I’ve mentioned PHAMALY before, but this came up in my inbox and I had to share. I find these men and women so encouraging. I watch them perform and think, “what amazing things could I do?” But I hadn’t considered it from the actors’ perspective before. Some of them were pursuing careers in acting before they became disabled. Now they encounter prejudice and discrimination based not on their acting ability, but just on how they would look in a part.
I was not particularly athletic before my injury. As a student, a writer, and a gamer I didn’t feel like I’d really lost the ability to do something I loved. But three years after my injury I started Physical Therapy school. Here was a career I was passionate about, and one I’d be really good at. Two semesters in I was asked to withdraw because the school would not modify the program to accommodate my disability. I don’t believe it was the right choice but I understand that they felt like it was. This isn’t meant to bash my school or the professors and colleagues I respect. I’m just saying that I know what it’s like to be barred from something so important.
I love that PHAMALY provides a place for these actors to feel safe and strong. They don’t have to hide their struggles, and when they’re performing you look past their disabilities to see what’s really important: their passion and their talent. And PHAMALY is doing more than just providing a home for disabled actors. It is changing the way we view, understand, and treat those who are different. As an organization, PHAMALY is as much an inspiration as the men and women who are up on the stage.