A lot of conversations have been started recently about the importance of the representation of different groups in media and all aspects of life. Representation helps people see themselves. The more someone sees someone like them in various careers, the more doors they realize are available to them.
The episode posed the question, "Why do you think the LGBTQIA+ community has been able to progress so much more quickly than the disability community?”
I think one of the biggest aspects that contributed to the advancement of LGBTQIA+ is positive representation. Queer Eye for The Straight Guy was a show that ran on Bravo from 2003-2007. The primary purpose of the show was to promote tolerance of the LGBTQIA+. There has been a reboot of the show on Netflix since 2018. While there is still a long way to go in terms of representation for all minorities. I think Queer Eye does a pretty good job of showing a wide range of different personalities who all happen to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I don't think members of the disability community have anything similar on such a large scale.
I feel like people who are praised in the disability community are people who have accomplished so much in their young life that would even be remarkable if they weren't disabled.
The other end of the spectrum is that people praise members of the disabled community for living their everyday lives. A few years ago, I was praised by a neighbor for hanging out with my friends in Chinatown. It, unfortunately, happened more often than not. I think the more exposure people have to people with disabilities the more people will think about accessibility.
Another important aspect is advocating for ourselves. I am guilty of this as well. I always expect someone else to say something. The problem with that line of thinking though is if everyone thinks someone else is going to say something, then nothing gets said. I know it can feel like screaming into a void, but it starts with one person. Keep screaming, and eventually, someone will have to listen.
Here is a link to the podcast with Senator Harkin that inspired this post.
Photo by prettysleepy1 courtesy of Pixabay
Stephanie Wyatt has Cerebral Palsy and uses a manual wheelchair. She spends her free time hanging out with her best friend Carmen and her dog Ama Angelica.