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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Introducing Ted Jackson, New Chair of the NCIL Queer Caucus!

By Ted Jackson

A group of us have come together to form the new NCIL Queer Caucus and I’m thrilled to be supporting this group of activists as chair of the new NCIL Queer Caucus. Our hope is that this caucus will bring together gender and/or sexual minorities in the disability community to explore our intersections, commonalities and develop a unified voice for change.

Ted JacksonThroughout history we have seen the LGBTQ and disability communities on similar paths: it was the classification of queer folks as mentally ill that allowed authorities to raid the Stonewall Inn which led to riots; as Ed Roberts and Judy Heumann were navigating government systems for access in the 1970’s, Harvey Milk was also in the San Francisco Bay Area defending access to employment for gay and lesbian teachers from an attack at the ballot box; the recent marriage equality victories demonstrate how we may win the same equality for people with disabilities on social security who seek to marry and not lose their benefits; and today we must recognize the sad truth that transgender identity is still listed as a mental health disability.

The NCIL Queer Caucus will be an opportunity for folks to discuss the important issues and intersections and hear from respected speakers. Then bring these focal points back to their other NCIL committees to advocate for inclusive policy. We’ll be meeting on the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 p.m. eastern time – everyone is encouraged to join us!

A little about me: I’m the Community Organizing Director at California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. At CFILC I organize the statewide Disability Organizing Network (DOnetwork), which supports community led campaigns for access where people with disabilities live, work, learn, shop, play and vote! Before coming to work at CFILC I was an LGBTQ activists and political campaign operative. Over the years I worked on marriage equality campaigns, lobbying against school bullying and advocating for inclusive school curriculum. In 2004 I was the field director for the successful campaign to repeal article XII, the only LGBTQ victory nationwide in the year the community was attacked the most. I draw my plan for disability equality from my past experiences, which I call the “3 E’s: Education, Employment and Elections.” I believe these three areas together hold the key to increasing independence.

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