capturing photo New Paths

Diversability, An Organization for Disabled and Non-Disabled Folk Alike

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.

 

Diversability at Disability Pride in NYC
Diversability at Disability Pride in NYC. Photo: Courtesty of Diversability

 

“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.

 

Diversability T-shirts in action. Photo: Courtesy of Diversability

 

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.

 


LGBTQ characters in book New Paths

The Maiden Voyage, an LGBTQ Children’s Book

In a land far, far away, women fell in love with other women and it was perfectly alright.

The second children’s book in an inclusive series about LGBTQ adventurers debuts in June 2018, after their November Kickstarter campaign raised $4,000 more than their $40,000 goal. Readers have been waiting for this story for a very long time.

The Maiden Voyage is a fairytale following a fisherman’s daughter, Ru, who is given a treasure map by her father and joins a crew of sailors, captained by the charismatic Freya. Throughout their adventures and escapades together, the two fall in love.

“It’s important for young people to feel included, that they have a place in the world and something they can relate to in Maiden Voyage” co-author Jaimee Poipoi told NBC News. “If they can identify themselves within a story, that empowers them to be who they are.”

The book comes on the heels of Promised Land – an illustrated love story between a prince and a farmer – created by Maiden Voyage’s other co-authors Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris. The book was also funded through a Kickstarter campaign. A Kindle edition of this story can be found on Amazon.

 

promised land LGBT Childrens book

 

A 2011 Florida State University study found that children’s books are severely lacking female characters, let alone LGBTQ characters. Male characters, unsurprisingly, dominated.

The Maiden Voyage is trying to turn these statistics on their heads, highlighting brave and badass LGBTQ and POC characters in their books.

“Girls need to grow up knowing they can be a powerful queen, a brave sea captain, or anything else they set their minds to,” Harris told Upworthy.

For these three authors, giving children representation in the media will offer them the confidence to explore who they truly want to become when they grow up.

“We invite you to step aboard and join us on this journey to bring a little more kindness and love into the world,” their Kickstarter reads. “Because love is love, and everyone deserves to live happily ever after.”

 

LGBT Children's book authors
Maiden Voyage authors Adam Reynolds, Chaz Harris, and Jaimee Poipoi. Photo: Maiden Voyage Kickstarter.

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