What i want is for people –especially but not only those who call themselves “allies”– to take the knowledge-from-lived-experience of disabled folks seriously.
When i say “knowledge-from-lived-experience of disabled folks” i mean the collective wealth of understanding, practice, get it the fuck done-edness, the facts, figures, alternatives, creative solutions, etc., all the shit we have had to create from next-to-nothing to live in this world generally not built for us or with even our existence in mind.
When i say “take it seriously” i mean that i want you to receive that information with openness not defensiveness, want you to refer to it often, to use it as a central point from which all else that you do in relation to this (and maybe in relation to all things) emanates; i want you to actively trust that we know what the fuck we are talking about, that we have information you don’t, that we have experience you don’t; and that because of this ableist inaccessible environment in which we live –this environment which privileges you and oppresses us– we have had to come up with solutions that you would never think of in your wildest dreams, which you wouldn’t even ponder, we know and do shit you can’t even imagine. No, really, we do. i know that goes against the ongoing imaginings about disabled folks (even among the most well-intended allies) but really, we do. And i want you to ask questions! to challenge! to add your own thoughts and ideas: to collaborate as though we are fully in this together, not that you’re doing something for us.
So when i say that what i want is for people –especially but not only those who call themselves “allies”– to take the knowledge-from-lived-experience of disabled folks seriously, i want you to do just that. i don’t want you to say you’ll take it, then either do nothing with it or twist it so it seems like it never came from us at all. i don’t want you to tell us you understand but then treat us as though you know better than we do. i want you to trust that we know what the fuck we’re doing/ saying/ living, and to treat us accordingly.
There isn’t much I can guarantee in life, but i can guarantee that the outcome of any of the work you do will be better for it.