Blind in Philadelphia Response to Harassment

This is LB, one of the admins of this website and Blind in Philadelphia social media. First of all, I want to thank all of our followers and supporters as we go through this difficult time. We also feel the need to offer some clarity as to what is transpiring at this time. Here is a synopsis of what JDG and I have been going through for nearly a year. I didn’t even want to post this but with all the slander, death threats, and harassment I feel like I don’t have a choice.

Currently, one of the admins JDG and myself have been the target of some very malicious people. JDG has been in poor health and it has been getting worse due to all this. JDG now requires 24/7 care so me and other friends have been trying to continue the advocacy work through this page. I for one have had to relocate my residence just to avoid being subject to more hatred and harassment that I and JDG get on a regular basis.

The ringleader of this malicious crowd is Heather Danielle Warren. She has managed to dig up others who have been hateful to JDG in the past as well as her ass people who follow and enjoy our advocacy work. I don’t care how much Heather Warren and her klan hate JDG but this is completely uncalled for.

This is the list I know so far of people who been participating in these hateful activities are as follows:

  • Heather Danielle Warren – the extremely manipulative and violent ex of JDG who is obsessed with spreading all this bs mostly through fake social media accounts. she pushing hard on this claim of JDG not being blind and disabled even tho the authenticated documents of disabilities was presented at court concerning the incident when she beat and tried to stab JDG. Heather Warren has committed financial fraud and filed false police reports against JDG and another blind QTPOC in separate incidents. A few of her other hobbies include stalking, identity theft, posting photos of disabled people without their consent and mocking them, shoplifting, and stealing from her employer.
  • Stacy Lynn Wyatt – another abusive and violent ex of JDG. She’s been a target of stalking, breaking and entering, and theft by Heather Warren so their association is confusing.
  • Kain Schwartzbach Warner – known con of disabled LGBT people and homeowners. JDG and myself have been ripped off a lot of money and personal belongings in separate incidents
  • Stéphan Hoïmes – unknown to JDG but this one is my former friend. I cut ties because they caused dangerous situations for me that resulted in my homelessness for a period of time
  • Allegra Eidinger – They and their housemate friends were cruel to JDG when they all resided together. they also been accusing JDG of stealing things Heather Warren stole upon the household moving out. I personally know Allegra to knowingly associate with sexual predators while participating in the local music scene.
  • Christian M. – he also been subject to abuse and displacement by Heather Warren and rumor mills but yet he feeds into this as well
  • Helen Azar, Deb Bell, Jennie Maxin, Christine Ginty, Eli MH, Maddie Rose, etc – We don’t even know these people but they been participants in the slander of JDG. The last two named are known in the community to fabricate stories of victimization of whomever is spoken ill of in Facebook group post. Liam Wolf (aka Phoenix Arygle on Facebook) is known to both of us and he does the same thing too.

This massive group effort of hatred has been going on since September 2018. It has resulted in multiple lengthy medical hospitalizations of JDG as well as interference of access to life sustaining resources. We both are experiencing housing displacement. At times, we both have been having to shut down our own social media accounts due to online harassment.

JDG and I are in fear for our safety with JDG being hit much harder than myself. We are so fearful that we both feel we have no safe place to request assistance from within our own LGBT and disability communities.

The reason why I am sharing this information is so you are aware of just how badly racism and ableism destroys lives. As blind QTPOC individuals, it is traumatic on additional levels that are difficult to process and articulate.

I have decided to make these names publicly available so that you may be aware of the abusive persons we have identified thus far if/when they attempt to contact you. It has come to my attention that some of you have been contacted by these abusers. This is in direct violation of the Protection From Abuse order JDG has against the ex and her associates.

If they did not want to be named than they should have behaved better.

Despite this hateful crap we’re dealing with, our advocacy work will continue. I along with the other admins of this page will continue to provide you with quotes, articles, and education centered around disabilities, BIPOC topics, and intersectionality. Thank you again for your ongoing support.

