Intersectional Feminism Needs To Better Include Disability Activism

Intersectional feminists are individuals who identify with and help to support a cross section of many different, smaller movements in the field of social justice. However, disability advocacy always seems to fly under the radar even with this label. Disabled intersectional feminists embrace and advocate for a multitude of other movements that they may or may not be affected by on a personal level, but because an intersectional identity requires empathy. But where are the non-disabled people to back us up? Now, widespread disability advocacy is more necessary than ever as Trump’s administration seeks to pass several bills that would instantly strip disabled individuals of important health care resources and rights. When nearly all disability rights advocates are only disabled individuals, it truly proves that non-disabled people don’t see our struggles as a social issue.

Disabilities can affect individuals from every gender identity, sexuality, or ethnic background. Disabilities don’t discriminate, so why does the very movement claiming to fight discrimination exclude passionate disability advocacy? I am almost certain that everyone knows at least one other person, whether aquaintances or close in relation, with a disability. By affecting some, it affects all. Retweeting or sharing a post about disability advocacy once doesn’t make you an advocate. Even if you are an able-bodied, neuro-typical, non-disabled individual, you cannot exclude one of the largest oppressed demographics from your advocacy and still call yourself a feminist. In fact, even some of the most passionate “feminists” can be seen sharing and liking ableist jokes and memes on social media without a second thought. As a disabled person, is stings to be treated as something less than a human, especially by people who claim to support your cause.

If you truly desire to begin embracing the identity of an intersectional feminist who advocates for the rights and necessary accomodations for disabled people, I encourage you to reach out to those you know, whether in person or through social media, that can connect you with advocacy and educational resources to further your understanding of the struggles associated with having a disability. Disabled advocates know the true meaning of perseverance. Imagine working for decades against a system that does not accommodate you and still finding the courage to advocate for your demographic, despite being hushed by the media and the uproar of other movements. It is not the disability that makes our advocacy hard. It is those who fail to understand our disability, making it impossible to gain the necessary adjustments to advocate for ourselves. Disability advocates are courageous and I am incredibly proud and honored to be among them as a learning disabled individual.

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