Disability and Wheelchair Blog

GimpHacks’ 6 Quick Tips on Being a Disability Ally

Recently I watched 14-year-old visually-impaired dancer Benjamin Yonattan compete in the Judge’s Cuts on America’s Got Talent and simultaneously I want to cheer him on because I want there to be awesome dancers who have visual impairments on TV, and felt cynical because I know that nothing will matter to his judges and audience except the fact that he’s “inspiring.” (side note: new drinking game? do a shot for every time they say the word “inspiring” to Benjamin during his appearances on the show.) We talk about inspiration porn a fair bit at the GimpHacks Podcast, but beyond a very short-lived drinking game, how do we constructively deal with inspiration porn, the rubber charity bracelet of social media? How about going beyond it to become a real ally – someone who seeks to better understand our* reality and support the causes and needs that affect our wellbeing. I respectfully submit this handy and somewhat irreverent list that will help you have something more to say when you meet people with disabilities beyond “you are SO inspiring!:” 6 tips on Being a Disability Ally Probably best to leave the reclaiming of labels to those who actually have to hear them and use them regularly for themselves. Language matters and labels matter, and so while we use the term “gimp” for shock value and sometimes irony around the GimpHacks Podcast, listen to people you want to learn from and ask them (gasp!) what terminology you should use. When asked, I tell people that I don’t get too worked up about correct language, though I cringe at ‘handicapped’ and ‘cripple’ is out mostly because you should just know better (and I don’t want to send well-meaning people into a...

Cheers or Jeers: Benjamin Yonattan on America’s Got Talent

How do you know if a person with a disability succeeds because of their inspiring story alone – or does it matter? Last night on America’s Got Talent Judge’s Cuts (essentially the semi-finals) 14-year old visually impaired dancer Benjamin Yonattan got put through to compete at the finals at Radio City Music Hall… but should he have been sent home instead? Is Benjamin Yonattan’s story a case of inspiration porn, writ large? I’m torn, but Tod was unequivocal. We’ll definitely be talking about Yonattan and his second audition on the next episode, so tell us what you think! Leave a comment below so we can have your thoughts in our next...

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Where We Have Been

Where We Have Been

In this episode, we explain where we’ve been and why we haven’t put out a podcast in forever. Also: Is addiction a disability? And yet another the Dick of the...
Hospital Glam and Gimps Gone Wild

Hospital Glam and Gimps Gone Wild

In this episode, we talk to two women with disabilities — both using cameras, but to very different ends: Karolyn Gehrig, the person behind the Hospital Glam movement Dakota Wild, a model on the quasi-porn site GimpsGoneWild.com Also — the first Game Show, the Dick of the Week, and a special announcement about our podcast and...
Video Games, Playgrounds, and Porn

Video Games, Playgrounds, and Porn

In this episode about disability in video games (introducing our spanky new intro!), we chat with a video game developer about why there aren’t more people with disabilities in video games. A listener asks: Why aren’t there more gimps in porn? We play a NPR piece about accessible playgrounds. And we discover why Jocelyn does NOT put her pants on like everybody else. Related Links: Marco Pasqua — TheCubePrinciple.com Planat: View and review the accessibility of places in your neighbourhood and around the world Gimps Gone Wild — a porn site featuring women and men with disabilities Listen to learn more about disability in video...
Self-righting wheelchair technology developed by students

Self-righting wheelchair technology developed by students

QUESTION: IS THIS EVEN A PROBLEM? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. A team of students from the Department of Bioengineering have augmented a sports wheelchair in order to enable disabled athletes to re-right themselves back on their wheels after a crash. Jacqueline Beddoe-Rosendo, Bianca de Blasi and Simone Castagno developed the prototype during a UROP this summer, which caters to wheelchair basketball athletes and potentially other athletes of high-impact sports such as wheelchair rugby. The technology has been trialled with members of the London Titans wheelchair basketball team, who the team extensively consulted with over the course of the project. Their solution consists of a simple rigid metal roller with a rubber casing attached to the front bumper of a sports wheelchair, which rotates in only one direction. Containing a clutch mechanism and coated with anti-slip PVC tape, this is designed to provide a lockable pivot point between the front bumper and the floor. This allows the player to push themselves up and resume playing in less time....
When Wheelchairs Meet Airplanes

When Wheelchairs Meet Airplanes

Sure, airplanes CAN take you and your wheelchair — question is: how likely is it they’ll screw something up. (Spoiler: Likely.) In this episode about travel with a wheelchair, we discuss travelling, airplanes, and cruises hips. Plus we open the mailbag to read a comment about our last episode, Playing the Gimp Card. Related Links: • Most Disability-Friendly Cities in the World for Travel Be sure to listen to this episode about travelling with a wheelchair and disability travel...