01 April 2005

"Not Disabled Enough"

I don't have much time to comment on this piece from CNN, but frankly it doesn't need too much commentary:
Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin has been stripped of her title because pageant officials say she can stand -- and point to a newspaper picture as proof.

Janeal Lee, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a scooter, was snapped by The Post-Crescent newspaper standing among her high school math students.

"I've been made to feel as if I can't represent the disabled citizens of Wisconsin because I'm not disabled enough," Lee said Thursday.

. . . .

The move by the state pageant officials, led by coordinator Gina Hackel, is supported by the national board.

Candidates for the crown have to "mostly be seen in the public using their wheelchairs or scooters," said Judy Hoit, Ms. Wheelchair America's treasurer.

"Otherwise you've got women who are in their wheelchairs all the time and they get offended if they see someone standing up. We can't have title holders out there walking when they're seen in the public."

Back in the day, it took pornographic photos to cost someone a beauty crown; now, merely being somewhat ambulatory is enough.

Please join me in boycotting the national Ms. Wheelchair America pageant until they understand that this kind of bigotry is simply unacceptable in today's America. We "abled" should be just as valued by society as the "differently abled"!

Best of the Web Today has picked up this story, but is more understanding of the Pageant's position than was I: "We sympathize with Lee's plight, but we suppose we can also understand Hoit's point. You can't expect a group representing the wheelchair-bound to stand for this sort of thing."

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