I often get asked what the correct terminology is when referring to one’s disability. I question to myself if I am the right person to offer my opinion. Don’t forget I am the guy that introduced himself as King Gimp to millions of people around the world. At first the producers really did not know what to think of the name. They asked if I really want people on the street to call me gimp, sure why not.
Then my mom did not like the name, because it referred to being homosexual. I asked around in my many circles of friends and none of them have heard of this. Maybe in some underground fetish culture, like in Pulp Fiction gimp does label some one’s sexuality. But ten years later I still have not heard gimp used in that way. I did learn gimp is another word used for a bondage suit.
Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum, in the age of political correctness people demanded not to call a disability an illness, decease, or condition. I guest, they wanted their disability called by its proper name, so should I get upset when people say that I have M.S. and not C.P. No Dena and I just take the time to explain the difference between the two.
According to the lawyers on T.V., C.P./Cerebral Palsy is a very expensive mistake! Yes, life with a disability is expensive, but should not be thought as a mistake. This is only the start of your battles, because you must fight all your life, even for the services that you are “entitled” to. Gimp life is a challenge to make life more interesting. I think if from the start the family and the disabled person looks at their situation as a mistake, it will give them a negative outlook on life. They are sure to fail in life and will not be accepting of the challenges and not live life to the fullest.
When I was about 14, I would go to camp, and I saw a shirt that had X over dis in the word of disability. To this day I still cannot figure that out, because it was like cutting off a part of who I am. To me, my disability defines the person who I am and would not have it any other way.
In High School, we had to write a long definition as an assignment, so I chose the word gimp. It was a nickname the boys from the neighbor hood gave me. I had one of those electric Franklin Dictionary’s and it gave two meanings of the word. Of course, the first one was a “lame walk”, but the second meaning a “fighting spirit”. Till this day, I have not been able to find another source to confirm the second definition. No matter what, I took ownership of the word gimp since it describes who I am. Every time someone tells me no, or I cannot do something, I find a way to proof them wrong. Maybe it will just become an urban legend, that is just what happens when you are comfortable of who you are!
Then again, my friend Mary told me Jesus had a 13th Apostle named Gimp. I also have not been to confirm this, maybe we are meant to be mystical beings? We are perceived as the weak links, but we improve the world around us!