Posts by Denise Reich

  • In the Blog

    My Name, My Identity

    March 14th, 2017     by Denise Reich     Comments

    I recently learned about the My Name, My Identity initiative. This campaign, created by the Santa Clara County Office of Education in California, USA, invites teachers and school districts to commit to saying students’ names correctly and fostering diversity in the classroom. The project also includes a social media hashtag, #mynamemyid, and encourages youth to share the stories and significance of their names. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Accessible Organizing Means…

    March 8th, 2017     by Denise Reich     Comments

    Did you participate in the Women’s March on January 21st? Many of us did – millions, in fact, in countries across the globe. But did all of us make it to the march, or feel included there? Before the march, in an article for TheEstablishment.com, Emily Ladau pointed out that disability was mentioned exactly twice in the Women’s March’s platform. One of those mentions referred to caring for and chronic illnesses as a “burden.” Yep. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Stopping Textbook Tyranny

    September 26th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    Once upon a time, there was a tradition at the beginning of every college/university term: students would descend on their campus bookstores, syllabi in hand, and walk out with bags full of heavy, expensive textbooks. Maybe they got lucky and found used copies of the books they needed or ran into another student selling their books from last term, which eased the financial burden slightly. Still, they were usually out hundreds of dollars. At the end of the semester, the student would sell their books back to the bookstore, or to others at their school, but they’d only recover a fraction of what they spent. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    When Transit Gets Trendy

    August 18th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    My city has been making a concerted effort to improve public transportation. I heartily approve of this. They’ve opened new train lines and revamped bus schedules; they’ve created protected bike paths and busways. Up until recently it’s mostly been ignored by mainstream media and the blogosphere, even though millions of people take mass transit in the region every single day. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    A Tale of Two Doctors

    June 20th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    Monday: I’m waiting to see one of my specialists. He has the results of my pulmonary function tests in my file, but never shares them with me. He actually has to be reminded to compare my new PFTs to the previous ones. If I ask him for numbers, he’s evasive. His techs tell me they’ve been instructed not to give patients their data. His office claims that they can’t give my medical records directly to me, which is a violation of both USA and state law. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    If…Not When

    June 9th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    I recently attended a public event intended to foster body positivism and self-esteem. Several brave and powerful speakers shared their experiences, insights and perspectives with the crowd. However, one presentation by a young woman made my spirits drop within three sentences. “I was worried,” she said, in a voice that promised gloom and doom, “that I was going to be single. Forever.” She paused dramatically. “With lots of cats.” READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Solo Flight: Why self-publishing is empowering

    June 7th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    Late last year, my memoir about working on Broadway – aptly titled Front of House – made its debut. It is a hybrid of sorts: the electronic book was released by a traditional publisher; the print version was self-published. Both editions came out within a few weeks of each other and are linked on Amazon, Goodreads and my own website. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Seven rights for social media users

    May 30th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    How did you come across this blog? If you’re like a lot of readers, you found your way here from a link on Twitter, Facebook or another social media outlet. It goes without saying that social media fuels many of our day to day interpersonal activities, and many of us spend a fair portion of our time checking in with our accounts. As we navigate cyberspace, though, it’s important to remember that we have the right to decide how we use social media. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    The Price of Friendship: Five Ways to Make Socializing More Economically Inclusive

    March 9th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    A friend recently messaged me on Facebook and asked if I’d be able to fly cross-country to go to a concert with her. I declined the invite with a phrase that has become sadly all too common for me: “Sorry, I will have to pass this one up. I can’t afford it.” Another friend asked if I wanted to go to a local pool with her. The cost was $3.50. I had to refuse with the same explanation. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Four rights for the chronically ill

    February 9th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions most of the time. My goals constantly change. However, this year I’ve decided to make two very important resolutions for myself: First, I will not accept unsolicited advice about medical issues, and will directly tell people that it is not welcome. Second, I will not debate my condition with others. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Unmasked

    February 1st, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    When you have a chronic illness, you end up learning how to function in a new reality. I’ve personally grappled with serious financial concerns; clashes with family and friends; and a distinct feeling of alienation, among other things. Part of this new reality: walking around with a germ mask. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    So…Where’s Rey?

