Zachary Welsh’s Thoughts on Weise’s Nondisabled Demands

In her poem “Nondisabled Demands,” author Jillian Weise points out just how much individuals with disabilities are expected to label themselves as disabled or prove to others that they have some sort of social value. In lines such as “It’s not fair,” and “You can’t expect people to read you / if you don’t come out and say it,” Weise is communicating that nondisabled people almost expect disabled individuals to reveal their disabilities to prove some kind of worthiness. What speaks volumes is that when describing the motivations behind making this poem, Weise is quoted saying that “This poem comes from real advice and performance art. Someone told me I had to come out and state my disability in every poem I write.” What’s also worth noting is that in an attempt to avoid situations such as these, Weise actually began writing under the pseudonym Tipsy Tullivan, a nondisabled writer, someone almost completely different than the true Weise. With her poem, Weise essentially argues that a disabled individual shouldn’t need to come out or be labeled as such, they are people just like anyone else.

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