What do you think about the idea of a TV dating show that focuses on disabled people?
What if it's called "The Dateables"?
One of the people she includes is Ari Ne'eman:
Whether it’s the title or the actual substance of the show, Ari Ne’eman, co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, says the most problematic aspect of the show is that it reinforces the stereotype that disabled people are loveless and sexless. That perception is “very damaging in very practical ways,” says Ne’eman, who has Asperger syndrome. For example, “it often means that disabled people tend do not have the same sex education curriculums that non-disabled people do,” which can make them “less aware of their reproductive rights and contraceptive options.”
It isn’t that disabilities can’t present unique challenges when it comes to the romantic arena, but Ne’eman says, “The existence of those challenges doesn’t mean that disabled people aren’t dating, aren’t having sex.”
I was also struck by what Lisa Egan said about the title:
Lisa Egan, a Brit who blogs about disability issues, says, “Most of the people who’ve claimed that the title is offensive are either non-disabled people or disabled people who are in long-term relationships; often relationships that were forged before acquiring their impairment.” She points to a Guardian survey finding that 70 percent of respondents would not consider having sex with a person with a disability. “The reality is that I am undateable,” she says, adding, “I am undateable because we live in a world where disablist prejudice is ubiquitous.”
The film Bully will be released with a PG-13 rating. So I am in the awkward position of telling a goal I asked you to help fight for, of reaching the largest number possible of kids with the film, has been reached. And then saying that I'm not sure they should see it.
Ari Ne'eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, makes this statement regarding the choice of the film's producers not to mention that Tyler Long, whose suicide is a major part of the film, had Asperger's syndrome:
We're deeply concerned and disappointed that the makers of Bully chose not to include mention of Tyler Long's autism diagnosis in their film. By excluding mention of his disability, the movie missed an opportunity to talk about the broader issues of prejudice facing Autistic people in school and society.
When I thought the cut of the film still might be in flux, it seemed possible, if extremely unlikely, that it might be mention to actually get this to be changed. With the ratings issue taken care of, that no longer seems possible.
We have been erased.
March 30: Remember disabled people murdered
by caregivers and family members.
To see a list of the cities in which vigils will be held tonight, please visit the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's new website.
To read an article about the vigils tonight, please visit Disability Scoop:
“I’ve seen articles explicitly ask the reader to ‘put themselves in the shoes’ of the non-disabled murderer, but I’ve never seen an article ask readers to imagine what it’s like to be a disabled person murdered by someone you love and trust, like your parent,” said Zoe Gross, a member of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, who is behind the effort, which is also being backed by the National Council of Independent Living and the Autism Society, among other groups.
Gross, who lives in Oakland, Calif., was spurred to action when she heard about the case of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old with autism who was murdered March 6 by his mother at their Sunnyvale, Calif. home. Hodgins’ mother — who subsequently killed herself — was reportedly overwhelmed by her caregiving responsibilities.
To read what Zoe said at George's vigil, and see a news story about it, please visit her site Illusion of Competence:
Because he was autistic, George is being erased from the story of his own murder.
The story of George Hodgins’ death is being discussed and presented as the story of a mother who snapped, and the story of other parents who have felt the same way. It’s being told as a story about a lack of services for families with special-needs children, as though a lack of services is a justification for murder.
When disabled people are murdered by their families, this is the story people want to hear. It’s the same story that we saw in newspapers after Katie McCarron was murdered, and after Jeremy Fraser was murdered, and after Glen Freaney was murdered, and after Zain and Faryaal Akhter were murdered. The story goes like this: it is understandable that someone would kill their disabled relative if they don’t get help to care for them.
To read what ASAN president Ari Ne'eman wrote about these vigils and the death of Trayvon Martin, please go here:
I believe there is a common thread between Trayvon Martin’s and George Hodgins’ deaths. Representations of race in the media and entertainment industries tell Americans that a black teenager walking through an upscale community should be looked at as a potential criminal. The same media and entertainment industries tell family members and caregivers that life with a disability is not worth living, that taking our lives should be viewed as acts of mercy rather than acts of murder. People learn to fear young black men from the same place that teaches them that a disabled child is a burden on society destined to ruin the lives of his or her parents.
To read my most recent post in which I discuss the death of George Hodgins, and its aftermath, which include links to my previous pieces, please go here.
Ari Ne'eman, president and co-founder, spoke at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's recent Five Year Anniversary Celebration. He talks about the need for autistic adults to advocate for ourselves and our place within the broader disability rights community.
Tommy Hilfiger, Odds and Oddity
Autism Speaks has a bizarre new ad campaign which seems to be making the following point: you are much more likely to be related to someone with autism than you are to be a celebrity like Tommy Hilfiger or Jamie McMurray. And even celebrities like them can be related to people with autism! So being related to someone with autism is both normal and cool, so you should learn the signs that will help you see autism in a family member.
It's really well-intended and some of the animation is nice.
But it continues two of the central negative messages that Autism Speaks has always promoted. First, it suggests that all autistic people are unable to speak for ourselves and need family members to speak for us. That is true for some people, to varying degrees. But most autistic people can talk. Most autistic people are not children. And it is when we talk, not when neurotypical celebrities do, that autism really speaks, even if those NTs stars have autistic relatives.