We furnish a platform for connections across the media community, but it's up to you to make good use of them. This resource is specifically designed to help editors connect with disabled people working in journalism, or trying to break into the field. For the convenience of journalists and editors, it also includes disabled experts who are available to serve as sources, such as attorneys, physicians, social workers, and others with professional experience or education that makes them expert sources in their fields.
It is not designed for people interested in breaking into or networking in publishing as authors of fiction or nonfiction books, editors, illustrators, etc — but we'd love to support anyone interested in starting such a resource! We know the name may cause some confusion here; we refer to this as a database for "writers" because some entry-level journalists are shy about calling themselves "journalists," and this project is specifically designed to elevate those very voices.
We also rely on everyone to be respectful and thoughtful in their communication. All of our members are available via email, and their additional communication availability, such as via phone or videoconference, is listed on their profiles.
If you experience harassment, inappropriate treatment, or other issues as a user or member of this database, please email disabled.writers at gmail dot com with "ABUSE" in the subject line.
Start by filling out our Disabled Writers Information Submission form. After we receive your profile submission, we'll enter it into our database and send you a finished version for review and approval. Every three months, you will be prompted to confirm your listing and update relevant information if we haven't heard from you.
You may request to delete or modify your profile at any time. If you wish to relist your profile after you withdrew or were delisted for inactivity, you may email us with any updates to reinstate it.
Please be aware that the turnaround time on profile requests can take up to three weeks.
Take advantage of our database to browse writers and sources who meet your needs. When you find someone you'd like to reach out to, use their email address to contact them and start a conversation.
Disabled Writers uses "identity first" language, which is favored by people who employ the social model of disability. Some people prefer the medical model and "person first" language, with phrasings like "person with disabilities." There are other ways of conceptualizing disability beyond these models.
Our use of identity first language is not designed to override the personal preferences of people who do not, nor do we think it is appropriate to deprive people of the right to define their own identities. When you reach out to discuss a project, you may wish to ask which language someone prefers.
If your newsroom hasn't considered these issues, this is an excellent time to start. Want some reading?
Cara Liebowitz at The Body Is Not An Apology: I Am Disabled: On Identity-First Versus People-First Language
Lisa Egan at xoJane: I'm Not A 'Person With a Disability': I'm A Disabled Person
Lydia Brown for ASAN: Identity-First Language
s.e. smith at Rewire: Why I Say 'Disabled Person' Instead of 'Person With Disabilities'