(Editor’s Note: One in four people in America has a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Queer and disabled people have long been a vital part of the LGBTQ community. Take two of the many queer history icons who were disabled: Michelangelo is believed to have been autistic.
Marsha P. Johnson, who played a heroic role in the Stonewall Uprising, had physical and psychiatric disabilities. Today, Deaf-Blind fantasy writer Elsa Sjunneson, actor and bilateral amputee Eric Graise and Kathy Martinez, a blind, Latinx lesbian who was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy for the Obama administration, are only a few of the numerous queer and disabled people in the LGBTQ community.
Yet, the stories of this vital segment of the queer community have rarely been told. In its series “Queer, Crip and Here,” the Blade will tell some of these long unheard stories.) Corbett Joan O’Toole, 71, a queer, disabled elder and a Ford Foundation 2022 Disability Futures Fellow, knew one thing for sure growing up in Boston: She didn’t want to be a nurse.