May. 31st, 2011

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So I cried at three panels this Wiscon. Personal record. Fortunately none of them were panels I was on.

The first was Pan Morigan's voice workshop. (Which anyone might cry at. Though I think I was the only one who did.) The second I already told you about. The third was "Living with Invisible Disabilities".

On the topic of deciding when/whether/how/to whom to come out about your disability, a panelist mentioned skepticism. (Yes, really, when you disclose your disability, some people will decide that you must be making it up. Sometimes they'll say so to your face. No, I don't know either, why anyone would presume that having a disability is less likely than pretending to have a disability.)

I wanted to point out that the skepticism increases exponentially when you admit to two unrelated disabilities, and ask for advice on how to deal with it. Unfortunately, thinking about framing the question made me think about unpleasant coming-out experiences made me feel anxious and embarrassed to begin with. And then, in order to improve access for people with hearing impairments, we were going to the front of the room and taking a mike instead of speaking from our seats. So I stood up in front of everybody and took the mike and suddenly couldn't speak because I was crying! Gah! But eventually I burroed through and got the question out and got good advice, namely: network. Advocate for the accommodations other people need and ask them to advocate for you. Disclose to individuals who (you trust) want not to be assholes, and point out their opportunities to be allies.

ETA: I was telling this story to [personal profile] wild_irises and she was going to give me some advice about reframing it when I got snatched away by my moderator responsibilities! Debbie, do you remember what you were going to say?


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