It’s Been 30 Years Since The ADA. Will We Be Waiting Another 30 For True Equality?

During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests against George Floyd’s murder, my boyfriend and I would hear people marching right outside our Downtown Brooklyn apartment. We would rush over to the window to witness these historic rallies. At first, we took enormous pride and appreciation in the fact that thousands of New Yorkers would risk their health—since the pandemic was (and still is) very much a thing—to go to the streets to fight and demand much overdue racial justice and equity.

We would watch these protests every day from afar, which was a paradoxical phenomenon. My boyfriend is a non-U.S. citizen Black man, and I am a Korean-American disabled woman. We felt like we should be out there protesting alongside fellow Brooklynites, but the truth be told, we both were too scared to do so. From a quick periphery scan of the marchers outside the window (our apartment is close to street level), we noticed two observations: no one had a noticeable physical disability. An overwhelming majority of the crowd was white. I knew that my boyfriend and I would feel immense unease and insecurity if we were to join them, especially as brutal police involvement began to escalate.

As I wrote in Teen Vogue earlier this month, “participating in protests and rallies can be taxing and dangerous for people with disabilities under the best circumstances. For example, large crowds can be difficult for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people to navigate. The uneven, narrow, long routes often don’t accommodate people with mobility issues or wheelchair users. All this, combined with the recent reports of the anti-police brutality protests being met with clashes of police brutality, the movement is even less accessible for those with disabilities.”

Disability is the only identity group that literally doesn’t discriminate against other groups: people of all color, gender, sexual orientation, class, and any background could have a disability, and you can acquire a disability at any point in life. Besides women, people with disability make up the largest minority group in America: one in four adults in the country have some disability. Yet, we are the least represented group in mainstream media and news. Even during a time in history where there have been increased efforts of diversity and inclusion, the inclusion and acceptance of disabilities lag significantly behind.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, marking its 30th anniversary this month. The ADA was the country’s first-ever comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities, offering protection against discrimination and imposing accessibility requirements in workplaces and the public. However, equality in theory, unfortunately, does not equate to equality in practice. Disability-related complaints remain among the largest categories filed with government agencies that enforce fair housing and employment laws, and too many buildings and public transportation routes remain mostly inaccessible.

People with disabilities who are a part of other minority groups are even further marginalized in society. For example, suppressed by both ableism and racism, Black disabled people are among the most susceptible to grotesque treatment in this country. Additionally, movements like #MeToo #TimesUp have given millions of women the platform to speak up about their own stories of abuse. Although an overwhelming 80% of disabled women are sexually abused, their voices were not included.

The truth of the matter is that many Americans are probably unaware that July is Disability Pride Month or that this year marks the ADA’s 30th anniversary. The concept of disability pride began to emerge in the early 2000s – it reinforces the idea of accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and treating it as another aspect of one’s identity. Perhaps it is because disability activism hasn’t become as trendy as racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality, or feminist movement. The ironic part is that disability is at the intersection of all those issues and then some. 

Amid the pandemic outbreak, there has been a surge in anti-Asian harassment, which hit me personally like a double-whammy. My disability has never been entirely accepted in many Asian cultures—in my personal experience, they have been the least receptive of my disability. Asian cultures are notorious for fostering a seemingly unrealistic strive for perfectionism, and having a disability is perceived as being as far from perfect as humanly possible. Growing up as a first-generation Korean-American young woman, I was always told that I should take up the least space possible, and not let my disability be a burden on others. The most significant hurt I’ve received was from Korean adults who thought my cerebral palsy was a curse or sinthose were the very people who were supposed to protect and comfort me. This led me to develop both internalized ableism and racism, which I am still in the process of unlearning today. 

So, it truly felt like I was disposed into a dystopian society when, in recent months, I’ve endured disgusting comments from strangers about my race while still receiving micro-aggressions from people of my race. In America, at least we’re making strides to deconstruct that entrenched history of beliefs. Things aren’t moving that progressively in Korea, and, needless to say, in many other Asian countries. For instance, China had a history of abandoning female babies, but now it’s mostly sick and disabled kids who are being thrown away.

