About Chally

Chally is the world's scariest feminist. She has a certain fondness for Doctor Who, cake, all things theatrical and making the world a better place. You can also find her at Zero at the Bone and Feministe.

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Recommended Reading for 24 December, 2010

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

The Broken of Britain: The GP’s Story by Dr Jest

So there you have it. Neither Pete nor Dud would have chosen to be where they are now, and neither has asked not to work when they were capable. Indeed both have rather struggled on when reason would have suggested they ought not. And I could name you a dozen others in a similar position. All present talk of making it more profitable to work than rely on benefit may sound very noble and high minded in the marbled halls of power, where hard graft means having a lot to read and a few late meetings to go to. It completely misses the enormous efforts made by the likes of Pete and Dud to keep going against the odds, and any move to impoverish them is little short of scandalous and should be relentlessly pointed out for the evil narrow minded bigotry it is.

Sarah at Cat in a Dog’s World: PWD and TSA

From information I’d heard from TSA administrators, I thought that the body scanners would reducethe need for physical pat-downs. Little did I know that TSA would use the new technology as an excuse to conduct more invasive pat-downs! It is obscene, especially when one considers that many people with disabilities don’t have any “choice” at all. If someone is unable to stand independently for ten seconds with their arms up, or if one wears any number of medical devices or prostheses…there is no “choice.” (And no, for many people, “don’t fly” is not a realistic choice.) There is, additionally, reason for concern about the radiation from the body scanners, particularly for cancer survivors and people who have a genetic predisposition to cancer. It is now pretty clear that body scanners, far from being a panacea, are making things worse. And people with disabilities are being affected disproportionately.

At Spilt Milk: Thanks for your help, doctor.

Make no mistake: I know that this only happened to me because I am fat. If I were a thin person and I walked through his door with the symptoms I described, he would have been forced to dig deeper. To ask me more questions, to hopefully come up with a wider range of options. Maybe run more tests.

United States: Megan Cottrell at ChicagoNow: Got a disability? You’ll see the difference in your paycheck

A lot of people might assume that if you have a disability, you might not make as much money as someone without a disability. But how much less? How hard is it for people with disabilities in Illinois to get by compared to their neighbors?

India: An unnamed special correspondent at The Hindu: Social barriers keep the disabled away from workforce:

Persons with disabilities are the last identity group to enter the workforce, not because their disability comes in the way of their functioning, but because of social and practical barriers that prevent them from joining work, a study on the ‘Employment Rights of Disabled Women in India’ carried out by the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation of the National Commission for Women (NCW) has said.

Guillermo Contreras at Chron.com: State sued over care for disabled Texans

The federal lawsuit, filed Monday in San Antonio, alleges the state isn’t providing some mentally and physically disabled Texans the opportunity to move into community-based settings, which advocates say are less restrictive and more rehabilitative than nursing homes.

Lastly, here’s a transcript of a story on Australia’s 7.30 Report program called Setting Sail:

Known as the ‘Everest of sailing’ the Sydney to Hobart race challenges the most seasoned of yachtsmen on what can be a treacherous ocean voyage.

Most of the focus is on the big maxi-yachts competing for line honours. But a unique crew of blind and deaf sailors is also commanding attention.

The charity organisation, Sailors With Disabilities, has been gifted a half-million dollar fast yacht, making them eligible for the first time in the prestigious Rolex Cup.

Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited. And have yourself a fabulous weekend.

Blindness in Greek Myth

Ages ago, I said I was going to write a series about disability in Greek myth. Of course, I had to do things like “study,” “sleep” and “move three times in six months” so that fell through. Oh, Hephaestus, I am sorry. However, I hope this post covering a fair portion of the myths featuring blindness will do you!

From blinding as a means of punishment or defeating enemies to associations with musical and prophetic gifts and indeed insanity, blindness performs a whole lot of functions in Greek myth. There’s so much to cover, so I’ll assume a certain familiarity with the myths themselves (just Google if you get confused, or ask me for a reference, I’ve got loads on hand). Let’s dip in, shall we?

Defeating monsters

There’s a recurring theme in Greek myth of gods and heroes blinding monsters. Zeus ends the Titanomachy (the Titan rebellion against the Olympians) by blinding the Titans with his flash of lightning. His enemy, Typhoeus, is a threat because of his hundreds of flame-spurting eyes. The power to force blindness is positioned as a defining power in conclusive defeat. By having both Apollo and Heracles then shoot out Ephialtes’ eyes, this frankly offputting kind of power reinforces the collective dominance of the Olympians.

