Hi, my name is Courtney and I have been the Digital Media Content Manager for AWN since 2020, leading our efforts on Facebook and helping our team make sure all our online platforms are accessible. I also help with our fundraising campaigns. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who donated to our Give Out Day campaign last month. We had 47 donors and raised $2,170, almost double compared to last year!
July is Disability Pride Month, celebrating the historic passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a queer, multiply neurodivergent person who is also severely chronically ill, I know firsthand we still have a ways to go when it comes to accessibility and disability rights in general. Medical ableism, racism, sexism, and fatphobia remain major barriers, and having to fight for basic care and access can be incredibly exhausting. But I am so grateful to the disabled activists who fought so hard for the ADA and other milestone bills to be passed. And I am so proud to be part of an organization that celebrates neurodivergent people and is committed to disability justice.
As the admin for AWN’s facebook, I enjoy keeping our community posted on our programs, including our crucial policy work (which you can learn more about below). I also really love sharing content that makes our audience feel seen and understand more about themselves, which is often as simple as sharing the name of something they have experienced.
Celebrating Nonbinary Pride Day:
I have always admired AWN’s work on behalf of autistic people of marginalized genders, who are less likely to be identified as autistic, and often have the unique ways they experience autism called into doubt. AWN demonstrates our commitment to intersectionality by fighting for multiply marginalized autistic people, including autistic BIPOC, people with other disabilities, and women, queer, trans, and nonbinary people. Just this month AWN celebrated Nonbinary Pride Day. I’m honored and humbled to be part of this.
As we celebrate the 33rd Anniversary of the ADA on July 26, there is a lot of policy work ahead to achieve true equality, equity, and justice for our community. Here are just two of the policy fights AWN is currently involved in:
In the case Davis v. LabCorp being heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, AWN joined a letter to the court (an amicus brief) supporting a class action lawsuit by the American Council of the Blind and two visually impaired people against Labcorp. LabCorp has been using digital self-check-in systems that are inaccessible for the visually impaired and has not provided accessible alternatives.
Then, in the District Court case Griffith v. El Paso County, we joined an amicus brief supporting the right of people in prison who experience gender dysphoria to be housed in facilities that match their gender identity. The trans woman who brought the legal case, Ms. Griffith, was placed in an all-men’s jail despite her requests otherwise. She suffered horribly as a result. The case puts forward the claim that Ms. Griffith’s gender dysphoria diagnosis is an ADA-protected disability which should have allowed her to be placed in an appropriate facility. The case is careful to separate gender identity from gender dysphoria. Marking gender dysphoria an ADA-protected disability offers a promising frontier in the intersection of disability and LGBTQ+ rights.
In addition to these cases, AWN’s policy team has been active in these areas since our last update in April:
- Established a working relationship with the TransFormations Project, which is working to track and educate people about the anti-trans legislative crisis in the U.S.
- Supported United Spinal v. California, opposing physician-assisted suicide.
- Supported bills such as The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Full Funding Act, Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act, and Health Equity for People with Disabilities Act.
- Took part in over 30 general statements, comments on legislation and rulemaking, and letters to legislators and other people in power.
- Saw forward movement in the fight to ban the use of electrical stimulation devices as part of the “Stop the Shock” campaign.
- Continued our work with the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities, the National Disability Leadership Alliance, and the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicaid and Medicare Coalition.
I am so proud to be helping AWN build public awareness and support for these issues. And I’m so glad to be part of AWN. Thanks for being in community with me.
Digital Media Content Manager
Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network