Today on Twitter, someone informed me I was a person. This may sound weird but if you’re a disabled person who tweets about the injustices we live with it’s actually a regular occurrence.
Today is World Lupus Day, on this day I usually spread awareness and my own story but this year it feels different. After mostly being in remission and only getting the occasional flare for the past six years, my Lupus is relapsing and I’m feeling the affects much worse than I had.
It’s been a tough few weeks for women, femmes and all those of marginalised genders who have experienced abuse at the hands of men.
Out of all of the hurt and pain however has come a new battle cry, a demand that we will not be treated like this again. But, unfortunately it’s something that disabled people have been largely left out of.
It must be a big shock to suddenly lose all support and healthcare when you turn 18, but this is the reality for adults with Cerebral Palsy.
As March is Cerebral Palsy Month, Adult Cerebral Palsy Hub, has unveiled a set of mock ‘Second Class Stamps’ featuring famous famous with the condition, to highlight the lack of support given to adults with CP across the UK which means they are treated as, the charity says ‘Second Class Citizens’.
TW: Stats about domestic violence, abuse and austerity.
Today is International Womens Day, a day when we celebrate how far women have come and how much we have left to achieve.
Unfortunately one group often left out of that is disabled women. Although we’re one of the biggest minorities, disabled women are often left out of – or not even able to access – discussions about equality.
It’s been an awful past 12 months, I don’t need to tell anyone that. For disabled people it’s not just been the threat of the pandemic that’s been weighing on our minds. Ever since lockdown was announced last year, disabled people were the first to be thrown under the bus and it hasn’t stopped.
By now you’ve probably seen what the government thinks constitutes for a week of meals adding up to £30, but just in case you don’t inhabit Twitter let me whet your appetite.
While this is a space for disabled people’s stories, our priority is paying our writers for their energy and words. As an already marginalised group we could never and would never in good conscience ask disabled people to write for free.
However, as brand new and completely independent publication ran by a working class freelancer, we’re not there yet. So we’d love any support that you can give us.
All of your money will go towards paying writers and creatives to make this the best space for disabled stories. When we launch we will be paying each writer £75 per article, with the aim of raising it when we can.
You can support us on Patreon for as little as £3.50 a month, there are five different packages with lots of great perks.
If you’d prefer to give a one off donation you can contribute to our Paypal Writers Pot.
We understand if you can’t contribute, and we’d really appreciate any shares, RTs or follows on Twitter as well.
The Unwritten would be nothing without you, so we’d love to hear all about your amazing stories. We’re looking for stories on health, love, loss, success, struggles, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, no diagnosis, and everything in between. All stories are welcome, we won’t define or gate-keep what qualifies as a disability and we recognise self-diagnosis.
- Word count: 700- 800 words
- Pay: £75/ $100 (we’re hoping to increase this as the site grows)
- Pitches accepted on an ongoing rolling basis, but this may mean your article isn’t published for a few months after pitching
- We accept pitches from all over the world but be aware we only pay in GBP and USD.
How to pitch
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include:
- The word PITCH in the email subject
- If your story is time sensitive or news related please mark as TIMELY but be aware that we have a limited budget.
- A couple of paragraphs about you, your pitch and why you want to write about it.
- Any clips, examples of your work, blog links or even social links. Don’t worry if you don’t have any published work.
- If your pitch contains sensitive subjects can you please trigger warning it at the top of the email. A simple “TW: Domestic abuse” or “TW: eating disorders” is fine. If you’re unsure if you should trigger warn, do so anyway just to be safe. This allows our editors to practice self care.
What we want
- Personal essays and opinion pieces about chronic illness, disability and health.
- How your illness intersects with other aspects of your life sexuality, gender, race, religion, class, education, family and relationships – priority may be given to pitches where the author is part of another minority group.
- Funny stories, perspectives and issues we might not have considered before.
- Your opinion on political, social and topical issues that affect you as a disabled person
- Stories of diagnosis or how you’ve struggled to gain a diagnosis.
- We allow stories to be published under a pseudonym, no questions asked.
What we don’t publish
- Inspirational stories of people “overcoming” illness
- Stories written by non-disabled people about their disabled partners or relatives. Those are not your stories to tell.
Notes on tone
We aim to have a conversational writing style, like you’re chatting with your pals. With that in mind, swearing is allowed, but don’t go overboard. They should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. Preferably if it’s in a quote, and starred out.
In the interest of inclusivity we use gender neutral language, so it’s always “people who have periods” or “people who menstruate”. We also always respect pronouns.
Please note that we are a two person team, both of whom have chronic illnesses and working other jobs, so it may take up to two weeks to reply to your pitch. We appreciate your patience.
We can’t wait to hear from you!
Hello and welcome to The Unwritten! We’re over the moon to be opening our doors today and start publishing content.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much this means to me. I feel like it’s what my life has been building up to for the past ten years, but I don’t think 2010 fashion blogger Rach would believe you if you told her that in ten years time she’ll launch a platform for the disabled community.
But now, having been given the space to write about disability rights, I want to pass the mic over. The awful circumstances of this year have made me realise how vital it is that disabled people have a space to share their stories. Too often the only time you hear about disabled people is when it’s to inspire nondisabled people “this man with no legs ran a marathon, what’s stopping you?” or give them the warm fuzzies “look at this deaf woman hearing her baby cry!!”. Even worse is that a lot of the time the only way disabled writers can get published is when we plunge the depths of our trauma for clicks. And far too often we’re not fairly compensated for our work.
That’s where we come in. My dream is for The Unwritten to be somewhere where disabled people feel truly represented and see content that is actually written for them, not about them.
I hope that by launching The Unwritten I can make a positive change in how disabled people see themselves and are represented in media.
But more than anything, I want The Unwritten to be somewhere where you can tell your whole story, not an edited version. You don’t have to fit into a nice little box here, you are valid, no matter what.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
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