Perseus continues the institution of blindness in order to subdue in stealing the Graeae’s eye and continue his quest. There’s also Argos: only in closing his eyes – being “blinded” – is he vulnerable to Hermes, who then decapitates him. But when Odysseus blinds Polyphemus the Cyclops, he himself is punished. Who ought to be sighted and who blind, then, ought to be under divine control, according to these narratives.

Blindness as punishment

This is a frequent trope! Metope, for example, is punished by her father Echetus with blindness and must work to regain her sight. Where Argos had to be “blinded” in order to be decapitated, Alcmena’s mutilation of Eurystheus’ eyes is performed after his decapitation in order to humiliate him. (Yep, not exactly blindness-positive here, are we…) Then there’s blinding as revenge, as with Polymestor’s punishment for murder in Hecabe.

People are often blinded for offences against the gods, as with Erymanthos after he saw Aphrodite bathing. Stesichorus is supposed to have been blinded on insulting Helen, the daughter of Zeus who was caught up in the Trojan War. Unusually, when he retracts, Stesichorus regains his sight. Another case in which blindness is temporary is when Poseidon put a mist before Achilles’ eyes to stop him killing Aeneas. Orion is blinded as a punishment for rape, but he regains his sight upon seeing Helius, the sun: blinding punishments don’t seem to hold for gods as they do for humans without divine favour.

Oedipus

As much as it pains me to have to talk about metaphorical blindness, it’s important when it comes to Oedipus. Perhaps the most famous blind figure in Greek myth, the idea is that his lack of insight leads to his literal loss of sight. The parallel is particularly drawn in the passage in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, in which Oedipus and the prophet Tiresias throw accusations of “blindness” at each other. Oedipus, still sighted at this stage in the Theban cycle, accuses Tiresias of having both blind eyes and mind, but it is the foresight of the blind prophet that predicts that the same will be said of Oedipus. This grates on me, but it’s still pretty great in that, where blindness has in many myths represented a lack of power – in punishment and defeat – here Tiresias’ associated prophetic sight trumps the visually sighted Oedipus.

Moving on to Oedipus at Colonus, following his self-inflicted blinding, Oedipus has clearly undergone an internal change, exchanging his sight for much insight into his destiny and that of his family. Psychoanalytic readings deem Oedipus’ self-blinding a symbolic castration, a punishment for his improper sexual behaviour (he marries a woman who turns out to be his mother). That interpretation certainly fits with the dynamic of blindness as punishment.

Prophecy

Greek myth features a singular association between blindness and prophecy. I find the stories of those who move between blindness and sightedness particularly intriguing. That’s the case with disease-blinded fisherman Phormion’s recovery of his sight after a prophetic dream. Rarely for Greek mythology, seer Ophioneus was born blind, and his temporary sightedness occurs after a sudden head pain. These myths, in their very inversion, point to a Greek tradition of linking prophetic insight with visual sight across many types of myths.

This is furthered with the instances of prophecy being granted as recompense for loss of sight. Euenios only receives prophecy as compensation because his inaction helped the cause of the gods. Conversely, a god is responsible for Tiresias’ blinding, because although his seeing Athena bathing was also a mistake, Zeus’ law mandates that he must be blinded. However, Athena’s gifts of prophecy and long life to Tiresias fill the compensation component we’ve come to expect. Fellow seer Phineus perpetuates the link between long life and blindness, choosing both over sight. Once more, visual sight is exchanged for something far more powerful.

Music

There’s also a strong association between blindness and musical talent. The talented piper Daphnis’ blindness is another example of removal of sight at the hands of supernatural forces. Such treachery of the Muses is also demonstrated with Achaios, who is blinded by bee stings (bees are associated with the Muses). It reappears in Demodocus’ case also, with the giving of musical talent and the taking away of his sight marking another instance of sight being exchanged for a powerful talent.

In the Iliad, the Muses are said to have maimed and taken the voice of the bard Thamyris after he boasted he was more talented than they were. Intriguingly, there is a tradition that Thamyris was also blinded, but Homer’s text itself doesn’t make this explicit. The continuation of such a tradition even outside tangible support from the official text demonstrates, I think, the significance of the blind musician in Greek culture. Indeed, references to the figure of the blind singer seem to have been encouraged by the Homeridae, the descendants of the blind poet Homer.