Love and light, – LB

Why the Denial of Medical Coverage is more than an Insurance Issue

There have been some articles going around that are about the “stunning” reports of insurance companies denying care medical claims and care without looking at patient medical records. These headlines gloss over the real issue. Articles are vague, implying that denials are something that “could” happen to someone else but aren’t serious because these are supposedly rare.

Let’s be real. There’s nothing “stunning” or “surprising” about this. This isn’t “shocking” or a “new development”. Being denied health care from insurance providers is just as common as having a cold. Us disabled people have been telling the world about these practices for decades. We are denied all of the time, and our deaths are often caused by a lack of access to care more than our disabilities themselves.

Being denied medical care shouldn’t have to “happen to you” for you to believe that these are life and death decisions made by people who profit by killing us. Even when this happens to ableds, they STILL don’t believe that this is a constant issue. Quite often, for ableds, the response to medication and care methods being denied by insurance is to simply find something else that would be easier to have approved or a rephrasing in doctor’s orders. That is, until certain medical care is vital to their remaining able-bodied.

Rubber stamp impression of the word "Denied" in red ink
Image Description: Rubber stamp impression of the word “DENIED” in red ink

At this point, ableds become outraged that they will end up disabled. Ableds are furious that something they often consider as optional is denying their abled-bodied sense of entitlement.

As though abled people are the only ones who should be entitled to life-saving care.
As though their lives are the only lives worth saving.
As though an able-bodied life is the only life worth living.

Ableds have more power to fight against insurance denials. Reporting agencies and legal services are fully accessible to them. When ableds fight against systemic misconduct, they are taken seriously and are able to leverage that to get the care they need; especially if they aren’t of other highly marginalised demographics.

When ableds are sufficed they won’t have to fear disability, instead of using their tiny taste of what disabled people go through every single day as motivation to use their able-bodied “privilege” to advocate for change, their reaction is often the opposite. They feel even more entitled to something they had to fight for (“if I could do it, anyone can” mentality), whilst still dismissing the fact that disabled people die from these systems being inaccessible for us to fight against in the first place.

The entire concept of health insurance needs a complete overhaul. We can go on and on about what is wrong with how disgusting insurance practices are and what needs to be done to hold companies accountable. But this never going to happen until people realise that these abuses are not occasional occurrences, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable of our population.

We need reporting systems that are accessible. We need legal systems that aren’t cost-prohibitive and are accessible. We need accessibility on our terms, not subject to the approval of someone else who has to be convinced that our accessibility is necessary.

We need to be included in discussions about our own care and when we voice discrimination against us. When we are describing the ways we are disregarded, we need to be respected as people who are speaking from trauma. We need to be taken seriously and never viewed as being a “burden” or “too much.” Medical care is vital for us to continue living.

We, as disabled people, are entitled to life-saving care.
We, as disabled people, have lives that are worth saving.
We, as disabled people, have lives that are worth living.

Disabled people, especially those of us who are the most marginalised, need to be taken seriously and valued as vital members of society. It is long past time for us to be treated as such.

Image Descriptions: A Quick Guide & How-To

What are image descriptions and why are they important? Guest writer Rebecca Marie Stout explains.

By Rebecca Marie Stout, guest writer

Image descriptions are necessary for blind, deafblind, low vision, visually impaired people as well as people with vision processing disorders, ADD / ADHD, other cognitive disorders. Not to mention people who have slow internet connections or limited memory in their devices.

People who use screen readers aren’t able to know what a picture looks like, or what images with text say without image descriptions or alt text; and other people who visually read need image descriptions to see or understand what is going on in images.

Image descriptions describe what an image looks like and / or says. The best (and usually easiest) way to include image descriptions is in the caption. You can write a brief explanation covering the basics or you can write a very detailed description – or something in between. You can also include your own commentary or quips if you so choose.

What to include in image descriptions:

  • Placement of objects
  • Surroundings
  • Colors
  • Image styling (photo, painting, meme, etc)
  • People in pictures – if known include race, gender/agender and names. If not known use gender-neutral pronouns and “presents as (feminine, masculine, androgynous)”. Same for race (“person of color” or “light complexion”). Include hair color or style, glasses, clothing – if important detail – and position of person or people. Also include emotions (smiling, crying, distant, etc)
  • Animals – if you want to get specific add color(s) and breed.
  • Placement of text and emojis

Where to write image descriptions:

Here are some links for further information and examples of writing an image description. There are also Facebook groups that provide community help with writing image descriptions. Join to get help and to help other people out when you can.

