Disabled Enough

The other day, someone asked me if I felt like I “count” as disabled. A lot of people don’t. A lot of people feel like they aren’t disabled “enough” to claim crip, to claim disability, to claim party to this community, to this issue, to this world.

I said yes.

Not everyone would agree with me, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

We are enough. You, me, all of us.

We are disabled enough.

People have been asking us if they qualify to write for Disabled People Destroy, if their perspective has value, if their disability counts for qualification.

We talked a lot about this before the Kickstarter, and I’m sure we’ll continue to reassure people after it ends in a few days.

But you are enough.

Disability is not a one stop shop for definitions. Partially blind or fully blind. Visibly disabled or invisibly disabled. Any form of disability at all.

The only restrictions we have are these:

Are you currently disabled? If you are, then you can submit.

Do you consider yourself disabled? Great. You can submit.

That’s it.

There’s no test to pass, though you’re welcome to tell us about who you are and what your disability is in your cover letter. There’s no kind of disability that we’re limiting it to. We want your stories, your perspectives, your opinions. Dominik and I are not waiting here with a list of who can and cannot submit, of what does or doesn’t count.

Because the only person, at the end of the day, who can make the decision of if you should or shouldn’t submit is YOU.

Ableism likes to tell us that there’s only one thing that disability looks like, that there’s only one way to be disabled. It has lots of definitions, lots of arguments for who “gets” to be disabled. It’s one of the ways in which ableism functions, to keep us apart, to keep us squabbling over who gets a pass into the disabled community.

I’m not going to look at the submissions and ask questions. I don’t have a checklist. I don’t have an agenda. What I have is a goal to share as many stories as possible.

So, when we open for submissions in 2018, don’t let ableism tell you whether or not you can submit. Tell YOURSELF that you can.

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry is a deafblind speculative fiction writer and editor. Her nonfiction work can be found in The Boston Globe, Fireside, Uncanny, and Tor.com. She is the managing editor of Hugo Finalist magazine Fireside. She holds an MA in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College. When not working, she can be found volunteering for disability justice at the grassroots level. She lives in New Jersey.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. You can register here.