Who Dis?

3. Terri Lynne Hudson - "The Ableist Gaze"

January 24, 2020 Liz Komos, Terri Lynne Hudson
Who Dis?
3. Terri Lynne Hudson - "The Ableist Gaze"
Chapters
Who Dis?
3. Terri Lynne Hudson - "The Ableist Gaze"
Jan 24, 2020
Liz Komos, Terri Lynne Hudson

The Who Dis? Podcast is a show featuring performers from the disability, chronic illness, and mental health communities. 

This week, we welcome Terri Lynne Hudson to the show. Terri Lynne is an actor, performer, and disability activist in Chicago, IL. She was born with spina bifida, which among other things, greatly affects her mobility. We have a raw and frank discussion about access for disabled theater performers, stereotypes of disabled people and people of color in the media, and the barriers, both physical and mental, of finding work as a disabled actor. We also discover that she uses Twitter exclusively to stalk a country singer, but it’s ok because he knows it.

You can follow Terri Lynne on Facebook or Twitter at @TerriLynneHudso 

This episode was hosted by Liz Komos and produced by Jack Mathews. You can find more information on the Who Dis? Podcast or the Who Dis? Live Show at www.whodisshow.com on the web, on Instagram or Facebook at @WhoDisShow, or on Twitter at @TheWhoDisShow. If you want to talk about the show, feel free to use the hashtag #WhoDis.

This episode was recorded at the Chicago Public Library.

Show Notes Transcript

The Who Dis? Podcast is a show featuring performers from the disability, chronic illness, and mental health communities. 

This week, we welcome Terri Lynne Hudson to the show. Terri Lynne is an actor, performer, and disability activist in Chicago, IL. She was born with spina bifida, which among other things, greatly affects her mobility. We have a raw and frank discussion about access for disabled theater performers, stereotypes of disabled people and people of color in the media, and the barriers, both physical and mental, of finding work as a disabled actor. We also discover that she uses Twitter exclusively to stalk a country singer, but it’s ok because he knows it.

You can follow Terri Lynne on Facebook or Twitter at @TerriLynneHudso 

This episode was hosted by Liz Komos and produced by Jack Mathews. You can find more information on the Who Dis? Podcast or the Who Dis? Live Show at www.whodisshow.com on the web, on Instagram or Facebook at @WhoDisShow, or on Twitter at @TheWhoDisShow. If you want to talk about the show, feel free to use the hashtag #WhoDis.

This episode was recorded at the Chicago Public Library.

Liz:   0:06
Welcome to the Who Dis? Show podcast. I'm Liz Komos. This show features conversations with performers from the mental health, chronic illness and disability communities - we're digging into who they are and how their health intersects with their art. Today's guest is Terri Lynne Hudson. Terri Lynne is an actor, interdisciplinary performer and disability activist in Chicago. Welcome, Terri. Thank you for being on the podcast.

Terri Lynne:   0:29
Thanks for having me happy to be here.

Liz:   0:30
Thank you. Terri performed a riveting performance at the Who Dis? Live Show where you kind of spoof a talk show about having a disability. And if you want, I would love to hear about how you connect with the disability community and the artist community.

Terri Lynne:   0:46
Okay, so with the disability community, that's something that I'm still kind of coming into. Um, I did not grow up really connected to the disability community. I did for a while, while it was sort of convenient and beneficial. And then I was, like, not connected. I was in a different city and state. I didn't know where to find other disabled people. I definitely felt like I was the only disabled person at my college. I didn't know like what services were available to me or what groups I could've joined or anything like that. So I was just kind of flailing. And then I moved from Chicago to Austin, Texas for 16 years, and I did meet some disability performers as well down there, and I can't remember how I met them cause it's been too long.  

Liz:   1:34
It just happens, right? Somehow we find each other. 

Terri Lynne:   1:37
Somehow we find each other because I'm like there was a performance group called Actual Lives down there that was founded by a deaf woman and incorporated people with lots of different disabilities. And it was the sort of thing that disability theater has been for a lot of people for a long time, where we tell stories about our lives, and then we get on stage and tell stories about our lives, which is a great thing. But it's not the only thing we can do, And it kind of bothers me when people treat it like the only thing we can do. Yeah, because heaven forbid they have to put you in an actual production of anything, because then you know you've thrown a cog out of the wheel and they don't know what to do. I did a couple of shows with actual lives and then ended up moving back up here and I hadn't realized the first time I lived up here, I guess, just how hard to navigate everything is. So I started looking for other disabled performers just because I wanted to know how they were doing it.

Liz:   2:34
By navigate do you mean navigate the artist community in terms of auditioning like, logistically, or do you mean navigate the social politics of the artist community?