Link for more info and examples:

What is Alt Text: https://moz.com/learn/seo/alt-text
I used this to help write my post:
http://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/blog/how-write-alt-text-and-image-descriptions-visually-impaired

A little bit about our guest writer, Rebecca Marie Stout (she/they pronouns): Autistic, blind, living completely from bed, severely chronically ill, and badass truth teller. Check out their Facebook page “Constance Lee N. Payne” to learn more!

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Like what you read? Please consider tipping
Rebecca a buck or more directly via Venmo!
If you don’t have Venmo, but would still like
to tip Rebecca, click here for the PayPal Tip Jar.

Image description: illustration of tip jar with dollar bills and coins

Podcast Transcript: Episode 2 – A Series of Learning Curves

This podcast is available on: iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Soundcloud

[intro music begins]

Hey there! Welcome to the Blind in Philadelphia Podcast! I’m Japheth Grimm, and I’m really glad you’re checking us out here on our small beginnings. I wanted to start off by thanking everyone who has already subscribed to our podcast, blog, and are following us on Facebook and Twitter.

I also want to thank those of you who have become a Patron on Patreon, as well as bought a shirt from our fundraiser event. Now, we still have shirts available. You can go to our website and social media. Our links will be there.

Quite a few people have also donated funds, equipment, and their time. I can’t thank everyone enough for helping us out in all the ways they have.

[intro music ends]

It’s pretty wild how everything is coming together. For a really long time, my family and friends have really been pushing me to write a book or share my writings on a blog. And I really do enjoy writing. I write all the time. I just get really self-conscious about sharing it.

Something that I have always enjoyed doing is learning from other people, learning about all kinds of stuff, and teaching about things I know really well. I used to do workshops and classes, training and whatnot, for all kinds of things. And now that I am blind and have other disabilities, it’s really hard to not have that exchange in my life anymore.

I’ve been listening to podcasts for a while, and a few of my friends who I met through doing workshops with suggested that I do this all-in-one thing. Combining blogging with accessibility and using both to do this podcast, sharing about my experience as a blind person with all kinds of intersectionality.

So this is something that has been about a year in the making. I’m pretty excited about it. I’m also nervous because I haven’t done something like this before. It’s a pretty big learning curve and umm… I didn’t know quite where to start with this podcast so I figured I might as well start talking about the learning curves that make up who I am as a person.

I haven’t been blind all of my life. It came as a sudden onset, August of 2016. Not wanting to get into the details about that right now, but it’s been a lot. I am glad that I’ve spent a lifetime around disabled people, especially blind and deafblind folks, so I feel like I did have a bit of a heads up.

I was already familiar with some of the technology and was able to brace myself for a lot of the ableism and anti-blindness nonsense that I knew was coming my way. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the emotional trauma, and I’m still working through that, but at least having some base knowledge was really helpful. You know, because people don’t really think about disability until it happens to them or someone they care about.

Really, it’s helpful to already be knowledgeable to some degree. Maybe not necessarily in preparation for becoming disabled at some point. If you’re able to live long enough, you will eventually experience permanent disability. But being knowledgeable about all kinds of disabilities…it does open up your understanding of how the world works and how other people experience things. Motivates people to make things more accessible in this really connecting way.

My favourite aspect of it is just simply being able to communicate with people. I don’t think it makes you a special amazing person if you learn sign language and aren’t deaf or learn Braille but aren’t blind. These form of communication aren’t just limited to deafness and blindness, respectively.

It’s pretty disgustingly ableist and self-serving to go through all that time and effort just so other people give you a pat on the back for it. That’s not the point, or it shouldn’t be anyway. At the end of the day being able to communicate… it’s just vital to being a person who interacts with other people.

