Texas Republicans Suppress the Crip Vote and Prescribe Forced Intimacy

Today, as Texas Republicans are advancing SB 7, legislation that directly targets disabled voters, Fair Fight Action launched a Disability Council made up of a diverse group of disability advocates. Members include Fair Fight Action’s Dom Kelly, former Congressman Tony Coelho, Sarah Blahovec, Emily Blum, Patrick Cokley, Matthew Cortland, Colleen Flanagan, Jules Good, Claudia Gordon, Mia Ives-Rublee, Ted Jackson, Emily Ladau, Andraéa LaVant, Vilissa Thompson, Zan Thornton, Gaylon Tootle, and Tiffany Yu.

Source: Fair Fight Action Launches Disability Council, Condemns Texas Voter Suppression Bill Targeting Disabled People | Fair Fight

That’s a great roster of disability advocates. So glad to see Fair Fight including us and fighting with us to #CripTheVote.

As for what Texas Republicans are up to this time…

Further, the legislation allows partisan poll watchers to film voters who require assistance at the polls if the watcher “reasonably believes” that the assistance is unlawful, forcing disabled people to defend themselves from harmful accusations and compromising their right to privacy.

Ableist, gross, and nerve-racking. Disability policing is already frustrating and demoralizing enough. I already worry about having to defend my disability status when a poll worker escorts me and my rollator forward (on those wonderful occasions when there’s a poll worker monitoring the queue). We’re filmed for disability policing, and we’re filmed for inspiration. It’s exhausting.

These proposals in SB 7 invade the privacy of disabled voters, forcing them to provide private and deeply personal medical information in order to be able to vote with assistance.

Moar paperwork!” says the Republican penchant for government-mandated forced intimacy.

Forced intimacy is the continuous submission to patient hoodrequired to access the right to learn, work, and live differently. K-12 SpEd families, higher ed students, and workers needing accommodations regularly experience forced intimacy. Forced intimacy “chips away at your soul. Every box you tick, every sentence about your ‘impairment’ and ‘needs’ becomes part of the narrative of your identity.

Forced intimacy is a cornerstone of how ableism functions.” “Forced intimacy is the opposite of access intimacy.” “Access intimacy is that elusive, hard to describe feeling when someone else ‘gets’ your access needs.

Source: Accessibility, Access Intimacy, and Forced Intimacy – Ryan Boren

Forced intimacy in the form of more paperwork requiring intimate details. Forced intimacy in the form of vigilantes filming us vote. Ableism and inaccessibility as a result. A Big Lie of fraud as justification.

Texas Republicans consistently insert themselves into our lives and care, imposing a continuous permitting process on our existence and encouraging vigilante permit policing.

Donate to Fair Fight, and vote against Republicans.

Ableist discrimination and bigotry materialize in countless ways, but talk to anyone whose disability isn’t immediately obvious and this kind of story pops up again and again. Encounters turn bad because a random individual-sometimes in a position of official authority, other times just a meddling onlooker-decides someone is getting away with something. They cry “fraud.” They demand proof. They seek to restore order. Such incidents often result in humiliation or forced disclosure. Worse, as in Minnesota, they can spark violence and trauma.

Thousands joined the thread to share their experiences: Anyone who uses accessible parking but who doesn’t look sufficiently disabled or who only uses their wheelchair sometimes has encountered the “Good Samaritan” stranger who demands that they prove their disability. It happens a lot in parking lots, because accessible parking spaces are hotly contested proving-grounds for disability.

We need to learn to expect disability. There’s no one way to look or be disabled. When someone asks for an accommodation, believe them. If someone is behaving in an atypical way, pause to reflect whether there might be a disability-related reason. Or just lighten up. Humans are diverse. We do things in our own unique ways.

Source: When Disability Is Misdiagnosed as Bad Behavior – Pacific Standard

Previously,

A Credo for Support: Respecting Autonomy in a Society of Interdependence and Care

Do Not try to modify my behaviour.

Be still & listen. What you define as inappropriate

may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can.

Do Not see me as your client. I am your fellow citizen.

See me as your neighbour. Remember, none of us can be self-sufficient.

Do Not try to control me. I have a right to my power as a person. What you call non-compliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert some control over my life.