Terri Lynne:   2:47
Just the problem for me over and over of, "Is this building accessible?" Will anyone tell me of this building is accessible. Okay, great - this theater is accessible. Wait. Their rehearsal space is not accessible. Neither are the dressing rooms. Neither is the stage entrance. So how do I figure out where I can and can't perform in this town? Like, literally physically? Where can I perform? So I started looking for other disabled artists, and if I were around, say, Second City or iO or something and I saw somebody with a brace or a wheelchair, it was like, I have to meet you and figure out what you're doing and how you got here.

Liz:   3:25
Yeah, I have a sidebar just cause I started a new job recently and there's someone there who also has a disability. And there was this moment we had not seen each other before and we made eye contact yesterday and it was like this, like Soul High Five, where it was like disabled people unite. Like sometimes when we recognize each other, there is this draw to one another to say, "Hey, you probably kind of understand my experience on some level," even if the disability is different. Ah, and I think there is a draw to look for and to find and connect so that we can help each other. Yes, like you said, navigate this artistic community here in Chicago.

Terri Lynne:   4:07
Yeah. I mean, as far as social politics, that's really complex, too, because just I also have the thing where I have a big age gap between me and a lot of the other people who are new and getting started in town. You know, I moved back up here having just turned 40 and ended up, you know, in Second City with a bunch of 22 year olds, so that was sort of surreal.

Liz:   4:30
I know it's a thing. You know, if you're not abled and white, you have a harder time in this community. And as you check off boxes of having marginalized - belonging to a marginalized community - it gets harder.

Terri Lynne:   4:46
I will say that I can speak to that. I auditioned a couple of times for the Bob Curry Fellowship, and the first time was really just a wash because I didn't really know what it was, and I was brand new to improv, and I didn't know what I should have done for my performance piece, and I had also only been improvising like three months, and it was just a bad time all together.

Liz:   5:08
And the fellowship is a fellowship at through Second City for performers of color and other diversity identifications. 

Terri Lynne:   5:16
Exactly. And the second time I went, I got up on that stage and I knew deep in my soul because of this reaction that I got that the auditors were expecting me to get up there and do some kind of performance about being black. And I did a performance about being disabled and the reaction I got was just this sort of. That is not what we expected out of you. We we don't currently feel like we have a marketing box to put that in, so we don't know what to do with you. Because they've got their little set of shows that focus on students of color, which is great and amazing. Yes, but there's there's a way when you have a lot of white people running things called diversity that they want to see that diversity and that they think that they're white paying audiences want to see that diversity, so I think that when you're anything but that that it throws people off. I think that it would have thrown them off equally if I had gotten up and done something about being queer because on the like, Okay, but you're black. So you we have a box for you. Why are you not being in that box? And you know, when you have multiple marginalized identities and you are all those things, as at once, and they are all interlocked and intertwined and you can't remove them from each other, people don't know what to do with that experience.

Liz:   6:40
Yeah, it's too much. The word that keeps coming keeps popping in my head is talking is palatable. Like as Ah ah, I was talking about this with Josh Loevy, who was our first guest, about how sometimes I feel like I have to make myself more palatable to people on. I hate that I have that inclination like I have to be kinder. I have to be nicer. I have to be. You know, there's something about like I have to make myself easy to digest in order to, like, cancel out the fact that I have a disability and that's ingrained in me just from childhood. And I wish I could let that go because it's so frustrating.

Terri Lynne:   7:19
It really is. It's almost like we're taught that we have to overcompensate as a person in like, every other way to make up for the fact that we have this disability and you're going around going 'HERE. Here is how I am earning my right to be in this world, in this society by overachieving at all of these other things. So just kind of don't mind this.' You get to a place eventually, or at least I did where it's just like, 'No, this is me. And you need to make room for what is me. And you need to make room for other people where they are, as opposed to trying to put them in your box. We didn't agree for you to be in charge of this box, and we don't want you to because we don't like it.'  

Liz:   8:02
Yeah, well, that's something I love so much about your Who Dis? Show live performance because you sat down and it was kind of a spoof on a talk show where people would ask inappropriate questions about disability and life with a disability. Then you gave extremely honest and authentic answers, and so many people came up to me after that show and that impacted them. Like hearing you speak honestly and even with, like, a a little bit of like anger, you know - "don't talk to me this way. Don't ask these inappropriate questions." I think it just blew me away because it was so vulnerable and honest. But it was sincere, and it wasn't mean. It was just like, this is the way it is - listen to  my voice and what I have to share.

Terri Lynne:   8:44
That piece was actually an expanded version of what I did for my Bob Curry audition. So you can imagine the faces in the room, especially at Second City, which is a building that does a lot of accessibility theater without actually being a properly accessible building. I think that they might have felt a little bit called out, and that it might have rubbed some people the wrong way, But it was just very truthful and very honest. And I have a thing, and I don't know how common this is, where I sort of personify my disability. And that's where that performance was born, because it's basically me as a neutral person host and then I'm interviewing my Spina Bifida, and just asking it its opinions about things. I tend to tell people that I think my Spina Bifida is really, really vain, but also kind of a jerk.  

Liz:   9:39
I love the Oh, I get that, Yeah, I think, I think my disability also is vain. Oh, wow.  

