disability

Opiate Crackdown... Again.

So the New York Times has written about the newest opiate prescription crackdown. This will come as no surprise, but a deep burden, to pain patients everywhere. Like life with the kind of pain that gets opiate attention is not already hard enough.


I know that my life is not indicative of all lives, and that my experience is not universal. But it is already hard enough, dammit. I already have to schedule, attend, and pay for doc visits I do not need (as opposed to the many I do need) in order to "check in" on my pain script. I have already mentioned several times that it is no longer cutting it, and we are going to have to find something better that still leaves some upward mobility in this area for the rest of my life.

Quiet Riot Girl's picture

The Mirror Cracked: Men, Metrosexuality, Disability

'There has been much written by feminists on pressures on women caused by ideals of feminine ‘beauty’, as promoted by the media.

Jaded's picture

The Body (In)Visible

This post is written for Blogging Against Disabilism Day. It is a wonderful space for conversations around disability across the world, do check out other entries on the blog.

There is a word in my native language called ‘laaj’ which loosely translates to ‘shame’ or ‘honour’. This word gets used a lot in daily routine conversations  – it’s not solely about ‘shame’ or ‘honour’ rather how the two interplay with each other. As the eldest daughter in a Hindu family, a lot of this ‘laaj’ depends on me — I don’t know what else is more intimidating, people expecting this of me, or my ready acceptance of this ‘responsibility’ — and while cognitively I recognise how this device of ‘laaj’ that seems to haunt only women is used to control, police, codify (deviant) feminine behaviour within boundaries of patriarchy, I know that somehow I must not slip up, disappoint my family in any way possible. So while interacting with strangers ‘laaj’ says Curl Your Tongue Inwards and I do, interacting in white spaces ‘laaj’ says Don’t Draw Attention To Yourself so I pretend to not hear, at home ‘laaj’ says Be Strong And Do Your Parents Proud and so I show no weaknesses. I have OCDPTSD among other things that mesh in my headspace but I mask them all. OCD is filtered through ‘being bossy’ and ‘quirky’, PTSD is chalked to being ‘oversensitive’ and being aware of gender, race, sexual marginsalations and privileges. What I do is, swathe  terms over words, justifications over rationalisations and make sure no one knows, because if they did, this ever-elusive ‘laaj’ would go away and that would be my fault.

I can write long posts and papers over the state of our ‘ex’ empires, how ‘we’ as postcolonial subjects see life but when it comes to talking of ‘my’ body, ‘my’ invisible disabilities, I don’t. Not even in ‘virtual’ situations — which are deemed ‘less’ real because they happen online, in the ‘absence’ of bodies so to speak — knowing full well talking of my body isn’t something I am ‘allowed’ to do. I don’t think my family would be outraged to see me writing of my body and invisible disabilities — I am definitely more privileged than many people in my geopolitical location who would be punished or reprieved for transgressing this boundary — but they would be disappointed and probably hurt as they don’t know about my history of being a survivor of sexual assault(s) — from which majority of my PTSD stems from — and maybe they won’t believe me when I say I have OCD mainly because of the way it’s constructed. The narrative most of us know of OCD is situated around bodies in the Western world, words that ‘belong’ in a sense, to native speakers of English. I am an Anglophone — but all of my family isn’t. What is the term equivalent to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in other tongues? What about PTSD? How do you explain to someone that you get triggered if you can’t explain even why? How do you explain that thinkingexhausts you on most days? Or that you’re out of spoons.

arvan's picture

TEDxBG 2011 - Yana Buhrer Tavanier - The Forgotten People of Bulgaria

Social activist Yana Buhrer Tavanier shares the shocking stories of the children and adults in Bulgaria's orphanages and social institutions.

