Skip Navigation
Skip to Footer

Image of two people smiling and looking at a computer.


Leah Ilana Craig headshot

Leah Ilana Craig

On a bright and sunny July morning, I walked with my cane along the side of the Los Angeles Convention Center. With my head held high in my heavy blue wig, I got ready to join thousands of con attendees at Anime Expo (AX). It was my only day at AX, one of the busiest anime conventions, and I was excited. I often cosplay characters that I identify with, and on this day, I chose to be Jinx from Arcane: League of Legends because there was an Arcane/League of Legends community meet-up scheduled at the con. I love to transform into my favorite characters and show that people with disabilities deserve to hold space in the cosplay community.

As I approached the building, I noticed the regular entrance for AX snaked around the building and I knew that there was no way I could stand in that line without fainting. Luckily, clear signs made the accessible entrance easy to find, which was great because I was already experiencing Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) symptoms from putting together all the makeup and accessories I needed for Jinx. However, when I approached the security team, I found myself in a snafu. [continue reading…]

A scene from Unidentified Objects with one of the characters in bright blue and pink makeup and clothingLos Angeles, July 21 – A road trip dramedy that is as witty as it is raw and real, Unidentified Objects captures the pain and charm of living on the outskirts of society. The new feature film directed by Juan Felipe Zuleta and written by Leland Frankel is premiering this week at Outfest LA.

Dedicated to finding a way to get to a rural spot in Canada, where she is sure she will be again abducted by aliens, Winona J is a spirited and optimistic character who is sure she is not the one who is crazy. She is joined by Peter, a cynical neighbor who has given up on believing in the world around him – and perhaps with good reason as he has forever been objectified as a homosexual little person. Both neighbors find themselves pushed to face their most hidden demons as they learn more about each other in one of the most unconventional road trips you could imagine. [continue reading…]

Matan Koch headshot

Matan Koch

Los Angeles, CA, July 3 – Tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States. While its primary purpose is to demarcate 246 years since the day we formally declared our independence from Great Britain, it has come to be a celebration of broader Independence. While it is critically important to remember that the liberties in the Declaration of Independence were at the time only offered to wealthy white men, today I ask you to think about a different complexity within that narrative.

There is a perspective within American culture that equates independence with the absence of support. We are taught that there is something quintessentially American about “pulling oneself up from one’s bootstraps.” And yet, the declaration of the 13 colonies that they were independent from Great Britain certainly did not indicate a decision to navigate the world alone. Our alliance with France was critical in allowing the Revolution to succeed, and as a nascent country, we had shifting dependencies on multiple European powers, including Great Britain. [continue reading…]

an LGBTQ+ Pride flag with black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple stripesI sometimes tell people that I am living like a ghost. Since I was a child I have felt detached from my body due to dissociation. Dissociation can be all-consuming, and a highly subjective experience. Sometimes, it feels as if I float above my physical body slowly, or incredibly quickly, and I lose any conception of self so much that I feel person-less, genderless, and transparent.

I have come to understand my dissociation as presenting itself in different ways. Sometimes I am away from my physical body. At other times I am still highly aware of my physicality, but just no longer myself. It can feel like waking up from a trance and finding a new body at the helm. Because my sense of self has been fragmented for so long, I am used to being different parts of myself, different ages, different memories, and different subsets of my identity. If you’re confused by all of this, don’t worry, I too am constantly confused by myself. However, I’ve grown used to it and I really appreciate how dissociation is a defense mechanism that has saved me in the past. [continue reading…]

Washington, D.C., June 28 – On Friday, the United States Supreme Court reversed its almost 50-year position that the United States Constitution guarantees the right of people who are pregnant or may become pregnant to have autonomy over their own bodies and exercise the right to an abortion. Friday’s decision has and will continue to have a major impact on the disability community, and especially those within the community who are multiply marginalized.

RespectAbility is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future. Our mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Self-determination and access to health care are crucial to ensuring that everyone in the disability community can fully access opportunities and have a better future.  [continue reading…]

Ellynne Davis smiling wearing a white t-shirt and red earings

Ellynne Davis

A month ago, my family celebrated a huge milestone, my father’s 76th birthday. Most people know my father as a former Commander in Chief for the Chicago Police Department, but I know him as a jack of all trades including being a civic leader, entrepreneur, and hero. Throughout his life, my father maintained a commitment to giving back to his community and fighting the status quo. This Juneteenth, the lessons from my father are at the top of my mind as I reflect back on previous feelings of anger and despair.  I find myself having deeper conversations about the challenges that face the Black community and not being content with the status quo. However, I look forward to learning from others, changing with the times and redefining the status quo. This year, I will be reflecting on how far we have come and how much more work we need to do.