These myths, however, have very different meanings and doubtless cultural significance. The blindings are a mix of punishments and arbitrary whims, tied to the musicians’ talent and not. There’s no cohesive mythical function of blindness going on here that I can figure out; blindness just seems to be inserted every which way.

Madness

Back to metaphors again, I’m afraid, with Atê, the spirit of delusion and “blind” folly. She is known also as Ruin as she leads all who follow her astray by causing them to become “blinded” to their mistakes and often insane. Another of Greek mythology’s numerous linkings of blindness and madness is in Ajax. Athena describes the madness she institutes in Ajax in very visual terms, saying she will make his eyes dark although he still is sighted. This rendering of blindness is in fact a means of saving Odysseus from Ajax, further showing that blindness in Greek myth can be as much about divine favour as it is about punishment.

In conclusion…

Greek myth is characterised by myriad meanings and functions of blindness. Whether blindness is representing establishment or exercise of power dynamics, whether it appears as a metaphor, whether it is performing a variety of functions all at once or something else entirely, blindness is everywhere in Greek myth.

[Cross-posted to ZatB]

By 22 December, 2010.    representations  , , ,  



Spotlighting Kirstenbosch Garden!

Do you know, readers, it struck me that I have never posted about South Africa’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden? As the Garden is both stunning and disability friendly, I do not know how this is possible! I must correct it at once.

Kirstenbosch is set on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town and, according to the website, ‘was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora’. It’s part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Kirstenbosch is famous for its Braille Trail. Signed in Braille and large print along a guiding rope, the trail is designed specifically for blind visitors. You can read more about the Braille Trail here. It begins and ends with a fragrance garden, where the sensory emphasis is on touch and smell. Most of the garden is wheelchair accessible, including the Trail.

WheelchairThailand has a video called “Wheelchair access Kirstenbosch – South Africa”:

Video description: Video opens with a panning shot of a paved area surrounded by buildings. At the bottom is the word ‘Kirstenbosch’ in yellow. The next title is ‘Botanical garden Cape Town,’ then ‘Wheelchair friendly areas’ and then ‘South Africa’. Through this, relaxing music plays and there are shots of wheelchair users and non-wheelchair users moving about pathways, experiencing the gardens. There’s a shot of a green signpost, focusing on the ‘Braille Trail’ sign, and then a white sign titled ‘The Forest Braille Trail’. There are then shots of a Braille sign, the rope leading along the trail, and then some guinea fowl doing their guinea fowl thing. After that, we’re back to shots of wheelchair users experiencing the gardens. The ending title card says ‘produced by www.gehandicapten.com’

Address, contact details and operational hours are available here.

Recommended Reading for 17 December, 2010

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

United States: Tampa’s ‘Sensitive Santa’ allows children with autism to get photographs, too by Shelley Rossetter at the St Petersburg Times:

The mall’s owner, Glimcher Realty Trust of Ohio, started Sensitive Santa in some malls nationwide two years ago and extended the idea to all its properties this year, said Kristy Genna, marketing director for WestShore Plaza.

Ireland: Deaf man can sit on jury, says judge by Eithne Donnellan at the Irish Times:

A HIGH Court Judge has ruled for the first time that a deaf person can sit on a jury in the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Justice Paul Carney yesterday ruled that profoundly deaf teacher Senan Dunne could sit on a trial jury with the aid of a sign language interpreter. He said objections to having a “13th person in the jury room” in the form of a sign language interpreter could be met by the signer taking an oath of confidentiality and the jury foreman ensuring that she or he was confined to translating what went on.

Just updating you on the situation in Sierra Leone (see RR for 3 December): In Sierra Leone, Disability Congress Writes President Koroma by Abdul Karim Fonti Kabia at the Awareness Times:

The NDC highlighted that persons with disabilities remain severely under-represented in political and decision-making positions; disabled hold only 0.01% of parliamentary seats, and; the current representation of disable persons in cabinet is at 0.0%.

Indonesia: City to Soon Issue Bylaw on Disabilities at BeritaJakarta.com

As form of its attention to the disabled, Jakarta capital city government plans to implement local regulations on building facilities and accessibility for the disabled, including the sanctions for the violators. At present, there are approximately 35 thousand disabled people in five administrative areas of Jakarta.

