A disabled trans woman’s perspective on marches and collective liberation following Ferguson protests and a summer of protest and civil disobedience.
When I’m using my crutches to get around during a march like last night’s Ferguson Solidarity rally, people marching next to me sometimes think that it’s appropriate tell me what an inspiration I am for walking all this way for “the cause,” or “justice,” or something along those lines. I never have enough time, breath, or energy to stop and explain to them that I’m not okay with that, especially in terms of protesting. I’m not out there to inspire you to fight harder, this issue is much bigger than me. I am not your mascot. Being told that I’m an inspiration is being objectified. I am sore, tired, and I need to watch where I’m going so that I can keep up and hopefully not get hurt. There is so much more at stake here than how awful you must think it is to be in my body. I’m there because there are Mike Browns whose names you don’t know as well because they were people with physical and/or mental disabilities. Unless we organize and fight police brutality and legal injustice with an understanding of how disability, age, race, class, and gender affect each of us, we will be nowhere. Don’t say solidarity and give me pity, say solidarity and give me solidarity. – Tyler Vile
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