July is Disability Pride Month and like most things having to do with people with disabilities, little is being done about it.
There are no flags. There are no marches or parades I’ve heard of. There’s no background settings on Facebooks.
Yes, like most things having to do with disabilities, we’d rather act like it doesn’t exist. As I’ve said in a previous post, it seems people only care about people with disabilities when they can be “uplifting” stories to accompany their disabilities.
It’s ironic how during June, conservatives came out of the woodworks to show their prejudice and homophobia by saying we shouldn’t celebrate LGBTQ Pride month because there is no “Veterans Appreciation Month.”
Well, here it is.
Many veterans are disabled. They’ve lose limbs and have prosthetics. They’re paralyzed, have to use walking canes or wheelchairs. They have missing eyes or lost their hearing as is the case with my fathert. They have shrapnel still in their bodies, which is the case with one guy I heard of who was with Rolling Thunder. They walk with limps or at least those who can still walk.
So, here’s Disability Pride Month and where’s all the support for veterans? I guess it’s just for non-disabled veterans.
Again, people don’t even like disabled people even if they are veterans.
I’ve been living with my pain and disability for over 10 years and I usually have people thinking they can tell me more than I know about my pain.
I’m not talking about doctors, nurses, physical therapists or other people with pain. No, I’m talking about able-bodied people who are always the first to suggest things we “can do” rather listen to the things we can’t do.
I get it. All those mumbo-jumbo inspirational quotes and memes about this or that is all you need with a little “can-do attitude.”
Being a journalist for over 10 years, I listened to a lot of editors and publishers who haven’t been on a writing desk in years saying things like, “Maybe you can…” when discussing story ideas you know won’t work out but they think will.
And this is no different. “Maybe you can…” “Have you ever tried…” “You ever considered…” People think they’re helping but they’re actually showing more of their ignorance and apathy and arrogance.
July is designated because in 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). On paper, it seemed like a good idea, but 31 years later, very little has been done.
In most places, all you’ll find is a ramp and a raised toilet with handrails in the public restroom. You won’t find many designated spaces for parking. Some doors don’t have automatic doors that open for people who use walkers or wheelchairs.
Ever tried to hold open a door and handle a wheelchair or walker?
Oh, and you can pretty much forget about eating out in a restaurant, any restaurant, really. Tables are not far apart enough to negotiate a wheelchair through them and many don’t have an ADA public restroom.
So, you basically have to deal with take-out.
But it can’t be all that bad, right?
Well, ever tried to go to a sporting event with a wheelchair or motorized cart? There’s very little room to get around among the congestion and you basically have to take whatever seating area they damn well give you regardless of how much you paid.
Remember they’ve had 31 years to get this shit done and shouldn’t many of these businesses and public arenas have renovated since. For God’s sake, many businesses weren’t in existence in 1990 or 1995 or 2003.
Doesn’t anyone stop and thing, hey, we should put in a ADA bathroom or have more designated areas?
Unfortunately, everyone is still on 2000 mode where 31 years was 1969 not 1990. So, it’s really only been 10 years.
I mean, it’s just been 10 years. What do you expect for people to renovate their establishments in 10 fucking years so a few handicapped people could use them.
Besides, you’re not handicapped, you’re handicapable.
Yes, let’s change what we call people so we don’t have to change anything to accommodate them.
It’s 31 years. It’s well enough time to build businesses from the ground up to help and accommodate people who are handicapped.
But we don’t want to do that, because they’ve estimated the number of able-bodied patrons and customers they’ll have versus the number of handicapped and the results are the same as usual.
Fuck the disabled!
The thinking is the same as it’s always been since Geraldo Rivera exposed Willowbrook. Stash them away and treat them like they’re less than human.
Of course, if someone needs to win an award, we’ll have an able-bodied person sit in a chair or walk with a cane to play a character who just wants to be treated like everyone else.
As if we’re like an albino deer.
There are 20-25 percent of the American population who are disabled or have physical abnormalities.
We are like everyone else. The only problem is the able-bodied people want to feel superior. And if they have to give up their seating areas for wheelchairs or be forced to park 10 feet away, then they can’t have that.
In college, one of my fellow students was legally blind. She had to have all the type on print-outs blown up in size so she could read them. She said there were a few professors and instructors who didn’t want to comply with her needs.
The worst part is the disabilities already limit our options but we’re treated even worse when people don’t want to make simple accommodations for us.
I find it ironic that the athletic fitness center I go to on the campus of Northeastern State University has more designated handicapped parking spots than the Walgreens or other businesses in towns.
Many handicapped people don’t have the luxury of a caregiver or a family member, friend, or neighbor who will help them with their errands. And many handicapped people really want to do things for themselves.
I don’t have a handicapped parking placard because I’m still not technically disabled according to the U.S. government and courts, even though there’s a lot of things I can’t do. Some days, just making it through the days is a trial.
If you want to know what my pain sometimes feels like, it’s like a knife twisting in your spine. Then, I get the arthritis in my hands and it’s hard to do things.
People say, “Well, you can still find a typing job,” but the only problem is I can’t type from 9-5. Again, this isn’t 1969, many people can type now. If you have access to a laptop, personal computer or tablet type cover (which I have), you know how to type.
So, there’s no job out there for typists in addition to a numerous other duties we stick on people.
And it’s difficult typing when occasionally I have to go lie down as the pain gets too unbearable.
Also, the medication sometimes makes me tired so I can’t operate machinery nor even concentrate. Also, the pain gets unbearable sometimes where I can’t concentrate and get a little irritated.
So, it’s not that easy to have a normal 9-5 job.
And I know there are people worse off than I. But just because I’m not in a wheelchair 24/7, you think I should suck it up.
And that’s been the worst part of these last 10 years.
People want to act like someone else out there has it worse, so, blah, blah, blah.
Well, I’m tired of blah, blah, blah. And so are many other people.
It’s been 31 years. We’ve had enough time to change things and the fact that we haven’t, so you how little people care about us with disabilities.
And unfortunately, to get someone to care, it’s got to happen to them or their loved ones. And I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
But’s a damned shame that’s what opens people’s eyes.