Australia: ‘Warringah Council is seeking feedback on design concepts for the Collaroy Disability Tourism Precinct,’ something you can read about in Disability precinct design feedback wanted at the Manly Daily. Also see Windfall for disabled, also by Brenton Cherry at the Manly Daily:

The vision is to create a holiday destination for people with disabilities and their carers as well as a specialist economic business hub for Collaroy.

It would be a place where not only access to the beach, including to the water using an amphibious wheelchair, is possible, but also restaurants, public transport, accommodation and entertainment facilities.

Here’s the page on the Warringah Council website. Collaroy is a beautiful place on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I am so excited to hear about this proposal, and hope that more people will be able to enjoy that stunning beach!

Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited. And have yourself a fabulous weekend.

Constant Vigilance

To quote Harry Potter.

It’s difficult to separate out my life into the disability stuff and what life would be like without it. I don’t remember much of my life beforehand. Something I’ve been aware of for years is how distrustful ableism has made me.

I’ve been primed to be constantly aware of other people’s attitudes. I worry that people I’ve known for years think I’m exaggerating or lying when they ask how I’ve been. The sad thing is that this isn’t an unmerited fear. I have had people turn on me. I’m all too often aware of the need to watch what I say, watch people’s faces, watch my back. Because a rumour might start, or a friend might “forget” my access needs, or someone in a position of power might make life difficult for me. It can go wrong in a split second, and it has.

I’m not the most trusting person in the world in any case, but being disabled in this ableist world has taught me that complacency is something I cannot afford. I can’t expect that people will treat me like a person, and I can’t expect to go outside and not have to worry about accessibility issues all the time. That’s so terribly sad. And this constant vigilance is now so much a part of how I deal with the world, how I go about my day, that I don’t know how I’d go about teasing it out of myself, letting myself relax, even in the event that ableism and inaccessibility suddenly disappeared from society.

[Cross-posted at Zero at the Bone]

Recommended Reading for 10 December, 2010

Well, if it isn’t Friday again. I suppose it is for you, readers of the future, but I am writing this from Tuesday, in the past! Such is the power of the blog’s scheduling function.

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

An Actor Finds Truth & Power Negotiating her Vision Loss by Marilee Talkington guest posting at Brains of Minerva. Extremely relevant to this disabled actor’s interests, and a pretty wonderful piece in any case.

So I decided I wouldn’t tell the directors or anyone on the casting end that I was visually impaired. Which always felt like a betrayal. And I would show up as early as I needed to to re-write the entire script by hand in large print.  I hadn’t learned how to vocally advocate for myself yet in a way that didn’t feel angry or demanding, so at times I flat out lied. I remember calling an audition hotline once using a different name and asked if someone who was visually impaired could get the script ahead of time to memorize.  I was told that they couldn’t because it would pose an unfair advantage over the other actors.

Why CART in Government? by Martha Galindo at CCAC In Action:

1. Good government leads the way for all its citizens by setting best standards for equality and inclusion.

2. To reduce discriminatory gaps which now still exclude many able citizens (who happen to be deaf, deafened, or have a hearing loss, or who need quality text for many other good reasons) from regular and important government meetings, workshops, rallies, advisory committees, and public input to city, state, or federal bodies.

Lene Anderson at The Seated View: Disability Time

So there I am, sitting in the waiting room a full hour and half before my appointment and although I had a book, I was annoyed, so instead I started thinking about Disability Time. You don’t find it mentioned much in Google in the way it’s used in the disability world, but maybe some day, it’ll make its way into search engines. Disability Time refers to the way in which most things take much longer when you have a disability. There is personal Disability Time, as in it probably takes me double the time to make a cup of hot water in the microwave that it would you and then there is the Disability Time that’s imposed by others and there are a couple of those.

Donna Jodham: Out of sight out of mind

A few months ago I had a meeting with some officials of a financial institute to discuss making more financial planning services available to blind and sight impaired persons and at that time I raised the issue of making information available in alternate formats such as Braille, large print, and electronic text. To my chagrin but not to my surprise, the officials admitted that they had never thought of doing so. I also had a similar meeting with a major supermarket chain in Toronto to discuss making their weekly specials more available to their blind and sight impaired customers either online or through a phone service and again, I was told that this had not been thought of up until now.

Claudia Dreyfus for the New York Times: A conversation with Julian L. Seifter, Nephrologist and Patient. It’s an interesting interview with a physician, Dr. Julian Seifter, who just cowrote a book on living with chronic illness.

