A Farewell to BADD


May 1, 2015 by KWills

Why I Won’t Be Here Next Year

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post where I refused to tell you whether or not I was disabled. At the time, I wanted to establish this blog on its own merits, without labels or expectations. Now, however, I find myself moving from writing on broad, general topics, to writing about more specific things; and that means that certain details about myself will inevitably emerge. Such as: Yes, I consider myself disabled.

When you are part of a minority group, there is pressure to support everything that the group does, especially things that aim to educate the public, or gain recognition for the group. The reasoning goes that, since many of the rights and freedoms I enjoy today only came about because of campaigning and protesting, then I should be doing my bit to support all campaigns and protests that are happening today. To do otherwise is somehow disrespectful.

The pressure is there, from all sides. People outside the group expect me to speak for all of us, and people inside the group assume that I will automatically agree with everything they say and do. But I’m not a spokesman, and I’m not a pawn. There are groups that I belong to through choice, and I will gladly support and speak for them. But there are also groups that I am assigned to, based on things that I can’t control. Other people may expect things of me based on these labels, but I don’t have to conform to those expectations.

I have many labels.

“Artist” isn’t there.

It can be hard, pulling away from a group that claims natural ties, especially when that group is under threat. Even harder when other members of that group have fought hard to give me liberties and privileges that I can now take for granted. But, the fact is that these heroes of oppression exercised their right to choose, and they chose to fight. I choose to put my energy into other things, and define myself in other ways.

BADD is a wonderful thing, and I will continue to read and recommend the insightful posts that it generates. I salute the people who continue to write for it, year after year; all more so now that I realise it is a choice, not an obligation.

2 thoughts on “A Farewell to BADD

  1. Astrid says:

    I totally understand your point of view. I almost didn’t participate in BADD this year either because I just didn’t hav ehte spoons. It’s true that it’s a choice to participate, not an obligation.

  2. The Goldfish says:

    Well sorry we won’t be seeing you next year, but this is a really positive post nonetheless.

    I had a phase, as I imagine many people do, when I first acknowledged that I was disabled, where everything was about that. It was an important phase for me, as previously I had just been sick, which wasn’t so much an identity as a blight on everything. Then I was disabled, there was disability culture, there was disability slang and lots of battles to be fought over access and media representation and so forth.

    However, in order to change the world, we must be more things than disabled people. Not to the extent, as often happens with famous and powerful disabled folk, where they boldly declare that they don’t consider themselves disabled – hard not to read as a slight to the rest of us. But I’m a great advocate of better representation of all minorities and women in fiction and the very first thing we’d look for in a good disabled character is that they have some facets of their life and personality which have nothing to do with disability. We need to live lives like that – for our own sake, and for the sake of the wider cause.

    Thanks again for contributing to Blogging Against Disablism Day!

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