So, it’s one thing to have an understanding of these different facets of language and communication, and being able to use them here and there, or even as a part of daily living. But when it’s not something you absolutely need for everyday life, it’s still considered optional. It’s not something that prepares you for being dependant on that kind of communication first-person.

For me, whenever I was sighted, I would use screen readers and voice command and dictation. Kind of telling on myself here, but I would have these ridiculously long commutes whenever I lived in Houston. As much as I loved to drive, I did not love being in traffic all the damn time. In Houston, the public transit system isn’t that great either. It’s terrible.

Otherwise, I would have chosen to use that so I could be productive whenever I was on my way to one place or another. So yeah… I admit, I would use screen readers and dictation to navigate my phone whenever I was driving. My justification was umm… I didn’t have to look at my phone, so there’s that.

But yeah, I would use accessibility software on my phone to answer emails, look stuff up, umm… complete an online defensive driving course… shit like that. I’m not endorsing this behaviour. Bad, bad driving habits. I’m just telling you what I used to do.

Anyway, that’s how I would use blind people accessibility whenever I was sighted. I would also keep up with it a lot because I had a partner who is blind, and a lot of our friends are blind and/or have all kinds of disabilities. I have family members who are blind and one who is deafblind. And, whenever working with the family business we would try to make sure that type of accessibility was available to the people we would hire.

So understanding this accessibility tech has always been normal in my life. But now that I am blind, it’s a completely different thing to have to be dependent on it in the first-person. Obvious statement, right? Now, a lot of people who have become blind later on in life generally don’t have any previous experience with access tech.

So not only are they coping with the loss of their sightedness, it’s a pretty devastating and complex trauma to try to cope emotionally with something so heavy, and on top of that having to crash course learn how to communicate using something they don’t know anything about in the first place. It’s a lot to deal with.

Even with my experience with using things like screen readers and dictation, what was really hard for me to accept was how much I had to suddenly rely on audio cues. And there’s this nonsense about how blind people have heightened senses, or if you become blind all of your senses become heightened…

That’s not true. There’s no superpowers. You just use them more. And having to use other sensories that most people view as secondary as your primary… it’s exhausting. There’s no knob on your ears that somehow pick up more decibels or you suddenly become like Marvel Comics’ Daredevil. That’s not anywhere close to realistic. I have a whole rant about that but I’ll save that for another time.

So, in the past, I was using access technology as a supplement to my sighted world. I always had a visual confirmation of what the access technology was telling me. When I was up here in Philly, or running around in New York, I was able to do all this multitasking whenever I was utilising public transport or just walking down the street. I was able to use my eyes for one purpose, and complete another purpose in an entirely non-visual way by navigating my phone and tablet with my ears and voice.

But when I became blind, it’s not a supplemental thing anymore. Now I’m having to trust it with my life. And that realisation instantly smacking me in the face was really terrifying. For really long time, and I suppose even now to be honest, they’re still this level of bereavement that I’m having to work through because this is a type of reliance that I’m not familiar with.

And on top of that, I had to learn that it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be terrified of something. It’s okay to be upset. Because my life as a sighted person has always been “go go go”, I didn’t have something that was so emotionally difficult to process that was present 24/7.

[music break]

I already had a lot of experience with having to cope with things really quickly, and do so on my own. To kind of give you a little bit of background on that, I’m a person of colour who was adopted by the whitest white people. I didn’t have anybody at home to teach me how to cope with racism. I had to figure that out on my own, which was especially difficult because the majority of my adoptive relatives are racist as fuck.

Seriously doubt that they are listening to my podcast or paying attention to me at this point, but if they didn’t want me to say that then they probably shouldn’t have been racist assholes to me all my life. Anyway, so there was that I had to learn how to navigate through coping with racism on my own.

Same thing with my transgender identity. The one person who is a relative and someone that I consider family (because these are two different concepts) who even understood what it meant to be trans was my eldest sister, my very best friend that I’ve ever had. Her name is Heidi. So when I was a teenager, I had someone to help me figure myself out, but ultimately I still had to figure out what being trans meant to me.

