Ever wonder why “the disability community,” of which you, dear reader, are a member or fellow traveler, is rarely mentioned in public discourse? Compare it to LGBT, an acronym that is now part of the English language but one that people couldn’t remember only a few years back. And maybe that’s no longer even correct — I’ve seen LGBTQ thrown around recently. In any case, LGBT is not even that easy to say, has no vowels, rhythm or snap to it, like NAACP or AARP. AARP sounds like an old dog with gum problems, just like many of its members.
The disability community is not a community in the sense that everyone identifies with one single definition of “community.” If you are a member of AARP, for instance, you are old, period. It’s tattooed on your forehead. If you belong to MADD, you can’t be a dad or a swinging single. The disability collective is a loose, sometimes quarrelsome confederation of cliques where one clique — say, active wheelchair users — is seldom invited to a party thrown by the deaf clique or the autism clique or the Downs clique. Nor does the little people clique often sit around and worry about people with MS because they’re pretty sure the MS people aren’t sitting around and worrying about them. You get the point. So many disability groups are so completely different from each other that all they have in common is the catch-all term, “disability.” Of course, they do have the common experience of being ignored or devalued in the nondisabled world at large, but because each has its own little financial and cultural fiefdom, it will take someone of the stature of Otto von Bismarck to transform them into a single, unified brotherhood (or brother/sisterhood.)
The Ls, Gs, Bs and Ts don’t have this problem. They se