The post attracted a flood of hate mail, saying that disability isn’t something to be proud of, that disabled people shouldn’t smoke, or that a movement that “leaves out healthy people” isn’t punk. Trewhella took screenshots of the messages and added them to the post, writing, “This is why we need cripple punk.” Other people with disabilities started reblogging the post to add their own selfies, and tagging posts with cripple punk. To Trewhella’s surprise, a movement was born.
Realizing they were the leader of this new movement, Trewhella slapped together some rules and principles. “Cripple punk is exclusively by the physically disabled for the physically disabled,” they wrote. “Cripple punk rejects the ‘good cripple’ mythos. Cripple punk is here for the bitter cripple, the uninspirational cripple, the smoking cripple, the drinking cripple, the addict cripple, the cripple who hasn’t ‘tried everything’ […] Cripple punk does not pander to the able bodied.” Unlike the common inspirational depictions of disability, cripple punk allowed disabled people to be bitter, messy, and honest.
Cripple punk grew into not just a movement, but a community.
I’m glad to see Trewhella and cripple punk get a compassionate write up. The cripple punk community and ethos are foundational to Stimpunks, inspiring our name.
Stimpunks rejects the good cripple mythos and is here for “the bitter cripple, the uninspirational cripple, the smoking cripple, the drinking cripple, the addict cripple, the cripple who hasn’t ‘tried everything’”.