Jaded's picture

Cataloging Gray Areas

As a person who is born and identifies as a (dusty) lady, noticing how my ‘body’ or the space it occupies is as natural as breathing; though this space is hued coloured over and eventually pushed to the fringe. As I’m considerably tall, it would be hard to not see me, one would assume. In fact, there are so many places where I slip in and out of corners and rooms without anyone noticing, sometimes this sort of partially-cloaked-conscious invisibility surprises me too. At first, this un-seeing of my body — whether consciously done or otherwise — seemed liberating. I could spend hours in my room reading or writing before my mum or aunt would come to check in and see what I was up to, generally hours would pass before they’d notice, or at libraries I would take in the smell of old musty books without the clerks giving me cold stares. Lately, this is changing as I’m “growing up” and my “womanly assets” are becoming more evident¹, but this hasn’t affected my (in)visibility. All that has changed is a few parts of my anatomy now stand for my whole person, and I remain as faceless as ever in most public and private spaces. I was self-absorbed enough for a while to think I Was The Only One and yesterday when I heard a lady behind me yelling at a rude dude who brushed past her, “Can’t you see I’m standing here?” when it hit me that being or identifying as a feminine body is more than enough to render anyone (in)visible. Interestingly, even when I’m in NotIndia, my body is more-or-less (in)visible, but what glows is my epidermal tissue. The Feminine Body — assigned or chosen — is more or less voiceless, especially if we’re hued bodies — how else will infinite access and possession be assumed univerally?  – and this is the voicelessness of a privileged, able-body. Which is exactly why hearing about the women in most psychiatric wards left me numb and horrified last week. I thought I was (in)visible partially, when these women are seen as bodies devoid of complete agency.

Like most things we do say think assert about most aspects of behaviour is mediated, specifically from Olde DoucheColonial Standards to the New Standards Of The New Empire, especially when it comes to matters of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, sexuality and everything else, so do our definitions and boundaries of ‘crazy’, ‘insane’, ‘normal’ are still incredibly Western in chalking these lines, and as young as 40ish years in establishing the Indian Association Of Clinical Psychologists. The intelligence tests we take are Weschler’s revised tests, not all of them necessairily suit the Subcontinental Mode of learning and studying, most of these tests fall apart once we question the colonial mode of education that we still follow. I remember learning poems like ‘Daffodils’ and ‘Death The Leveler’ ‘by heart’ as a child; I’d be asked to recite these poems and the grown ups in the room would look at me patronisingly while saying, “She’s such an intelligent child! And the pronunciation! Perfect pitch!”, today I push those memories away as a violent master-slave dichotomy forms whenever I see yet another kid made to perform such poetry-acts. The doting adult steps in the shoes of the Omnipresent Coloniser, rewards the child for obeying the Empire’s mode of speech; all this while the text seeps in the skin and is absorbed by the ‘body’ as it were. Which is precisely why having the access and ‘command’ over English is seen as a matter of pride, not privilege. Psychology tests that are suited to Indian sensibilities were made first in 1999 and revised in the last few years, however most don’t take this colonial intake of knowledge into account²; similarly tests that detect ‘mental’ illnesses and disorders are still crafted for a part of the globe that isn’t as hued or as caught in colonial chains as we are. If the (in)visible feminine body is cataloged as ‘crazy’ (read deviant), and even ashrams as fluffy looking as this one — I don’t know what a white lady is doing in the header — become sites of dislocating and disrobing  agency and consent as ‘those crazy women don’t know what they want anyway’. And this is one of the few spots that doesn’t peddle ‘crazy’ women as prostitutes as many government hospitals do, mainly because the ashram caters to women with class and to an extent, caste privilege. Meanwhile the detongued-subaltern-woman-animal that women and other feminine identified bodies roar silences as their caste, class and religion puts them in a position open to exploitation and manipulation.

Kyle Brooks's picture

Self-introduction

Hello everyone.

I have been reading sexgenderbody for quite a while and I just wanted to make my first post on SGB.

My name is Kyle Brooks and I'm Deaf and I'm not ambulatory.

arvan's picture

"Humans Null and Void" Exposes Abuse of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Humans, null and void

by Yana Buhrer Tavanier in Skopje, Demir Hisar, Demir Kapija, Negorci and Negotino

Time stands still in residential institutions for adults with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems in Macedonia where the lack of care, abuse, filth and neglect are all miserably present.

