Hello intrepid SPORK! readers,
I am new contributor, Sean Margaret Wagner, and I feel absolutely privileged to join the fine people at SPORK! in their endeavor to bring stories pertaining and of interest to the differently abled community to a growing readership. That said, if I am going to start this relationship off on the right foot, there are a few things I really must get off my chest:
1. Despite my woefully misleading moniker, I, Sean, am a lady.
And as a woman who must shuffle through phone messages, e-mails and bank statements all addressed to a non-existent “Mr. Wagner”, I find gender politics and gender roles to be infinitely fascinating. As long as the subject spans from the refreshing (fifty new gender options available on Facebook) to the ridiculous (Rush Limbaugh deriding birth control as ‘for sluts’), I will be there with my soft pink Bic ‘For Her’ pen.
2. Recipient of only the soundest of educational investments: A theater degree. True, while I have no journalistic accreditations to my name, my understanding of story and character comes from working primarily in scripting & stage craft. On stage and on screen there has never been greater opportunity for differently abled stories and performers. Beautifully and respectfully wrought characters have become our fast favorites regardless of ability (think: Next To Normal’s Diana Goodman or Game of Thrones’ Tyrion). Don’t worry, I promise I will keep my stage directions to a bare minimum. (She exits to fly space via helicopter.)
3. I tip my Spock ears to my fellow, unabashed geeks.
Be advised that I am a series-marathoning, midnight-screening, convention-attending, costume-wearing, podcast-listening, panel-discussion-hand-raising geek consumer. You can find me cracking the tape on countless protective plastic sleeves and wondering absently if Professor Xavier has ever bothered with obtaining disability status on his public transit cards.
4. Well, Ms. Sean Margaret, just how exactly are you differently abled?
In many ways, I am an incredibly fortunate and healthy individual. I have few issues with mobility, keen senses, and- aside from a complete inability to remember my internet passwords- workable brain chemistry. However, I know that these abilities have the potential to change any day, and I’ve seen many in my circle transition and cope with a new label in their lives. It could be a change in brain chemistry, loss-of-mobility, prosthesis, ocular degeneration, or deafness. We are lost at sea in a new place on the spectrum of human function, and I find myself surrounded by care-givers, activists and (for the purposes of this metaphor) just excellent swimmers. I have long given up the thought that I am somehow ‘apart’ from a community of the differently abled. I am on a brilliant spectrum of some of the most intriguing and beguiling people I’ve had the privilege of knowing.
Thanks for letting me clear the air; I feel so much better!
You can find Sean Margaret on Twitter: @SMargaretWagner