*Note: I’ve edited this to include transcripts of the images. Due to formatting issues, I’ve had to include them at the bottom of the article. I’m still learning how to include image descriptions, and want to do better with this in the future.*
This week, one of the trending, or popular, hashtags on Twitter was #HowToPissOffDisabledPeople.
Disabled people (which includes people with chronic disease) were listing phrases that abled people said, or things that they did, that annoyed them.
These are things that I’m sure many abled people say, without thinking. Or even, sometimes, thinking that they are being kind, or sympathetic.
The problem with this is, these comments aren’t kind. They betray a sense of privilege, and end showing us that you think we are different, and not in a good way.
If you are disabled, you will be used to hearing advice that is meant to be “helpful.” “Helpful” comments and “advice” that is given doesn’t actually make us grateful, but annoyed. Sorry to tell you. I wrote about why chronic disease patients might not take other people’s advice before.
Unless you are a doctor, specialising in our disease, knowing our medical history, you are not qualified to give any sort of advice. Quite frankly. In fact, your advice can be dangerous. I’ve had all sorts of people tell me to do things, that if I didn’t know better, I might have seriously harmed myself. That’s why there are so many disabled people who get upset when being told that yoga will cure their incurable disease, for example.
The hashtag also revealed how incredibly common it is for disabled people to be second class citizens. How we are treated like children, our accessibility needs ignored, and for abled people to literally push us around without our consent. As if that were acceptable.
I’ve had my walker touched, and moved, by someone without my consent, and it made me livid. Mobility devices are like an extension of ourselves, especially a wheelchair! Why would it be appropriate to move them, and move a person, without asking first?
If you are an abled person, and have read through these tweets, or gone to Twitter to look at the hashtag, and have recognised yourself in any of them, then take a moment.
Reflect, and think about what you could say instead of that. If you aren’t sure, or still don’t understand why that comment is offensive, please do reach out. I promise if you come to me in kindness, I will respond in same.
Otherwise, please, look at these tweets and learn from them. Us disabled folk have enough to deal with, and it’d be nice if some of this nonsense stopped.
If you are disabled, and have nodded your head along reading these tweets, then just know you aren’t alone. ♥️
Image Descriptions of Tweets
Image 1: Jasper, disabled badge, rainbow, turtle, @JaspWilliams. 20 Mar”
it’s great how positive you are despite…. your situation”
6 replies, 103 retweets, 317 favourites
Image 2: Lawrence Carter-Long @LCarterLong. 21 Mar
“You don’t seem disabled to me,” said as a compliment. I always wonder, “What the hell makes a person seem #disabled?” and “Holy crap! What other important (and fairly obvious details) have you been missing?”
5 replies, 52 retweets, 180 favourites
Rabbi Ruti Regan, rainbow, female symbol, USA flag, @RutiRegan. 20 Mar
“That elevator /parking is only for disabled people. You’re not in a wheelchair.”
10 replies, 144 retweets, 536 favourites
Dalia, flower, @china_dollss. 20 Mar
Have you tried being vegan? Eating healthy? Cutting out junk food? Drinking water?
18 replies, 142 retweets, 511 favourites
Lily Boulle @lillianeboulle. 20 Mar
Asking ‘what happened to you’ and gesturing at their mobility aid when you only met them 5 minutes ago
17 replies, 147 retweets, 390 favourites
Spoonie Warrior @spwarriortweets. 19 Mar
The only disability is a bad attitude.
14 replies, 234 retweets, 624 favourites
Robin Wilson-Beattie @sexAbled. 19 Mar
Complete strangers in public:
“Can I pray for/with you to receive a healing?”
12 replies, 89 retweets, 285 favourites
Image 3: Max Johnson @DuckDuckBieber. 21 Mar
“Vaccines cause autism”
“Car sears cause autism”
“Having too much money causes autism”
“Have you tried a gluten and caesin free diet?”
*blares loud sounds at me knowing that I am very sensitive to loud soubds*
1 reply, 11 retweets, 52 favourites
Image 4: Frey Prevett @Frezzles98. 21 Mar
Pushing my wheelchair without asking and continuing to after I ask to PLEASE STOP
4 replies, 16 retweets, 62 favourites
Image 5: anna leigh, fox, penguin, @amaiandtea. 22 Mar
“don’t talk about your disability on social media, you know employers can see that, right?”
3 replies, 10 retweets, 35 favourites
J. Rosenbaum @minxdragon. 21 Mar
“Are you better yet?”
“Are you improving? You are up and moving today”
I have good day, I have bad day, It’s permanent, it’s degenerative. Get over it.
1 reply, 9 retweets, 27 favourites
Sara Z. @RebbeSMZ. 20 Mar
You don’t really NEED medication. Have you tried… #HowToPissOffDisabledPeople
3 replies, 15 retweets, 52 favourites
Image 6: carver @gayfortolkien. 21 Mar
“Aww honey you’re too young for that pain, just wait till you’re my age”
4 replies, 40 retweets, 92 favourites
Image 7: Sarah Blahoveh @Sblahov. 21 Mar
“At least its not cancer.” All. The. Damn. Time.
25 retweets, 55 favourites