I belong to a Facebook group called
Screenwriters With Disabilities. What’s mine? A learning disability severe
enough that I can't drive or work a regular job. I was very glad to be invited
to this group for that reason, as I can write. If I can’t work a regular job, I
can at least have a writing career.
The backdrop for this group is how
marginalized we are. For example, amid all the uproar over Straight Outta
Compton being all but ignored at the Oscars earlier this year, all the
allegations of discrimination, the disabled were not mentioned at all. It is
too obvious to point out that we exist, but we don’t get a lot of work, from
actors to screenwriters to other behind the scenes jobs, because yes, Hollywood
is ableist. And when a film about the disabled is made, it might ring true to a
point, like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, or have a believable character like
Sean Penn in Sam I Am, but with an unrealistic plot.
I mostly write indie scripts. It’s what
I write best, and I hope things are better in the indie world. To whomever is
reading this, the next time a Compton-like furor erupts, and it will so long as
Hollywood is Hollywood, make sure to make a place for the disabled.