Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As promised, the parallels of disability and gaynes. Wait, let me rephrase that....

Shortly before I started college I was looking through a database of research interests of professors at GW when I came across Prof. Robert McRuer, who has written several books and articles on the intersection of disability studies and queer theory.

My two immediate reactions were: parallels

  1. Woah, this guy is studying my life…
  2. I don’t get it, why would there be a similarity between the two…
Over time I have come to realize that there is a surprising amount of overlap in the experiences of LGBT people and people with disabilities.

The shared experience is particularly true for people with disabilities that are not immediately apparent. A couple weeks ago I read a blog post by Andrew about acknowledging Tourette’s Syndrome that left me speechless. As I read about his difficulty saying the words “I have Tourette’s Syndrome” I couldn’t help but flashback to my own long struggle to say the words “I am gay” out loud years ago, and I felt like I knew exactly what he was talking about. While the details were completely different, I felt like the experience was eerily similar.

While this is just one example there are plenty of others. I'll give one more, the awkwardness that often results when some well intentioned person begins uncomfortably asking about your disability ("so, uh… how much can you… uh… see?") is something that practically any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person can relate to ("so, uh… how did you… uh… know that you are gay?").

Anyways, I’m going to try to avoid the temptation to write a rambling essay, so I’ll leave it there, but hope everyone has a great week!

Rohmteen Mokhtari


  1. Indeed so. How very true about the parallel between disability and LBGT movements. Did you know that Deaf Youth USA marched in the most recent DC Gay Pride Parade?

    They had a great sign showing the sign for "rainbow" with the words "WHY GET RID OF THIS?"

    The double message is: Why get rid of LBGT? Why get rid of the sign language? No.


    - Leah

  2. Thanks really interesting, thanks Leah!


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