“Fairness” to nondisabled people has no place in accessibility conversations.

(A thread)
Disabled people are often told that meeting our needs would be "unfair" to nondisabled people. This is is both a distraction from and mischaracterization of the purpose of accessibility.
Accessibility aims to address the structural injustices of a world that enables some bodyminds (and constructs them as "normal" and "nondisabled") at the expense of other bodyminds (which are disabled through marginalization and exclusion).
To foreground “fairness” suggests that enabling nondisabled people is a collective responsibility, while enabling disabled people is an individual responsibility or “special treatment”.
It also implies that disabled people’s needs cannot be met without burdening or taking something away from nondisabled people, thus rendering access a perpetually secondary consideration to maintaining nondisabled privilege.
Lastly, a “fairness” framing suggests that disabled people’s absence and exclusion may be more “beneficial” than our presence and participation -- even though the "curb-cut effect" demonstrates that greater accessibility paves the way for greater inclusion of many types.
In short, it's time to stop hiding behind "fairness" to nondisabled people. It is both unjust and incorrect. It does not excuse ableism; it IS ableism.

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More from @the_tweedy

27 Sep
A story about ranking disabilities:

One time I was talking to another wheelchair user I'd just met about traveling with a wheelchair, and she casually said, "...but, I mean, I'm a relatively 'able' disabled person."

I responded, "oh, like you're 'ambulatory'?"
She replied that, no, she is a complete para. She meant people who deal with chronic fatigue, pain, etc...

She was, without realizing it, classifying disabilities like mine as more disabling than hers, and I (also oblivious) had framed her disability as more disabling than mine.
The moral of this story is threefold:

1) you can't "rank" disabilities,

2) the most "disabling" disability is any disability that is unfamiliar bc you don't know what skills and strategies it might require in order to live well (making it seem more daunting to experience), and
Read 6 tweets
27 Sep
We talk a lot about disabled ppl serving as inspiration porn for the ableds, but I want to also discuss how the ableds feel entitled to "inspire" your disabilities away. Basically every disabled person has had a nondisabled person (or 50) give them a specific sort of "pep talk".
It's the usual "overcoming" BS but they don't just doubt your knowledge of your own bodymind and feel entitled to strip you of your autonomy and impose their will, they also think you've been waiting your whole life for them to do it -- for them to so thoroughly dehumanize you.
They think they're your savior. You (obviously?) need saving and it's your lucky day: they're here to save you whether you like it or not, so prepare to have your boundaries thoroughly violated in the name of fun and adventure.
Read 10 tweets
22 Sep
Ok pals, what are some specifically crip pleasures that you relish?
For me: any time I don a brace and feel *support*! Also, I just got some new compression stockings today, and my legs are very happy about it.
Also how one of my cats reaches up and taps my wheelchair brakes for attention because it makes a noise--and then of course I have to pick her up and pet her.
Read 5 tweets
21 Sep
My parents are remodeling their home. They've made it wheelchair accessible -- even the shower. They live in the US, and I live in Canada, but they just want visits to be comfortable for me. They didn't even mention it until it was underway.
Access should be the norm (in families and in society), but it's not, and I'm therefore quite touched by this gesture of care.
(Also another reason to build for accessibility is that everyone who doesn't die suddenly eventually becomes disabled...)
Read 4 tweets
19 Sep
When drs gatekeep mobility aids because they don't want a person to "lose function", and w/o a mobility aid that person cannot participate in activities they find meaningful, we need to be clear that drs aren't actually "preserving function" but rather compulsory able-bodiedness.
They're always like, "if you use a wheelchair you'll lose function and end up using a wheelchair." Okaaay?
It's not like my choices were keep running marathons or use a wheelchair... Truly the failure of doctors to comprehend the lives of their patients is just staggering sometimes.
Read 4 tweets
18 Sep
When I started using a mobility aid, folks were surprised that I "jumped right to a wheelchair". One therapist even called it "a bit drastic" (yes, I fired him). Society believes that mobility aids exist on a spectrum of severity. This is not the case.
Mobility aids respond to particular embodied needs. You cannot "rank" a person's disability on the basis of their mobility aid (in fact, you cannot rank a person's disability -- period).
I did not "start with" a rollator, cane, or crutches because they did not respond to my needs (including orthostatic issues and the need to mitigate fatigue). They also were not appropriate for my body because of joint instability in my shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
Read 8 tweets

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