Essay: Shield of Tomorrow Confronts Ableism Perfectly

Ep06: I Remember – Part 3

Shield of Tomorrow fans, if you found how Admiral Nash
treated Rue to be offensive, please consider learning more about ableism. Those
of us who are disabled, visibly or invisibly, get treated like this constantly.
In obvious ways like this, and less obvious ways. What we are allowed to do is
very often defined by what others think we can do, not by our actual abilities.
If our struggles are invisible, we are often treated like they do not exist,
we’re faking, we’re scammers, we’re lazy. All we really need is for you to
listen. Listen to what we say we need, what we say we can do. Let us surprise
you, and help us do it.

I cried through a lot of Rue’s flashback, because however
much it hurts, the pain of that disdain and mistreatment is so much worse. And
I cried because Shield of Tomorrow gave me something I never thought I’d see: a
plot setup squarely saying ableism is wrong. Rue’s wasn’t some narrative
fetishizing overcoming disability so the viewer can feel good about themselves.
Rue got to be in emotional pain, not nice, determined and driven, and it is
made clear this struggle continues, and will continue. This isn’t some victory
you win and walk away from. This is every day of your fucking life dealing with
Admiral Nash and your own body.

You ever want a textbook example of disabled representation
done right, that actually honors us? It’s this episode of Shield of Tomorrow. Fuck
inspiration porn. Give me the pain and grit of proving doubting assholes wrong.
Give me second in command and, “You’re goddamn right.”

Shield of Tomorrow, Sam de Leve, Eric Campbell, Rick Budd,
and Nick Gilman, thank you all so very, very much, from the bottom of my heart.

of Tomorrow
is a Star Trek RPG on Geek
& Sundry
. New episodes air Wednesdays 9:30 pm PST on Twitch and Project Alpha. The writing,
storytelling, and acting is superb. It’s the epitome of the best Star Trek promises.

First posted on Twitter.

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