Juneteenth is the day where many people across the country commemorate the true end of slavery. History teaches us that slaves were freed from the Emancipation Proclamation, but in truth, slavery still continued, and the status quo was maintained. Two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, federal troops announced the end of the Civil War and ensured that all slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas, and the entire Confederacy as a whole. [continue reading…]

Graciano Petersen smiling headshot

Graciano Petersen

True joy in the workplace comes from being able to trust your colleagues as well as showing up and being valued as your full yourself. Our identities are not always fully supported in our workplace, but we are striving to live in the shared value of honoring how our employees and apprentices identify and how those identities impact their work and their ability to perform their work duties.

As most of the people who work at RespectAbility have a disability, those disabilities impact how they identify and how they embrace work and what they need while working. I’ve been thinking about identity and work performance a lot because of how embraced I feel in my identities at RespectAbility, and also how the month of June honors multiple parts of my identity and the identities of others at RespectAbility. [continue reading…]

The Roommate

Christina Link smiling headshot

Christina Lisk

I remember many beautiful things about Philadelphia Pride 2018. Mamma Mia had come to town, and the performers were marching in the parade. Their routines were vibrant, as though the streets were a makeshift stage, and all the world was invited. In my red skinny jeans and my rainbow wing scarf, I stood on the sidelines, keeping up with their routine as best as I could. It was my first Pride in years, the previous two stolen by a combination of undiagnosed Lyme disease, and pineapple-induced anaphylaxis. With an antibiotic under my belt and a newfound freedom in my joints, I was finally free to interlace my identities: pansexual, disabled, performer at heart. By my side was a close friend from college, her best friend from Atlanta, her girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s roommate: a Jewish nonbinary disabled cat lover with a knack for poetry and a love for the word “Jawn.” For all the wonderful visuals about Philadelphia Pride 2018, the one I remember the best is the sugar rush of being side-by-side with The Roommate. Pride is always a powerful recognition, but especially so when it is celebrated with someone who stole your heart away.

It had been a couple of months since they and I first met, sitting across from each other at a sushi dinner with my friend and her girlfriend. The Roommate was hard of hearing like myself, bringing a silent understanding to the conversation from the start. Anytime I needed something repeated, they were happy to oblige, and we always made an effort to ensure the other was heard. On the way back to my friend’s apartment after dinner, that was when I first felt their hands. The part of me still wrestling with internalized ableism told myself, “it’s impossible for something to be there, you’re just imagining things, no one could ever want you.” No amount of internalized ableism, however, could change the flutters I felt when their hands met mine or the smile I couldn’t take off my face. Back at my friend’s apartment, after dinner was over, she said something that still rings clear in my mind.

“This is the most relaxed I have ever seen you around someone you like.” [continue reading…]

Pride Lives Within Me

Riccardo Ricciardi headshot. Pride flag as backgroundWhen I was in high school, I didn’t know anything about pride. All I knew were the names the bullies gave me. They kicked me, shoved me, because I wasn’t a “real man.”

When I was in the military, there was still no pride. Nobody ever said anything, not even those of us who were not “real men.”

Then I moved to New York City. Under the insistence of a fellow I met while I was in the service, I visited the Stonewall Inn, where in 1969, gay patrons fought back against police attacks. I immediately understood where I had arrived. Here is where I learned about the history and the ongoing struggles of the LGBTQ+ community and the birthplace of the pride movement. [continue reading…]

Los Angeles, June 3 – As RespectAbility’s Entertainment Lab expands and returns with an in-person option, 20 individuals have been accepted into the Los Angeles Cohort of RespectAbility’s fourth annual Lab for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. RespectAbility, a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, piloted the Lab in 2019.

Now entering its fourth year, the Entertainment Lab aims to further develop and elevate the talent pipeline of diverse professionals with disabilities working behind-the-scenes in television, film, and streaming. Lab Fellows meet studio executives and other decision makers who advise them on various aspects of the industry and their craft. This also enables studios and production companies to learn about the talents and benefits of hiring disabled people to work in all aspects of the storytelling process. As such, Lab alumni currently are working at Disney, Netflix, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, and more. [continue reading…]

1 2 3 103 104
Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.


Mailing Address:
43 Town & Country Drive
Suite 119-181
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

Office Number: 202-517-6272



RespectAbility and The RespectAbility Report is a GuideStar Platinum Participant. GuideStar Platinum Participant Logo

Back to Top

Translate »