While i (sometimes, sparingly, selectively) have the capacity to be diplomatic, i am not actually a politician. Please don’t ask me to be a politician when it comes to disability, in/accessibility, and ableism. Don’t tone-police me; don’t supplant my disabled realities with your ENabled assumptions; don’t treat me like i don’t actually know what the fuck i’m doing because i happen to say it, variously, with screenprinted patches, choice swear words, do it in alliance with folks you might not think are “natural” allies, do it knowing all of this shit is connected, do it with a sense of humour, a sense of urgency, a sense of rage, a sense that all of this is about love and community and liberation, and a vaguely threatening crutch tip (which, despite liberal rhetoric to the contrary, is also, yes, about love and community and liberation).
This is not a hobby, or an “issue” or “cause” i’m passionate about, or something which i can simply apply the cold template of bureaucracy to in the same way i apply my accessibility audit template over yet another inaccessible venue you’re using-but-are-ever-so-sorry-about.
This is my life. And the reality of my life is that i don’t fit or thrive in governmental, hand-shaking, smiley smiles, academic, hierarchical, legalities. i can’t sit around a boardroom table and have you take me actually, tangibly, seriously. Some of that is about class and expression and other experiences, some of it is about politics, some of it is about desire.
But no matter what it’s about, the reality is that i shrivel in these environments; i shudder at them; i lose huge pieces of myself in them; i fundamentally don’t believe in them (and in fact, i believe they serve one purpose: to turn the living into the dead, and that is not, like, inspiring to me). i also am forced as a disabled and broke trans person to operate within governmental, bureaucratic bullshit systems during the rest of my life, and i don’t care to spend even more time trying to play the system to get the most basic accommodations in my communities (communities which, let’s be real here, talk a good game but deliver little consistency, except in what i apparently shouldn’t be doing to make the kind of fundamental change i want to see).
This is where you come in. You who has access to these environments, you who passes within those spaces, you who talks the game, knows the code, believes it works, has a nice suit or other acceptable clothing and the language and the physical access, and you who won’t die inside of it. That’s where you do your thing. Instead of expecting me to fit your mold, how about you use what you have available to you and do the fucking work too?
And i’ll do my thing.
Just please stop asking me to cut off pieces of myself to play by your rules, accept your template as the one that’ll work, the one that has real tangible value, the one people will take seriously. And please consider that me refusing to and/or being unable to engage with that stuff in this context is not a reflection of how i and others like me run our affairs in community and beyond and how we somehow need to change our approach (that’s called tone policing); it is rather a failure of supposedly “allied” communities where so few gimps are actually taken even remotely seriously that folks even consider suggesting that the random fucking anarchist stragglers among us step up to love-me-love-me-love-me-i’m-a-liberal bureaucratic troughs to make change (And also? An anarchist isn’t, like, just a really angry liberal, just to be clear). No thanks.
You do actually have to do something. But that something isn’t chastising me for what i’m doing to survive the system you thrive in and benefit from.
Allies, yes, you do your thing and i’ll do mine, great.
Just don’t get in my fucking way as i do mine.
***PS: This is applicable –though in different ways– to enabled liberals and disabled liberals.***