Q. Has being a patient helped you be a doctor?
A. I’ve certainly learned things I’ve brought back to the clinic. I have a retinopathy, for instance, which can be a complication of diabetes. I don’t have good vision in my right eye, as a result. When this first happened, I said to my ophthalmologist, “I can’t lose vision. I need to read.” And he said, “Any vision is better than no vision.”
That was important. I started thinking, “Concentrate on things you still can do and develop some new things.” I’ve since started gardening, which doesn’t require the most acute vision. It’s something I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I counsel my patients to replace what they’ve lost with something new.

Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited. And have yourself a fabulous weekend.

Book Review: Lasting Treasures by Julie Ellis

This piece contains lots of spoilers.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. I have enjoyed the couple of Julie Ellis novels I’ve read, but this one just tipped the charming/not happening scale a bit far. It has a really strong heroine in Vicky, who escapes the Russian pogroms to build a new life in America, trying to negotiate a difficult family situation and life as a prominent businesswoman. But there are lots of issues in this book that really grated, for example, every time a black servant is given an order, Ellis always points out how they were delighted to do it.

I’d just like to focus on the disability issues for now, though. There are many, not least with the disability-as-punishment trope cropping up at the end when the antagonist of the piece, Vicky’s son, has a stroke and is paralysed. He’s then housed in the cottage in which his mentally ill father shot himself. The very same cottage in which he kept Vicky while pretending she had a mental illness because he didn’t like the direction in which his mother was taking the company. Yep, it’s a bit of an intense novel.

But what I really want to talk about is the characterisation of Anita Roberts. Anita is married to Mark, a man Vicky falls in love with. So, naturally, she has to be a deceptive, evil shrew because that is the way “the other woman” gets sympathy in romance fiction. Except, she’s a wheelchair user, so it gets a lot more… interesting.

At first, Anita is set up as a martyr, the victim of a tragic accident who is doted on by her charming husband. They are a ‘special couple,’ Vicky is given to understand, and Anita is the darling of their social circle. As it turns out, she’s shrewd and conniving. She uses the excuse of the accident to deny her husband sex, even though the doctors said that they could have an ‘almost normal sex life’! It turns out that Anita never really wanted sex before the accident either, and now her horrible cruelty of not wanting sex has been unleashed! How terrible! It couldn’t possibly be the case that Anita doesn’t owe Marc sex, and she has become confident enough in herself to not engage with a sexual life she doesn’t really want. No, indeed. It is all about Marc’s pain and setting up his affair with Vicky. Anita’s not wanting sex gets to be the strange part, gets to be part of her evil scheme against poor Marc.

So, we’ve got the good crip who turns out to be hiding a deeply bitter and nasty nature. That’s old hat. But it was quite something to see that set up with a gendered aspect, too. Anita’s out to disparage Marc’s achievements and interests constantly, and she forces him to do ‘whatever she asks’ because otherwise he’s a terrible husband to his tragically beautiful and “damaged” wife. I suggest we identify a new trope, the Bad Shrewish Crip. The perfect mix of misogyny and ableism, out now at a bookstore near you.

But I really start to grit my teeth when we bring Anita’s Jewishness into it, because she perfectly fits the JAP stereotype. The Jewish American Princess is held to be a nagging, high maintenance woman with expensive taste and no sense of how irritating she is. And Anita is a JAP all over: she pokes fun at Vicky for having been a maid, loves designer clothing, and ends up forcing her husband to move to London as it is the only ‘civilised’ city on Earth. She’s simply set up as the most horrible conglomeration of disability, gender and racial/ethnic/cultural/religion stereotyping I have encountered in quite some time. The Bad Shrewish Jewish Crip, maybe?

So, in short: wanted to like it, feel kind of bad saying this because I like the author, but for goodness’ sake, this was one of the more frustrating reads of my year, and that is really saying something.

Recommended Reading for 3 December, 2010

Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

It’s Your Fault! by that stunning and mysterious being, Chally, at the Don’t DIS My ABILITY blog:

The thing is, people with a disability need accommodations. Accommodations aren’t optional extras, they aren’t something we can give up if we try a bit harder. Neither are we out to get all the money/spots/benefits at the expense of the rest of the population.

Despite his disability, he wages war on HIV (I know, horrible title) by Chaitra Devarhubli at DNA India:

[Amrut] Desai visits various villages in Gujarat, where he conducts programmes on AIDS and educates villagers regarding the same.

