From the odd, to the inappropriate, to the downright unprofessional, people with disabilities are sharing stories about their strange encounters of the abled-kind with the hashtag #AbledsAreWeird.
Out in public, despite plenty of stares from the able-bodied, the lived experiences of the disabled still remain invisible.
So along with navigating the challenges of daily life, they are often also saddled with managing the misguided assumptions and ableist behavior of those around them.
Imani Barbarin is hoping to change all that by giving voice to those invisible experiences.
Barbarin, who has cerebral palsy, is a writer and an advocate for the "representation, inclusion, and empowerment of disabled people." However, one of the many challenges the disabled face has nothing to do with their disabilities.
"When it comes to disability, ableds tend to lose all sense of common sense and instead act in ways that are completely strange and at times dangerous," Barbarin said speaking with Romper. "This isn't the behavior that they would [display] around other abled people, so why would they do it with us?"
Those bizarre experiences with the abled-bodied led Barbarin to Twitter on Friday where she created shared one her own encounters using the hashtag #AbledsAreWeird.
I think about the time an abled random stranger threw my crutch into the pool “to help me swim” a lot. #AbledsAreWeird— Crutches&Spice♿️ (@Crutches&Spice♿️) 1552688092.0
Barbarin of course wasn't the only one who had to deal with such experiences.
Others were inspired to share their own weird and cringe-worthy encounters using the now viral hashtag.
At a grocery store, a woman made a beeline to me and, w/ no introduction, asked, "Can you have sex?" It wasn't the… https://t.co/L0sNtuNrOo— Kathryne Husk ♿🏳️🌈 (@Kathryne Husk ♿🏳️🌈) 1552791406.0
@Imani_Barbarin Once I was at the grocery store with my service dog, buying frozen broccoli, and a woman came up to… https://t.co/L0HBsmjHmN— Annesley Clark (@Annesley Clark) 1552743932.0
That one time someone asked me if I could just move out of my chair bcs the chair was taking up a lot of room. I wa… https://t.co/Stfq859sw6— Marybeth♿♀️🏳️🌈 (@Marybeth♿♀️🏳️🌈) 1552714556.0
While using handicap parking at CVS w/ a permit, an octogenarian says, "You shouldn't use your parent's issue to g… https://t.co/8YI3GZpjDD— Six (@Six) 1552741815.0
all those times that people try to guilt trip me into giving up my seat in the bus/metro because “i don’t look disa… https://t.co/qm45t5Mr6d— rose ; HYUNOH DAY (@rose ; HYUNOH DAY) 1552735265.0
One time at Moe's, when the restaurant was completely empty except for my table, a worker came up and, without inte… https://t.co/4tbuysNrvL— Cassie Strickland (@Cassie Strickland) 1552692405.0
When my grandma calls me and asks me if im better yet and when i say no she says “well this is taking forever, why… https://t.co/haz4cljWWQ— ? ¿ ? ¿ ? (@? ¿ ? ¿ ?) 1552741581.0
Unfortunately, bizarre, cringe-inducing behavior isn't the only type of ableism.
"Many of the stories shared were about consent of disabled bodies either being outright violated or not asked for in the first place," Barbarin told Romper. "Following someone into the bathroom or grabbing them without their permission, even if you're justification is to 'help' us, is in violation of our right to dictate what we want for ourselves."
That time I was in the accessible bathroom stall & without warning a woman crawled under the door & into the stall… https://t.co/bBFVQdTka0— Katy ♿ 🌊 (@Katy ♿ 🌊) 1552736637.0
Someone stopping me mid-commute today to try and take my cane from my hands and adjust how I use it. "Do you use a… https://t.co/axiZHT9mBF— Kit Ryan (@Kit Ryan) 1552891376.0
“You’re too young to be so tired.” “You’re too young to be in so much pain.” “You’re to young to be chronically ill.” #AbledsAreWeird— baby mia (@baby mia) 1552794696.0
That one time someone kicked my cane out of their path to get past me, sending my whole body into their path instea… https://t.co/jBHz36G9j5— Mx Kae (should be drawing) 🌺 (@Mx Kae (should be drawing) 🌺) 1552721287.0
Shockingly some of the worst offenders were medical professionals whom one might assume would be a bit more understanding. Nope.
"But you seem so smart. You shouldn't be in so much pain and that limited by your symptoms" ...said by a doctor who… https://t.co/pb2woeIFtf— Ody_O (@Ody_O) 1552744128.0
It’s horrifying how many of the stories in #AbledsAreWeird are about educational or medical professionals. And th… https://t.co/B6M6bz3t4E— Ms Jay Rattray (@Ms Jay Rattray) 1552744358.0
@MsJayTeeRattray So true. I have depression, PTSD, and anxiety and docs just look at me like I’m lying, when I expl… https://t.co/k0GfmuYlbP— JoJo🏳️🌈 (@JoJo🏳️🌈) 1552749685.0
While some of these #AbledsAreWeird stories can seem funny in their absurdity, one poster points it isn't a joke, but a bracing look at how social barriers are often more of a handicap for those living with disability.
If you need a reality check as able-bodied person, educate yourself with #AbledsAreWeird. This hashtag isn’t a j… https://t.co/eaO0zLnn13— Laila Alawa (@Laila Alawa) 1552742240.0