This is what institutionalised ableism looks like.

Nobody outside the disability sector ever talks about institutional ableism.

Yes, we talk about the individual slights and hurts that people inflict upon us every day. The hurts and abuses and daily breaching of rights. But we do not talk about the more subtle ways that ableism is built into systems and institutions that are built for people who are like them, not us. We don't talk about the ways we are daily discriminated against by practices, economic and political structures, and when we do, nothing happens. When we do, people tell us that we are angry. Or bitter. Or both.

This is what institutional ableism looks like.

It looks like a person who won't give a disabled person a job because they might need too much time off work.
It looks like the building of homes that are not accessible.
It looks like social housing only being available to people who can navigate steps.
It looks like a disabled woman being refused IVF on the basis that she probably couldn't parent her child.
It looks like a disabled trans person being refused testosterone on the basis that it might affect their disability in unknown ways.
It looks like the assumption that disabled people can only ever live with other disabled people and the non availability of individual homes.
It looks like a job where you can legally get paid as little as $1.33 an hour.
It looks like inaccessible health care providers, equipment and machines, or lack of affordable health care to half the population, who are below the poverty line.
It looks like a policy that doesn't let a neurodivergent access a diagnosis under the public system.
It looks like mental health care which is more than a person's monthly wage.
It looks like disadvantage in education, or education that is based on 'participation' and not learning.
It looks like a law that enables you to be locked up without charge forever because you are not deemed 'fit to stand'.
It looks like a cold, bleeding body being traced around in the wake of a failed mental health system and suicide by police or a lack of training and understanding by the person who is shooting.
It looks like a single bed in a group home because those people never have sex.
It looks like all the girls in the institution getting the depo provera shot at the same time because there's less mess to clean up.
It looks like a seven year old girl whose mother earnestly tells a judge that she might get raped if she goes into care and that's a good reason to sterilise her.
It looks like another mother murdering her disabled child and a jury letting her walk free from court after a mother calls her 'devoted'.
It looks like an absence of disability hate crime legislation and the same for disability vilification.
It looks like a haunted asylum at a showgrounds where children are encouraged to scream when the 'mental patients' jump out at them.
It looks like a thousand white men walking in Argyle golf polos over the unmarked graves of a thousand dead disabled people piled one on top of another under a NSW practice fairway.
It looks like the Department of Defence being allowed legally to disregard the Disability Discrimination Act.
It looks like charity and welfare advertising which depicts disability as tragedy and pain being screened on our televisions.
It looks like an inaccessible ballot booth in an inaccessible polling place.
It looks like standardised testing which is based on the 'normal' of non disabled students.
It looks like mandatory sporting activities which exclude some children.
It looks like a Telethon with disabled children being trotted out so that non disabled children to learn that they exist to have non disabled money donated to them.
It looks like there being zero people in Federal parliament who are like us.
It looks like our abuse or rape or murder being reduced to an administrative error.
It looks like our welfare systems being reduced or removed to 'cut costs' every day.
It looks like two showers a week for disabled people being regarded as acceptable.
It looks like there being zero people like us on television, ever.
It looks like us being segregated and isolated and abused and excluded and systematically disallowed from being part of the rest of the country, the rest of the world.

These are some of the things that institutional ableism looks like, but this is in no way an exhaustive list. I could keep writing for days, for weeks.

Angry? Damn right I'm angry. Anger is a normal response to institutional ableism.


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