I really didn’t like this tag to begin with. So I tried to write something saying I am trans, and then trying to draw a connection between my experience being trans and being disabled. I tried to write about how even though so many able-bodied people have harmed me, I still wouldn’t say fuckablebodiedpeople and paint with that broad of a brush. I was going to write about the series of doctors who told me my anxiety about my pain was retroactively causing my pain, timelord style. I wanted to write about the employer whose company nurse told me I wasn’t normal. I planned to painstakingly describe the supervisor who fired me because she thought my medication made me unable to drive (based on nothing).
And yet, I intended to triumphantly conclude, I don’t think being able-bodied causes you to be ableist.
But then I thought about it, and realized how fucking pervasive it is in my life. I remembered the guy I wanted to date who stopped calling after he discovered I “take pharmaceuticals every day.” I thought about the family members who believe my disability-related reduced courseload is merely laziness and a desire to avoid adult life. I recalled the cousin who said that my “mysterious illness is the result of [my] immune system tearing my body apart inside, just like I tear other people apart with my arguments.” (My immune system has nothing to do with my disability, which is a congenital bone malformation).
Then I had to confront how regaining enough ability through meds to not need any visible signs of my disability (i.e. support braces) has caused me to not have to think about basic things that able people take for granted, unless I want to revel in my improvement for a moment. I may smile when I can skip down the stairs like it’s nothing, but I sneer at people who don’t exercise without always remembering that it’s possible that they can’t.
And I had to conclude that yea, being able-bodied is kind of the driving force behind ableism. And yea, maybe I still wouldn’t say fuck all of them, but I can’t deny a deep and hard-earned mistrust of people who have never contemplated their own debility or demise.
So at the end of the thought process, I am the very least, neutral on the hashtag.
Very glad you decided to write this up – thanks for sharing your evolving reactions!