When we think of disabilities or of someone who is disabled the usual first thought is of what that person cannot do. There are exceptions to this reaction as there are when we speak of other binaries such as sexism, gender, racism but the common normal narrative is to see what someone can’t do. We maybe lulled into thinking that society has made great strides into the middle ground of the disable/able binary. We see that now it is illegal to have a work place, or public place that is not accessible to those that need accommodations, we see that many people who are disabled have jobs. We see that people are trying to raise awareness and help find cures for disabling diseases and conditions. In the article Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed Bodies the author states that when” The dominant paradigms of disability — the medical, charity, supercrip, and moral models — all turn disability into problems faced by individual people, locate those problems in our bodies, and define those bodies as wrong.” When something is wrong, we see it as something that needs fixing or as something that is broken and no useful. This broken image supports the disabled side of the binary, that disabled people are less than. In order to disrupt this binary of disable/able we must first stop thinking of people’s bodies as wrong or broken simply because they can not do everything the so called normal way. I would dare to say that most abled bodied persons need modifications in the way we do things at some point in our lives, we don’t consider our bodies broken or disabled when we do. For the most part the modifications I am talking about are minor, such as eye glasses, canes, hearing aids and the like. None of these things fall in the realm of disabilities or outside ableism. Now consider modifications like wheelchairs, aids to help non verbal people speak, personal aids, are these not also modifications to help a person function more optimally just like eye glasses. So to disrupt this binary we need to define what makes one modification a disability and one not.
The second part of the prompt was to trouble the norms and see how our understanding of disability changes when we view it from Clare’s (Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed Bodies) perspective of a disabled, transgender, lesbian. My point of view is that our understanding of disability should not change because of these other binaries. Even though there is intersectionality of the different binaries in Clare’s life, one binary does not cause the other binaries to become less or more of an issue. Clare will have a more difficult time because she is living out side of more than one binary and will quite possibly face more discrimination than she would if she were just disabled for example.