John Green Gets It Right On Disabilities And Sexual Orientation

A fan recently reached out to Vlogbrother/The Fault In Our Stars author John Green via his Tumblr to ask for Green’s advice on how to deal with the fact that her parents are unsupportive of her Cerebral Palsy and she fears they might reject her for her bisexual identity. His response is comforting and touching an a worthy opportunity to start the dialogue in many houses tonight.

Hi, John. I have a question for you. How are we to deal with prejudice that comes from within our own families? I am a 22 year-old who has Cerebral Palsy and who identifies as bisexual (that last part I have not yet told my parents). My parents often make nasty remarks about people who are LGBTQ (don’t get me started on race). In addition to these kins of remarks, today my father called me a “cripple” in front of other people (we work at the same place). Any advice would be appreciated.

Ah, I’m so sorry. That’s hard to hear from anyone, but especially from your own dad. I’m sure your dad is not evil, but no one should ever have to feel dehumanized by someone they love.

I don’t know how to give advice but I just want to say that you are a human being, and you are important and cared for. Neither your disabilities nor your sexual orientation make you less human than any other person–you are complex and important and worthy of love. There are people–and I’m very sorry if such people are in your family–who seek to dehumanize the other. Maybe the are scared and maybe they are acting out systemic biases they inherited and maybe they don’t know how to include you in their overly narrow definition of personhood, but that is not about you. That is not your fault. You are not broken or wrong; the social order is.

I hope there might be some comfort in knowing that–that you can know it deep down inside of you even if you don’t get the kind of outside validation that we all need and deserve. But what you are going through is not easy. My wish for you is that you find people–online and off–who will honor and celebrate your beautiful and multitudinous personhood.