On Litmus Tests and Invisible Illnesses; more on Steampunk Universe

http://steampunkuniverse.alliterationink.com

This is a mirror of the latest backer update for Steampunk Universe.  If you haven’t backed the project yet, you can at steampunkuniverse.alliterationink.com

For context, see this post: https://www.ideatrash.net/2016/10/two-issues-around-steampunk-universe.html

Because of a comment on the last update, please let me clarify: All of the stories feature disabled or aneurotypical characters. Not all of the authors have shared with us whether or not they’re disabled or aneurotypical.

The
figure I quoted previously – that slightly less than 50% of the authors
were themselves disabled or aneurotypical – was based on the
information that they themselves shared with us in cover letters or
bios.

We find the idea of litmus tests disturbing in general in
determining who gets on a table of contents. I have long advocated for
determining one’s efforts by evaluating who is submitting. When I
brought this up in July, I recognized that my efforts in getting
submissions needed improvement. I got several good suggestions on
broadening my calls for submissions, and D. Morgenstern pointed out several others in their critique of my response yesterday.  I can do more in that arena, and will. Sadly, these are of limited use now, since the two years we were accepting submissions ended back in July.

But I want to again point out that we did not specifically quiz authors on this subject. 

Aside
from the above, we are personally and strongly aware of the way society
can shame and stigmatize those who have disabilities or who are not
neurotypical.

For example, while I have previously mentioned
publicly which of my family members is aneurotypical, I have not named
them here because they’re an adult and deserve to tell their own story
in the way they choose to.

Or Ms. Coe, who wrote the essay I posted yesterday. She wrote me last night (different time zones and all) to share this:

“The
sentence basically came from the fact that I have depression – to
severe levels at times – but I am not legally disabled; I am not
neurotypical but I don’t experience a lot of the disadvantages,
especially as I am able-bodied. It was meant to highlight the invisible
illnesses that don’t always get included when a lot of people think of
disability, but can often be crippling.”

I want to personally thank Ms. Coe for sharing this part of her personal story with us all.

While depression and other mental issues can
qualify as “legally disabled”, it can be extremely difficult and
painful to share that publicly. They are also massively and shamefully
stigmatized, leading many to not share their stories publicly.

I appreciate the critique from others.

I am going to ensure that future calls for submission include the new sources that have been brought to my attention.

I appreciate Ms. Coe sharing her story.

I am not going to force any of my authors to answer questions about
their personal lives to pass a litmus test or judge whether they’re
disabled “enough” or aneurotypical “enough”.

I
am – with your help and support – going to bring you a kick-ass
anthology featuring characters who are aneurotypical and disabled.

Thank you for your support.

Your comments are welcome; please comment here instead of on the project itself.

If you haven’t backed the project yet, you can at steampunkuniverse.alliterationink.com.

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