In 2020, we are not as progressive as a society as our predecessors probably hoped we would be. Many minority communities are still severely marginalized and don’t have equal representation in any facet of society. Too many white Americans were oblivious to the level of brutality BIPOC face every day. It took the viral spread of an eight-minute video of George Floyd’s death to convince white Americans the level of racial injustice that exists to this day is unruly. Similarly, the global pandemic has proven that the mainstream public is willing to leave the disabled community behind in healthcare; they’re disproportionately impacted by unemployment; students with disabilities are losing their equal access to education.

The well-known mantra within the disability activist community is, “nothing about us without us,” emphasizing that people with disabilities must be integral and essential parts of every human and equal rights movement. Thirty years after the ADA passage, people with disabilities–like myself–are sidelined to society’s outer-most margins. It is not until we are viewed on the same caliber as our peers that we can truthfully say the ADA’s vision has been fully recognized. Whether this takes another 30 or 300 years, that’s up to the rest of society.

Images: Vitalii Vodolazskyi / Shutterstock

3 Terrifying Pieces Of Anti-Woman Legislation You Need To Know About Right Now

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When I mention your body’s biggest enemy, you probably have something that came immediately to mind: your thighs, your arms, the pimple you got from dropping kettle corn into your mouth/all over your face so you could eat without sitting up for normal adult reasons. Or maybe you thought of the parade of fuckboys last few bros you banged who confirmed for you that some people just weren’t built to interact with the female body. This second guess is closer to what I’m actually talking about, because it similarly concerns a group of largely white men (if you’d like to fight me on your sexual history, feel free, I’m just taking a guess) who have no business with women’s bodies, and yet can’t leave them the fuck alone. Those people are called YOUR GOVERNMENT. (Mic drop, I am political.)

In all honesty, I probably don’t have a single friend who would describe me as political; I don’t even feel like I ignore the news on purpose, it just kind of floats past me, like everything that was ever said in a high school history class. But because I’m a selfish bitch I care about my readers very much, when I hear about bullshit new measures that will negatively affect my body both on a daily basis and in times of need, I am going to listen the fuck up and urge you all to do the same. Here’s a rundown of the three scariest pieces of legislation aimed to limit women’s choices right now—and for those of you with any remaining doubts that I really do not usually care/write about politics, please know that I literally just Googled the word “legislation” to make sure I was using it correctly. Feels good.

Kevin The Office

1. Remember When Obama Made Your Boss Pay for Your Birth Control? Yeah, That’s Over.

In a continued bid to out-evil Satan, Trump made a fun little announcement last Friday: He’s shut down the Obama-era law requiring most employers to cover co-pay-free birth control, an amazing measure we definitely all took completely for granted. Now, in the nation of Gilead Trump’s America, employers will be able to cite “religious or moral objection” to covering birth control, and BAM: You can no longer afford brunch, because that budget has been re-allocated to your “not getting pregnant” fund. Oh, and regardless of your birth control type, this shit is not cheap: My employer insurance had a fun two-week blackout last month and I was charged $200 for a 30-day supply of my GENERIC birth control pill. So don’t even try to come at me with that “just pay out of pocket, mer mer mer, women want everything for free” shit, TYLER.

Proposed Solution: If there is a guy you are regularly having sex with, and your birth control coverage is affected, ask him to pay for half. I know this doesn’t effect change on a policy level, but as a group, can women please stop accepting sole financial responsibility for preventing pregnancy? If the guy you’re fucking starts whining about the cost, just tell him there’s a 100% free alternative: You can stop having sex with him, forever.


2. 20 Weeks Pregnant? Cool, You’re Having a Baby Now.

