Recommended Reading for whatever day it is now

Reminder: Blogging Against Disablism Day is coming up on May 1. Diary of a Goldfish has hosted BADD since 2006. It’s an awesome blogswarm, and it’s this Saturday. You can participate by spreading the word, making your own post, commenting on people’s posts, and/or linking posts for others. </ stolen from anna>

It has been a rough week and I’ve lost several days to medication haze, so I’m not really sure of the date. Sorry!

A map of the continental United States, filled in entirely with pills in different shapes and sizes.
A map of the continental United States, filled in entirely with pills in different shapes and sizes.

Herz Und Seele – Rant: Ableism

Only 5 years ago did I switch from analog to digital hearing aids.  I made the switch mostly because the big clunky thing was so clearly visible.  Once people saw them, they treated me differently- speaking more slowly, yelling and even making up sign language.  I have to be honest, it angered me, and it still angers me.  They talk slowly as if my hearing impairment is a cognitive impairment- when in fact, it is congenital neurological damage [in my case].  They yell as if that makes it easier for me to hear, when the problem is not volume, but frequency, tone and pitch.  Sound has ranges, and those ranges are narrower for me than most people.  Oh, and making up sign language?  That’s just stupid.  What am I, a chimp? These hearing aids don’t make me any “lesser” than you.  If you think otherwise, you have another think coming.  I’m so TIRED of be talked down to like a child, yelled at like an unattentive child, and generally treated “differently.”

with you – questions about the braille “porn for the blind”

If news outlets are going to call this porn, even softcore porn, why are transliterations (images, roman letters & sentences) of this magazine making it into their articles? At first I was intrigued and a little bit in support of Tactile Mind (NSFW?) as porn. Or at least in support of the idea of accessibility. This magazine is certainly flawed (“perfect breasts”? masks?) and I’m not sure where I stand on the politics of porn anyhow, but accessibility is good, and noting the sexuality of people with differing abilities seems rudimentary but is unfortunately an ongoing battle. Still, many news stories have covered this magazine in a way that proves that ableism reigns and that, in practice, most people don’t really think of blind people as fully sexual people. Why doesn’t Lisa Murphy’s site have a warning banner? Why can news media print/post transliterations of explicit raised images/braille porn without censoring the transliterations? I’m not arguing for censorship, just wondering why the standards are different. If this is porn, why is it showing up in Google Image Search?

Essin Em – Avenue Q and Discrimination (post is SFW but blog is NSFW)

Thinking I had misheard (I mean, this was a national tour of Avenue Q, not some local rep putting in on in a warehouse turned brilliant theatre), I asked him politely “so, if one is disabled, how might they avoid the three sets of steep stairs to get to their seat?”
“You should have bought the disabled tickets.” I was stunned. Ok, fine. Maybe I should have called Q to remind her to ask for something accessible. However, I can walk down one or two stairs, and every large theatre I have ever been in (a lot) has had elevators to the balcony level.
“Ok, well, we bought the tickets we could afford, on the balcony. Would the disabled tickets at the orchestra level have been the same price as the cheaper tickets?”
“No, you would have had to pay orchestra prices. Now, can you just get inside?”

Politico – Disabled get job training on Capitol Hill (good program, problematic framing!)

During the past month, Gutkowski and two other students with intellectual disabilities have worked in the offices of Harper, Reps. Bill Cassidy, John Fleming, Cynthia Lummis and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, as well as the Republican office of the House Administration Committee. The students do everything from answering constituent mail and shredding paper to learning how to give tours of the Capitol. Harper’s 20-year-old son, Livingston, has a genetic condition called Fragile X syndrome, which is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disabilities. Since graduating from high school, Livingston has worked several days a week in a Mississippi restaurant and takes a few community college courses but still dreams of attending Mississippi State University in Harper’s district, just like his sister. Harper told POLITICO, “A lot of times, when you get out of high school and you’re dealing with intellectual disabilities, you fall off the educational face of the Earth. Sometimes you’re looking to give hope to some of these families who want their child to continue on.”

One of Australia’s leading mental health experts says he is “dumbfounded” at the “token” amount of money handed out to the sector in the Commonwealth’s national health overhaul. Professor Ian Hickie of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Sydney University has demanded Prime Minister Kevin Rudd explain why more has not been delivered to mental health services. Mr Rudd has promised over $5 billion in sweeteners to the states in return for their support of his hospitals takeover plan. The mental health sector had expected a significant package for reform. But out of the $5 billion to be rolled out to the states, only $115 million of new money has been allocated to mental health.

New York Times – New Rules Aim to Make Travel Easier for the Disabled (very US-centric for an article ostensibly about international travel!)

People with disabilities never have an easy time traveling, but a rash of recent improvements, including more wheelchair-accessible taxis and rental vehicles — and even Web sites for people with dexterity or vision problems — have made it easier.

[I don’t know what to do when I get these so I’m posting it] KTLA – Mentally Disabled Man Dumped on Skid Row – Do You Know Him?

White man in his thirties, brownish hair, prominent nose, pulls up a sleeve to show a tattoo on his right bicep. He is smiling.
White man in his thirties, brownish hair, prominent nose, pulls up a sleeve to show a tattoo on his right bicep. He is smiling.

“Jason” was left in front of the Urban Connection group home for the homeless about eight months ago by a woman he calls “Mary.” He had no identification and no social security number. The shelter has been trying to determine his identity ever since, but they’ve been having trouble because he has no identification card. The man, who is mentally handicapped, has “Jason” tattooed on his arm. He does not remember his birthday and has no idea where his family might be.