Saturday saw the hashtag #AbledsAreWeird trending on Twitter, highlighting the weird, thoughtless, ableist and offensive things said by non-disabled people to members of the disabled community.
The hashtag was started by blogger Imani Barbarin on Friday, when she tweeted: “I think about the time an abled random stranger threw my crutch into the pool ‘to help me swim’ a lot. #AbledsAreWeird”
I think about the time an abled random stranger threw my crutch into the pool “to help me swim” a lot. #AbledsAreWeird
— Crutches&Spice♿️ (@Imani_Barbarin) March 15, 2019
We’ve compiled some tweets from the weekend to show you just how weird, condescending and outright inconsiderate non-disabled people can be towards disabled people.
Me: complains about chronic health issues I’ve had since a very young age
Abled person: oh just wait till you get older!
Ah yes thank you for the reminder that my health and quality of life will continue to decline as I grow older! Haha nice one 👍🏻
— Mel (@MelBlink13) March 18, 2019
Got an F on paper I worked very hard on. My teacher said even though he couldn’t prove it was plagiarism he knew I had not written it because he had never seen a deaf person write in English like that. #AbledsAreWeird
— Shoshannah Stern (@Shoshannah7) March 17, 2019
At a grocery store, a woman made a beeline to me and, w/ no introduction, asked, "Can you have sex?"
It wasn't the 1st time I've been asked this, so I said flirtatiously, "Why, you offering?"
She literally jumped back in disgust and told me I was gross. #AbledsAreWeird
— Kathryne Husk ♿🏳️🌈 (@KathryneHusk) March 17, 2019
Yes, I have heard of therapy, tea, CBD, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, marijuana, gluten free diets, exercise, weight loss, that supplement your MLM sells, and Jesus. You’re not the first person to tell me about any of that. Really.
— Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈♀🇺🇸 (@RutiRegan) March 17, 2019
Stranger: "Are they YOUR children??" complete with horrified expression..
— Fi Anderson (@ambitioust2428) March 17, 2019
Parents who claim their child’s disability as their own identity. “Autism mom”. “Harlequin diva”.
— Carly Findlay (@carlyfindlay) March 17, 2019
I don’t believe in *insert diagnosis here*.
Mother fucker, it isn’t a religion. You don’t just get to ‘not believe in’ #AbledsAreWeird
— Vote on Nov 6th (@marinebihoe) March 17, 2019
When I’m in my wheelchair, pain free, unaffected by POTS, ableds are sad. “Such a poor girl.”
When I’m stumbling around with a cane, in pain, nauseous, tachycardic, trying not to faint, they’re happy that “I’m doing better!”
Not on wheels =/= doing better!
— ♿︎ Elise (@BoldlyTweeting) March 16, 2019
Who walks up to a stranger and asks for their medical history?#AbledsAreWeird
— 💖💄 Aoife ♿💜 (@Aoiferocksitout) March 16, 2019
Doctors: ah, I see you have a medical condition in which exercise causes your body to shutdown and your brain to feel like it’s on fire.
Guess I’ll prescribe… exercise! #AbledsAreWeird
— Laura Elliott (@TinyWriterLaura) March 16, 2019
I suppose it's when the @DWP send me a form every three years to check if my condition has changed.
I had both my legs amputated in 1979.#AbledsAreWeird
— David Williamson (@theirishego) March 16, 2019
What is the obsession with asking everyone with a mobility aid or using a wheelchair "what happened to you?". Do people honestly think that all disabled people owe them an explanation?? (Also NOTHING happened, I was born and it caught up with me.)#AbledsAreWeird
— sour-faced joy vampire (@notwaving) March 17, 2019
— Momo ✨ (@momoxmia) March 17, 2019
Uni: if you were diagnosed with ADHD more than 3 years ago you’ll have to get diagnosed again.
Uni: we don’t accept childhood diagnoses for ADHD.
Me: I was diagnosed 5 years ago. At 23.
Uni: yeah. No good.
Me: but… 23… isn’t…childhood?
— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) March 18, 2019
That time I gave a presentation about disability at a conference, and a person in the audience told me she was offended at my use of the term disabled and knew what she was talking about because she was "an educator who works with the special needs." #AbledsAreWeird
— Jason Dorwart (@HamOnWheels) March 16, 2019
"You don't look autistic"
"But you're verbal"
"You must be *really* high-functioning"
"Everybody is a little bit autistic"
"Have you tried gluten-free because it worked for my cousin's friend's brother who is also autistic?" #AbledsAreWeird
— Haley Moss (@haleymossart) March 17, 2019
The CONSTANT assumption that because I am visually impaired & use a white cane I must be lost.
I’ll be happily walking along, & strangers will grab me, stop me & demand to know if I’m lost & ask me where I’m going. I have to persuade them to let me go.
— Dr Amy Kavanagh (@BlondeHistorian) March 17, 2019
However, the hashtag also drew the ire of non-disabled people:
Wow, didn't realize disabled people are so ungrateful towards an attempt to show kindness. Yeah some of us to come off as awkward. We don't know why exactly you're disabled n we don't know exactly what to say. We simply lack knowledge but we still care#AbledsAreWeird 👈👎
— ✝️Saved_By_HIS_Blood✝️ (@REALinTEAL31) March 18, 2019
I’m winding down, but I want to leave you with one last thought on #AbledsAreWeird:
If you’re abled and offended. Good.
Somewhere you identify with the othering disabled people face everyday. But know this, in telling our stories, we don’t owe you comfort.
Change. Do better.
— Crutches&Spice♿️ (@Imani_Barbarin) March 17, 2019
To the abled folks out here “correcting” the language in this hashtag to “able-bodied”:
The hashtag is “Abled” for a reason. Not all disabilities are physical, you can be able-bodied and still disabled as heck. #AbledsAreWeird
— morticia ❄️ (@VolatilePeony) March 17, 2019
If #AbledsAreWeird makes you feel uncomfortable, that's ok. It's about sharing experiences and learning from disabled people. Feeling uncomfortable is part of the process of changing attitudes. We've all done things that make our toes curl, but we very rarely talk about them…
— Gem (@gem_turner) March 17, 2019
START being offended by poverty, xenophobia, ableism, institutional racism & sexism, lack of healthcare, lack of access to medication.
— dov (@DovZeller) March 17, 2019
Disabled folks: politely explain the ableism we experience.
Ableds: "they meant no harm! You're oversensitive."
Disabled folks: get slightly more direct using #AbledsAreWeird to describe ableism because nobody listens when we are polite.
Ableds: "you're bullying us! So rude!"
— Sarah Blahovec (@Sblahov) March 16, 2019
Do you have your own #AbledsAreWeird experience? Tweet us and let us know, or use the hashtag to share your thoughts with the world.Get your copy of UNITE Magazine