Interview with Bailey Patterson, May 26, 2022

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History


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00:00:02 - Introductions

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Partial Transcript: Hello, my name is Mack Thompson and today I am here interviewing Bailey Patterson for the Disabled in Kentucky Oral History Project remotely over Zoom. The date is May 26th, 2022.

Segment Synopsis: Bailey Patterson introduces themself as being from Jabez, Kentucky and going to high school in Somerset, Kentucky. At the time of interview, they are a Pre-Law Interdisciplinary Studies and Theater major at the University of Kentucky and are an aspiring disability lawyer. Patterson also describes themself as multiply-disabled. They are autistic; experience psychosis; and have panic disorder, ADHD, OCD, chronic pain, chronic kidney issues, POTS, and more.

Keywords: Autism; Chronic pain; Disability; Disability Studies; Jabez (Ky.); Multiply-disabled; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD); Panic disorders; Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS); Psychiatric disability; Psychosis; Somerset (Ky.); University of Kentucky; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

00:02:54 - Diagnosis, acceptance, and identity

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Partial Transcript: Do you have anything else you would like to share about, like, your disability journey and coming to terms with that?

Segment Synopsis: Patterson discusses their journey of diagnosis, coming to terms with their identity, and reaching identifying as mad and multiply-disabled and working in disability justice.

Keywords: Autism; Demedicalization; Depathologization; Diagnosis journey; Disability; Disability justice; Disability justice activism; Disability terminology; Mad pride; Mental health activism; Panic disorder; Social justice; Social model of disability; Activism

00:08:12 - Activism work; Perspectives on disability justice, mad pride, and mental health awareness movements

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Partial Transcript: So you're super involved in, like, disability liberation movements, mad pride, psychiatric disability justice. I would love to hear more about how you got involved, and how your involvement has changed perhaps over time, and what you're hoping to get out of that.

Segment Synopsis: Patterson shares their disability activism journey. They discuss growing up in Appalachian Kentucky as a fervent mental health activist, and describe their immediate affinity to mad pride and disability justice upon discovery of those movements. They describe concerns about how the mental health awareness movement can sometimes be assimilationist, and can lean too heavily into the medical model of viewing mental health as solely or primarily a biological dysfunction that must be treated.

Keywords: Appalachia; Appalachian Kentucky; Assimilationism; Coercive treatment; Demedicalization; Disability; Disability justice; Disability liberation; Kentucky; Mad pride; Medical model of disability; Mental health awareness; Neuronormativity; Psychiatric disability; Psychiatry; Sanism; Social model of disability; Activism

00:17:46 - Intersections of Appalachian and disabled identities

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Partial Transcript: So you talked some on like navigating and growing up in Eastern Kentucky, rural Kentucky, Appalachian Kentucky--

Segment Synopsis: Patterson describes their views on the intersections of Appalachian and disabled identities, especially in terms of forced institutionalization and treatment. They comment onto research on the Eastern State Hospital records, and also add how intersections of gender, class, and sexual orientation are also at play.

Keywords: Ableism; Appalachian Kentucky; Diagnoses as social control; Disability; Eastern State Hospital; Forced institutionalization; Intersectionality; Queerism; Racism; Sexism; Appalachia

00:29:12 - Accessibility in Jabez vs. Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Do you think that your hometown--and I know that you've stayed in a couple different places--do you think that, are they accessible to you and your needs? And how does that compare to, like, now you're at UK for college.

Segment Synopsis: Patterson compares their experiences with accessibility in Jabez, KY to Lexington, KY. They say that Lexington is better in terms of transportation, while Jabez is better in its smaller, community-driven nature makes it easier to form support networks.

Keywords: Accommodations; Appalachia; Community; Disability; Disabling factors; Jabez (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Mutual aid; Public transportation; Accessibility

00:34:11 - Disabling factors in Appalachia

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Partial Transcript: So you talked to a little bit about how there’s a lot of disabling factors in Appalachia, Appalachia, and I was wondering if you could talk more about that.

Segment Synopsis: Patterson describes disabling factors in Appalachian communities.

Keywords: Appalachian Kentucky; Coal mining; Congenital disorders; Cycle of poverty; Disability; Disablement; Eastern Kentucky; Generational poverty; Generational trauma; Health justice; Healthcare access; Military; Military industrial complex; Poverty; Substance use; Thalidomide babies; Worker rights; Workplace conditions; Appalachia

00:38:58 - Transition to and accessibility of University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: You mention going to UK. I was wondering first of all how that transition might have impacted you and also how UK as a school is for you in terms of accessibility.

Segment Synopsis: Patterson characterizes the state of accessibility as a student at the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: Accessibility in education; Accommodations; Accommodations for psychiatric disabilities; Disability; Flexible attendance; Flexible deadlines; Mental health; Psychiatric disabilities; Universal design for learning; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky Counseling Center; Accessibility

00:44:15 - COVID-19 pandemic

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned some the COVID-19 pandemic, and I was wondering how that impacted you and the wider disability community, and what you may have learned from that.

Segment Synopsis: Patterson shares their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing eugenicist policies toward COVID-19, impacts of COVID on disabled and immunocompromised communities and communities with psychiatric disabilities, and high rates of disablement from COVID-19.

Keywords: Coronavirus; Disability; Eugenics; High-risk communities; Immunocompromised; Intersectionality; Long COVID; Mask mandates; Pandemics; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky; COVID-19 (disease)

00:49:22 - Social and government aid for disabled people

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Partial Transcript: I probably should’ve asked this earlier, but I was wondering, like, you talked a lot about the relationship between poverty and disability and how you’ve seen that in Appalachia, and I was wondering if you do anything about social or government aid for people with disabilities, and if you had any opinions about that and its effectiveness?

Segment Synopsis: Patterson describes how Social Security Income in its current form enforces ableism and the cycle of poverty across the disabled community.

Keywords: Disability; Generational poverty; Health Insurance; Healthcare; Intersectionality; Marriage inequality; Poverty; Social Security Disability Income; Social Security Income (SSI); Welfare; Cycle of poverty

00:53:29 - Disabled joy, community, and experiences

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Partial Transcript: What do you wish people knew about disability and the disabled experience, or at least, your disabled experience?

Segment Synopsis: Patterson explains that they wish people knew the complexity of disability, that it impacts all facets of their life but is not an experience of just pain. They wish people knew not just of disabled pain, but also of disabled joy, love, and community.

Keywords: Disability community; Disabled identity; Disabled joy; Disabled people; Identity; People with disabilities; Disability