The real disability is the way we've been thinking and talking about disability.
Tiffany Yu’s side-hustle just may become her fulltime gig. What started as a college group is now an organization with chapters in several cities across the country and pretty much everywhere in the digital-sphere. Diversability empowers those with disabilities by connecting communities, starting conversations about disability, and putting on curated events.
Yu—who lives with a disability herself—is a successful, self-proclaimed techie who is committed to turning the shame that comes with a disability on its head. She believes that the stigma is itself a disability society has created. “Instead of thinking about [the accident] in terms of loss, which is what I had always done, I now see it as rebirth,” she told The Guardian. “A rebirth of this new life that isn’t worse—it’s just different.”
Instead of treating disabilities as reasons for exclusion, she thinks of her disability as a way of belonging.
“Oftentimes, when we talk about disability, we talk about it in the sense that it is a tragedy or is something that needs to be fixed or cured,” Yu told New Sincerity. “But when we look at disability as identity, it is part of the fabric of who we are, and similar to other identity movements, it can be rooted in pride and empowerment.”
Diversability is spreading this message and it’s totally taking off. They’ll host live events, and their online community is thriving. Their next event is a big Self Care Paint Party takes, taking place in San Francisco on January 13th.
A magical ingredient of this organization is their philosophy of complete inclusion. They invite allies into the conversation and encourage them to ask questions or to acknowledge that we all have different lived experiences.
As Yu puts it, “When it comes down to grounding ourselves in our humanity, we’ll remember that we’re all the same and we should be equal.”
Promoting a society where disability isn’t uncomfortable to talk about isn’t about using politically correct terms, it’s about the willingness to forge actual connections with people, regardless of their ability. Join the conversation by becoming part of their online community.
Here are a few gems Diversability kindly asks allies to think about:
• Disability is diversity. It makes us human. Remember that disability is a part of diversity.
• Disability is not inability. We always find a way. Never set low expectations for people with disabilities.
• Universal design gives us full access to life. You, too. Read: Learn about and implement universal design.
• Get to know us. Nothing to be afraid of. Don’t fear disability. Confront your discomfort, and ask questions.