So I guess I’m feeling kind of negative. This post could easily be called “things I despair of ever seeing in my lifetime.” These are points about civil rights, diversity, and representation that I would like to see, but are so far from happening that many people aren’t even aware of them, or don’t see them as things we should care about.
~ A politician running for office including disability rights as part of their platform.
~ A campaign to increase minimum wage including special minimum wage as part of the overall issue.
~ A visible campaign that includes politicians backing it to get rid of special minimum wage entirely.
~ Actually getting rid of special minimum wage.
~ A person who is too disabled to work being a protagonist in a tv show.
~ A person who is too disabled to work being a protagonist in a game.
~ A TV show with an officially autistic main character, who is portrayed in a positive light without relying on stereotypes.
~ A main character with a variety of intersectional difficulties. Such as disabled AND female AND a POC.
~ Disability rights being broadly seen as civil rights.
~ A political including marriage equality for people with disability as part of their platform.
Ok, so we do have a few partial wins with some of these. We have Professor Xavier in X-men, who is a disabled protagonist. That’s awesome! However, aside from the wheelchair he is as normalized as possible, being white, male, and straight.
We also have Alternate Astrid, from the TV show Fringe. A woman of color who is officially autistic, and her autism is simply part of who she is, rather than central to the story. However, she is a very minor character and we do not see her particularly often.
More on Fringe – they have a number of characters with differences, and again, those differences are never a central story plot, but simply part of who they are. That’s awesome. Again, though, they are always side characters. Main characters are still on some plane of “normal.”
Mad Max, the character Furiosa, who is a woman, kickass, and a fetal amputee. Actually, this one is pretty awesome and her existence as a protagonist is a HUGE deal.
Diversity and representation are important. Diversity of color, gender, and sexuality are definitely important, but they are not the whole picture. Diversity of neurology and (dis)ability are also important, but are still not really seen as serious issues of discussion. A while I am seeing baby steps in terms of representation, it seems as though issues of legal equality and civil rights are still only espoused by small numbers of people who are not particularly well listened to.