LETTER FROM WASHINGTON

 

I am writing to tell you how much your publication has meant to me. I began to read it in the past few months simply because a friend was featured as a writer. Then I began to read the works of other authors, and gained insight and knowledge into a kind of activism I was totally unfamiliar with.

Id been aware of the patronizing attitudes and ambivalence toward people with disabilities, but I had no grasp of the level of ignorance I lived with myself, and that the average able-bodied person lives with. The fact that getting up or down the streets, or in and out of the apartment complex or house where you live, that going into a theater or restaurant or a public restroom is a challenge and an obstacle to be overcome for millions of Americans every day, despite legislation designed to address discrimination, made me angry. I also realized why I see so few of the disabled who are my fellow African Americans out and about.

The testimony of gay men living with this kind of discrimination and prejudice was powerful. I was moved, too, by evidence of the ignorance and indifference shown by the medical profession. Stories from BENT writers prove that people with disabilities are often forced to be their own best health advocates. At first this realization was mind boggling, but its given me insight into how to take charge of my own health care and to question medical advice that does not work for me or for my elderly mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's.

I want to commend you for the excellence of your publication and the hard work, dedication and love evident in every issue. I hope BENT continues. It is a much-needed voice in the wilderness.

-Arthur Diggs
Washington, D.C.

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BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/May 2005