Absolutely. The inclusion of disabled voices who have contemplated suicide only serves to put the lie to the idea that “some people really do want this”.

The main issue (among many) that I have with the “better dead than disabled” trope is that it almost exclusively portrays a beautiful, physically active person who is struck down by a catastrophic accident or illness and whose decision to commit suicide is portrayed as a sort of coldly rational rejection of their disabled body. There’s a sense that they are making a strong and noble choice to take agency over their body.

Wanting to commit suicide because of disability is not a noble act of self-sacrifice, nor is it driven by some sort of self-interested aesthetic rejection of one’s disabled body. It’s a decision born out of immense physical and psychological pain, that is influenced by a myriad of personal and social factors (including yes, access to meds and research for effective meds, but also outdated clinical logics that mean most people wait more than five years for a correct diagnosis — never mind an effective treatment, and the loneliness that goes hand in hand with stigma around perceptions of laziness, hypochondria, addiction, etc.

Examining and including these stories not only opens up the community for people who are in an immense amount of pain, but also underscores why abled representations of disability are doomed to inauthenticity.


Disability-led design & health justice. Director of Communications for The Disabled List. They / theirs. Tip jar: paypal.me/alexhaagaard

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store