How the American Health Care Act (AHCA) Is Bad for People with Disabilities

Alana Theriault from DREDF on Vimeo.

How the American Health Care Act (AHCA) Is Bad for People with Disabilities

Alana Theriault, a friend of mine, explains how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is bad for people with disabilities and how it endangers our right to live independently in the community.

AHCA poses a huge threat to those of us who are disabled living independently within the community, as is our right. It will either alter or cut valuable funding that we disabled people depend on for our survival. Among the items that will be affected is valuable funding that comes from the federal government to support home care services that we depend on to be able to live independently.

These funds are not only important for our independence, but for our basic survival. Forcing us into institutions will be the only alternative for many people with disabilities. It is a well-known fact that these type of skilled nursing facilities are far more expensive than providing disabled people with the necessary funding to live in the community.

Community-based services are always less expensive for the taxpayers than institutional care. That fact has been proven many times. The AHCA will gut those community-based services to the point of nonexistence. AHCA will force many disabled people, now living independently with the help of community-based services, no other choice than to give up their independent lives and be imprisoned in nursing homes.

The AHCA is the biggest threat to the independent living movement to ever come along. Hopefully, it will not pass through Congress. If it does, we disabled people are doomed.

 

 

 

Betsy DeVos Confirmed, and IDEA Website Crashes.  Just a Coincidence? HMM!

Lawmakers are demanding answers from the U.S. Department of Education after a key government special education website went down.

Source: Senators Want Answers On IDEA Website Outage – Disability Scoop

Betsy DeVos Confirmed, and IDEA Website Crashes.  Just a Coincidence? HMM!

Even before Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education, despite protests from disability rights and education advocates, the link leading to information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mysteriously crashed.  This begs the question, was the crash of this vital link, just a coincidence?  Or, was it a subtle message to the disability community that our needs are going to be giving no priority under the Trump administration?  Unfortunately, I suspect the latter option may be the answer.

One of the main reasons that such stiff opposition met the appointment of Betsy DeVos was that many people are concerned that her knowledge of disability issues, and other matters about public education, were sorely lacking.  When she was questioned during her confirmation hearings about the IDEA, she just drew a blank stare and tried to avoid the question.

It was very apparent to anyone who saw the confirmation hearing that Betsy DeVos was clueless about what the IDEA was, or its significance to people with disabilities.  When she was pressed on the question of the IDEA, Betsy DeVos tried to divert the questionnaire by saying, “these matters are best left to the States.”  This answer was ridiculous!

Anyone who knows anything about the IDEA knows that it was a federal mandate passed in 1974 that guarantees people with disabilities, an equal chance at an equal education.  To me personally, it was one of the primary reasons that I was able to attend college back in Pennsylvania in the late 70s.  She should’ve known that, especially since she is the person who will be in charge of educating this country’s children, even those with disabilities.

Betsy DeVos is nothing more than just another one of Donald Trump’s unqualified members of his cabinet.  She joins the ranks of quite a few others, in this respect.

 

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Donald Trump: Bad Business for People with Disabilities

The man who says he has given more to Americans with disabilities than anyone else has faced a slew of lawsuits over ADA compliance.

Source: Donald Trump’s War on People With Disabilities

Donald Trump: Bad Business for People with Disabilities.

Why am I not surprised that Donald Trump has a fucked up attitude about people with disabilities especially as he openly mocked a reporter from the New York Times, who has a disability.  When it comes to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), his attitude is equally fucked up.  Donald Trump, who touts himself as such a great businessman, apparently doesn’t appreciate the billions of dollars that are generated by a business by just taking a few simple steps to make sure of equal access for people with disabilities.

Studies have shown that when a company caters to the needs of disabled people by following a few simple steps, set forth by the ADA, it is good business for a couple of reasons. First, people with disabilities are willing to spend money just like other people.  This puts more money and profits into the coffers of businesses who comply with the ADA.  Following the ADA also creates a great Stopreputation of business because it gives them more of a “human” face.  Whenever a corporation enhances their reputation by at least seeming to care about members of the community, it’s alway makes them look good in the public eye.  A positive image is always good business because most people look at companies as cold-blooded, non-caring entities that are only interested in making money.

