed character; he has a backstory, love interests, hobbies, a personality, etc. TNG doesn’t focus on his disability – it is treated as part of who he is, but does not define who he is. What his VISOR can do is just a reality of the adaptive technology of that time period. My wheelchair can do some pretty nifty things as well, but that doesn’t make me “superhuman.” … Read more…

Comic Review #1 – The Killing Joke

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Batman comic, and I’ve surprisingly never read The Killing Joke. This graphic novel is considered a classic, written by Alan Moore of Watchmen and V for Vendetta fame, and hauntingly illustrated by Brian Bolland. I purchased the 2008 deluxe edition, which was recolored by Bolland; he uses a cooler palette than the original color artist, and makes the flashback scenes into black and white, with small touches of color to add emphasis on certain objects. I’ve seen the original 1988 comic (thanks, internet!), and I definitely think the new coloring transforms the comic into the darker, weightier story it was meant to be. You can see the difference here:

kj_comparison

The original looks psychedelic, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it doesn’t fit the dark theatrical nature of some of the scenes. The recoloring and illustrations are the best things about this comic. That isn’t to say that I didn’t think the story was well executed, but the art is so great here that it overshadows the other elements. I particularly liked the way the Joker was drawn – he looked sadistic and frightening, but you could still see the human behind it. The carnival scenes are effectively chaotic, highlighting the perverseness of the Joker’s thought process and actions.

Despite my praise for the artwork and plot execution, there are some very problematic things about this novel – namely the treatment of Barbara Gordon. So let’s just get right down to it so you can see what I mean. … Read more…

TV Review #1 – Star Trek: TNG’s “The Loss”

I am not a huge fan of The Next Generation, despite what my Pez dispenser and TNG comic collection might tell you. I haven’t seen every episode yet, but I’ve watched four seasons and I find it difficult to get through at times. I understand the appeal this show has for a lot of people, but many of the episodes are bogged down by meetings and negotiations. The Original Series, while also having meetings and plenty of talky moments, felt more balanced. This may have something to do with Kirk’s ability to challenge and oftentimes defy the Prime Directive, which leaves room for more action and conflict. Despite my somewhat negative outlook of the show, it is still great to analyze and discuss its plots and hit-or-miss attempts at social commentary. The episode I’m reviewing now, titled “The Loss,” is one that stuck out to me because of its weak attempt at disability discourse, and its ability to make my indifferent feelings about Troi switch to complete disgust in only 42 minutes.

Troi making people cry
Troi likes to make people cry.

The episode opens with Ensign Brooks in a counseling session with Troi. Brooks recently lost her husband, and seems to be in a state of denial. Troi reminds her that it would have been her husband’s 38th birthday, and shows her a music box she’s saved that belonged to him. Brooks breaks down and cries on Troi’s shoulder.

Cut to the bridge. Worf picks up something on the sensors that quickly disappears, and Data is unable to see anything with his equipment. As this is going on, Troi says goodbye to Brooks, and suddenly clutches her head in pain. She enters her room and passes out on the couch. And then…

SPACE! THE FINAL FRONTIER! You know the rest. The opening credits are the best (and least rage-inducing) part of this episode. That should tell you something about where I’m going with this review.

Picard orders Data to resume course to T’lli Beta because there is nothing showing up on the sensors. As soon as he says “Engage!”, the ship jolts and is unable to enter warp. They go to a full stop and yellow alert, but the Enterprise begins moving again – albeit very slowly. Some unknown force is pulling them along. After a failed attempt at breaking free, Data suggests immediate shutdown and Picard does his infamous “Make it so!” They continue to be pulled in the same direction and at the same speed.

Back in Troi’s room, we see her wake up and call Dr. Crusher. She says she feels dizzy, but isn’t sure what happened. After dealing with a few other crew injuries, Crusher arrives and wants to run an internuncial series on her in sick bay.  She’s still clearly in distress, so medical scans are probably a good idea.

Read more…