I’ve seen this picture floating around facebook today and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it. This is a picture of Tammy Duckworth who lost her legs in the Iraq War and was just elected to Congress.
I realize that the sentiment is supposed to be that disabilities should not be something used to hold a person back, and it’s supposed to be saying that even people with disabilities can do great things.
But that’s not the message I got from it. The message I got from it was that, unless your disability is visible, it doesn’t count. This is not the only way a person can be disabled. A person can be disabled and you might not be able to see it at all. What about all the veterans that come back with PTSD? You can’t see that. Are they not disabled?
The way we have overwhelmingly treated those with invisible disabilities and those with invisible illnesses suggests to me that, no, people do not consider someone to be disabled unless they can physically see it.
No. Disabilities can look like this, but they don’t have to and that’s where my issue with this image comes in.