Though this isn’t yet in immediate effect like the above measure, a bill recently passed through the House of Representatives criminalizing abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Never mind the fact that if our government hates abortions so much, they probably shouldn’t have repealed the access to free birth control, which conveniently yielded lower abortion rates than we had in 1973, when abortion was made legal nation-wide. Never mind the disgustingly insulting title for this bill of “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would perhaps have been more aptly titled “Pain-Capable and Very Much Born Adult Woman Punishment Act.” In this case, let’s focus on the fact that one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, was literally texting his mistress to GET AN ABORTION while passing this bill through the House. Everything about this bill (and its relation to less-available birth control) is so alarmingly nonsensical that I’m almost ready to start buying into lizard-person theories. Given the one season I watched of House of Cards, I feel like “handling” a mistress’ pregnancy is basically a rite of passage for most politicians—so why are they so fucking intent on making sure those abortions need to be illegal and unsafe? It’s definitely not a conspiracy to have more women die during the procedure, rendering them unable to talk about the affair, right? Wait…right?

Pepe Silvia

3. A Special-Edition Coverage Slash For Pre-Pregnant, Pregnant, And Post-Pregnant Women

This bad boy, otherwise known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, is luckily having a lot of trouble getting passed, so there’s chance you won’t actually have to deal with this specifically. Which is good because I JUST spent two hours of my Monday at a Planned Parenthood phone bank defeating this nightmare of a bill that keeps popping back up like a zombie Whack-A-Mole, can I live for one week?? But honestly, every proposed healthcare reform bill this garbage-monster administration has spewed out has been pretty similarly shitty, so expect comparable measures if they manage to get anything through. This particular bill has gone ahead and banned women on Medicaid from visiting Planned Parenthood (straight up, I do not know what Medicaid is, but oh my god just allow women access to appropriate healthcare, our bodies are more complicated than yours and we fucking need it). Also, it’s restricted abortion coverage and maternity care in the same bill, so really (unless you’re a politician’s mistress!), these people would like to ensure that you get pregnant, stay pregnant, and bear the emotional, physical, and financial burden of that pregnancy all on your own. Just like how you got pregnant all on your own, without the help of any second party. Right.

Liz Lemon

Basically, the only common thread of these new measures is that our government doesn’t give a shit about you or your body. There’s no ideological or economic background that makes any sense, much like when Dean started motorboating D-Lo in the pool, thus jeopardizing his supposed “deep emotional connection” with Kristina, and the lucrative fandom love that could have launched a thousand Instagram sponsorships. So, I encourage you to start thinking about our government the way you think about the fuckboys we deal with on a daily basis: Until they shape the fuck up, we’ll be heavily looking into alternative options. You don’t let fuckboys tell you what to do with your body, so let’s get them out of these government positions where they can literally charge you for going against their dumbass ideas on what your body has access to.

Read: The 5 Biggest Fuckboys In Congress Right Now

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 3x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain everything that’s going on in terms you can understand. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!

WTF Is The Women’s March And Should You Care?

A day after the beginning of the end, i.e. Trump’s inauguration as President, women and people who care about women are marching on Washington D.C and cities around the country. Yeah, you’ve probably heard about it and/or received a Facebook invite to a similar march in your hometown. But ew, marching = exercise = work, so you should just stay at home. Right? As our now president (*screaming internally*) would say, WRONG. Here’s why you need to give a shit.

So WTF is the Women’s March?


Crowds are planning to march along the National Mall, like majorly big crowds, too. Hundreds of thousands are expected to turn out and turn up in D.C. alone, and probz millions more in marches organized around the country. You can find your local march here.

Probably the most important thing to note is that the marches aren’t being called “protests” for a reason. Organizers and marchers are saying they are a way to “promote women’s equity and defend other marginalized groups”. So, yes, even if you voted for the screaming cheeto as President, you can still march and support equality. I’m p sure the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Though, to stand up to the pussy-grabbing POTUS, women are making a buying “pussyhats”—pink knit hats with cat ears, naturally. If you don’t look good in hats, you can just come up with a shirt or a sign or some other clever thing to wear.

Why should you care about women’s issues and this march?


UH because you are one, or at least, were birthed by one. Also, if you like your insurance to pay for your birth control, want access to female health care, think men and women should be paid equally for the same job, and don’t want to end up as a tribute in the Hunger Games, you might want to start standing up for yourself, fellow betches, and the future. Just sayin. 

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