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Complaining is a Form of Action

lack of inclusion is not the fault of the excluded

Forum: QueerDisability list
Date: 05/05/2005

[About the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's apparent unwillingness to commit to involve queers with disabilities...]

On 5/5/05 2:13 PM, "Carlos M." wrote:

I'm not surprised by the complaints made by others here, Steve. All they do is scream and complain first, without trying to talk. Yet, will they actually do anything? I have never seen any action from these people.

You are wrong. Many people with disabilities have worked within and with the NGLTF to address queer disability issues in its conferences, but were told, and I quote, that disability was "not a core priority" for the organization (this comment was made in response to queer people with disabilities who protested that they only scheduled one disability-related workshop in the whole conference back in 2002).

And before you accuse me of doing nothing, I was the person who organized that one workshop in 2002, and again in 2003; in 2003, there was also another session on disability, which was horrible. They first invited Eli Clare and Diana Courvant, both of whom had to cancel due to financial and other reasons. Then they asked me to be on the panel as a backup since I was already going to be at the conference.

The whole panel was completely disappointing, as I ended up sharing the panel with someone who works at a local welfare office who gave a lecture about how to apply for disability benefits, which was condescending and irrelevant, and another person who works for a LGBT community center who talked about how it was an improvement that the group now tells people how unaccessible their events are instead of keeping it quiet, while continuing to hold events at inaccessible venues.

In 2004, I chose not to do any workshop related to disability because I didn't want to give the conference the appearance of having some commitment to addressing disability issues when it didn't.

Some people feel deeply distrustful of this conference precisely because they've contributed their time and energy to make it more inclusive, but were met with no institutional backing. Your accusation that these people are doing nothing but complaining is 1) factually inaccurate, 2) offensive, and 3) only allows the NGLTF to continue its neglect of and indifference to queer people with disabilities.

People, before you start complaining, try working with people.

But you are doing exactly that--complaining without actually doing anything. Or are you actually doing something to make Creating Change conference more inclusive of disabled queers?

- ek