Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Not every disability is visible. This is so important. The perspective that we must adopt is truly one that needs to be taught, as it is very apparent that these stigmas still exist.
I have witnessed many times when people have insulted, aggravated or mocked people for something that was a disability for them – however because the other party didn’t “see” it, then that was the end of their tolerance. From people who suffer mental illness, or PTSD, to those who are hearing or visually impaired, or those who have chronic diseases and live with things like a stoma; this is truly a time to grow up and get educated. Chronic conditions and disabilities are not just external issues. I have long suffered from IBS (read about that here), and I know plenty of Veterans who have many long term wounds that will never leave a scar on their skin.
Just as someone can “look” unhealthy or disabled – they can often go far further than many others; don’t assume that someone who “looks” healthy/capable isn’t suffering inside. I wrote before about some of the things that might come up when people seek mental health support and the fears/anxiety are so real. It’s not easy to articulate what’s happening in your mind or body, when you feel out of control. People who suffer diseases that can’t be seen often suffer debilitating pain and are left with a poor quality of life.
I have seen people verbally attack people for parking in handicapped parking spots, when they felt they didn’t “look” like they should be there (their prosthetic limb was covered by their pants) and watched too many videos of people discriminating against others. There is always a polite and non-violent way to ask someone, if you feel you must question the validity of their capabilities, but think twice before you do – as you can easily re-open (invisible) wounds.