|bad drawing of two hearts, both the same, with the words 'the disabled heart' pointing to one, and 'your heart' point to the other, with the words 'so stop it' underneath the drawings. The drawing and words are in one colour: lavender.|
When you are disabled people discount your relationships and see only what they want to see. In their eyes, Joe becomes my support worker. It's easier for them that way. It fits into their assumptions about sexuality and disability. They will it away, they make it invisible, they mask it with words. They do the same to children with disabilities. Their relationships with their parents aren't the same as typical kids. Love and affection, freely given to those born right are seen as burdensome tasks for those born left. They don't want to see disability and relationship in any way possible.
This makes it easy for them to kill us, or want us dead, or leave us at the bottom of the list when it comes to rationing health care. This makes it easy for movies to show loving parents shoving their children underwater in a bathtub for their own good in such a way that the audience identifies with the killer, not the victim. This makes it easy to see news reports of COVID crowded hospitals turning away disabled people because there are only so many beds, and those are reserved for the worthy.
We are people without relationships. People without attachments. People who fill no hole in another's heart. We are unnecessary.
We have to stand guard against this.
I saw something that showed a friendship between a man with a disability and a regular dude. The friendship to me looked real, looked reciprocal, looked even joyful, but the spin suggested that this man, was saintly for his relationship, giving of his time, a volunteer of the highest order. I call SHIT!
In our own way, I engage in little acts of rebellion.
I use the word husband, in reference to Joe, because that's what he is. But I also use it because it signifies that I have a relationship beyond friendship with him. A physical relationship. I use the word sometimes when it fits but is unnecessary because it never is unnecessary.
Because you see, every time.
Every single time.
You see the impact of the words.
Oh. OH. OOOOOH.
And it's not because we're gay, no that's left in the dust, it's because he walks and I roll. It's because his body is more acceptable than mine is. It's because they have to see me differently. They have to think differently. They have to dust off the dusty ideas about disability and give them a good cleaning.
Relationships are important for people with disabilities. And those relationships will change attitudes over and over again.
It's a little act of rebellion, but rebellion nonetheless.