As someone who also works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I can’t…
Chris Cook
51

This is a not fun topic.

Let me jump in and cause a stir…

I prefer person first. And I get to say so, since I am a person living with PTSD.

I am also a person of extremely short stature.

I don’t like any of the names available to me with respect to that, because they all focus on my stature first. “Little person” is not fun to me. I don’t like being called that at all. ‘Proportional dwarf’ is another non-option. What the hell? I’m not even a person in that one at all.

Midget, munchkin, elf, lollipop kid, etc… I’ve been called all of those things. The first thing people say when they meet me is —

“Wow! You’re so short!”

As if I don’t wake up with myself every fucking day and know that already.

I wish people didn’t feel the need to label everything. It is so lazy. I understand that descriptive language can sometimes be important, but shouldn’t I get to say what is tolerable to me?

When someone puts my disabilities first they are taking away my choice. In my mind, if I have to correct you out of the gate, we are starting out on the wrong foot.

I think of it as general politeness that someone might use in an email to someone they don’t yet know. You start with “Dear Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Ms.,” “Sir” and / or “Madam,” or even “To Whom it May Concern,” when that person responds and says, “call me jake” or “Rick” or “Jamal” “Latoya” etc, that’s when you are being told it is ok to drop the formality and be more casual.

My ultimate preference is to be called by my name and not labeled by my challenges at all. I know others here disagree with this and that is ok. But I would like a choice and I don’t like that they are working to change something that feels like a matter of respect to me.

Thank you, Chris Cook.

-Cyborg 🌺