1/25 The final version of my piece on disability identity, Claiming Disability is out today: papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf… Many thanks to the editors at @BU_Law who did an incredible job of the editorial process. Below, a 🧵on the piece:
2/25 Many people who qualify as disabled under federal civil rights law do not self-identify as disabled. Indeed, only a small fraction of those who qualify as disabled under the ADAAA self-identify in this way.
3/25 There are many reasons for this, but among them is the fact that many of us have internalized a social welfare conception of disability, in which disability is inextricably intertwined with functional incapacity and an inability to work.
4/25 As I lay out in the piece, the continued dominance of this societal understanding of disability is problematic--both in its inherent assumption that disability must connote functional incapacity, and in the negative impacts it has for disability rights.
5/25 In contrast, the implications of more people claiming dis identity under the civ rts definition could be transformational, by increasing known contacts w/ ppl with disabilities (& thus decreasing bias) & by radically expanding the pool of those who have a stake in dis rights
6/25 I also argue in the piece that claiming disability identity can be personally transformational for those who engage in it, by providing a means to push back on closeting and covering demands-and by affording a positive frame through which to view the experience of impairment
7/25 Finally, the piece addresses the complications that can arise from those who lie on the boundaries of disability claiming a disabled identity. As I lay out in the piece, for those of us who choose to do so it is important to have an "attitude of an ally" in our work & lives.
8/25 In other forthcoming work, I build this point out & discuss my own journey to a disability identity. As a person who has had major depressive disorder since childhood (& later symptoms of panic disorder, anxiety, OCD), I undoubtedly am disabled under civil rights law.
9/25 But until recently, I did not identify myself in that way, in part b/c of fears of identity cooptation. Indeed, although close to 100% of my family members have mental health or developmental diagnoses, I considered "disabled" to be limited to those prevented from working.
10/25 A number of factors--including teaching disability civil rights law and raising my own children to have a positive disability identity--ultimately made that perspective feel deeply uncomfortable.
11/25 Normatively and descriptively, I do not believe that disability should be equated with functional incapacity-- much less an inability to work. Many people with disabilities are among the most functionally capable people that I know.
12/25 Fed civ rts law provides a different model-one that is not tethered to functional incapacity, & instead looks to diagnoses & their impact on the bodily systems. Ultimately, it felt right to embrace this understanding of disability for myself-& I hope it will too for others.
13/25 While I continue to believe that doing so needs to be done with care-& that the risks of identity cooptation are non-trivial-I also believe that there are costs to not claiming dis identity that those of us who do not (but could) claim such an identity ought to explore.
14/25 Especially for those of us who currently situate ourselves as allies--and who could, but do not claim a disability identity because of fear of coopting disability identity--it is important to question whether this is the right choice.
15/25 Ultimately, failing to claim a disability identity-- internally and publicly--leaves the entirety of the burden of stigma disruption on those who are visibly disabled. It is not clear that this is a helpful or even ethical choice.
16/25 It is also important to understand that by claiming a disability identity we can create space for those who are coming up behind us. In law schools, there are so many students with disabilities, most hidden--and many of them experience the profession as deeply unwelcoming.
17/25 Providing such students with visible and open exemplars of disability in the profession is important. Indeed, how can we encourage our students to be proud of their own disabilities if we do not claim or discuss our own?
18/25 Ultimately, one can choose to claim disability identity for some purposes (such as stigma disruption and community building), but not for others (such as affirmative action or claiming to represent all disabled experiences).
19/25 For me, recognizing that claiming a dis. identity need not be an "all or nothing" affair is what has allowed such an identity to feel like a comfortable fit. And embracing such an identity publicly has allowed me to do work on disability bias that I otherwise could not do.
20/25 Embracing (or not) a dis. identity is a personal process, as to which each person may ultimately reach a different end. I have no expectations that any given person will reach the same conclusions I did, even if they too fall within the civil rights definition of disability
21/25 Either way, it is my hope that we can construct a society in which disability is no longer seen as inextricably associated with incapacity-in which there are many more "out" ppl with disabilities-& in which the many contributions of ppl with disabilities are seen & valued.
22/25 Postscript: For those wanting more on the civil rights definition of disability (and if you fall within it!), you can find it in the article, and also at askjan.org/publications/c….
23/25 Also, although there is not a list of covered disabilities in the ADA itself (since the inquiry is individualized), the EEOC has issued regulations making clear that the following conditions (current or former) should easily be found to be disabilities: deafness... (cont.)
24/25 ...blindness, intellectual disability, partially or completely missing limbs or mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, major depressive disorder... (cont.)
25/25 ...bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, and schizophrenia. This EEOC list is non-exhaustive: many other conditions qualify too, provided that in their active and non-mitigated state they "substantially limit" a major life activity or major bodily function.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Katie Eyer

Katie Eyer Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @katie_eyer

16 Jun 20
1/24 A thread on yesterday’s decision in Bostock. The takeaways: (1) The majority's textualist reasoning was correct and a major win for LGBTQ employees; (2) While important issues for trans employees remain open, those issues are likely to be resolved in trans employees’ favor;
2/24 (3) Bostock has substantial implications for many other areas of LGBTQ equality law, including the Trump administration’s revocation of trans healthcare protections; (4) The opinion’s discussion of but-for causation is critical reading for all anti-discrimination lawyers;
3/24 (5) This is just one step—though an important one—in our country’s ongoing equality struggles. For LGBTQ employees, and for everyone else, it is critical to redouble our efforts to ensure that equality law is a lived reality. #blacklivesmatter #BlackTransLivesMatter
Read 24 tweets
13 Nov 19
1/17 Understanding the *real* issue in today’s race discrimination case before the Supreme Court: a thread.
2/17 Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Comcast v. NAAAOM, a race discrimination case under 42 U.S.C. § 1981.
3/17 As characterized by CNBC (and many other news sources), the issue before the Justices today is “how high the bar should be [in a § 1981 case] — whether [the plaintiff] has to prove that race was the sole factor or one factor among others.”
Read 17 tweets
29 Apr 19
1/16 I got a number of thought-provoking responses to my thread on textualism, originalism and the LGBT Title VII cases that I thought were worth responding to with a new thread. Thanks @BRSoucek @limerickless @espinsegall @marty_lederman @wizopindy @KineticDarkroom @sbendc_
2/16 First, a response to those who suggested the textualist analysis in the Title VII LGBT cases is not as straightforward as I suggest: I respectfully disagree. #textualism #LGBT #TitleVII
3/16 The conservative wing of the Court has consistently held that “because of" connotes “but-for” causation on a plain language reading. See Gross, Nassar, Burrage. As I laid out in my original thread, sex (even defined as “biological” sex) is a but-for cause in the LGBT cases.
Read 16 tweets
26 Apr 19
1/17 A thread: Why LGBT employees win in the Title VII cases if a textualist methodology is applied (and even most originalist ones too). #textualism #originalism #LGBT #TitleVII
2/17 Many people seem to assume that the application of textualism and originalism necessarily leads to politically conservative results, and thus would lead to a loss in the LGBT Title VII cases. This is not true.
3/17 Indeed, in the case of the Title VII LGBT rights cases, following a principled textualist methodology would necessarily result in a pro-LGBT result.
Read 18 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!