Treating wheelchair users as a symbol of disability successfully erased has the effect of silencing wheelchair users. I think that a lot of us have been complicit in this silencing, and that we need to address this in disability culture. Partly for the sake of better solidarity with wheelchair users; partly because the silencing is hurting all of us.
I think that all disabled people face pressure to see ourselves as characters in a story about accessibility. Sometimes we’re expected to write the story. Sometimes we’re seen as characters in a story someone else is writing. Sometimes we’re supposed to believe that the story has already been written, and that all we have to do is get people to read the book.
I think that wheelchair users face particularly intense pressure to pretend that the story has already been written and has a satisfying ending. That’s not something any of us should envy. It’s not privilege. It’s silencing. And I think we need a lot less silence and a lot more solidarity. It doesn’t have to be this way, and it isn’t always this way. When we have space for honesty about the realities of disability, our communities are a lot stronger.
and from Alaina Leary alainaskeys at the NYTimes' very worthwhile disability series:
It is critical for disabled people to find a sense of community. Disability is the only marginalized identity that anyone can enter at any time; one in 20 Americans is disabled, but we’re often so disenfranchised that our rights are an afterthought (the Americans With Disabilities Act became law only in 1990). Our strength comes from the relationships with other disabled people that we create, whether these are online or in person, and the lifelong mentorship that these relationships foster.
Thanks to sasha_feather, I'd already read Alaina Laney's great essay on the trope of villains with facial deformities in Teen Vogue.