I didn’t really have the language for it. Heidi didn’t either. With her being a little over 15 years older than me, being transgender wasn’t anything openly discussed with her generation. She’s not trans, but she did make ways for me to talk with other people who are. Heidi passed away the Summer of 2001, so afterwards, I didn’t have anybody to talk with about it anymore. Not someone who was that close with me anyway.

I didn’t have any resources to learn from about this. I’m old enough to have grown up not having constant internet access in my life. Funny thing, I thought we were the shit because we had a car phone. Anybody remember that? Motorola on the analog cellular service, baby! That was pretty sweet. And all the young people have no idea what I’m talking about. That’s okay. They can Google it or ask Siri or Alexa or whatever the computer’s name is.

Anyway, tons of experience of having to learn really complex shit about myself on my own. Racism. Languages. Transgender identity. How many phone numbers I could remember at any given time. Bereavement. Coming into adulthood and being able to cope with all these different aspects of my own intersectionality. It’s a process, and an ongoing one at that.

[music break]

Big fast forward to when I became blind. There is no do-it-yourself way of figuring out how to cope with that kind of sudden onset. There’s just no way. And in my situation, what created the sudden onset was because of someone’s hatred of my being a transgender person of colour.

Honestly, I think that was what made it the most devastating. The loss of my sightedness is its own process that I work through every day. And yeah, there are days that I really hate being blind. But what I have come to understand is that while I definitely miss being sighted, it’s having to learn how to deal with the constancy of ableism and anti-blindness. It’s just… it’s just incredibly complex.

And all these different aspects of intersectionality, and everything that comes with it, is exponentiated in this really indescribable way. Like, how people treat me as a person of colour, as a transgender person, as someone who’s not very tall and not thin… it’s incredibly different now that I am visibly disabled. Now that I am blind.

Some of the things that I have to deal with in terms of ableism and anti-blindness are things that people with other disabilities within different races, ethnicities, genders, social status, etc., are very different from what I have to deal with. It’s really confusing. The gaslighting… to say that it is overwhelming is quite the understatement.

So having to find balances to be able to process these things is really taxing. But at the same time, there are a lot of things that are beautiful about it. Being able to not necessarily relearn certain life skills, though that is a big part of it, but taking it in as learning different aspects of what I was already familiar with, can be this breathtakingly phenomenal experience.

I mean, okay. For example, I love to cook. And there’s a lot of people who love the fact that I love to cook. I’m pretty good at it. Once again, I’m really glad to have all this previous life experience of helping disabled people do things like cooking because, for a lot of things, I ended up just taking my own instruction and applying it to my first-person. I also got help from other people who are blind and get their first-person experience with it. Now that cooking isn’t a visual thing for me anymore, I feel like it’s evolved into this more intimate experience of a vital means of sustaining life.

But after a while, I realised that I was utilising these past experiences of teaching others how to cook in a way that wasn’t making a whole lot of room for me to accept that this new blindness wasn’t temporary. My blindness is permanent. And while I do have a very limited amount of visibility out of my right eye, it’s really just patterns of what evolves into somewhat distinguishable blurs. Sometimes the blurs are just arbitrary interpretations of whatever my brain is able to process that day. It’s hard. And it’s going to always be hard.

Now, I know a lot of people have this knee-jerk reaction to tell me “it just take some getting used to”, or that I just need to have some type of hope that there’s a “fix” or a “cure” somewhere that science hasn’t come up with yet, or some other thing that folks just try to convince me that ending blindness is, ironically, this light at the end of a tunnel. Blah blah blah “well-meaning intentions” or whatever. It’s nonsense. It doesn’t mean anything.

Other people’s intentions are not relevant when it comes to the reality of someone else’s first-person life. There’s nothing that is inherently terrible about being disabled. There’s nothing that’s inherently terrible about being blind. Saying words like ‘disabled’, ‘disability’, ‘blindness’… These aren’t bad words. These are forms of identities that are very real and very much an integral part of who someone is as a person.

In one of my favourite books, it’s titled salt. by Nayyirah Waheed. One of her poems, she writes:

never
trust anyone
who says
they do not see color.
this means
to them
you are invisible.

