One of the main things I try to combat both in my daily life and on here is what the image of disabled person looks like. I most often talk about this in the context of not all people with disabilities having a wheelchair or assistance aid but there’s also another part to it.
Our society has been and still is very ignorant when it comes to its thinking about and representation of people with disabilities. In general, we’ve been portrayed as frumpy, unattractive people. On a deeper level, our society deems being disabled as unattractive itself and “unsexy.” As disabled people, we’re supposed to assume we’re the person no one is going to want to date because that’s what society tells us. We are unattractive and undesirable according to the norm. All of these things set up an image in people’s minds.
I’m going to try word this without sounding arrogant because I believe you can be confident while also remaining humble. I’m a relatively attractive person. Like I’ve said before, I’ve been told my whole life how pretty I am. Eventually I started to see it myself. It’s completely and utterly stupid but because of this, I don’t fit the ignorant, preconceived idea of what a disabled person looks like. I love clothes and fashion. I wear makeup. I do my hair. I do not in any way, shape, or form look frumpy. Mix that with my lack of an assistance aid and you have the perfect formula for people not thinking that I am in fact disabled. The perfect formula for getting nasty looks in the parking lot when I use a handicapped parking stall. For getting extra questions why I try to assert that I am disabled. And I refuse to get an assistance aid (unless I end up needing one), start dressing frumpy, and losing the makeup just so more people will believe I am disabled (even though life would be a heck of a lot easier if they did).
I’ve been lucky to meet many other people with disabilities from across the country. Many of these include some beautiful women and attractive men. We are all living proof that you can’t apply generic stereotypes to a group of people. There is no one way a disability appears in people. There are so many kinds just beyond physical disabilities even. The person next to you in line might have a disability and you wouldn’t even know. Most importantly, we are attractive. We are desirable. We are just as entitled to take pride in how we look, to dress up, to wear makeup as our able-bodied counterparts. Someone being physically attractive should never equal in someone else’s mind that they couldn’t have a disability. A disability has nothing to do with attractiveness. It’s merely a physical or a mental attribute we have. It’s just one part of our being but is in no way the whole thing.