Bruce Thomson (Times letters, Oct. 15) accuses me of degrading people with disabilities in a Times story (Sept. 28) about parties hosted by Sue Gordon. The reporter made real attempts to understand the issues of barriers and discrimination, but I don't think he realized the negative connotation of the quote when taken out of context.
I did not say that some people with disabilities feel inferior to those others glamorized by the media for extraordinary physical achievements. I said that this glamorization causes the public to view disabled people as inferior by comparison. Our sports-worshipping nation adores anyone who finishes first; whoever comes in second is a loser. That attitude is a barrier which we in the Independent Living movement are trying to change.
Mr. Thomson mistakenly inferred that I said life with a disability is drudgery. I was actually replying to a question about the significance of a group of disabled people going to the beach to have a party. I answered that it has no significance, any more than it does for any group of people to go to the beach. It is a chance to spend a day in the sun, visit with friends and talk about the drudgery of life.