UK: Access All Areas: Disability survey

Some 90% of people surveyed by the BBC believe the government should provide funds to make the workplace accessible for people with disabilities.

But 40% felt disabled people turned down job offers even when they were physically capable of doing them.

Deaf moviegoers sue Cinemark theater chain at the Associated Press (US):

Kevin Knestrick, an attorney for the plaintiffs, says Cinemark Holdings Inc. is the only one of the nation’s three largest movie chains not to offer closed-captioning equipment.

Sierra Leone: Disability Bill might become an Act on Friday by Poindexter Sama at Awoko:

it will institute, upon its enactment, a Disabled Commission, provide free education and vocational training for persons with disabilities at required levels, make provision for free medical care, ensure mobility in public buildings and public transports and a host of other facilities necessary for disabilities in all forms.

Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited.

Recommended Reading for 2 December, 2010

I am quite, quite as shocked as s.e. that it is December! Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

There’s Respect, and Then There’s Respect by a rather strikingly beautiful, talented and intelligent woman by the name of Chally at the Don’t DIS My ABILITY blog:

I’ve been thinking about how “respect” for people with disabilities is often framed in negative and condescending terms. We’re only worthy of respect insofar as we play the inspirational martyr. We can be respected for struggling through what are supposedly inevitably hopeless, helpless lives. But we can’t be respected for fighting back against the systemic barriers keeping us down, or questioning our care.

Disabled want more by Fungi Kwaramba at The Zimbabwean:

The National Association for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH) said that 10 per cent of the country’s population live with disability. Even though there is a Disability Act the laws has not been enforced, and this has seen the continued exclusion of the disabled from mainstream activities.

UK: Spending cuts threaten disability arts festival by Helen Carter at The Guardian:

“DaDaFest is here to present the work of deaf and disabled artists, whose work is on a par with mainstream artists,” says the festival’s artistic director, Garry Robson. “Disabled and deaf people are not simply passive consumers of a tragic destiny but active participants in all areas of life, with a unique and valuable cultural perspective that we plan to share during the festival.”

Australia: Editorial: Shortfall in disability services at AdelaideNow:

While many services are stretched on days such as Christmas, it is hard to imagine an able-bodied person needing to book a taxi three months early to ensure they can enjoy lunch with family and friends. This shortage needs to be recognised.

Nearly half of Israel’s disabled forgo food, medicine, heat by Ruth Eglash at the Jerusalem Post:

According to a study by the National Commission for People with Disabilities, which was released on Monday ahead of the International Day of People with Disabilities to be marked worldwide on Friday, out of roughly 1.5 million Israelis who consider themselves disabled, 43 percent of those with severe disabilities and 29% with moderate disabilities went without food at some stage over the past year, while more than one-third of those with severe disabilities and 23% with moderate disabilities had to miss out on essential medication because they could not afford it.

Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited.

An open letter to abled people who like to glare at people who use disabled parking spaces

Also see: An open letter to abled people who use disabled parking spaces by Annaham, which this is jumping off from. Since I drafted this, s.e. also wrote Dear Imprudence: Who Appointed You the Parking Police?!

Dear abled people who like to glare at people who use disabled parking spaces,

Hi there. It’s great that you’re so conscious that disabled parking spots are for disabled people! I’m pleased you’re so keen to keep disabled spots for disabled people – after all, that’s the law and the right thing. People who aren’t disabled certainly shouldn’t be using those spots.

However, you know what my problem with what you do is? My problem is when you take your anger out on people who are using those spots legitimately. I don’t know if you glare and shake your head and tut because you don’t notice the disability signs/stickers on the front of the car – or if you think they’re faking their disabilities – or if you think those crummy disabled people simply don’t deserve to hog the best parking spots. I don’t know if you do this because you don’t expect to encounter disabled people out and about, so you think the parking spot user isn’t legit. I don’t know why you’re letting dominant narratives crowd out the person there in front of you.

I’d also like you to keep in mind that some people who need disabled parking spaces are prevented from getting the sticker. The red tape involved can be incredibly difficult to negotiate, especially for someone running on the second shift for the sick. Some people who need stickers fall through the cracks formed by the “we need to tighten restrictions because of the tiny number of fakers!” meme.

Just keep in mind that, just as there are a lot of people out there who use disabled parking illegitimately, there are also a lot of people who make life harder for people who are using the parking legitimately.

Don’t be one of them.

Sincerely,

Chally

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