What is a bimobile disability?

There’s more than one way to be disabled.

Sometimes, having a disability can be complex.

For some people, it can be obvious that they have a disability. Maybe they’re in a wheelchair. Maybe they have a guide dog. Maybe they wear hearing aids.

For other people, it might not seem obvious. They appear to walk easily enough. They seem to be able to see and hear things.

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And then there are people like me, whose disabilities seem invisible when walking but quite apparent when in a wheelchair.

I came across a new word recently that refers to the complexity of disability, specifically physical disabilities that limit mobility: bimobile.

Having a bimobile disability means having more than one way to be mobile.

Maybe, like me, you can walk short distances without pain but then need a wheelchair for long distances or long periods that would otherwise be on your feet to avoid pain.

Or maybe you alternate between a crutch and a wheelchair. Or a cane and walking. Or a variety of other scenarios.

One thing I’ve noticed about having a bimobile disability is that people don’t always recognize my disability. I’ve had people appear shocked when they see me in a wheelchair, yet I’ve had other appear cynical when they see be out if a wheelchair.

For some reason, people really love binary thinking, and disability isn’t immune to this tendency.

Remember, disabilities manifest in all sorts of ways.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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