Wheelchair fund update!
So I raised a grand
and then gofundme shut me down
but then i sent them a stern email
and it’s back!
So I thought I’d make a fresh post about it to put out there on the internet. Here’s what’s going to happen with the money I get donated
- i will wrangle it from paypal somehow
- it will be spent on a good quality, good model electric wheelchair that suits my needs somewhere in the next few months (as i do not live somewhere accessible, I may put off buying it until I’ve moved)
- funds left over from the wheelchair purchase, if any, will go towards:
-Music Therapy - I did music therapy for years (piano, voice) and it helped my anxiety and mood/cognition problems. After not doing it for a few years, I’ve noticed a lot of backsliding. I will be getting an entry level cello (around $800) and putting some money away for lessons. I likely won’t buy anything outright, but will save a few hundred to put towards this.
-Art therapy - this will go one of two ways, depending. Either it will go to my learning photography, or towards a graphics tablet. Art therapy has been my go-to since childhood, and now I’m cut off from it, my stress levels are extreme and there are many emotions I don’t know how to express
- And the rest will go to charities, such Guide Dogs Australia. Charities will be rigorously assessed for their ethics and background to make sure money isn’t going where people who are assholes will get it. The majority of money I don’t need immediately will be donated to people in need and the charities that help them.
I DO NOT want to keep anything for myself if it can do good elsewhere -whether it be to charities, people in need or other personal crowdfunding for other trans* and disabled people.
If you could please signal boost this, since it’s added info and whatnot, that would be great.
And if you know any deserving causes or organisations, please don’t hesitate to message me here or (if it’s urgent or you have a question) on my roleplay blog. If you message me off anon, it will be kept private. when I have what I need, I will do my best to share what I’ve been given.
Hey, my name is Cat. I’m a twenty-year-old nonbinary person from the Wiradjuri nation, living in Melbourne, and I need help. I have had fibromyalgia for five years. I have had chronic fatigue since childhood. I am autistic. Because of all of these factors, I am unable to qualify for a governm…
Hey, my name is Cat. I’m a twenty-year-old nonbinary person from the Wiradjuri nation, living in Melbourne, and I need help.
I have had fibromyalgia for five years. I have had chronic fatigue since childhood. I am autistic. Because of all of these factors, I am unable to qualify for a government pension, despite trying for years. As such, I more or less depend on the generosity of others.
My condition is rapidly degenerating. I do not live in an accessable apartment, or an area that is easily navigatable for a person with mobility issues.
In short, I need enough money for a fairly expensive electric wheelchair. Such chairs can cost upwards of $5000. My parents have decided not to help me, and my partner and I can’t afford it alone. A wheelchair would open up so much for me - I will be able to go out for a whole day instead of two hours, I will be able to go grocery shopping alone, I will be able to spend time with friends.
We’re not saints. We’re not here to teach you lessons. We’re not here to inspire you to do better in your own life. We’re here to live our own lives, albeit in a different way owing to our disability.
If we tell you we can’t do something, THAT MEANS WE CAN’T. Most of us aren’t out to con able-bodied/NT folks into doing things for us. It takes a lot of courage to be able to admit you can’t do something; keep that in mind when you want to lambast us for not ‘doing our best’ or ‘trying’ or whatever.
We’re able to be happy sometimes. Our lives are not total doom and gloom all the time. And some of us have wonderful senses of humor that you should indulge in sometimes.
Our disability may sometimes seem like it totally owns our lives, but we’re capable of doing things that don’t involve our disability. They may be colored by our disability, or hampered by it, or somehow related to it, but these things are not totally about disability. Please do not act as if we are only our disability. We are so much more.
We are all different. We all need different things, we have different experiences and different goals and dreams and all that. We come from different places. Respect that. Even if two people have the same disability, they probably have a vastly different perspective and experience of it; please acknowledge this and don’t treat us as interchangeable.
The disability community can be frustrating, but more than anything, it is a family. We are all in this together, to get our rights and respect that we deserve. When you fuck with one member of the disability community, expect the rest of us to come after you. We watch out for each other [I’ve seen this especially with noneptic disabled folks looking out for epileptics] and we WILL protect each other.
