By Julia Watts Belser | Ever since I began writing “Loving Our Own Bones,” I knew I wanted to craft a plain language version. The book brings disability culture into conversation with Jewish and Christian traditions, inviting readers to explore how disability insights can transform our politics and our spiritual lives. At its heart, it’s a book about challenging ableism—a book that calls us all to build a radically accessible world.
By Ben Mattlin | When you’ve grown up in a world not quite made for you or are forced into one from an accident or illness, and when you feel you should be able to do what everybody else seems to do, when you feel as if you’ve been inexplicably singled out for punishment, it can be utterly, achingly soul sinking. Worse still, it’s hard to shake. “Internalized ableism” is believing the prejudicial assumptions and expectations thrust on you by society, believing you’re inferior, undesirable, burdensome, don’t fit in, and/or in need of repairing or healing or fixing or curing.
By Jane Strauss | One of the things that many parents seem to be unhappy about when their child is labeled “Autistic” is this: “But they will not have play dates.” Friendship, “socializing,” and human interaction are seen as central to our very humanity. Females often fly under the radar for being labeled on the autism spectrum because their social development is different from that of males, generally resulting in more social orientation, better imitation skills at a younger age, and earlier speech, of whatever kind, than their male counterparts.
By Kristen Joiner | “So, you’ve been a feminist and worked in human rights your whole career?” Judy Heumann asked me the first time we met to discuss the possibility of writing her memoir. “Right.” “And you never knew disability was a civil rights issue?” Since I’d already owned up to this, I nodded again. “So, what makes you think you can write my story?”
All right. 2022 has been cute—in a We-Lumbered-Through-Yet-Another-Plague-Year kind of way—but now it’s giving shabby and dogged. That’s right. Time to sashay away and to do so with some grace and dignity. But before then, we need to give it up for our authors and staff who blessed Beacon Broadside with their words and insight.
Nobody wanted long COVID on our collective pandemic Bingo card, but there it is. In her “The Daily Show” interview, OG disability rights badass Judy Heumann told Trevor Noah that the likelihood of his acquiring a disability, temporary or permanent, was statistically high. He took her statement as a threat in jest, but there’s truth in that for us.
It’s flying graduation caps season! We’re not post-pandemic, but graduates are embarking on a world stage that looks different from what it was two or three years ago. Some of those differences are alarming.
Bring out your flower bouquets and your brunch reservations! This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and we’re bringing the books to take you into the weekend and beyond. These books show how every kind of mother needs to be valued and supported in the catch-all societal stew we call the US. Mothers of color. Immigrant mothers. Mothers who become parents at a young age. Mothers separated from their families because of incarceration. Mothers challenging the medical establishment about misconceived notions of disability.
A Q&A with Terry Galloway | It’s a Hallmark film of a movie and, as such, has every Deaf cliché you can think of, including how hot Deaf people are in bed—although I’m inclined to perpetuate that myth. “CODA,” written by a hearing person and adapted by another hearing person, made the Deaf family the nominal villains: backwards, unthinking, unfeeling, selfish bumpkins. Until, of course, their hearing, singing savior of a child makes them see the error of their dumb ole Deaf ways.
By Lennard Davis | Like many Children of Deaf Adults [CODAs], I was heartened to see that the film “CODA” had won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It is very exciting that Troy Kotsur, who plays the Deaf father of the hearing child in the film, was the first Deaf male actor won for Best Supporting Male Performance. It is also encouraging to see a movie in which all the roles of the Deaf characters were actually played by Deaf actors. Hurray! All a major step forward in the fight against audism. But as a CODA, I should step back from the cheering crowds of appreciative hearing and Deaf fans to express some serious regrets.
We did it! We made it to the finish line of another plague year! Just a few more weeks left. Even though it’s not New Year’s Eve yet, uncork some bubbly to celebrate. We earned it. Our big wish for the new year: no more COVID variants. Delta, Mu, Omicron . . . Worst. Upgrades. Ever. Before we slam the door on 2021, we need to applaud and thank our authors and staff for the blog posts they wrote for the Broadside.
By Ben Mattlin | On July 25, 2021, a day before the thirty-first anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the New York Times Magazine published a story about the proliferation of ADA litigation. “The Price of Access” was the headline of the print edition; the online version, which had appeared a few days earlier, was titled “The Man Who Filed More Than 180 Disability Lawsuits.”
By Marga Vicedo | A two-and-a-half year old girl sits on the floor. Her mother lays besides her, making random marks with a brush and paint on a piece of paper. She is hoping her little girl, Jessy, will imitate her. Unlike most children her age, Jessica has shown little interest in imitating her siblings or her parents. She seems content playing alone, placing some set of objects carefully in rows. Jessica did not start to use the brush and paint herself that day with her mom; but, remarkably, she did so three days later, on her own. From then on, her mother made sure Jessy always had paper, crayons, and paints. These tools would open up a new world of experiences and interests for Jessica.
By Marga Vicedo | “You are being emotional,” someone may tell you during a conversation. It is not a compliment. It usually means you are being irrational or at least unreasonable. The underlying assumption is that you are not thinking clearly because you are letting your emotions interfere with your reasoning. This belief is not only prevalent in daily interactions. The separation between cognition and affects has a long history in philosophical and scientific approaches in the Western world. The emotional and cognitive realms are often seen as separate, if not opposed to each other.
A Q&A with Emily Paige Ballou | I think I actually benefited more from being diagnosed as an adult than I would have as a child. It came as a huge vindication and a relief, to have confirmation that I wasn’t just imagining all the ways I was different. Things really were harder for me. I wasn’t making it up. I wasn’t being spoiled or dramatic, and I wasn’t just broken.
A Q&A with Sharon daVanport | AWN finds our history deeply rooted in the need to find community and shared-lived experiences. At the time AWN entered the autism community, the narrative centered mostly around young white boys and men. In those early days, we discovered quickly that AWN was an initiative that was desperately needed.
A Q&A with Morénike Giwa Onaiwu | It’s interesting, because it kind of makes me think about certain medications. Some do not have any adverse reaction when taken together. Neither is there a positive reaction. They just coexist simultaneously but aren’t necessarily interrelated in any meaningful way. Another medication might help enhance the efficacy of another—maybe by increasing its metabolism rate or boosting its effect in some other way so they interact in a helpful way.
By Emily Paige Ballou | My guess is that if you have a child or family member on the autism spectrum or have been involved with the special education system or disability services as a professional, you have most likely been taught, at some point, that the correct way of referring to people with disabilities is to use “person-first language,” or to “put the person first.”
By Gustavus Stadler | I knew that when my book came out, I would inevitably be asked questions like, “What would Woody Guthrie do today? Where would he stand on this issue? What would he think of this candidate or that elected official?” I’m mostly accustomed to writing about topics at least several decades distant from the present, and I try hard to honor the otherness of the past, rather than portray it as a simpler version of the now. Plus, responses to such questions so often depend more on the projections of the answerer than on historical evidence.
A little over half a century ago, zero federal laws made it illegal to discriminate against disabled people. Today’s accessibility accommodations in buildings and services were nonexistent. We have disability rights activist and supreme badass Judy Heumann to thank for sparking a national movement for the protection of disabled peoples’ rights that led to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And it benefits everyone.