Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Future Tripping.

So i saw a film (fabulous by the way, highly recommend it: "Gen Silent") recently, and the discussion afterwards got me thinking. Well, it got me to leave quite frankly, but also thinking.

A panel was talking about the film and about aging LGBT folks more generally. And one of the things that kept getting said was different versions of: "We're all going to have to start planning (for aging and care we may need) soon!"

It struck me that this was all very clearly being couched in pretty able-bodied terms. 
Because of course, people aren't dealing with these kinds of questions already! Or so many would like to believe, because this culture does not centre or prioritize or even scratch the surface of the voices and experiences of folks with disabilities; and because both aging and disability (together or separately) are terrifying to most folks.
But for many of us, we're already planning. We're already having people wiping our asses, spoon feeding us, getting our groceries, manipulating our bodies, speaking on our behalf, blocking out our lovers, relying on strangers, and so forth. Many of us already live with this reality, so what felt like an unexamined refrain of "ZOMG it's going to happen someday!" was a little exhausting quite frankly, albeit predictable.

i'd love it if more people would challenge this constant centering of able-bodied stories/ realities. i wanted to stay for the end so i could say something, but just couldn't. And i needed to pee. And then i got lodged in the bathroom in my scooter. So y'know, no commentary from me. See? Plenty of us are already there. Having to be extricated from the bathroom by some strange (but very nice lol) dude. Awesomesauce. Reality. And there are so many folks in my life for whom this stuff and more is already a daily reality.

And yeah it does scare me to think of how things are gonna go down as i age. A queer, fat, trans, gimped and getting gimpier, with no connection to my family of birth, who will not be getting married, who will have limited rights (as will my lovers) to care for me and have my wishes respected, it scares me for sure.
i wonder if it's actually a gift to be going through some of these things now instead of having them crash into me later? Just please don't call it a privilege lol. It's just practice.

So i guess when i'm watching things like this --and wow, it really was incredibly touching, i felt for each of these folks and related in some ways as well-- i'm thinking about who's in the room with me, and who isn't. How do we find each other, and how to we lose each other?

Sometimes, we can be right there, sitting right next to you, and it seems we don't even exist. And isn't that the very problem we (and this whole movie we're there to see) are talking about? 

Forest? Meet trees.


Anonymous said...

I think that this attitude is really at the root of why people who are dealing with these issues, every day, are so often ignored, devalued and (frankly) screwed over by this culture in general. Because the dominant culture is death-denying and ableist, it's easy to pretend that these issues are not already a reality for people of all ages.

At the same time, this denial that is so detrimental, sometimes deadly, for those who don't fit into the categories that this culture acknowledges, is also ultimately detrimental for those that do. I think the discussion was directed at the latter group of people. Accepting that ability is a temporary condition and that all of us will die is one of the great challenges to the dominant culture here.

However, it's just another lack of inclusion when the discussion assumes that we're all in the same place. There has to be a way for these discussions to include everyone's reality.

romham a bear said...

so well said, onewetfoot! Yeah i definitely agree with what youve laid out here. Ultimately if messes us all up.
i dont even need discussions to cover everyones reality (though that would be amazing), i just need them to be honest about what theyre talking about. And so often, because of the various systems at play, people choose to privilege certain lived experiences over others, and end up recreating the very things this film was trying to bust open.