I’ve noticed that ableism tends to be one of the lesser discussed isms on Tumblr, particularly in regard to physical/visible disabilities. While we usually associate the isms with hate and discrimination, ableism can be much harder to pinpoint because a lot of it is seen as attempts to help or empathize with disabled people.
A few tips:
- Noticing that someone is disabled or thinking that they might have a disability is not an open invitation to interrogate them.
- Similarly, it’s not okay to allow your children to endlessly ask us questions. We are not a convenient way to “teach them diversity” on the fly. We are not obligated to educate anyone. I don’t care if you think it’s cute or precocious, it’s rude and very awkward.
- Please avoid making any connection between disability and religion. It’s almost always offensive, no matter what your faith. Telling me that I can be healed through prayer also automatically assumes that I want or need my life to be changed.
- Do not appropriate someone else’s experiences as a way of showing solidarity with their community. Being injured for a few weeks is not the same as being disabled. If you really wanted to be my ally, you wouldn’t need to find a way to shoehorn yourself into my perspective to get yourself to care.
- I don’t really want to be your inspiration if your definition of inspiration is “thanks for making me feel better about my life because I think your life looks incredibly shitty by comparison.”
- On that note, don’t make presumptions about our quality of life. When people say things like “I couldn’t live like that,” you’re basically implying that you would rather be dead than disabled. That doesn’t feel very good.
- Physical disability does not always indicate cognitive delays. Even if the individual in question does happen to have cognitive disabilities, what gives you the authority to determine how much they’re able to process and understand? Talk to a disabled person the same way you would talk to any other person.
- If you’re that fascinated with how and whether or not we can have sex, why don’t you find out for yourself? (With consent, of course) ;)
We don’t talk about invisible disabilities either, though I kind of make mine visible by using a Service Dog. A giant HELL YEAH THIS to everything stated above. But a few other things. Let’s start with SDs:
- DO NOT TOUCH MY SERVICE DOG EVER (while some people might let you YOU NEED TO ASK FIRST. Don’t just walk up to a SD and pet it - IT IS WORKING and doing a VERY important job - some of those jobs save lives. You wouldn’t walk up to a firefighter while they’re trying to put out a house fire and hug them would you? I didn’t think so.)
Don’t get angry at me if I snap/yell at you for petting my dog without permission
Ask me if I really have a disability
Act like I’m faking that she’s a Service Dog so that I can take her places with me; trust me she’d be happier at home with a bone
Let your kid charge my dog. SERIOUSLY you shouldn’t let your kid run up to ANY dogs, but my dog is fucking WORKING and doesn’t need the stress. This applies to adults too.
Grill me about why I need a Service Dog. I do and the ADA strictly mandates what I’m required to tell you so if I keep repeating myself stop getting angry at me.
- As stated above I am not “your teaching moment.” I am not trying to be rude, but I get the same questions about 10-15x a day and if I stopped to answer every single person who asked the same damn question I would never be able to do anything, like go to all my various dr. appts, or go grocery shopping, or go to work. And stop acting like I should make an exception for you. There are plenty of ways you can find out this information yourself. Organizations, websites, freaking google. My personal tumblr is chock full of SD talk as are many I follow. The information is out there - don’t act like I’m committing some crime by refusing to tell you all about my life with a SD.
Ask me if my SD is in training/is somebody else’s dog. Seriously she’s 6 years old and is far past being a puppy which is when SD’s get trained. I didn’t steal her from someone she is my dog.
DO NOT PET MY DOG.
OK. Now onto invisible disabilities. Again, most of the same rules apply so we’re not even going to go over those again.
- You do not know more about my illness/disease/disability than I do. (Sometimes we are more aware than our Dr’s even - I hear you scoffing, but I have seen this in action). Repeat after me: I do not know more about your disability than you do.