–is”

As a person of colour, this is something that resonates so deeply with me. Because I have had to deal with a constancy of erasure due to racism, colourism; especially in the dynamic that I had growing up. In a lot of situations, I had to allow myself to be erased as a means of self-preservation. I have become exceptionally good at code-switching, and it is really painful to have to do that all the time, but it is what it is.

But I can’t erase my own disabilities. I can’t erase my own blindness. And as disgustingly dehumanising ableism is, and how disturbing anti-blindness manifests and affects people like me, I have been able to learn how to dig my heels in the ground in ways that I would have never been able to do if I wasn’t disabled, if I wasn’t blind.

So it’s one hell of a continual learning curve, but it is mine.

It is mine.

[outro music begins]

And that concludes the second episode of the Blind in Philadelphia podcast. Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more, Visit us at blindinphiladelphia.com. Please consider becoming a Patron on patreon.com/blindinphiladelphia.

Thanks again for listening. I’m Japheth Grimm. I hope your day is kind to you. Don’t forget, you are beautiful.

[outro music ends]

Check out these Links:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/blindinphila
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BlindinPhila
Shirts and Hoodies (Limited time!) – https://www.bonfire.com/blindinphila
Patreon –
www.patreon.com/blindinphiladelphia

Show Notes:
Blind in Philadelphia Podcast
Episode 2: A Series of Learning Curves
Released: December 10, 2018
Written and voiced: Japheth Grimm
Music Credit: Audiobinger – “The Garden State”; Yan Terrien – “Rose Baba” Music source: http://freemusicarchive.org/

Podcast Transcript: Episode 1 – Intro

Hey there! My name is Japheth Grimm, and I want to welcome you to our brand new Blind in Philadelphia Podcast! While this podcast is super shiny and new, I have been sharing about my blindness on social media since 2016. With the help of family, friends, and kindness from all over the world, I have been able to take on this big project of not just sharing my experiences with disability, but also creating a platform for others as well.

I’ve teamed up with other disabled people and we have been working on expanding Blind in Philadelphia to be much more than social media posts. We’re now able to take it further by creating a blog and podcast centered around blindness, other disabilities, and intersectionality.

This isn’t going to be about any single aspect about disabilities, nor is it going to be about turning ourselves into something inspirational or create pity or some kind of cheesy awareness campaign. At least we hope not. Instead, we will be sharing insights into how we view ourselves and the world around us.

Now, I will tell you that at first it is going to appear a little inconsistent on timing when it comes to releasing new episodes but it’s totally going to be worth it. Some of these episodes will simply be the audio from our blog posts. For longer episodes and podcast series, we will have full transcripts and show notes available. So not only will our blog post be more accessible, this podcast will be too.

The great thing about us going ahead and releasing this intro episode is that this gives you plenty of time to subscribe to our podcast, check out the website and our social media pages, and let us know what you would like for us to cover. On both Facebook and Twitter, just search for Blind in Philadelphia. Be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. You’ll also be able to get the link  for our blog there as well.

To help us out even more, check out the t-shirt fundraiser that we have going on right now. You’ll be able to learn more about that on the pinned posts of both Facebook and Twitter. That’s only running for a limited time, so be sure to get yourself a hoodie, t-shirt, or both just in time for the holiday season. All proceeds go to covering costs of the blog and podcast.

You can also help us out by becoming a Patron on Patreon. For as little as $2.50 a month, you can get exclusive updates and different perks per tier. To learn more, visit www.patreon.com/blindinphiladelphia.

Thank you very much for subscribing to our podcast, blog, and following us on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to tell your friends and family about the exciting things we have coming up. We’ve got a lot of great things coming soon that we’re excited to share with all of you.

That wraps it up for right now. Japheth Grimm for Blind in Philadelphia. I hope your day is kind to you. And don’t forget, you are beautiful.

Check out these Links:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/blindinphila
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BlindinPhila
Shirts and Hoodies (Limited time!) – https://www.bonfire.com/blindinphila
Patreon – 
www.patreon.com/blindinphiladelphia 

Show Notes:
Blind in Philadelphia Podcast
Episode 1: Intro
Released: November 26, 2018
Voiced by: Japheth Grimm
Music: “Hopeful Journey” by Scott Holmes

Thanks for listening!
Like, comment, and share!

