A lot of people are writing about their choices, whether it be to use person first language (Person with a disability, person with a wheelchair) or identity first language (disabled person, blind person etc.)
I wanted to make a post about the choices I make with regard to language, both for myself and on feminist sonar.
As an individual , I prefer Identity First language. I am a blind woman. A deaf woman. A disabled woman. I am all of those things because I was born that way. I’m also queer. I’m also cis. My disability is a part of my identity as much as the rest of it because I’ve never known any other reality. When I look in the mirror, my eye with a cataract is a part of who I am- and people wouldn’t recognize me without it.
But I respect those who don’t choose to identify that way.
Which is why I use person first language on feminist sonar.
The disabled community is a many wondered, multi-faceted, greatly opinionated community. There are millions of us, and not all of us agree with one another. Which is why I try to be the most respectful that I can of those who do need to make the separation between their identity and their disability.
I don’t agree with them, mostly because every time I hear someone say “but your disability isn’t who you are” it feels like they’re trying to define me FOR me. Every time I hear that my disability isn’t a part of me, I wonder if they have noticed how much my multiple disabilities shape my very life. They have shaped what I do, how and where I live, and yes, even what I do for a living. Feminist sonar is not just a whim. It’s a way to talk about how I feel about the world I live in.
And my disability informs that experience and that opinion.
For me, I’ll always be a disabled woman. I won’t deny that. But I will also never expect someone else to see it the same way I do – I only ask for respect.
The majority of opinions seem to still trend towards person first language,. and I support people in their choices regarding their identities. I respect the choices that people make when they decide what language they want to be used towards them, whether it is a gender pronoun, a word for their cultural identity, or their disability. We only ever get to make those choices for ourselves, and not for others.