- We don’t want your “cures.” 99% of the time we’ve tried them. Trust me, we’ve tried everything we can to try and make things better. Your constant stream of “have you tried acupuncture” and “what about X herb” make most people I know want to scream. Not only because we’re not hearing it just from you - we’re hearing it from at least 10 of you.
- As above, just because you were slightly sad or blue for a little while DOES NOT MEAN you understand what someone suffering from major or persistent depression or a depressive downswing of bipolar is going through.
- FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY JUST STOP USING MENTAL ILLNESS TERMS TO DESCRIBE THINGS. The weather is not “bipolar” someone acting oddly is not schizophrenic, just because someone is distracted easily doesn’t make them “so ADD.”
- Just because you’ve been in horrible pain once (be it from an accident, a burn, or I’ve even heard the stupidest thing ever which was from workout pain) you do not understand chronic pain or fibromyalgia. Just stop.
- Never, ever, EVER call us “overcomers.” Just because I have the ability to somewhat navigate the world and semi-work and have a semi-social life does not mean that I am not still crippled by my disability. I wish that I wouldn’t have to cancel on people all the time, and I wish that going on for a night on the town wouldn’t mean that I lose the entire next day to recovery.
There’s more, but those are the basics.
High Functioning/Low Functioning labels serve no purpose but to incorrectly categorize people based on assumptions and stereotypes of “functionality.” “High Functioning” to me is not a compliment. It means that people are making incorrect assumptions about my abilities, strengths and challenges based on stereotypes. “High Functioning” erases struggles and therefore conveniently dismisses inquiries for assistance.
Similarly, “Low Functioning” erases one’s strengths and highlights one’s struggles therefore dismissing a person’s contributions and gifts.
But one cannot critique the whole “High Functioning/Low Functioning” mess without critiquing constructions of “functionality.” What do we mean by “functioning?” anyway? Haven’t all of our ideas of “functioning” been constructed by narrow definitions of “work” and “contribution” put in place by a multiply oppressive capitalist society?
So lets throw out the “functioning” assumptions and questions.
People aren’t machines whose bodies/minds/spirits exist to “function” in some pre-mandated way. In the end, It’s about how we want to connect on a human level.
This post is very helpful for folks (like me) who are constantly battling insurance companies and other medical bureaucracies to get basic, but expensive, life-sustaining long-term meds. Check it out.
i just want more fucking stories where disabled characters survive the whole time and also don’t get fucking cured
so that a disabled kid can read a book and see themselves coming out of it alive and as they are because that is fucking important
I’ve noticed a lot of people lately on tumblr denying their capability to be ableist because they themselves fall somewhere on the disability spectrum. Specifically, I see people react to being called ableist by referring to themselves as “not able” and therefore, lacking the privilege that is necessary to be oppressive.
Not able. There’s a lot wrapped up in those words.
Disability is a spectrum, not a dichotomy. While it’s true that there are people with disabilities and those without, there is way too much variety within disability to simply say that one lacks abled privilege and is therefore exempt from being oppressive towards anyone else with a disability, regardless of what disabilities are actually involved. That’s dishonest, and it’s privilege denial. Because one can lack abled privilege, yet still have able-bodied privilege, or allistic privilege, or many other forms of privilege that I don’t know the names of. My point being that you can have power and be oppressed at the same time when it comes to disability.
I’ll use myself as an example. I do not have abled privilege, although I have invisible disabilities so I may have passing privilege. I have privilege over people who have physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and learning disabilities (to name a few). I have mental illnesses - this does not mean I am incapable of being oppressive towards someone with cognitive disabilities. Even within mental illness there are different levels of privilege. There are certain mental illnesses that are vilified with far greater frequency (ie. schizophrenia) or are more likely to result in institutionalization.
And there are varying degrees of severity. Most of the people I have known in my life have struggled with panic attacks, mild depression or anxiety. None of them ID as disabled and for the most part these problems have not been debilitating. Yet I have seen people who fall into this category attempt to use their experiences as a free pass to perpetuate oppression towards people who are disabled (by their MI’s, or other disabilities). If the only time you bring up being “not abled” is when someone calls you out on being ableist, this may apply to you. It’s not even internalized ableism when it’s regarding disabilities that are different from your own.