What is Intersectionality?

What exactly does intersectionality mean? How does this impact people, and what does this have to do with disabilities? In this quick run-down, we’ll cover this and share why this is crucial to know and understand.

This podcast is available on: iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Soundcloud

Welcome to the new Blind in Philadelphia podcast, website, and blog! I’m glad you can join us as we’re just now getting started on publishing some insightful content that I hope you will enjoy and share!

[podcast transcript: This podcast episode will be one of many that will double as also being the accessible audio for a blog post we’ve shared with you on blindinphiladephia.com, so let’s jump right in!]

[reading of photo caption below]

It took me some time to decide on how I wanted to introduce the different ways that people experience disability within different marginalized groups of people. I figured the best way to start is to simply acknowledge there’s no set place to begin.

For example, how I experience low vision blindness can be vastly different than how someone else experiences their blindness. We’ll be featuring guest contributors so you can take it from them, giving you a chance to learn from their perspectives and amplify their truths.

Quite often, the first thing abled people tend think of is that our experiences primarily differ because others have vastly different misconceptions about blindness, and what it means to be disabled in the first place. While this is certainly something all disabled people deal with, it’s not entirely the first thing that affects us as a person. How people treat us based upon our race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, social status, and other differences have a greater impact as to what creates our identities as disabled people as well as how other people treat us.

These crossroads of different aspects of identities create intersectionality, which “identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society.”[1]

What exactly does that mean? How does this impact people, and what does this have to do with disabilities? Intersectionality, while beautiful, creates a complex form of “the haves vs the have-nots” within larger demographics of marginalized people. For example, it’s fairly common knowledge that people of colour are marginalized far more than white people. Transgender people are marginalized far more than cisgender people. Disabled people are marginalized far more than abled people, and so on.

Arguably, the more marginalized groups someone may be in, the more they will experience systemic discrimination. This results in being denied access to rights and resources more often than other people who are within a shared base demographic such as race, gender, and social status. For example, if someone is a white abled cisgender wealthy person, it is safe to say they won’t experience marginalization that’s anywhere close to a black disabled transgender person experiencing homelessness.

But before we get carried away in assuming that the quantity of overlapping marginalized groups is an absolute scale of how much someone is is likely to be discriminated against, it’s not nearly as important as understanding how people are affected and under what circumstances. Being able to recognise a ballpark idea of where your own privilege and fragility begins and ends is crucial to not only understanding yourself, but also being able to understand other people.

This is the purpose of our website, podcast, and blog. We hope to help you gain a better knowledge of how different groups of people experience disabilities and why. In upcoming episodes and blog posts, we will cover topics of intersectionality and feature some really awesome perspectives you’d likely not consider before.

Don’t forget to subscribe, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter so you’ll be able to catch the latest articles and updates.

Do you have a question for us at Blind in Philadelphia? Send us a message and we will answer in an upcoming post!

[podcast transcript:  And that concludes the third episode of the Blind in Philadelphia Podcast. Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast. As of right now, we are on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. To learn more, visit us at blindinphiladelphia.com. Please consider becoming a Patron on patreon.com/blindinphiladelphia.

Thanks again for listening. I’m Japheth Grimm. I hope your day is kind to you. Don’t forget, you are beautiful.]

Quoted content:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality, Retrieved 11 Nov 2018

Welcome to the Blog!

Hey there, and welcome to the Blind in Philadelphia WordPress Blog! I am a blind transgender person of colour, doing what I can to share about experiences as a blind person as well discuss other topics of disability and intersectionality. So far, we’ve been able to post a lot of great content on our Facebook page, so be sure to give us a Like there.

I’m very excited to partner up with other transgender disabled persons. We are working on more content to share with you such as photos, videos, podcasts, and articles but we’re going to need your help. If there’s any topic you’d like for us to cover, let us know through the Contact Us page. We also appreciate any financial support to help us cover the cost of publishing more content and awareness for our community.

Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy our blog!

Much love, Japheth Grimm (he/them pronouns)