« The Latest "Duh!" Study | Ragged Edge Home | Edge-centric Home | Summer Break »

Cure or kill, recovery or death

The issue of "recovery" seems to be driving public discussion about disability as never before.

I'd been waiting for some sort of national fallout from the DeGroot and McCarron murders. I'd been urging a reporter for a national news outlet to do a story, but hadn't gotten much anywhere. You know: it's old news now.

So this morning I see in my New York Times the op-ed article Autism's Parent Trap:


I believe the point was quite well taken -- by advocates for gay rights -- in the second X-Men movie when the sweet-faced mother of Bobby ("Ice Man") reacted in horror to her son's confession that he was ga -- uh, a mutant: "Bobby, honey, couldn't you just try NOT being a mutant?" It was funny, but funny because it echoed a ridiculous but very prevalent viewpoint that any proponent of gay rights could easily recognize. Not funny ha-ha. Funny queer. I believe the same could apply -- and did apply as friends and I watched -- to the idea of "recover or die". Perhaps the nudging and chuckling at the applicable statements that we did in the theater -- and the sense of dread during scenes where "cure" was being forced -- were a small but promising sign.

It is quite true, though, that presenting the "we don't want a cure" concept in superhero fashion creates a bit of a conundrum. Who wouldn't want to have wings or neato claws or to control weather or read minds? But disability so often comes down to what one CAN'T do (My super-power is not walking! Mine is not seeing! Mine is reacting unpleasantly to your perfume! Mine is breathing through a tube! Mine is behaving in a way that many people deem socially inappropriate!), and the suggestion that one must compensate for one's difference by being exceptionally great in some other area is dangerous. Yet . . .

Yet . . . I know that folks who have a very hard time grasping the concept of disability issues as a matter of human rights will have no problem swallowing (yes, I said grasping and swallowing) the very simplistic "mutant" cause (Ahem, we prefer to be called "people with mutation"). So perhaps if the basic idea that one has the right to be different, and to choose to remain different even when conformity is presented as an option, and to be "okay" with differences because they are a part of us as individuals, and to not wish death, even politely, on those who do not mirror an established image, can creep into the public consciousness, then !Viva la RevoluciĆ³n!

Good Lord, I'm such a nerd . . .

On the subject of hopeful articles, I'm trying to send this one out to as many people as humanly possible:

Parents of autistic children run amok

Though I do so hate leaving my name places....

Wow, thanks, Uly. (Oooh . . . there's your name again.) That is a very heartening editorial. I sent the columnist a thankful e-mail.

Post a comment

(All entries are checked for inappropriate content before they appear on the site. Thanks for waiting.)