One in Seven
We exist in every culture; every race; every class; every creed; every nationality; every political party. We have arrived here as a result of accident, injury, illness or simple genetic glitch. We are adults and we are children; we are men and we are women; we are straight, we are gay, and we are bisexual. We are too frail to leave the house and we are strong enough to yomp across continents. We are desperately ill and we are at the peak of physical fitness. We die young and we live to a ripe old age. We are accepted in our communities and we are locked away in institutions. We have been this way since birth, and we have been this way since yesterday. We are the premature baby and the great-grandparent. We are the criminal underclass and the pillar of society. We are the warmonger and the pacifist. We are the teacher and the student.
We are, without a shadow of a doubt, the most diverse minority group on the planet. We are everywhere you look, and yet you do not see us. We are one in seven*.
We have two things - and only two things - in common with one another:
1. we have some degree of physical or mental functional loss or difference (we have impairments); and
2. we are excluded from full participation in society because we have impairments (we are disabled).
We are not brave. We are not special. We are not tragic. We are not heroic. We are not “an inspiration”. We are not the Bogey Man. We are not objects of pity. And we are not the living embodiment of our impairments. You can’t predict what any one of us is going to be like just because you know someone else with the same impairment. We are people. Like you. We have the same rights that you have. We do the same things you do, but we do some of them differently.
You could join us at any time. Just by taking your eyes off the road for a split second. That’s all it takes. If that happens, will you be special? Will you be brave? Will you just sit there quietly and accept it if no-one will employ you? If you’re prevented from going where you want to go and seeing who you want to see? If no-one takes what you say seriously any more?
No? Then why should we?
We are one in seven and we will remain silent no longer. Our impairments can’t be changed, but our exclusion can. On May 1st our voices will ring out in cyberspace as never before. We’ve got a lot to say, and we want you to read it. Visit Diary of a Goldfish on May 1st for a list of links to everyone who has made a commitment to speak out on Blogging Against Disablism day.
Post Script added June 07: links to the BADD 2007 entries are available here.
* One in seven of the UK population is disabled.
In the spirit of Blogging Against Disablism Day, word verification has been turned off, and comment moderation turned on. This may be a temporary state of affairs. It will depend on just how much blog spam I receive as a result.