s.e. smith is a writer, agitator, and commentator based in Northern California, with a journalistic focus on social issues, particularly gender, prison reform, disability rights, environmental justice, queerness, class, and the intersections thereof, with a special interest in rural subjects. smith works as the Deputy Opinion Editor for The Daily Dot and the Social Justice Editor for xoJane.com. International publication credits include work for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, and AlterNet, among many other news outlets and magazines. Assisted by cats Loki and Leila, smith lives in Fort Bragg and Oakland, California.
Since I write about disability from the perspective of a disabled person who is also concerned with systemic institutional oppression, I view the subject through the lens of the social model, which foregrounds autonomy, pride, dignity, and inclusion.
Anti-choicers shame parents facing a prenatal diagnosis and considering abortion, even though they don't back up their advocacy up with support. The pro-choice movement, on the other hand, often finds itself caught between defending abortion as an absolute personal right and suggesting that some lived potentials are worth more than others.
It is not a surprise that disabled people have a spectrum of feelings about menstruation, as do nondisabled people. Too often, however, disabled people tend to be among the last of those consulted about policy and best practice recommendations when it comes to their reproductive health and rights—starting as early as their adolescent years.
Although individual states have attempted to ban abortions that are supposedly motivated by diagnoses of fetal disabilities, the latest move by the Americans United for Life represents a push to expand that strategy to legislatures nationwide.
You may not have heard of Sakuma Brothers, but chances are high that you are familiar with one of its major commercial customers: Driscoll’s Berries. The multinational is square in the crosshairs of a current boycott orchestrated by Sakuma Brothers employees.
Chipotle may not be the ultimate tipping point, but we could may be inching closer to a moment at which the government will be compelled to act, mandating a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave, and other benefits for workers in the United States.
When cases of parents killing or abusing disabled children hit the media, it’s common to see these parents treated sympathetically. Reports typically discuss how they were “pushed to the breaking point” or “under too much stress,” dehumanizing the victims or seeming to forget them altogether.
Exposure to pollution appears to be increasing the risk of acquired and congenital disabilities in low-income neighborhoods, a problem which is then compounded by poor access to health care—yet few are fighting to address it on a policy level.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of surveyed Medicaid providers are, in reality, completely inaccessible. This presents an obvious problem for huge numbers of Americans.
The right to have children and keep them is especially in danger for disabled people, who may be prevented from parenting at all or risk confiscation of their children by welfare authorities after birth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released an update to its guidelines that included an expansion discussion of sexual health for disabled teens. That's an incredibly important addition—so why are so few media outlets covering it?