They're at it again. This time her name is not Ashley, but Katie and she lives in England, not Seattle. Kay over at The Gimp Parade has written a rather brilliant post about it and I’m not going to say much about the case, because I’ve already said it all and more than once. I am weary of the assault, of the atrocities and yet again, feeling that I ought to present a public argument about my rights, our rights and how they ought to be the same as yours. That if I don’t and if all the other voices that can speak don’t, we risk our rights eroding. I feel like we are a tiny force trying to stem a massive tide that inexorably moves against us, like slow-moving lava, unstoppable, circling back to medicalizing us, institutionalizing us, silencing us.

It makes me so very tired.

I’ve been over there, at Kay’s, trying to leave a comment. Sometimes more than once a day, but I can’t. I read the post, I scan it and recoil, clicking away again, feeling as if I’ve touched a filthy contaminant, a cesspoll of poison. And it’s nothing to do with Kay, who is a lovely person, a fantastic writer and advocate – it’s because of…. Well. This. Again. Less than a year after Ashley, hardly any time since Ruben Navarro and I haven’t built up my defenses yet, I am too raw, too wounded, too aware of the reality I blithely ignore most of the time: that so many people view people with disabilities, view me, as nothing but pitiful, never more than Less Than, my life never as valid as someone who is able-bodied.

As an antidote, I’ve been watching this video repeatedly. A video of kids who without the invention of augmentative communication devices would be silenced. When I watch that video and listen, really listen to what they have to say, their teenage sparkling through, I am grateful to technology for ripping away that layer that allows those of narrow imaginations to believe that their lives are nothing, not worth it, to make the argument that they don’t need their parts.

And still, I feel not safe at all.


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