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I Don’t Want to be Grateful and Patient About Disability Rights

As we start a new year there is always buzz of energy around new possibilities, goals to be met and changes to make, but as a disabled person I am acutely aware that I’m going into 2021 fighting the same issues I have been all my life.

And I am tired.

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In a world that’s meant to be more inclusive, why are ADHD diagnoses still so inaccessible?

With ADHD usually being associated with hyperactive, “naughty” boys at school, the quiet girl with the book wasn’t exactly an ideal candidate.

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The Worrier: How I learned to deal with my Generalised Anxiety Disorder

I’ve always been what would have been described as a worrier, this was how things were labelled when I was young as mental health wasn’t discussed. This meant rather than spotting a problem earlier, the worrying grew until 5 years ago things came to a head. I was having a stressful time at work, managing several personal issues and everything got too much. I realised I was panicking about the possibility of panicking. That’s when I finally realised I may need help for my mental health.

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all opinion

Disabled People Aren’t Disposable in the Pandemic

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been the idea that the way to fight Covid-19 is to lock down all of those who are vulnerable and have life continue as normal for all that are healthy. 

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I Thought my Epilepsy was Something I had to Hide, now I’ve Accepted it

TW: This article contains use of an ableist slur

I was 17 when it first happened.

I was in my bedroom when I suddenly lost all control of my body. I could feel my arms, legs and jaw violently convulsing. I could only watch in hopelessness as my body gave way and I collapsed. Still conscious and watching helplessly, I was trapped in my own body and simply had to wait for it to be over.

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all opinion

What Will Brexit Mean for Disabled People?

Brexit has been wedged into the folds of our brain for years now, the term sending a slight shiver down the spine of everyone who happens to hear it for the thousandth time. 

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all features News opinion

Why it’s Even More Important Than Ever That You Get Your Flu Jab

There’s been a lot of talk about the new vaccines popping up for covid, and rightly so. This disease is running our lives at the moment – those lives that it’s spared. But there’s something else you should be vaccinated against – the flu.

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How You Can Support Us

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.

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We Want Your Stories

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.

The basics

  • 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 theunwrittenpub@gmail.com 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.

Our response

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!

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all Editor notes Essays

Welcome From The Editor

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.

Speak soon

Rachel

Founder and Editor-in-Chief


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