Pride in Disability, Disability in Pride
Trans. Queer. Disabled. These are my three defining statements of self. My priority list. Why, I ask myself, does this list seem to sit like oil and water?
Within the LGBTQIA+ communities, within my own communities, I am still controversial. I am the unknown, I am fear, I am discomfort - I am the hidden. I still remind anyone of able body and/or mind of mortality. I am a rolling reminder that it doesn't matter if you do every single thing right, you can still become disabled. You can still die, even after making every single right choice. That is a very real and scary concept for many people, including queer folks.
This isn't to say that those of an ableist or, for lack of a better word, scared, mindset are the majority in any community, even marginalised communities. It just stings more, when it comes from those I consider my found family.
There is a reason Trans comes first in my statements. To some degree, part of my mind always knew I was disabled, even if it wasn't recognised by anyone else. I always knew, so there wasn't the same level of shock upon recognition: just a slow burning pain. With my trans identity, however, the same cannot be said. I came out just before I turned twenty-one. I didn't know, because of the amount of stigma and hate that was force-fed down my throat as a child. I suppressed it all because no matter how hard they tried, no matter how deep it was repressed, I was always going to be trans. This was always my identity. I was always going to be disabled too. This was always my identity. The key difference between their meanings to me is in the ways each was repressed as I grew up.
Disability, repressed with passive opinions and ableist ways displayed by all around me. It was a silent knowledge, even though I was disabled it couldn't be spoken about.
Gender identity, repressed through violent explosion, being screamed at for hours and being outed without consent. Hidden. Metaphorically duck taped and stuffed back into the closet I had come from. It was so loud I had no idea it was also about me, because I could never even hear the thought.
In a way, both my queerness and disability are interlinked due to this two-pronged trauma. In a way they will always be disconnected for the same reason. I have Pride in my disability. And I'm aware of the disabling aspects of my pride.