Happy end of Disability Pride Month! This is said with much sarcasm.
I was alerted to these tweets today – they’re a part of a vulgar Twitter (or whatever it’s called now) thread which targets and demonises a number of high profile disabled people, including me, for playing the victim in order to gain a public profile.
I have no doubt this person is someone I know; that they are someone who takes issue with disabled people’s success.
I have (jokingly and publicly ) said that when I am discriminated against, it creates more writing fodder. This is true – it does. I’ve written about ableism and discrimination on my blog and news outlets, and spoken about it at in the media and at events.
And while speaking out can create change – it’s very slow to happen; doing so comes as a cost. Speaking out publicly about ableism and discrimination we endure as disabled people brings more ableism and discrimination – including disbelief that the incident occurred and devil’s advocates justifying why it happened.
I’ve never made up instances of discrimination that’s occurred because of the way I look – and I don’t talk about every time it’s happened. And I’ve never orchestrated discrimination to create work or to boost my profile. That’s come through years of hard work, rejections, lateral violence and exhaustion.
I also choose not to take the retinol medication that this troll has mentioned in one of their tweets because I have done at two different stages of childhood and it didn’t work for me. The side effects were very bad. Paraffin ointment is what works best for me, and I don’t use it to be difficult towards taxi drivers. Not that I need to justify my decisions.
Disabled people speaking out about ableism and discrimination; and also having a public profile; can really rattle some. The lengths people will go to to discredit us are laughable, and sometimes hurtful. And this is the reason so many disabled people stay silent about abuse.
I would love it if disability and discrimination weren’t the main reasons I speak to and write for the media. (But that is slowly changing.) I’d love it if discrimination and abuse didn’t happen to me and other disabled people. I’d love to be believed all the time. And it would be such a relief if the secondary ableism – like these tweets – didn’t happen when we speak out. Response and beliefs like these happens to almost every disabled person I know when they make ableism and discrimination public. The complaints processes are so broken that speaking publicly to media and on our platforms is often the last resort. When someone asks me for advice posting about a terribly ableist situation on their social media, I ask them if they are aware of and prepared for the blacklash they’ll most likely receive. It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.
I have been working in the media and activism space for more than a decade. There’s been shit like these tweets; and there has also been payment – for my work, not for pity – and joy. So much joy. Sometimes I get to go on a red carpet – which actually isn’t as glamorous as it looks, and is never paid. I’m here to tell you that disabled people are allowed to earn money. We are allowed to tell our stories publicly and unapologetically – we are not playing the victim. We can experience perks – like the ones non disabled people enjoy. And we can have joy in our lives. We are allowed to be happy and loved. People like ShoreyThe3rd want us to go away. And I’m not going anywhere.
Image above : two tweets, side by ShoreyThe3rd. 1. “This is how Carly Findlay boosted her profile, now she gets to do lucrative public speaking/workshops. think its creating copycats like Nicole Lee”
2. “Carly did an interview with ABC w/ Jon Faine, apparently there are medications Carly COULD take for her skin condition…
BUT INSTEAD she uses vaseline which draws more attention, then she complains if taxi driver has concerns about vaseline getting on seat/headrest!🙄”
[There’s a screen shot to an article about ichthyosis treatments including retinol below.]
3. “eg Carly Findlay has a car, but she takes a Taxi knowing her
‘vaseline look’ will create a scene, and then complains about
On another occasion she complained when a TV Network didn’t give her a car park close to the studio, so she had to walk a few
4. “Be she knows her situation could leave vaseline on the seat or the seat belt. So I think it would be best if she drove herself, or got a driver or taxi that knows her sitaution and is ok with it. Also 200m is not a long walk, but still she managed to complain about it”