Include all of us!

As a disability activist, I want to make sure that disability policy includes all of us. Here are some ways that we can include more people. This isn’t everything we can do, but we can start here.

Listen to disabled people of colour. People who have to deal with racism are sometimes going to encounter different problems from what white people may have to deal with. I’m both black and autistic. I worry about being targeted for my race when I go into a store or encounter the police. I also worry about these issues because of my disability. Autism means that my body language may be different from non-autistic people’s. This means that I may be seen as ‘suspicious’ even if I’m just minding my own business. You can take the issues caused by racism and add them to the ones caused by prejudice against autistic people.

Recognise the struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people with disabilities. Some people don’t take us seriously. They think that we can’t know who we’re attracted to, or what our own gender is. But this isn’t fair. People know themselves best and we should remember that. We have the right to be in relationships. We have the right to be seen as our own gender. Some of us are men. Some of us are women. Some of us are neither. Some of us are both. You can have a disability and be LGBTQ+.

Remember to support women with disabilities. Disabled women deal with sexism and prejudice against disabled people. Even women without disabilities are taken less seriously sometimes. This is even worse if a woman has a disability. Women are people. People have rights and they deserve a voice.

Listen to people with intellectual disabilities. Some people think that they can’t understand laws and other policies that will support or hurt them because of their disability. This isn’t true. There are ways to make information easy to understand for people with intellectual disabilities. You can write easy-read documents to teach people about candidates and bills. You can make sure your documents are easy to read for as many people as possible. We need to be fair and make sure that everyone can participate in disability policy.

Include people who have problems with reading. People can have problems with reading for different reasons. They may have an intellectual disability. They may have a learning disability. Or they may not speak your native language well. You can write things in a simple way that most people can understand. You can use different online tools to make sure your writing is easy to understand. You can also explain policy in other ways. There are people who can’t read at all. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be included. You can use pictures and videos. You can also explain things to people by talking or signing to them. If they speak or read a different language you can translate.

True inclusion means including all of us, not just some of us.

3 thoughts on “Include all of us!

  1. Would you include Constitutional Conservatives in your circle, even if they respected your personal views? Even if they offered to bear the brunt of all the hell that hurdles towards you?

    I’m just asking…
    Because I am one. I’m also a neurodivergent.

    • Of course I would. I don’t have any problems with conservatives in the movement; I have problems with conservatives who actively want to strip me of my civil rights and make me a second-class citizen. Self-determination means including people across the political aisle, and I don’t think I’ve indicated otherwise. 🙂

  2. And include disabled people with unusual disabilities.

    I am multiply disabled, and have severe sensory processing issues. I have nasty sensitivities to loud noises, bright lights, and strobe lights, among other things. I have to wear ear plugs, heavy ear protectors, and sunglasses whever I go outside, and it’s still inadequate protection. I have to shield my eyes to walk down the street. I can be trapped when hit by construction noise. I can be trapped *in agonizing pain* when hit by backup beepers. I can be disoriented and end up in the street when hit by one set of strobe lights while turning to avoid another.

    I encounter strobe lights everywhere. Now I thought it was common knowledge that strobe lights are dangerous, and aren’t something that belong in public space like near public roads. Yet they are mounted on school buses. And similar flashing lights are used around construction, around stopped trucks, as turn signals, as ads, on high towers where they can hit people miles away, and so on. And long-bulb flourescent lights are used in public buildings. And safety standards require strobe weapons on many things. Now how has that happened?

    Apparently there are three parts. First, I guess it’s not common knowledge that strobe lights are dangerous. Second, I guess it’s not common knowledge that there are more strobe sensitivities than just epilepsy with strobe-induced seizures, so any issues with a wider range of frequencies, and any issues without seizures, were ignored. Third, I understand that epileptic groups and autistic groups were overwhelmed with the needs of the majority of people who aren’t strobe sensitive, and wrote off those who are.

    Between paralysis from the noise, and disorientation from the flashing lights, I expect to be killed by the sensory bombardment around here and the traffic.

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