- Twitter user @Imani_Barbarin began trending on Twitter when she shared a story about an “abled” (able-bodied person) throwing her crutches in the pool with her to “help [her] swim.”
- The story inspired other people with disabilities to share their encounters with abled people and ableism as well, with the hashtag #AbledsAreWeird.
- From crawling under a bathroom stall to asking where “your adult” is, these interactions vary from funny to insulting.
The latest trending hashtag today is #AbledsAreWeird, which was started by Twitter user Imani Barbarbian, a vocal advocate for getting disabled people more visible in the media, with other hashtag campaigns like #DisTheOscars and #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow.
Barbarin shared this story on March 15.
I think about the time an abled random stranger threw my crutch into the pool “to help me swim” a lot. #AbledsAreWeird
— Crutches&Spice♿️ (@Imani_Barbarin) March 15, 2019
People caught wind of the hashtag, and promptly began sharing their own stories with “ableds,” and with institutional ableism.
The response ranged from funny…
— Debra Bamidele ♿♏ (@Debrabamidele) March 16, 2019
… to insulting …
i was in a gov office yesterday & my mum (who is my carer) was helping me with paperwork, proof of ID, etc & the man serving us made jokes about me “being a mummy’s girl & child” when i got back in my wheelchair he said in a baby voice “are you spoon fed too?” #AbledsAreWeird
— Montana (@Montanalsabella) March 16, 2019
@Imani_Barbarin Once I was at the grocery store with my service dog, buying frozen broccoli, and a woman came up to me and asked if I needed help “Finding my adult…” because clearly disabled people can’t select vegetables on our own? She also called me brave. #AbledsAreWeird
— Annesley Clark (@AnnesleyClark) March 16, 2019
… to downright concerning. Some of the stories involved medical professionals, who you’d think would understand what their patients are going through, or guidance counselors and teachers who should be educated about their students.
“But you seem so smart. You shouldn’t be in so much pain and that limited by your symptoms”
…said by a doctor whom I tried to see for pain management. Not exactly helpful, not exactly two correlating factors, not exactly a causal relationship between the two.#AbledsAreWeird
— Ody_O (@OdyO11) March 16, 2019
All the neurotypical teachers I had that thought they knew more than me about mental disorders & disabilities. I had one that assumed that because she taught an honors class, there was no way she could have any ND students #AbledsAreWeird
— Rei @ shuto prep (@cosmicreindrops) March 16, 2019
The ideas behind #AbledsAreWeird is to let people with disabilities know that they aren’t alone and to encourage all able-bodied people to think twice before they say something that’s most likely insensitive, or rude.
FOLLOW US: INSIDER is on Facebook