Recommended Reading for Thursday, June 10, 2010

A sign shaped like West Virginia that reads: West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Established 1870
A sign shaped like West Virginia that reads: West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Established 1870

Photo by Justin A. Wilcox, used under a Creative Commons License.


Trigger warning.

I have [redacted]. I am a clinically depressed woman who doesn’t always take her antidepressants or go to the doctor when scheduled or do what she’s supposed to, and I have [redacted]. [Redacted] is one of those things where, if you have it, (according to the local prescriptivists) you need to see a doctor and stay on antidepressants and take care of yourself so that [redacted] doesn’t become [even more redacted]. I’ve heard arguments about [redacted], saying that people with depression coinciding with [redacted] don’t have any rights to their autonomy any longer, that they have, just by having [redacted] have turned in their bodies as forfeit to whomever is deemed as having medical authority over themselves. We are no longer autonomous, because people just don’t trust those with [redacted] to not [even more redacted].

Poverty, Worklessness… and the #DLA

But the report then doesn’t note the factors which lead to these institutional barriers: it appears good enough to note 24% of disabled people have no formal qualifications or that over half are not in work and offer no reasons for this. The effect is to create a suspicion whichs fall on disabled people as not trying hard enough to gain a qualification or get a job – something it is convenient not to correct in order to maintain the overall narrative.

(Similarly, pupils with Special Educational Needs face some of the most significant barriers to educational achievement it is possible to face. However, the only mention of pupils with SEN in the report (in the educational disadvantage section) is to note that 9.2% of pupils with SEN are ‘persistent absentees’, compared with 2.1% of pupils with no SEN.)

Thus, if you want to build a narrative, it is perfectly possible to do so. Taking this approach, at best, the report draws the wrong conclusions based on the evidence available; at worst, it is willfully ignorant.

Audio Tours of Popular UK Destinations Presented By RNIB

On my trips in the past I have participated in guided tours. Some have been better than others, but I think that having a tour with the blind in mind would be the best. There are a lot of visual cues that tour guides rely on. Also, by having the tour be self guided, blind and sighted patrons can take as much time as they need.

Queer Tropes

As many of you know, June is the month of LGBTQ Pride and I couldn’t think of a better time to call out a few tropes that inundate comics and media when it comes LGBTQ characters/themes.

Tropes that if I never see again for the rest of my existence, I’d be eternally grateful.

While this by no means covers every trope/issue/fail, it definitely hits the major ones.

Take thorough notes, I’m gonna move fast, and this will not be pretty.

Too Deaf For The Gym?!

They replied that they needed confirmation from my doctor that as a deaf person it was safe for me to exercise.

I felt annoyed, mildly insulted, and completely inconvenienced, as this means asking one of my friends to call my doctor to request a note, as funnily enough I can’t do this myself.

Victory for Transgender People in Wisconsin Prisons

Prison doctors in Wisconsin, as in some other state prison systems, have for some time provided hormone therapy for some transgender prisoners, since hormones are part of the accepted medical treatment for many transgender people. Back in 2005, after the Wisconsin legislature got wind of this practice, it passed the “Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act,” which barred state prisons from providing hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery to transgender prisoners. The new law over-rode the medical judgment of prison doctors and cut off hormone treatment. The ACLU, in partnership with Lambda Legal, sued immediately, securing a preliminary ruling that any prisoners already on hormone therapy could continue their treatments. Senior Staff Attorney John Knight, along with ACLU of Wisconsin Legal Director Larry Dupuis and lawyers from Lambda Legal, tried the case in the fall of 2007.

It took a few years to get a decision, but it was worth the wait.


Even more curious is the immediate slippage from nobility to “legal incompetence” and “mental institution.” Don’t know what to make of that. Some thoughts. You can be declared “legally incompetent” and not be “confined.” I cannot believe that having spent some time in a residential care facility invalidates (deliberately used) your capacity to be and value as a citizen. And if it doesn’t, why does immigration need to know? USCIS doesn’t ask about all medical conditions requiring residential care…. And what of “legal incompetence?” I have no idea what the implications of this are for immigration. I know a little bit about what it entails in the area of family law and medical self-determination, but immigration? Beats me. Suppose, however, that the answer is yes. That you were declared “legally incompetent” midway through the application process and that at the time of interview, your status was not determinable and that you might never be able to affirm your desire to become a US citizen. Does that invalidate your application? How much does being able to communicate that you still wish to become a citizen affect your application, if, say, you would qualify on all other grounds?

Hugging Problems

Recently I was thinking about hugging and remembering what physical affection was like at the ASD school where I interned last summer.

I remember the last day I was there I asked my favorite kid, R.D., if I could hug him. He said yes, but when I put my arms around him he didn’t put his arms around me. I remember that this was something I did at his age, and it was because I saw hugs as an opportunity to get my whole body squeezed tightly. But I also wonder if, given the culture of the school, R.D. felt that he had the right to say he didn’t want to hug.


UK: Dangerous Psychiatric Patients tracked with GPS: Potentially dangerous psychiatric patients are being fitted with GPS tracking devices to prevent them absconding on day leave.

US: Removing ‘Retardation’ from New York State Agency: For the second time in a year, New York legislators are considering changing the name of one of the only state agencies in the country with “retardation” still in its title.
See Also: Push To Eliminate ‘Mental Retardation’ Contentious In Holdout State

New Zealand: Auckland’s newest all-access playground opens: This unique playground features an inclusive, all-access play space that is accessible to children of varying abilities, including disabled children.

One thought on “Recommended Reading for Thursday, June 10, 2010

  1. Thanks for picking up on my blogpost on Disability Living Allowance. I’ve also posted a follow-up to it, which is on the very useful response from the UK Disabled People’s Council and their views on the government’s report. It’s available through this links.

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