Just because you fall somewhere on the disability spectrum, doesn’t mean you are incapable of being ableist.
I think also, even within your own disability group, it’s only internalized when you’re doing it to yourself. When you’re doing it to other people, it’s externalized.
The form of ableism I’m most prone to is thinking I know better than other people how they should be dealing and accepting themselves and getting past passing etc. I can be very dismissive and condescending about that, even with people who are very similar to me.
And I don’t think that’s internalized in any meaningful way. I think it’s just ableism.
Pretty much every person lives within a complex web that involves both multiple forms of marginalization/exclusion and also multiple forms of privilege. Each form of marginalization compounds all challenges that go with all the other forms of marginalization that exist within the same person. And each form of privilege may have the potential to alleviate some (but not all) of the impact of the various forms of marginalization we experience. It is possible for a person to simultaneously experience oppression within one area of marginalization while ALSO inflicting marginalization upon others in a completely different area. I think some people may see this more clearly if we step outside of the disability frame of reference to look at, say, race and gender. A cishet white woman does not have gender privilege in comparison to a black man, but she does have race privilege. A cishet black man does not have race privilege but does have gender privilege. A white woman can be racist to a black man simultaneously with a black man being sexist to a white woman.
Moving this back to disability: I am deaf, and I was at Gallaudet University in one role or another for quite a long time (as an undergrad student, then as a staff member, then as a grad student again, and so forth), so I have spent a large portion of my life being pretty well immersed in the deaf community before I started becoming more actively involved with the cross-disability community and steering my career in that direction. From my observation, deaf people by and large tend to share about the same range of attitudes and assumptions and stereotypes toward blind people, or people with intellectual disabilities, or people with mobility impairments, people with psychosocial disabilities, people with specific area disabilities and so forth as do hearing people in mainstream society. Any ableist belief you’ve ever seen or heard a hearing non-disabled person say? Chances are, there’s a deaf person somewhere who believes the same thing. Any really awesomely great thing that you’ve seen a hearing non-disabled person do or say that shows they really really GET IT about ableism? Chances are, there’s a deaf person somewhere who has done or said the same thing.
Deaf people are somewhat more likely than the general population to experience certain other types of disabilities in addition to being deaf. For example, as much as 2 percent of deaf people may have been born with Usher’s syndrome, which means they’re born deaf then gradually develop night vision then tunnel vision. People with cerebral palsy are somewhat more likely than the general population to also be deaf or hard of hearing, so the ratio of people with cp is probably also higher in the deaf community. So you would think that deaf people at Gallaudet would “know better” about accommodating disabilities other than deafness. But as far as I can tell, Gallaudet is both about as great and about as not-so-great as any other random university. There is a disability support service office on campus that does their job pretty well, at least from my relatively limited and somewhat outdated observation of it. (I have used their services as a graduate student with attention deficit disorder, and also have interacted with them as an adjunct faculty member with students in my classes who were using their services.) Some individual professors, both deaf and hearing, are great with accommodating all kinds of disabilities. And other individual professors, both deaf and hearing, are not so great.
To boil down this long story into a short moral: deaf people are very much capable of marginalizing (or being inclusive of) people with other kinds of disabilities. Being deaf doesn’t make us immune to saying or doing ableist things to people with other types of disabilities.
And conversely, I’ve seen some cross-disability organizations that are really awesome at being inclusive of deaf people, while other supposedly cross-disability initiatives turn out to not have the first clue about basic things like planning ahead to ensure sign language interpreters or CART service will be available for their events.
Maybe ableism isn’t quite the right word for all of this. Maybe we need a new word for the kind of “ableism” that can be committed by a person (or people or group) with one disability against a person (or people or group) with another disability?
