People without disabilities may not realize how much more difficult they make life for those with them.
Folks who deal with physical or mental disabilities already face challenges in a world designed for abled people. But lack of access and accommodations are not the only difficulties they have to take on. Far too often, people with disabilities also have to battle ignorance and stigma from their fellow humans.
People with disabilities have taken to Twitter to share their personal accounts of able-bodied and able-minded people's bizarre comments and behaviors toward them. Twitter user Imani Barbarin created the hashtag #AbledsAreWeird to accompany the stories—a sarcastic jab at those among us who are oblivious to the lives of a good portion of the population.
Those with disabilities can find solidarity in these stories, and those without disabilities can get a much needed education about what folks with them deal with.
For example, not being believed or having your disability dismissed by people who don't understand it:
My childhood: Teacher: do this thing (run, go outside in certain conditions, use cleaning products, etc.) Me: I wi… https://t.co/PU3PdH8VlN— Christina (@Christina)1552720230.0
Got an F on paper I worked very hard on. My teacher said even though he couldn’t prove it was plagiarism he knew I… https://t.co/vRGMu3Hqbh— Shoshannah Stern (@Shoshannah Stern)1552846748.0
Abled people: "I have difficulty hearing in loud places too!" "you're just being dramatic, your hearing can't be th… https://t.co/TnFpFnKJ2u— Jake (@Jake)1552921200.0
Me: I have multiple mental illnesses Other people: that doesn’t make you disabled...You’re just lazy and looking fo… https://t.co/0im0m4UYNu— Wayward Daughter Theresa💙 (@Wayward Daughter Theresa💙)1552932370.0
i once was told, by someone who i thought was a friend, that: “i wish i had conditions like yours, i’d use so many… https://t.co/NGYorsdR50— sarah ✰ (@sarah ✰)1552909411.0
My wife has a type of Narcolepsy that doesn't allow her to sleep cycle to function properly, as a result she is fre… https://t.co/JCo5L6z7Ly— SW (@SW)1552925023.0
Me: *has chronic migraines and has to wear sunglasses to avoid light when they are about to hit* Teacher: *fucking… https://t.co/RY2wVnrYvY— Nick a sad man (@Nick a sad man)1552916654.0
Bringing this back for #AbledsAreWeird 😇 https://t.co/3UfOO6gWHK— Momo 🏳️🌈 (@Momo 🏳️🌈)1552786976.0
Neurotypical person: "Lol, I'm sorry I forgot, I'm so ADHD" Me, a human with ADHD: No worries Me: "Sorry, I forgot… https://t.co/xsr49BQBtC— America's Nonbinary Darling (@America's Nonbinary Darling)1552759376.0
Stop saying "You don't look disabled" Light travels faster than sound, so you look smart until you're heard. M… https://t.co/Vu78KogZoV— Dhani Rose (@Dhani Rose)1552931222.0
Or the choice encounters people who use wheelchairs have on a regular basis:
Lady on train: why is your wheelchair pink? Me: because I like pink. LoT: But you shouldn’t make a wheelchair prett… https://t.co/pAqk1dinxL— Pilgrim (@Pilgrim)1552925656.0
Had a pretty lady in a wheelchair flirt with me on the train and I flirted back. When she got to her stop she hande… https://t.co/WCFoMjl94f— Creeping Gay Pride (@Creeping Gay Pride)1552901211.0
At a grocery store, a woman made a beeline to me and, w/ no introduction, asked, "Can you have sex?" It wasn't the… https://t.co/L0sNtuNrOo— Kathryne Grimm ♿🏳️🌈 (@Kathryne Grimm ♿🏳️🌈)1552791406.0
People standing on the sidewalk curb ramps and just staring at the incoming wheelchair. “Excuse me!” Does not move.… https://t.co/gfzA2rbYpH— BuckyHermit 🦆 (@BuckyHermit 🦆)1552924629.0
Approaching a man walking toward me in a hallway. Suddenly he flattens himself along the wall, even though the hall… https://t.co/3yB4S2G1la— Denise DiNoto (@Denise DiNoto)1552938187.0
Ableds: Crowd around me in elevator. Stand in exactly the wrong place. Don't allow me to turn my chair around. Me:… https://t.co/ModgYf4GzA— Phoenix on Wheels (@Phoenix on Wheels)1552938056.0
That one time a nurse repeatedly ran into my chair, kicked it, just grabbed it and moved me, etc and finally I aske… https://t.co/kn8YogYGW7— Marybeth♿♀️🏳️🌈 (@Marybeth♿♀️🏳️🌈)1552714553.0
Many people without disabilities really like to tell folks with disabilities how they should feel.
Like, how can you possibly be happy with your life? But also, you're an inspiration!