Donald Trump has been sued several times for violating the ADA by not complying with it.  Most notably, the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City has been sued for noncompliance with the ADA.  The Taj Mahal has been shown to be an access nightmare, with many violations.  Other businesses, owned by Donald Trump, have also been sued for noncompliance with the ADA.

Donald Trump always likes to showcase his supposed great business acumen and skill.  To hear him tell it, one would think that his business sense is the biggest thing since sliced bread.  Since he has shown himself to be nothing more than a windbag, we should not be surprised that he is anything more than another big problem for people with disabilities.

 

American Association of People with Disabilities

The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change.

Disability Employment

Hiring people with disabilities into Federal jobs is fast and easy. People with disabilities can be appointed to Federal jobs non-competitively through a process  …

 

 

Victory for People With Disabilities in Los Angeles

Los Angeles will spend more than $200 million over the next decade to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that the city failed to provide enough apartments for people with disabilities in its publicly funded housing developments.

Source: L.A. to spend more than $200 million to settle suit on housing for disabled

Victory for People with Disabilities in Los Angeles

People with disabilitiesPeople with disabilities in the city of Los Angeles have won a significant victory with this latest ruling from the Courts. Hopefully, people with disabilities who need accessible housing will be able to have access to it finally. Also hopefully, these housing units will be accessible. By using the term “truly accessible, housing units” I mean that these homes will be fully equipped to handle whatever disability that a particular person has. Many homes are ruled to be accessible, even if they truly are not. There have been any times when the “powers that be”, (mostly able-bodied people) really don’t have a clear understanding of what the word accessibility even means. How many times have we people with disabilities see the situation where some architect or builder thought that something was accessible just because they stuck a blue symbol of access on it?

One of the biggest barriers faced by people with disabilities is finding accessible housing. For many disabled, they are trapped living in inadequate housing that doesn’t serve their needs. They are then put in the unenviable position where they cannot have the true enjoyment of life, as any other person expects to, or has the right to. Many times, housing that is termed as being accessible isn’t, and forces a person to live with the added burden of having to make do in a situation that most people would not tolerate.

In fact, there are nearly 2 million people with disabilities people trapped in nursing homes just because they cannot find accessible housing. Even though I applaud this decision, and think it’s wonderful, I am most other advocates for people with disabilities will not be satisfied as long as there are so many of our brothers and sisters trapped in human warehouses.

 

Information for Disabled Persons/U.S. Department of Housing and …

This page is designed to answer frequently asked questions on the housing rights of people with disabilities and the responsibilities of housing providers and  …
People with Disabilities – HUD

Definition of Disability: Federal laws define a person with a disability as “Any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or …

 

 

Hollywood’s Latest Insult To the Disabled: “Me before You”

Disability rights activists have rallied against the normalization of suicide for disabled people in Me Before You. Protesters told BuzzFeed News the scope of the protest is unprecedented.

Source: The “Me Before You” Backlash Was Bigger Than Anyone Expected

Hollywood‘s Latest Insult To the Disabled: “Me before You”

Me Before YouAs a person with a disability, I greatly resent the Hollywood stereotypes of what it’s like to live with a disability and don’t even have a clue. Once again, Hollywood stereotypes are creating great harm to the disability rights movement and all disabled people with its latest insult, entitled “Me Before You“. This latest film, which is supposed to be a romance, instead becomes nothing more than just another “disability snuff film.”

The Hollywood stereotypes erect a type of barrier that is far harder to correct that a physical barrier. “Me Before You” creates what we call an attitudinal barrier, which is far more difficult to correct that a physical barrier. A physical barrier can be altered or done away with by constructing something differently, such as installing a ramp, widening a doorway, or some other type of construction work. On the other hand, an attitudinal barrier is far harder to correct. It can only be changed through informing and educating people about what it’s like to live with a disability; something that Hollywood executives haven’t got a clue about. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be keen to listen to us or what we have to say about films like “Me Before You.”

However, since the disability rights movement and people with disabilities, in general, have turned out with a huge protest that could severely damage profits, which is what Hollywood executives care most about, they might finally take some note of us. Unfortunately, any changes probably won’t happen very fast. The only thing that happens quickly in Hollywood seems to be pocketing the money they make from films that exploit people like “Me Before You”.

