Dyspunktional: A Radically Inclusive Movement for the Disabled Community

As someone who has been physically disabled since 2015 and has been involved in the online disability community since then (as well as being neurodivergent and having multiple psyhciatric disorders), I've noticed a continuing problem within the (specifically, online) community: a lack of solidarity between the various "modes" of disability. That people whose primary disability is based in "the mind" have a tendency to believe that physical disabilities are taken "more seriously" and that people whose primary disability is based in "the body" have a tendency to call mental disabilities less severe or even call mentally ill people "abled".

This came to a very nasty head recently within the transmasculine community on tumblr. Being a trans man, I was a part of the circles where this argument came to fruition and saw terrible behavior from people on "both sides".This recent "discourse" left me feeling incredibly isolated from the disability community online (which is the only place I am really able to access it at the moment, for various reasons) because I cannot separate myself into mental illness and physical disability. Because it is not one or the other that makes me disabled -- it is both.

In the end, my frustration as someone who is disabled due to both his mental illness and his physical condition led me to the realization that the current popular movements -- cripplepunk, madpunk, rabiespride and etc., aren't really inclusive. In other words, they still function along dualism -- that the mind and body are separate. This is more about cripplepunk than madpunk or rabiespride because I'm less familiar with those movements (and rabiespride has issues considering rabies is an illness that still takes lives in various places around the world) -- but since cripplepunk was created specifically with physical disabilities in mind and its creator/founder was explicit in that it didn't apply to, nor should it be used by, people whose disability is primarily based in "the mind".

As someone who is mentally ill and physically disabled, I felt the community needed something that was radically inclusive -- that acknowledges that we do not have a body and mind -- we have a bodymind. That the mind does not function separate from the body and the body does not function separate from the mind. That the brain is an organ like any other and that mental illnesses are physically disabling for the majority of people who have them. I wanted to create a word that anyone -- with any issue -- that feels like their daily functioning is impeded by some kind of disorder or dysfunction or physical/neurological difference or who is barred from abled society in some way because of some "defect" of their existence, could use.

This is what I intend "dyspunktional" (dyspunk for short) to be.
(many thanks to tumblr user d3viantvanguard for suggestion the shortened version!)

Dyspunktional is a portmanteau of dysfuntional and punk: Dysfunctional because it can apply to any and all disbabilities -- because a disability is something that inhibits daily function.
Punk because represents our rebellion against the harmful categorization of the medical industrial complex and against the society that refuses to give us (disabled people) what they need to fully participate in that society.

Dyspunk is based in the idea of radical inclusivity and does not allow for any gatekeeping of any kind. If someone says they are disabled, they are disabled. They know their body/mind better than anyone else and know what their daily experiences are better than anyone else. There should be no space in this movement/community for denying or questioning the experiences of others and it will be focused on creating solidarity, understanding and community between all disabled people.

The idea behind dyspunktional is that we are all dysfunctional in some way and that we are all barred from abled society in some way and that while our experiences may be different they all have value and that we all have something to offer each other -- that all of our experiences are equally valid and just as important in the fight against ableism and in the creation of a more just and accessible world.

No disabled person’s voice is unnecessary in the fight against ableism, no disabled person’s experience should go unheard. No disabled person’s experience is more or less important than another’s. We all have something to offer to each other, we all have something to offer to the cause and no one should be afraid of speaking up or have their experiences doubted and questioned by other disabled people – we are already dealing with that coming from the medical establishment and abled society.

Why Radical Inclusivity? Why combine physical disabilities with mental disabilities?

I genuinely believe that dualism and trying to separate physical disability from mental disability is harmful to the disabled community at large. The body cannot function without the brain and the brain cannot function without the body. We are not two separate things -- a body and a mind. We are both of those things. Depression is shown to cause actual physical damage to the body and dealing with abled society and the suffering caused by physical disability is known to cause trauma and mental illness. The body and mind are intertwined in such a way that you cannot separate one from the other.

It is my genuine belief that when we separate the physical from the mental and try to create any movement for the disabled that doesn't acknowledge this innate interconnection, it will inevitably only benefit ableists and harm the disabled community. The only way we have any hope of overcoming the barriers that ableism has placed in front of us is unwavering solidarity as a community.

Individuals within the disabled community may be ableist and there is no doubt that lateral violence and intracommunity issues exist but the real enemy is ableism and ableist society. Dyspunk is not intended to deny that intracommunity violence exists or as a way to dismiss those who have been harmed by it. These issues exist and must be spoken about and rooted out for the benefit of the greater disabled community. Hurting other disabled people is fucking unacceptable.

As such, discussions about the differences between primarily physical disabilities and primarily mental disabilities are welcome and encouraged but should never devolve into accusing one or the other of being "better off" or less disabled or doubting the experiences of the other person. Nor should any discussion about these differences devolve into targeting entire communities (i.e., "physically disabled people hate mentally ill people" or "neurodivergents are abled and don't care about the physically disabled"). All-inclusive statements of this type are invariably false and ignore the fact that so much of the disabled community is impacted by both. No one but the person experiencing the disability gets to "rank" how severe it is.

Back to why dyspunktional combines these two "separate" issues: the simple truth is that society does not take physical disability/long-term physical illness seriously -- nor does it take mental illness or neurodivergence seriously. Dyspunk as a movement should always acknowledge that no matter the cause of the disability or "dysfunction" -- ableist society wants us gone. That is the focus!

Simply put -- ableism doesn't actually distinguish between a disability caused by mental or physical issues (leaving out here that the brain is part of the physical body so mental issues are physical issues -- society sees them as separate so I will refer to them as such). In the end, it doesn't matter if you're "mentally ill" or "physically ill" anything less than 100% ablebodied and sound mind is discriminated against and is harmed by mainstream ableist society and eugenics movements.

In Conclusion:

We are all disabled. Ableists want us all gone. They don't care, in the end, if that disability is spawned by the mind or the body -- even if they say they do -- much like with arguments against "weird" LGBTQ+ people, the attempts to destroy us will always inevitably target even the most 'acceptable' disabled people. As such, it is important that we stand together against the attempts to destroy us and work together to create a more accessible society and a more just world. Because without one another, we cannot hope to fully dismantle ableism. A mind without a body is incomplete. A body without a mind is incomplete. Disability activism that focuses on only the mind or the body is also incomplete. Just like the body and mind are intertwined and inseparable, activism for the mentally ill and neurodivergent shouldn't be separated from activism for the physically disabled.

That is what dyspunktional stands for as a movement. Like the body and mind, we should stand as one.