I’m tired of men laughing at me as a disabled woman

Posted by Gem Turner

Note: for this post I’m generalising gender but please note – I’m aware that there’s so much more to gender than how I’ve stereotypically described. For the sake of the post, stick wi mi…

So, I’m on the train home as I write this after a fantastic night out celebrating my friends engagement (shout out Thierry and Kate!). But even now as I’ve waited for the train a group of men look over at me, nudge each other and smirk. They carry on laughing as if they’re in the back of the classroom whispering away. I feel myself go red. I’m tired of men doing this. It was the same last night. I set off all dressed up nice (if I say so miself) and I probably passed about 5 groups of men who sniggered in the space of a 2 minute stroll.

Non disabled people will say some of the following…

Just ignore it!

This is so hard to do. As an empathetic feeling sponge I sense EVERYTHING. Theres literally no way of me ignoring it, yes you can choose not to dwell on it – but that takes a lot of effort

They probably fancy you!

The “trying to be reassuring” answer. Which, I do think there’s an element of men thinking that disabled people aren’t supposed to be attractive and laughter is their default reaction if they god forbid happen to see an attractive disabled woman. But, the intimidating looks is definitely not how a man looks when they fancy someone

Insert insults here

Now this is probably my preferred reply. Realistically I’m not going to approach these men on my own and am I going to change their attitude? Probably not. So yeah insulting them and calling them fun made up offensive names dulls the sting a little

Anyway, I don’t know what my point is of this blog. I just wanted to show that yes I go out and I have fun as a wheelchair user. But these attitudes are tiring. It’s a constant sting at my self esteem and it takes a lot of work to undo the negative consequences.

If I could ask anything of people – it’s to look out for us. If you see something like this happen, talk to the disabled person make sure they’re ok. Talk to your kids about disability and normalise it. I want to live in a world where I can go out and not be laughed at. Anyway, at least I was wearing a banging outfit…

7 thoughts on “I’m tired of men laughing at me as a disabled woman

  1. Abi

    Oh, it’s bloody hard isn’t it! No sooner have we managed to raise our self esteem up to a basic level it’s knocked back down again by the ignorance of others. I find that writing about my experiences (as I’m guessing you might), helps to put things into perspective a little. As you quite rightly point out that ‘normalising’ disability is the way forward, we’ve just got to, collectively, keep getting out there and be seen. xx

  2. Jennie Berry

    I hear you!!! Happens all the time. People laughing and sniggering even more so on nights out. Really sad 😞

  3. Joanna

    So sorry to read this Gem, I promise if I was ever to see anything like this I would check on anyone who was experiencing this type of unacceptable behaviour. I think you great and a badass chick!

  4. Irene

    These excuses for men are total morans. Just be glad they don’t come home to you or me every night … their poor wives and mothers!!!!

  5. Donna M Day

    Oh it’s infuriating isn’t it?! I’ve literally lost count of the number of times a group of men have chased me, impersonating my limp and the surrounding me while they laugh and pen me in. They think it’s hilarious, but it’s dehumanising, heartbreaking and, honestly terrifying. Thank you for raising this in such an honest and enlightening way.

  6. Atlin Merrick

    God I am so sorry to everyone here who has experienced this. Thank you Gem for asking people for what you need at this time

  7. Herbert Turner

    I’m sorry that you have experienced such rudeness and insensitivity. It seems that such behavior is being accepted as the norm these days That is unacceptable.The fact that you are enjoying your life and are a vibrant and engaging person says volumes. It’s too bad that some people don’t realize that. All the best to you/

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