Un/covering: Making Disability Identity Legible
Keywords:Invisible disability, covering, uncovering, disability identity, acquired impairment
AbstractThis article examines one aspect of disability identity among people with non-apparent or "invisible" disabilities: the decision to emphasize, remind others about, or openly acknowledge impairment in social settings. I call this process "un/covering," and situate this concept in the sociological and Disability Studies literature on disability stigma, passing, and covering. Drawing on interviews with people who have acquired a non-apparent impairment through chronic illness or injury, I argue that decisions to un/cover (after a disability disclosure has already been made) play a pivotal role for this group in developing a strong, positive disability identity and making that identity legible to others. Decisions to pass, cover, or un/cover are ongoing decisions that stitch together the fabric of each person's daily life experiences, thus serving as primary mechanisms for identity negotiation and management.
Copyright (c) 2017 Heather Dawn Evans
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