I apply. My resume contains years of project leadership, disability related work, many job disruptions due to homelessness and prejudice. I am “outted” from the start.
Receive form letter, “Thank you applicant. We have received much interest in the position and we inform you that we have moved forward with another candidate.”
Internal monologue of potential employer, “This candidate can’t possibly be as effective as a non-disabled candidate. I am not willing to interview and consider the worth of their alternative experience, but this does not make me prejudiced. I am just being practical and conforming to capitalist standards of productivity. There’s no way this person can economically benefit my company. Hiring them would be some form of charity, and we don’t have the margins for that.”
Inner monologue of employer: "Oh good, she's disabled but not so disabled that she "needs" anything.
First time I ask to sit down, eat at a different time, ask for a schedule accommodation: "Let me get the manager (Dean, boss, whatever), we don't normally accommodate “special requests”. Followed by "this just isn't going to work, why don’t you go home for the afternoon and we’ll call you" and/or screaming/ scolding/ belittling/ gaslighting.
Left without professional references/ support.
In personal relationships:
“Why don’t you “get your life together”. [Delivered while working 4 different ways, and being at the height of my disability experience]
“You have no right to have an opinion in MY department”. [Delivered, screaming, cornered in my studio, after asking for a disability accommodation].
“You’re such a liar. You do XYZ (acrobatics, occasional travel, etc), and you’re “so disabled” that you need sympathy, support?! All you do is lie to people.” [Delivered by a troll who used all of my disability writing over the years to target me in a vicious series of internet attacks. Reflects a larger societal perception].
“Your must be so hard because you’re an artist” [Delivered many times, by many different people, choosing the artist-as-irresponsible, artist-as-tortured-genius skewed narratives -- discounting my constant attempts to participate in “standard” society while erasing the prejudice that keeps me from inclusion].
"I don't see how you represent disability in your work" [Reads: if you don't look disabled, or conform to pre-fabricated, external expectations of social justice practice, we don't hear anything you're saying about disability].
There are many other examples, and many different versions of the above that I’ve experienced. This is why I make pieces about apathy and structural barriers, like in the video I made for mental health awareness month, which is represented in the image above. Awareness is powerful. Thank you for reading.