Guy: I know that you dont think you have a lower quality of life bc you're disabled, but dont you think your life w… https://t.co/bm040K0T9b— Stephanie Woodward (@Stephanie Woodward)1552935436.0
Three years ago Nurse: *Realized that we are Deaf* Nurse: Oh thank god your daughter is not deaf. Me&Wife: huh? *… https://t.co/Po7DXCRiCC— Frederick Miller (@Frederick Miller)1552934322.0
Me: I’m diabetic Acquaintance: Don’t say that! You’re a *person* with diabetes. Your illness doesn’t define you! Me… https://t.co/pZ7pXxXnuS— (◕ᴗ◕✿) (@(◕ᴗ◕✿))1552916622.0
🧡 "I'm disabled" "Don't say that about yourself. Don't you ever say that about yourself! You are wonderful" Cool.… https://t.co/EzDZK26kn2— Glitter's Garden (@Glitter's Garden)1552798166.0
Me: hi i'm disabled and i need this barrier removed Them: ur so brave Me: What? Them: and so strong Me: That's… https://t.co/uaeheIt6Fu— Pwale (@Pwale)1552923401.0
Telling a disabled person they’re an “inspiration” without any effort to get to know them, what they’re passionate… https://t.co/e8SAg0Y7gy— Crutches THEE Spice ♿️ (@Crutches THEE Spice ♿️)1552875905.0
Mainstream culture frames disabled people as either compliant heroes safely contained on inaccessible pedestals, or… https://t.co/Zkps3UptNo— Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈🗳🇺🇸 (@Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈🗳🇺🇸)1552932284.0
The stories go on and on, ranging from things people without disabilities might not realize to totally baffling and insensitive behavior.
Living in New England, it’s fun how every time it snows the handicapped spots are where they conveniently pile all… https://t.co/O8DnEVGk2T— Disabled Mom ♿️ (@Disabled Mom ♿️)1552738879.0
When I was a first year student, my head resident advisor called me to dinner. During our conversation, he told me… https://t.co/Gwm2p7Oxfu— Joseph Hill (@Joseph Hill)1552836903.0
@Imani_Barbarin One time I talked to a guy at a party about my chronic pain and he asked me “wow how do you deal wi… https://t.co/zsznUVGLs2— PunkPizzaCat 💀🍕🐱🏳️🌈 (@PunkPizzaCat 💀🍕🐱🏳️🌈)1552754411.0
@Imani_Barbarin "Jesus will heal you!" has got to be weirdest one. It's always a little bit different, depending on… https://t.co/1NdKEVjE5b— GUS (@GUS)1552718251.0
#AbledsAreWeird when they think their desire to "pet every dog" means they can just go up to a stranger's service d… https://t.co/MA1Ib8rSbP— 🌻Elle 🐈Gato🐈 Maruska 🌻(they/them) (@🌻Elle 🐈Gato🐈 Maruska 🌻(they/them))1552750841.0
@Imani_Barbarin Once I was at the grocery store with my service dog, buying frozen broccoli, and a woman came up to… https://t.co/L0HBsmjHmN— Annesley Clark (@Annesley Clark)1552743932.0
Once a woman from a pro-life group grabbed me off the path I was walking and shouted to the universe: “what if her… https://t.co/FFXUE2748e— Crutches THEE Spice ♿️ (@Crutches THEE Spice ♿️)1552760135.0
Many of the stories highlighted the surprising challenges people with disabilities face in getting the medical care they need.
Ableds: You can’t expect doctors to be familiar with your medical conditions. Also ableds: You shouldn’t Google tha… https://t.co/gvnTtNW8fi— Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈🗳🇺🇸 (@Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈🗳🇺🇸)1552935743.0
Today I had to rearrange my appointment to get my hearing aids fitted. The appointment letter only gave a number to… https://t.co/F3o4vzGITH— Jake (@Jake)1552932093.0
one thing that never fails to horrify me is the fact that in many places, doctors refuse to give disabled trans peo… https://t.co/8B7ckNW49p— jack of all genders, master of none (@jack of all genders, master of none)1552931883.0
Medically fragile patient: needs med to survive Insurance company: no, it’s too expensive MFP: millions of $$ in… https://t.co/3mUAru31DO— Phoenix on Wheels (@Phoenix on Wheels)1552922156.0
It’s horrifying how many of the stories in #AbledsAreWeird are about educational or medical professionals. And th… https://t.co/B6M6bz3t4E— Ms Jay Rattray (@Ms Jay Rattray)1552744358.0
And that's just a handful of the personal experiences people shared. Though some of the stories may seem shocking, they are sadly not uncommon. Hopefully seeing them will help understanding and empathy for those whose lives are affected by visible and invisible disabilities.
Oh, and a little P.S. for those who feel the need to complain about the word "ableds" or "weird" in the hashtag:
To the abled folks out here “correcting” the language in this hashtag to “able-bodied”: The hashtag is “Abled” for… https://t.co/ntCwTZ146U— nymphadora. (@nymphadora.)1552829167.0
Mildly rude hashtags like #AbledsAreWeird are important. Disabled people tend to learn young that we’re not allowed… https://t.co/KmqodoiSR5— Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈🗳🇺🇸 (@Rabbi Ruti Regan 🏳️🌈🗳🇺🇸)1552934227.0
Most of the people shitting on the #AbledsAreWeird hashtag are the exact reason the hashtag was made.— Duhlayna (@Duhlayna)1552910871.0
I’m winding down, but I want to leave you with one last thought on #AbledsAreWeird: If you’re abled and offended.… https://t.co/KA51VHfmAG— Crutches THEE Spice ♿️ (@Crutches THEE Spice ♿️)1552790731.0