This is the outcome of a months long journalistic investigation, conducted mostly undercover in all institutions for adults with intellectual disabilities or mental illnesses in Macedonia.

It’s not just the striking lack of care, the human rights abuses, the inhuman and degrading treatment, the stench, the filth.  One of the fundamental things an institution does to you is to rob you of your identity, to erase who you are, to deprive you of substance, to crush you and leave you a hollow shell, to take away your face and replace it with a mask, the same one worn by everyone around you.  Even worse, institutions also make the concept of time cease to exist.  A permanent hell. Humans, null and void.  

(From Humans Null and Void)

Read the investigation.

See the photo galleries here and here.

See the similar investigation, conducted by the same author a year ago, covering Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia here.

arvan's picture

Call for Evidence: Disability Harassment

We have extended the deadline for providing evidence to Friday 17 September 2010

We want to hear from anyone who has been bullied or harassed for disability related reasons, and from organisations that work for/with disabled people, including voluntary and community sector organisations, public authorities (such as local councils, police, housing, social services and education) and public transport operators.

Secure Survey: You can now give us your evidence using our secure portal - with options to complete an online questionnaire or upload files to the Inquiry

In this section:

Individuals who have experienced harassment

If you have been harassed because of your disability, or someone close to you has been affected, we want to hear about your experience. We want to hear from people who are Deaf or disabled, including those with mental health conditions and long term health conditions, as well as their family, friends or associates. We want to know what happened and what public authorities and public transport operators did – or didn’t do – to help.

Your experiences – positive or negative – will help the Commission to show what police, social services, schools, bus companies and other agencies can do to put an end to the harassment of disabled people in public places and behind closed doors. If you’re not sure what to tell us, we have a questionnaire to help get you started.

You can give your evidence anonymously but providing a name and contact details will help us if we need to contact you to find out more about what happened. Your personal information will be treated as confidential.

arvan's picture

The New Mythos Project: "tk" & Mia Mingus

"tk" Karakashian Tunchez sits down in a fun looking diner with Mia Mingus on the New Mythos Tour. 

If you like the sound of the New Mythos Projet, visit their blog.  You can find Mia Mingus' blog here.

arvan's picture

Regulation of Disabled Women’s Sexuality

By Nisha (Source: Bell Bajao)

...

they look at me, they hear my desire,

and they say ‘scab.’

And they say ‘dreamer’ like it was a dirty word

and they say ‘how dare she say such a thing

how dare she say she wants to walk

again how dare she say she’d prefer

to run free, to feel her vagina again

how dare she voice that

after all we have done to make

disability a state in which to be proud?’

… [1]

I began this essay by asking two of my colleagues, leaders in the disability movement in India, about their views on sexuality and disability. One response was, “You know better about the issues being faced by disabled persons here than to waste your time on sex obsessed Western thinking.” The other wondered, “(Disability)[2] still remains a kicked off affair in the triangle of charity/welfare, medical rehabilitation and vocational training … when and how do we talk about sexuality?”  I also (not so) vaguely remembered a comment which I heard some months back at a rehabilitation centre in Cuttack, India about a pregnant young woman with cognitive disability:  “She just can’t control … they take their eyes off her for a minute and she has done it with someone … Men! I tell you … Third pregnancy … can’t even get hysterectomy … and abortion at this stage is risky.”

I wondered if my colleagues actually thought it is an irrelevant issue or, perhaps, saw it as a divisive issue for the disability community[3]. Or, being women, did they feel constrained to acknowledge the relevance and risk being perceived as sexual beings in a society which gives respect to women only as long as they remain passive sex objects? Was the person at the rehabilitation centre attempting to control the sexuality of the pregnant woman in a way different from how she would control her own or an ‘able-bodied’ woman’s sexuality?

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