Since this afternoon I keep seeing tweets pop up with #tellafeministthankyou (hashtag “tell a feminist thank you” for those who find those hard to read).
I got to thinking. It would be good to have a similar thing for people who campaign on disability issues. But what would you call it?
Feminism is generally considered to be a good thing and to have made amazing strides forward in rights for women both in this country and others. The suffragette movement and the fact women in the UK can vote being just one example. It’s the one that comes to mind because I just read The Children’s Book by AS Byatt and the votes for women movement plays a role in the book.
And I suspect that a lot of what has happened to improved disability rights and everything around it has a basis in the feminist movement. Once you can get someone to change their mind on something it’s often easier to get them to begin to shift slightly on a different but related issue such as disability rights in my opinion. The two issues are very different but they compliment each other and one can lay the groundwork for the other. Although, obviously there are also times when to link the two issues together would be inappropriate just as there would be with any other “ism”
But going to the hashtag you could never have “tell an ableist thank you” (or disableist depending on your term of preference, mine I think is moving more towards ableism at the moment) because ableism is a bad thing and rightly so.
There are so many people who have been my disability mentors along this journey. Not all of them have disabilities themselves but most of them do. And one or two that most of what I took away from them was how not to be. Some I have thanked. Many I have not and some I doubt I’ll ever get the chance too.
I considered sharing names and linking to blogs of some of the awesome people who’ve been that for me at different stages at my life. But the fact of the matter is I could never list them all and I’d hate to miss someone off.
Most of them are people I either met through the internet or who I only know online. I grew up knowing many others with CP and a few with other disabilities we wheeled or walked our path growing up disabled together but I’m not sure mentor is the term I’d use for those people. Possibly because for me the path to true acceptance and being happy in my own skin didn’t come until I was 17 or so.
If you’ve played a role – any role – in mentoring me or in the fight over the years for the equal treatment and rights that I and others deserve as both a disabled person and as a women then Thank You.
That’s something I don’t think we say enough.