Taking Disability Public

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Antidiscrimination laws enforce the idea that no one should be forced or encouraged to hide their race, gender, sexuality, or other characteristics of their identity. So why is disability rights law the glaring exception? Other areas of antidiscrimination law have eschewed forms of enforced privacy about protected classes and, as a result, challenge privacy norms as problematic, anti-agentic, and, at times, counter to structural reform goals. In contrast, disability rights law values privacy norms to preempt discrimination; in other words, if you never reveal the information, no one can discriminate against you because of that information. This Article argues that this is a mistake, and that to truly discard stigma and false notions of disability as synonymous with incapacity, we need to fundamentally challenge and reconceive of how privacy applies to disability identity, legal status, the law’s remedial role and, in some settings, redesign legal interventions to incentivize publicity values.

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