Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Marry you.

Who knew that the next offensive  Cerebral Palsy related story would come from my native Poland? I've spent the last few days writing open letters to the media back home, asking my family to get involved and reaching out to politicians I've met ages ago. This is the exact reason I left, this is why I'm not coming back. A woman with Cerebral Palsy was denied by the officiant her right to marry. Because she wasn't speaking clearly and seemed nervous and tense he suspected she's unable to formed and communicate the required mental state to enter the union freely. The court wasn't sympathetic either. She was submitted to psychiatric evaluation which of course she passed, only after months of delay and humiliation. We can scream and we can shout and explain to people that Cerebral Palsy is not a form of mental retardation, that individuals with this condition are of normal if not in some cases above average intelligence. That it's often as if they are trapped within the prison of their own physicality, but they think and they will and they have free will that they often need to express in alternative means.  I have CP and I have three law degrees. I use a wheelchair but I also speak clearly and I have some control over my body and that is a blessing. I suspect the more severe the condition  the more humiliation the individual will be exposed to. Yes, people try to give me money on the street or bread from time to time but at least they see me as a person, they don't deny my  humanity. I suspect I should feel so lucky. And it feels I phrased it wrong. It's not about sympathy or having a heart. It's about a person right to marry that some cultures find fundumental. Nobody's doing her any favors and we shouldn't forget it. Everything is about perception it seems and I will fight those misconceptions anytime, anywhere. Because I was given a voice.

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