Today’s adventboost isn’t about any particular product, but rather a person. Kayla Whaley is a queer, disabled essayist and co-editor of Disability in Kidlit, a website which, unsurprisingly, is focused on disability in children’s literature.
I first started following Kayla on Twitter a while back after someone re-tweeted a thread (can’t remember which one) of hers into my feed. Since then her feed has been a constant source of insightful commentary on politics, pop culture, current events and more (as well as stellar selfies!). Kayla is a skilled essayist and writes on a range of topics, including disability, queerness, femininity and how these intersect. I’ve only read some of her stuff, but I particularly recommend Chasing “Normal”: My Summers at a Camp for Disabled Kids, which reflects on and problematizes the focus on normality in how disabled kids are supported and encouraged, Queering My Language, Queering Myself, which discusses the interplay between queer identity and language, A Particular Invisibility, on the intersection of disability and queerness, and To Fill an Emptiness: Tradition, Food and the Holidays, which was the first essay of Kayla’s I read.
On a more personal note, Kayla’s Twitter feed and essays have really opened my eyes to the fact that disability as a layer of intersectionality is a weak spot for me, both in terms of the media I consume and the texts I produce. It’s odd, actually, when I first added Kayla to my list of people to include in this blog series I thought to myself “you know, apart from [a side-character in one of my better drafts, who walks with a cane as a result of a childhood injury], I don’t think I have any disabled characters in my current project”. Then I thought for a moment more, and felt like an ass because Orryn, the MC in my self-published novellas, is has (undiagnosed) PTSD and quite possibly some form of depression. I think the fact that that didn’t initially occur to me as a disability really underlines that this is something I need to work on, and Kayla’s feed is one of several sources I’m trying to use to do just that.
You should visit Kayla Whaley’s website and follow her on Twitter @PunkinOnWheels. According to her feed, she’s also working on a novel which she tweets about under the hashtag #queeronwheels, and which I very much look forward to reading eventually.