A wise woman once said, " 'Normal' is a setting on a washing machine."
Historically, people believed that non-disabled people were essentially cut from the same pattern. Within some religions, this was thought to reflect God's image. Only disabled people were different - and by extension, ungodly.
But today science teaches us that we are all different. Just as we are all a unique mixture of strengths and weaknesses - emotional, intellectual and physical - and these vary widely over our lifetimes, the tiniest details of our bodies are unique too.
Even identical twins are completely different people. And just as their personalities are different, the ways in which their genes operate are subtly affected by even minute environmental differences from the womb onwards. Under a microscope, you can even tell twins apart.
What makes us human has nothing to do with emotional, intellectual and physical strengths and weaknesses, or by how closely we conform to the average. After people have been segregated for most of their lives, they are often surprised to discover this when they later have sustained contact with disabled people.
In the end, either we are human, or we are not. Being human is what matters, rather than ideas of ab/normality.
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© Ju Gosling aka ju90 2008
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|Dr Ju Gosling aka ju90's ABNORMAL: How Britain became body dysphoric and the key to a cure is available now for just £3.09 for the Kindle or in a limited-edition hardback with full colour art plates for £20 inc UK P|