A few years ago, there was also a considerable controversy about the movie, “Million Dollar Baby“, a film that has the lead actress begging to be killed after she has a severe spinal cord injury that leaves her paralyzed. This time, disabled people are even angrier and insulted and are turning out in large numbers to protest “Me Before You”. Hollywood executives have been caught off guard by the scope of the current protests which in many places is still ongoing. I’m pleased to say that these protests are growing and getting bigger and more vocal. We have succeeded in drawing the attention of some of the largest newspapers and news outlets in the country.

 

Me Before You (@mebeforeyou) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from Me Before You (@mebeforeyou). On June 3rd # LiveBoldly.

Me Before You: Dear Hollywood, Why Do You Want Me Dead …

Jun 2, 2016 Me Before You comes out tomorrow. I’ve never read the book, but my mom told me about it and I read the reviews online. It’s the story of a guy …

 

BBC Article. Disability & Sex

I saw this article on a disability-related listserve that I am a member of, and I thought it was too good not to share. Even though it really has nothing to do with politics, except for maybe sexual politics, it was too good not to share with as many people as this small blog may reach

BBC Article. Disability & Sex

http://www.bbc.com/news/disability-35762887

‘Pretty Cripples’ and the people turned on by disability
By Emily Yates
Presenter, BBC Three
12 March 2016
From the section Disability

Disability and sex_devoteesAfter posting a photo of herself online, disabled BBC Three presenter Emily Yates was shocked to receive a message saying “pretty cripple”. It led her to investigate the secret world of “devotees” – those who are sexually aroused by disabled people and their struggles.

It was 2011 and I was living in Melbourne, Australia, when I posted a photo of myself in my wheelchair on Facebook ahead of the university’s annual ball.

Later I saw a few friendly comments had been added from people wishing me a great evening but below that I was shocked to see the words “pretty cripple” posted by a friend in New York.

I was hurt that compliments and negative terms could go hand-in-hand in this way, but was even more offended when I later discovered that, to some, it was the biggest gesture of admiration he could have given me.

After an angry Facebook rant, I found myself being introduced to a community of people who are sexually aroused, and attracted to, disability as friends pointed me towards some websites about people known as devotees.

The websites would become the doorway to discovering some pretty dark stuff but, surprisingly, I found it strangely refreshing at times.
I’m ashamed to say that I often find myself almost apologising for my disability. I have cerebral palsy and, when talking to guys online, I make sure they know I’m a wheelchair user so they have a get-out clause before choosing to meet me.

In a world that constantly tells us anything out of the realms of “normal” is undesirable, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed by the idea that there are people out there who would happily love and accept every little bit of me, especially the bits that I’ve always considered flawed.
But, as I started to come face to face with people in the devotee community, I felt wary.

One of the first I met was Gray, a husband and father in the USA, who wanted to remain anonymous as even his wife doesn’t know of his interest.

He seemed both confident and lonely – accepting of his “devness” as he calls it, but equally trapped by it.

He told me he thought my legs were “very nice and sexy” and sees leg-braces or wheelchairs in the same way others see party dresses. For him, relationships with disabled women can offer more intimacy than those with able-bodied women.

Gray’s interest in disabled women first emerged at school when a girl with a very short leg and one arm entered his classroom, he says he fell immediately in love: “To me she was obviously the most gorgeous woman in the whole school district.”

As I spoke to him, though, I wondered if his attraction was more about vulnerability and power – things which I didn’t want others to consider when they look at me.

It was through meeting Gray that I discovered some devs are solely attracted to the disabled body, and cannot find sexual gratification with able-bodied partners.

Ruth Madison, an American author who writes fiction about a teenage devotee and her love for a paraplegic man, is open about her devoteeism, which is perhaps why I liked her so much.

She says she was a toddler when she first realised her desire for disabled people but knew she “couldn’t let anyone know”. This led to years of intense secrecy.

When I met Madison she proudly showed me her desk chair – it’s a second-hand wheelchair – and said her feelings are now so intense it impacts her sex life.

People she gets involved with have to be noticeably disabled. One boyfriend she had was paralysed but only had a damaged spinal cord rather than a completely severed one and so had a certain degree of mobility. “He didn’t always use equipment,” she says, “and when we were in bed together I couldn’t really see his disability.

“That would sometimes hamper things for me,” she says, and admits she would have to look at his stick or wheelchair to become aroused.
Meeting Madison and seeing her open and honest attitude empowered me.

Devoteeism finally had a face and a name which invited me into a home, was transparent and much more than an online presence with a disability fetish. It helped make me realise devotees are people too.

