The turn of the millennium was marked by a litany of good intentions and disavowals of unequal treatment – by an endorsement, as the first article of the UN convention has it, of disabled people’s right to “full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”.
Some protections have been eroded, usually in the name of budgetary constraints. I also suspect that the big conversation – about whether disabled people should have “equal rights” – has sometimes served to obscure the innumerable material inequalities that make up lived experience.
What utopia does the goal of “full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others” point towards? This depends not only on what we mean by discrimination, but also by equality.
What does it mean to eliminate disability discrimination? To identify and enumerate all of the ways in which society needs to be reconfigured?
“I hope you’ll still laugh at my jokes when I have dementia,” I said to my husband Ryan on an evening walk not long after my thirty-fourth birthday....