Actually, disability is not something one overcomes. Stories that claim successful people with disabilities overcame their disabilities mislead the public. The barriers exist not in the person, but in the physical, social, and digital environment. People with disabilities and their communities succeed when the community decides to dismantle digital, attitudinal, and physical barriers. My success at school, in the office, and even on the dance floor were facilitated by communities that chose to practice inclusion.
Whenever we have brought ourselves together, whenever we have joined various disabilities together, we find our strength. Our strength is in our unity. And our strength is in our righteousness. Because this is a cause that we’ve all invested our life in.
In my early twenties I began to think, surely the same framework that had taught me to reject racist, sexist, ageist and homophobic messages the world told me about what it meant to be a young queer Asian woman, would also reject the message that disability was ugly and something to be pitied and cured.
Our relationships and well-being are linked. How we treat each other is a reflection of the kind of world we want to live in.
Acting normatively, doing things in a normative way, only feeds the already well-nourished ableism. The majority’s way is not the right way, nor it is the only way. Teaching compliance goes against acceptance.
And that’s the greatest example, that we, who are considered the weakest, the most helpless people in our society, are the strongest, and will not tolerate segregation, will not tolerate a society which sees us as less than whole people.