But I think this is something we don’t talk about as much as we should. It’s great that cross-disability organizing is happening, we need to join forces to strengthen our advocacy efforts in all kinds of areas. And it’s also great in many ways to have a unified cross-disability identity. But we do sometimes need to step back and talk about ways that people with all types of disabilities may experience some of the same barriers within the cross-disability community that we do in the rest of the world and what needs to happen to remove those barriers. And we can’t do that until we recognize that people with disabilities often share many of the same hurtful (and harmful) assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors toward people with disabilities not our own as do non-disabled people.
I also think there is not nearly enough dialogue about how to be more inclusive of people with multiple disabilities. Many of the places that are wheelchair accessible may fail to be accessible for deaf people and vice versa: where does that leave a deaf person who rides a wheelchair? And so on for any other pair of disabilities you can come up with. Bearing in mind that many of the things that cause one disability can cause other disabilities simultaneously, like premature birth or meningitis or certain kinds of genetic syndromes and so forth. Meaning, this is not an esoteric question that only affects a tiny number of people. One out of seven people on the face of the planet have at least one disability. And quite a few of us have more than one.
It’s also especially complicated when you’re dealing with the intersections of mental or cognitive disability and physical disability. I hear from a lot of people with physical disabilities that they can’t be ableist because they’re disabled, even though they say or do many oppressive things that affect mentally disabled or cognitively disabled people. I hear it in the opposing direction as well - people saying that physical illnesses are taken more seriously than mental illnesses, when it’s far more complicated than that and many times it actually isn’t. It’s a very common issue. Having a disability in one area doesn’t give you a free pass to be an ass. It is very easy to internalize ableism from society and ignore how it affects other people in favor of our own experiences. And yeah, comorbid disabilities is definitely a conversation that is frequently forgotten or ignored. Like how in those discussions of physical illness vs mental illness, those of us that experience both and have had the same or similar experiences in both areas are completely erased. Or how a physically ill person is treated even worse off than they might have been in a particular situation if they are also mentally ill or cognitively disabled. Etc.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST.
I see this a lot and it makes me sad. I’m not saying that I am perfect (because I more than likely screw up from time to time and I hope that people call me out), but I am in a unique situation. I have invisible disabilities, but I use a service dog making them very visible. While it generally leads to confusion and lots of annoying questions it also thrust me into a rather unique situation: I now have to navigate a world where I must fight for accommodations. WHile the law is on my side, housing and airplanes are two shining examples where I have to jump through huge hoops to have my SD with me. And lets not forget arguing with people about the legality of having my dog with me in public places.
I never ever thought that I could understand what life was like for someone with a physical disability. Now I see how hard it is to get accommodated in simple every day life. I know I have to plan extra time to do everything b/c of my SD. I can only imagine how much extra time is needed for a wheelchair, etc, esp. when so many places are not wheelchair friendly (and trust me I keep a running tally in my head about what places are accessible and who’s parked illegally, etc when I go out - it’s shameful).
I don’t understand how people can act the way they do. We should be supporting one another and yet we act as though just because we have a disability we can judge others. *shakes head* I simply do not know what it’s like to go through life in a wheelchair. I hope that no one knows what it’s like to go through life with soul crushing PTSD, my insane bipolar, and my laundry list of chronic illnesses, but there you have it. Why are we acting this way?
Americans with disabilities are rallying for the right to save more money without getting their government benefits cut off.
this is so, so important. as it is stands, you will lose your medicaid and social security benefits if you earn more than $700/month or have more than $2,000 in savings. that makes it nearly impossible to move out of poverty.
LOOK IT’S ABOUT MY LIFE
this is relevant to my life as well as a person on SSI.
my mom made me spend down my life savings that I wanted to use for top surgery so I’d be eligible for SSI (I’m still not anyway) and I’ve had to start over from scratch
it’s moments like this that i really like tumblr. not because of your situation, which sucks - i wish you luck in building up your savings again. but i’ve been reading along with the reblogs, and everyone has such personal stories related to this issue. it just reiterates how important it is. top surgery, dental work, hearing aids - there are so many basic things that this inhumane law prevents folks from having access to.
THIS IS MY LIFE. PLEASE SIGN. It is very important to me.