But I also came into contact with a section of the devotee community called the “bad devs” – those who enjoy watching someone struggle.

Simply put, this particular fetish focuses on the difficulties someone with a disability might face in their everyday life, such as using stairs.
To find out more about this for myself I decided to make my own “devotee porn” for bad devs.

Strangely, it’s not like the porn you might be thinking of. Imagine the most mundane everyday task acted out by a disabled person. Not worth watching, right? Some devotees couldn’t disagree more.

Putting a call out on social media I asked what my audience wanted to see from me. Their requests came thick and fast. Some said they would love to see me transfer from my bed to my wheelchair with a clear view of my feet and legs and someone else added they hoped I would have a few muscle spasms too. They were very upfront about what they like.

I made a short film of me transferring from my wheelchair to my beloved car, but I almost cried beforehand because I felt so objectified.
If it was a performance and I could look really sexy that could be really fun, but actually what they’re asking me to do is something I do every day and have difficulty with.

While wandering through this world of devoteeism I have come across examples of troubling empowerment and exploitation but, at the same time, I’ve learnt something important and positive.

I met many devotees along the way and some were really genuine, I understood them and liked them.

Essentially what they were saying was, “Why should we exclude anybody when disabled people can be just as beautiful?” But I think there’s also a problem when you fetishise something, that it can hamper you from having feelings for the full person.

Am I here to judge devoteeism? Of course not. In fact, I believe that putting this otherwise hidden subject out in the open will help both devotees and disabled people to find what they are looking for, or what doesn’t interest them.
Do I want to ensure that we all have the knowledge and confidence to make our own sexual decisions, weighing up pros and cons, regardless of ability? Absolutely, and I hope my investigation is just the start of encouraging that conversation to flourish.

 

Hot Wheels: The World of Wheelchair Fetishists and Disability Devotees

According to my friends, devotees are pretty common. If you have a disability and try dating, chances are you’ll bump into one soon. Yet, the idea of someone being turned on by my disability seemed both baffling and distasteful to me. So, I decided to

 

 

DISABLED PROTEST AND ARE ARRESTED – 26 YEARS LATER

LEAD: More than 100 protesters in wheelchairs were arrested today in the Capitol Rotunda after they boisterously demonstrated for swift passage of a civil rights bill for the millions of Americans with physical and mental disabilities.


Saturday March 12th marks the 26th anniversary of the largest act of civil disobedience in the Rotunda of the US Capitol.  300 ADAPT activists protested to support the passage of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Over 100 were arrested
This historic event followed another chapter in disability rights history – The Capitol steps crawl up on March 11th.
Approximately 50 ADAPT activists got out of their wheelchairs and crawled the 82 steps to the Capitol entrance to send the message to Congress – Disability Rights ARE Civil Rights

Don’t Mourn…Organize, Register and Vote!

Onward to November 8, 2016
Make the DISABILITY VOTE Count

Source: DISABLED PROTEST AND ARE ARRESTED

DISABLED PROTEST AND ARE ARRESTED -26 YEARS LATER

Disabled people crawling up the steps of the US capitol buildingI really regret that I was unable to be part of this demonstration by disabled people on the steps of the US Capitol building. I remember seeing this on TV, and I know at the time that I felt very proud to be a disabled person. When I saw this story, over 26 years ago, I remember I swelled with such a feeling of disability pride that I actually started to cry with happiness because I truly felt that I was actually part of a group of Americans that I was extremely proud to be part of. I had finally found a place where I belonged.

These people, my people, had finally had enough of systemic oppression that they were willing to fight for their rights as equal citizens. My people had finally taken a stand in the same true sense that our founding fathers had taken a stand against the British. These disabled people were exercising their First Amendment rights in the most sincere American tradition, protests and civil disobedience. And they were using the finest examples set forth by people like Thoreau, Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In my opinion, the disability rights movement in the United States needs to start once again following this fine tradition of protest. The disability rights movement in this country is staggering around lost with no real direction. Too many younger disabled people seem to be more into  pandering to the establishment and have lost their sense of disability pride. We really need, as proud disabled people to once again unite, as these disabled people did run the risk of having our movement die on the vine. We, as disabled people need to stop trying to be part of the status quo. After all, the status quo is a broken system that is ruining this entire country.