While sipping tea in a funky, independently owned café in Babylon, New York, disability justice activist-writer Emily Ladau suddenly makes an unexpected confession: “I have a fraught relationship with feminism,” she says.
It’s not ideological.
Ladau is pro-choice, pro-ERA, pro-LGBTQ equality, and supports equal pay for work of equal value. But as someone who uses a wheelchair, she has frequently felt excluded. “I don’t think feminists who are not disabled identify with me, even though I identify with them,” she explains. “Feminist groups often ignore the fact that disability intersects with every other marginalized identity.”
Changing this—not just within the women’s movement but in the world at large—is Ladau’s passion and, as editor of Rooted in Rights (rootedinrights.org), she and other writers work tirelessly to expose—and push back against—the many ways in which the disabled are belittled, condescended to and all too often completely ignored.
Ladau and Lilith’s Eleanor J. Bader met in late February to discuss how she became an outspoken advocate and educator.