Rule 2: Talk to me and not my companion when it comes to my concerns!
It happens again and again that people speak to my friends when it’s actually about my concerns. For example, they explain to my companion where the barrier-free access is in the museum, even though she does not use a bike or wheelchair herself. I always get really angry because you can see very clearly that I’m smaller, but still a grown woman. Often I then draw attention to myself by taking the floor. In order to appear particularly adult, I started as a teenager, for example, to express myself in a specially chosen way. Rebecca also uses these strategies.
Better: Talk to the disabled person themselves and not their companion. There is also the curious assumption that short people might also have cognitive disabilities. Be aware that short stature or a wheelchair does not tell you anything about a person’s state of consciousness or age. Therefore, it is also rude not to cast off myself as an adult.
Tina, 29, actually works as a tantra masseuse. As a sexual companion, she enables people with disabilities to have self-determined sexual experiences.
Some acquaintances very quickly develop a great interest in what everyday life as a disabled woman looks like and ask me about it. In the long run this tires me and Rebecca as well as unnecessary help, so we agreed immediately. Realize that everyone with a disability has these conversations about three times a week. It’s nice if you’re interested in how I get on the train, for example, or where I buy my clothes as a short woman. But sometimes it’s too much for me. This also applies to children’s questions.
Better: first ask nicely, that’s okay. But don’t ask me about my life with a disability, especially my diagnoses. Also accept it if I do not want to explain to you or your child why I am short, but prefer to eat my ice cream. Better to talk to your kids about it in the quiet back home if they keep asking questions. You can also avoid many questions from children if you talk to them as early as possible about the fact that there are disabled people.
Rule 4: Disabled people are different. Just because your friend Alex thinks something is okay with a disability doesn’t mean that I think that’s okay
This argument can be applied to pretty much any disadvantaged group and is annoying. This often also applies to the subject of “jokes about people with disabilities”. Alex is short of stature and among thousands with walking difficulties. Disabled people are individuals and have different opinions. So don’t expect me to behave in any particular way, like joking about my disability, just because your boyfriend does it.