Recommended Reading for Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am having difficulties accepting we are halfway through June.

[Via the gimpgirl community on LJ] Couple Exchange Vows in Central Park

When two partners who receive SSI benefits get married, Medicaid reduces those benefits to 75 percent of the total that both individuals received prior to marrying. As a result, many couples with disabilities, like gay and lesbian couples, seek domestic partnerships or live together without formalizing their commitments.

Activist Danny Roberts, who was unable to attend the ceremony, sent a recording of his opposition to the policy. On it, he told a story about meeting the woman he loves at the Empire State Building observatory at a protest.

“We allow ourselves to be demeaned into begging for what we need to live,” Roberts said about the receipt of Medicaid. “If we comply, we can’t marry the ones we love. It’s not illegal but it is essentially suicide.”

Books for the Blind, Not A Liberal or Conservative Issue

One week ago we at Planet of the Blind wrote a post decrying New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s budget plan calling for the elimination of the Garden State’s lending library for the blind. The so called “Talking Book” program (which is directed and administered by the United States Library of Congress) has been recording and distributing books for the blind since the great depression and they have done so with remarkable professionalism and devotion. Recorded books for blind and physically disabled readers are not your average commercial audio books. They are recorded and developed in ways that allow blind readers to access the same books you might read in your public library and in effect this service makes it possible for borrowers to read far more printed material than one might find in the audio books section of your local Barnes and Noble. Talking Books represent the nation’s library, and in a very real sense they represent our nation’s conscience.

Yet it was inevitable that we would receive a vituperative comment from a reader who identified himself as being conservative (for so we must presume given his disdain for “liberals” who, he argued, support government waste.)

More Detroit Disability Justice Happenings

They say 20,000+ social justice activists will be traveling to Detroit this week for the Allied Media Conference (17-20), US Social Forum (22-26), and the Hip Hop Congress Conference (26-28). A lot of communities are using this time to organize and people are coming in on every mode of transportation possible: bikes, buses, caravans, planes… It will be the first time (that I know of) that a large number of disability justice folks will be gathering together to be in community with each other, build shared politic, and strategize about how to incorporate this new framework into our lives and our work. It has taken a year of finding resources and planning to make the events below happen, hope you can join us!

Don’t Have Answers

The DSM and the ICD almost go out of their way to pathologise queer people, although there is no longer any diagnosis of Homosexuality. The DSM-IV-TR and the ICD-10 do, however, pathologise trans identities (Gender Identity Disorder, Transsexualism, Dual-Role Transvestism) and asexuality (terminology varies considerably). They also pathologise a number of consenting sexual practices like fetishism, BDSM, making “obscene” telephone calls. And, because there wasn’t enough heteronormative fail already, they also pathologise anxiety due to not knowing if you’re gay or straight (Sexual Maturation Disorder), and having non-long-term relationships (Sexual Relationship Disorder). Notably, there is no disorder of Being An Unmitigated Heterosexist Shit Disorder, so we can safely conclude that heteronormativity is a factor here.

For some time, there has been a campaign to have Gender Identity Disorder (GID) removed from the DSM-V.


I am terrified of that moment. As most people I know are. I know women that haven’t ever gotten a pap smear, ever once in their entire lives, because of that moment. This is not an unusual terror.

Now that “health care” is going to be available to more of us…I can’t help but wonder. How many of us won’t go to the doctor any damn way–because the doctor and “help” and “health” is predicated on terror? Or a type of test taking? You take the test and you pass! Or, you take the test and you die!

Shiyiya brought my attention to We Are Enabled By Design at the Design Museum in London, UK.

“We are Enabled by Design” is a one day event, looking to reframe the ageing and disability debate by focusing on Design for All.

We believe the world is made up of people who have a range of abilities, with each person having their own personal strengths and qualities. We are passionate about harnessing these strengths to empower people to live as independently as possible. Design for All taps into this by focusing on meeting the needs of as many people as possible, to make either a product or service accessible. By mainstreaming accessibility, this can help to remove any stigma attached, while making people’s lives that bit easier and in turn more manageable. For us, Design for All means accessibility for the masses.


Complaint Box: Assumptions “Maneuvering through New York City as a person with cerebral palsy can be a constant irritation. Just making my way down subway stairs at rush hour, with people breathing down my neck, is holy terror. But it is not the physical strain of steps and crowds that is my main source of anxiety. It is the naïve, inappropriate and sometimes downright mean comments that people make.”

Textbook describing Down Syndrome as “Error” triggers debate “Books used by seventh graders in Bridgewater, Mass. schools describe Down syndrome by saying “the extra chromosome is the result of an error during meiosis.” The section on the chromosomal disorder also uses the term “mental retardation.””

Reminder: We have a Delicious account! If you tag entries “disfem” or “disfeminists”, or “for:feminists”, this will bring items of interest to our attention. Thank you!