Do Not work on me. Work with me.

Source: A Credo for Support

Via: Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

This credo is a beautiful recipe for respecting autonomy in a framework of interdependence and care. I’m going to share it with the educators and caregivers that work with our family.

The late Herb Lovett used to say that there are only two problems with “special education” in America: It’s not special and it sure as hell isn’t education. The field continues to be marinated in behaviorist assumptions and practices despite the fact that numerous resources for teachers, therapists, and parents offer alternatives to behavior control. These alternatives are based on a commitment to care and to understand. By “care,” I mean that our relationship with the child is what matters most. He or she is not a passive object to be manipulated but a subject, a center of experience, a person with agency, with needs and rights. And by “understand,” I mean that we have an obligation to look beneath the behavior, in part by imaginatively trying to adopt that person’s point of view, attempting to understand the whys rather than just tabulating the frequency of the whats. As Norm Kunc and Emma Van der Klift urged us in their Credo for Support: “Be still and listen. What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can….[or] the only way I can exert some control over my life….Do not work on me. Work with me.”

Source: Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

Previously,

Cradle-to-Grave Eugenics: Selective Abortion, Assisted Suicide, and Structural Ableism

Because before we talk about death with dignity for disabled and ill people, we need to achieve life with dignity for disabled and ill people.

People don’t make the choice to die in a vacuum. Many of the worst parts of living with a disability — Isolation, being homebound, being a burden that family has to struggle to care for — those are all failures in disability service delivery, not things inherent to the condition.

Source: Sara Luterman of The NOS-Letter

But this concept of “dignity” still comes with an ableist miasma.

Remember that our judgments about the quality of life have nothing to do with the value of life.

By claiming there is no “quality of life” for a person who must have carers, who can’t work, or who may otherwise not be accepted by society, they also claim there is no value to their lives. However, if you talk to disabled and neurodivergent people, they don’t seem to be of that opinion. Not one bit.

Whatever our societal notions of quality are, they have nothing to do with how much a person values their own life or even how valuable their lives are to society.

Source: Neoliberal Eugenics 2: Euthanasia – YouTube

Transcript: Neoliberal Eugenics 2: Euthanasia – Leslie’s Blog

A recent Jacobin article on assisted suicide—that doesn’t mention ableism by name once—has socialists sounding like capitalists, joined in ignorance of disability, neurodiversity, and the social model. A thread among disabled and neurodivergent people discussing the article brought to my attention these two videos on neoliberal eugenics that socialists and capitalists and all those in between need to view.

So much disability activism has to focus on proving our lives are valuable.

If I may jump back to babies, I think many parents, when they elect to abort disabled babies, do so because they had specific ableist ideas about who their child would be before it was ever born. They can’t live with the perceived loss of these imaginary opportunities.

Too many parents aren’t ready to change their conception of what a life “ought” to be and have a restrictive notion of parenting that doesn’t respect their child’s autonomy.

Source: Neoliberal Eugenics 2: Euthanasia – YouTube

Truth, truth, and truth.

If a baby is born disabled (or LGBT), many parents think they must “mourn” the loss of hypothetical “perfect” child rather than accept their child for who they really are.

Don’t mourn for us. And don’t eliminate us from the gene pool. Even if value of life arguments don’t move you, we’re here for reasons.

But if you’re killing an entire person to get rid of a non-communicable health condition, maybe think on why you’d feel the need for that. Is it for the good of the child? Is it for the greater good? How do you define that? Maybe it’s because our current system places greater value on a certain type of person? Maybe it’s because our system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.

Source: Neoliberal Eugenics 1: Selective Abortion – Leslie’s Blog

“Maybe it’s because our system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.”

Oh how I feel that line. Our system forces you into continuous ableist dehumanization of yourself and your kids to access a bad semblance of the right to learn differently, work differently, and live differently. From selective abortion to assisted suicide, the process is cradle-to-grave.

What you can’t know unless you have #disability is how all the paperwork chips away at your soul.

Every box you tick, every sentence about your “impairment” and “needs” becomes part of the narrative of your identity…

— Gill Loomes-Quinn (@GillLoomesQuinn) April 9, 2018

Via:

Previously,