    January 12th, 2016     by Denise Reich     Comments

    Early in January, a hashtag about The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the Star Wars franchise, appeared on Twitter: #WheresRey. It referenced Hasbro’s latest Star Wars Monopoly game, where there are only four playable pieces. Two – a young Luke Skywalker and Finn – represent the Light Side of the Force; the others, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, represent the Dark Side. The focal character of The Force Awakens, Rey, is nowhere to be found. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    We Can’t Afford to Be Sick: Chronic Illness and Poverty

    December 21st, 2015     by Denise Reich     Comments

    Over the summer, I was fortunate to attend the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles as a spectator. As I walked around the Festival Village at the Games, I stopped at one of the sponsors’ booths to sign up for a promotion. The young woman who was taking my information stopped typing on her tablet and cleared her throat. “Sorry about that,” she said. “I’m sick right now.” READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    No Thanks: Why I Don’t Celebrate American Thanksgiving

    November 26th, 2015     by Denise Reich     Comments

    I stopped celebrating Thanksgiving, officially, when I was in college. Before that I’d been lukewarm on the holiday. Luckily for me, my family wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it either. While we occasionally traveled to see friends and a turkey did appear now and again, sometimes we just rented a movie, had pizza or Chinese food, and called it a night. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    14 Days of Nihilistic Thinking

    November 11th, 2015     by Denise Reich     Comments

    September 2015 was rough for me. I saw a lot of doctors and went for a lot of tests. Every procedure yielded another diagnosis or piece of troubling information. At one point I joked that I felt as though I were going trick-or-treating to the doctors’ offices, and they were handing me trick after trick. I was grateful that they were taking things seriously and getting answers; I was disheartened that there were so many answers to find. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Accommodating without Antagonizing: Accessibility Is Important

    October 26th, 2015     by Denise Reich     Comments

    As a chronically ill person I’m painfully aware that I often need accommodation, and I do worry that I’m putting others out. I don’t want to. I try to avoid places where I know for a fact that the situation will be impossible for me. Nobody should be made to feel ashamed or guilty about being sick or disabled. Nor should anyone who needs accommodation feel bad about requesting it. Accommodation is a protected right, not a special favour. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Exercise Is for Everyone: Five ways to make sports and fitness more accessible to all

    October 5th, 2015     by Denise Reich     Comments

    This summer I had the opportunity to attend the IDEA World Fitness Convention – or rather, the Expo associated with it – in Los Angeles. One of my goals was to search for companies and fitness programs who embraced adaptive exercise for those with disabilities. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Unhelpful “Helpers”: Why Unsolicited Advice and Chronic Illness Don’t Mix

    September 29th, 2015     by Denise Reich     Comments

    When you’re chronically ill, three words become the bane of your existence: “You should try…” READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Denise’s Test, Part 2: More Positive Media Depictions of People of Size

    August 24th, 2015     by Denise Reich     Comments

    As I continue to search for positive depictions of people of size on stage and screen, I’ve come up with several more examples. As a reminder, to pass Denise’s Test the character of size must be treated like any other person on the show. They might be villains or heroes and they might be loved or loathed by the audience, but they’re not there in the context of a stereotype or joke. They’re not a) a stock “villainous glutton” or a related trope; b) they’re not the token “funny fat guy” who exists only for comic relief, and c) their existence is neither defined nor dominated by obsession or contentious relationships with food. Part 2 continues to focus on people of size that appear as main or supporting characters. READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    Carless in North America: Ten examples of disadvantage in public transportation

    August 17th, 2015     by Denise Reich     Comments

    A recent Buzzfeed quiz about privilege asked an interesting question: if the reader had to rely on public transportation. It’s an issue that doesn’t seem to be brought up very much, but perhaps it should be. While mass transit is fast and efficient in many parts of the world, if you don’t have your own vehicle you’re at an extreme disadvantage in many parts of North America. The challenges can be substantial, particularly for women, the disabled, and the elderly. READ MORE

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