Disabled Writers In One Place!

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Here’s a new website for disabled writers created by s.e. smith in partnership with Vilissa Thompson and Alice Wong. It’s called, wonderfully, DisabledWriters.com:

From the website: “Disabled Writers is a resource to help editors connect with disabled writers and journalists, and journalists connect with disabled sources. Our goal is specifically to promote paid opportunities for multiply marginalized members of the disability community, and to encourage editors and journalists to think of disabled people for stories that stretch beyond disability issues.”

Here’s the link if you’re interested adding your profile. If you do get a profile here, editors can more quickly find you as a writer or a source to quote: disabledwriters.com/submit

This is specifically about amplifying disabled people’s stories and expertise. There’s still too many journalists reaching out to disability-adjacent people (or as Vilissa calls them, “eyewitnesses”) to speak for disabled people. This might be parents talking about their kids with disabilities, researchers talking about disability experiences as if clinical trials actually tell you about life, and stories from doctors and rehab clinicians talking about the people they serve. All these eyewitnesses have valuable insight to contribute about…their own experiences. If they don’t have the disability they’re discussing, their narratives should not be considered the same as first-hand narratives. The disability-adjacent folks have a different story to contribute.

It seems straightforward. But that’s because it’s easy to forget that by having a disability, you’re often automatically discredited as someone who can speak with any knowledge of disability. It happens across identities too, where, for example, disabled white people can bank on their white-person credibility to get the most media attention discussing issues specific to Black disabled people.

Here’s a little test: If you find a story or topic that you feel is worth covering, but you feel it’s best to interview or quote only people who aren’t directly involved, then why are you covering it? If journalists put forth the effort and respect that we are worth interviewing, we’re there to answer questions. Many of us are creating the content ourselves and aren’t in need of another journalist.

DisabledWriters.com is interested being a well-rounded resource. While anyone who is actually disabled or has a disability is welcome to apply to be listed, the site’s founders have a priority toward people who historically are less likely to be given access to mainstream media due to race, ethnicity, class, education level, gender identity, immigration status, and more.

Please share with other writers you know! And if you’re looking to interview someone for an article, blog post, podcast, or any other piece of storytelling or journalism, please check DisabledWriters.com!