Category: Disability Issues

Stop scapegoating and alienating vulnerable people

Movie still from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," set in a high school, with a young man in the foreground looking off into the distance as two young women stand in the near background, talking about him

People on all sides of the issue seem to be looking for some kind of solution to school shootings and mass shootings in general. Which is good. They’re doing that at the expense of innocent, vulnerable people. That’s bad. Pro-gun control, pro-WalkingUpNotOut, everyone is pinning this violence on people who had nothing to do with it, are already dealing with enough on their own, and are actively harmed by being saddled with that blame.

What men need to know about discussing sexual harassment

A shot from Game of Thrones with Arya and Sansa Stark standing on the snow-frosted battlements of Winterfell

I was talking with a group of guy friends recently, the sole woman amid a collection of dudes as they stream-of-consciousness workshopped their way to understanding the ongoing storm of sexual harassment accusations. It’s not a pleasant position to be in — I was glad to be able to help them understand things, but thinking about that stuff at that level and having to articulate it that way was exhausting and also made me want to go home and take, like, twelve showers. But they and others have asked what they need to know and what insights they need to have when discussing sexual harassment with women. So here’s some.

Why I talk about mental illness

Close-up of a woman's smiling face, shot with way too much flash

I haven’t been shy about discussing my mental health on this blog. There’s a lot of privilege behind that — I know that I’m probably not going to suffer ill effects to my life or livelihood if people know about it. That isn’t the case for everyone with mental illnesses, and I would never insist that anyone come forward to talk about theirs if they aren’t comfortable doing so. That’s one reason I talk about it: Because I can, and it needs to be talked about.

The Las Vegas shooting was a tragedy. That doesn’t mean mental illness is at fault.

A wide shot of Vegas casinos as seen from the street, with people milling around

In Las Vegas Sunday night, a gunman in the Mandalay Bay hotel used many, many automatic weapons to rain fire on fans at a country music festival, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500. We currently have absolutely no idea why. And while it’s natural to speculate and distance ourselves when we’re scared and confused, declaring it a mental health issue without evidence indicating that it’s so isn’t helpful to anyone and is actively harmful to people with mental illnesses.

Quick hit: Ann Coulter is the worst person in the world

[Trigger warning for ableist slur]

Do you remember when Donald Trump struck out at New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski by mocking him during a campaign speech? Kovaleski committed the dual sins of having arthrogryposis, a congenital joint contracture, and for calling bullshit on Trump’s claims that thousands of Muslims were celebrating in New York after 9/11. Trump later denied that he was mocking Kovaleski, saying that his twitching, flailing, stammering impersonation was actually “mimick[ing] what [he] thought would be a flustered reporter[.].” In her new book, In Trump We Trust, Ann Coulter agrees that he wasn’t mocking Kovaleski, but her position is that he was doing an impersonation of a “standard…” No, I just can’t.

You can’t possibly be crying?

Guest Post by Malinda: “It wasn’t long into my adult life when I lost my daughter to Spina Bifida, very unexpectedly. Not only was the pregnancy unexpected, but so was her death. And I found myself thrust into a completely different part of life, in uncharted waters. At 20-years-old I had an immense amount of grief to learn to cope with; but at the same time I needed to find my way back to “normal” life, whatever that may be.”

Expert witness: 9-year-old “protect[ed]” from the trauma of her abuse by her low IQ

[Content note: sexual abuse, ableism]

In 2010, a 9-year-old, developmentally disabled girl at a school in Los Angeles was sexually assaulted on five different occasions by a fellow student during an after-school program. When her parents sued the LAUSD, the district’s expert witness, celebrity psychologist Dr. Stan Katz, testified that her low IQ reduced the amount of emotional stress the girl suffered, acting as a “protective factor.”