below is the link to an amazingly well-written article about transability, written by a disabled woman named Bethany Stevens…i commend her patience in even dealing with this subject, as i don’t know if i could do the same with someone who considers themselves to be “transethnic.”
Stevens raises a number of good points, especially regarding the way we tend to view disability as unfavorable. she suggests some opposition to transability is rooted in ableism itself, and our negative opinions about disabled bodies.
the issue of inclusion into the disabled community is also discussed, as she points out that transabled people are included into the disabled community by default as transability is considered a mental health issue.
i must admit that i found myself literally nauseated while reading some of the comments she recorded from transabled persons. it’s difficult for me to view transability is anything other than privileged appropriation. the fact that an able bodied person can choose to live as disabled part time (the subject, O’Connor, who was interviewed admitted he spends 98% of his time outside of his wheelchair) and as non-disabled the rest of the time, seems like the protection and maintenance of able-bodied privilege.
unrelated to Stevens writing, i’ve found various discussions on the internet comparing transability to transexuality or being transgender. are they really the same? does transgenderism (if you will) or transexuality stem from the same origin as transability? i have to believe there is biological evidence to support the idea of transexuality…and by viewing transgender as we do transability we would undermine years of dedicated work from the transgender and allied communities. if we simply view transgender identities the same as transabled identites, then that suggests that transgender persons simply have a mental health issue that could be treated. this is highly problematic.
an additional discussion surrounds the idea of disability as body art…as i read this paper, i had to wonder if i could view transethnic as body art the same way i view blackness. i love artistic depictions of my people from the diaspora; especially cherished are images with characteristics we do not often see: dark skin, full lips, kinky hair, round bodies. would an over-tanned, curly-perm fried, silicone filled white woman evoke the same since of honor and pride? no.
and yet i’m reminded by Stevens that transability might be included in the disabled community because its classified as a mental disorder…so now i wonder about the expression of disability and the validity of that expression. as a non-disabled person i cannot even begin to fully engage in such a discussion.
what i would like to do is listen more. here’s the link: Interrogating Transability: A Catalyst To View Disability As Body Art
what are your thoughts?