We Are Not the Cripple Police

I’ve gotten a number of replies, reblogs, and messages from people telling me they do their best to not use things like mobility aids or handicapped parking spaces because they’ve been accused of not being disabled enough.

This shit needs to stop. No one should have to choose between being in pain at the grocery store versus running the risk of someone berating them as they walk from the handicapped parking space.

We are not the cripple police. We do not get to decide what disabled is or what it looks like and we sure as hell can’t rant about able‐bodied folks demanding to know our about our disability while simultaneously judging others for their perceived lack thereof. That shit is demeaning, and dangerous and it leads to shit like this:

A woman in a wheelchair stands up to reach a bottle of liquor on a tall shelf. The image has the phrase There has been am miracle in the alcohol aisle in all caps written across it.

Remember this shit? Remember how mad we all were when it started making rounds on the Internet? Cripple policing is what enables this shit. Cripple policing is what enables able‐bodied people to question our diagnosis, identities, and legitimate need for accessibility. By attempting to call out theĀ fake disabled people, you’re emboldening the kind of discrimination you’re trying to prevent. Because, while some might see someone who doesn’t really need to be in that wheelchair, I see someone who just wants to be some goddamn top‐shelf booze in a store that wasn’t built with them in mind. I see someone who’s willing to take a risk and not settle for that bottom’shelf shit. This person isn’t faking: they’re fed up.

Now, don’t get me wrong: do able‐bodied people take up spaces and resources meant for disabled people? Yes. Are there fakers and frauds who pretend to be disabled for their own personal gain? Maybe. But for every able‐bodied person pretending to be disabled, there’s a thousand more disabled people who are just trying to be as able‐bodied as they possibly can. It’s not our job to figure out who’s who.