Liz:   9:53
So, Terri, you've mentioned a couple times that you have Spina Bifida. Would you mind telling us a little bit about what that is.

Terri Lynne:   9:59
So spina bifida, I mean, it's like Latin for two spine sort of things, something I don't know the exact translation, but basically it means that during like the first, like 6 to 10 weeks of fetal development where a spine would usually develop in just one long strand, you have an interruption in the spine and they are several different like levels of it that you can have mine is called Myelomeningocele. Woo! Say that five times fast.

Liz:   10:30
(Liz poorly attempts to say Myelomeningocele five times, laughs after three). I quit.

Terri Lynne:   10:36
Almost, and its, you know, be prepared to be grossed out people. Basically, I was born with my spinal cord hanging out of my back. Yeah, and so they surgically repair that. Stick it back in there. And the analogy that I like to make is you know how when you're watching a TV show or something and someone's in a car accident and the doctor pulls up that spine x ray and goes, well, this vertebra was broken and these are all the things that will affect. So depending on where on your back your spina bifida lesion (they call it) is you're gonna have different effects. Mine is nearly at my tailbone is like at the bottom of my lumbar spine. So I am ambulatory to some degree and I can walk. I usually use braces. I have to have at least a very, very supportive shoe. Sure, and people with Spina Bifida usually have neurological issues. I also have hydrocephalus and a shunt, Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus usually go hand in hand, and you'll have issues with, like, muscle control, sensation - things like that.

Liz:   11:38
Cool. Thank you so much for sharing that. I know it's one of those things talking about our disability and what we have. Like we get so used to it,  and comfortable with it, like we know what it is in the community. But not everybody is aware of all of these things. We're educating.

Terri Lynne:   11:53
It tends to be either, like the first or second most common at birth disability, like we're usually neck and neck with Down Syndrome. So it is that common. It's interesting that people don't talk about it as much as they talk about things like Muscular Dystrophy and things like that. I don't know. I think that, you know, we've not really had, like, ah, big telethon or outspoken advocate or anything like that. There have been a few mentions of characters with Spina Bifida in the media. It's usually handled really, really badly.

Liz:   12:26
Let's see, I have an interesting question. You've talked about Bob Curry. Are there other moments in your career, your performance experience that really stand out to you as a moment when something clicked in? You know, we talk a lot about challenges and barriers to performing, but what are some moments where you felt like you were given tools to succeed or you created them? You created the tools and the opportunities for success?

Terri Lynne:   12:50
American theater company. May they sadly, rest in peace.

Liz:   12:54
I will do the sign of the cross.

Terri Lynne:   12:56
Several years ago during their core program, which is where they would give people use of their stage as rehearsal space and then give you a performance time to workshop any kind of odd, interesting, different new sort of performance. And there is a wonderful performer writer, amazing person in town named Molly Brennan, who heard about me through the grapevine somehow and reached out to me and said, Hey, I've written this little play called Battle Axe Betty and I'd be interested in having you come workshop it through the ATC Corps, which you like to do this. And that was like, Oh, my Oh God, yes, because she said that she wrote the play in the nineties with it being just kind of a straight up white feminist play. But she said, roughly as I got older and experienced more of the world, my feminism got bigger and my desire to include got bigger. So I'm wanting people with multiple abilities and things going on in this show, and it was amazing, like one of the directors is visually impaired. There were deaf people. There were interpreters, there were people of multiple gender identities and just all over the place, just this beautiful, beautiful potpourri of humans who were all amazing artists and just all came together to do this thing. And, you know, with them being people new to me, there had to be some explaining about what my limitations were. But, you know, they taught me fight choreography, and it was very much presented as we're going to do this in a way that works for your body, and if it takes you a while to learn it, it takes you as long as it takes to learn it. And this is a workshop and everything is okay. There was a point where somebody noticed that one of the bathrooms there wasn't actually within the ADA legal with parameters for a bathroom. One of the people who noticed happened to be a tech person, and they drove off and got some tools and brought another person with them and just fixed it.

Liz:   14:58
Oh, my gosh. It's like:  problem, solution, done. 

Terri Lynne:   15:02
  

Terri Lynne:   15:02
  

Terri Lynne:   15:02
And you just never see that. You know, typically, when you point out an accessibility issue, you get a lot of hand wringing and lining in all of these reasons why this is what it is and why nothing can be done about it. And I had just never seen anyone do anything like that before. Where this is a problem - Okay, we're going to stop right now. We're gonna fix this problem, and then we're gonna go back to what we're doing. - And it just it blew my mind. It was a wonderful nurturing space and a terrific script and terrific performers. And I still have people, this was, like, 2015. I want to say and I still have people walking up to me and going, Hey, weren't you in Battle Axe Betty?

Liz:   15:39
Wow, that's really cool. I've never I haven't experienced that. I do know I wanted to speak to Second City. They put together an accessibility advisory board, which I'm on, and so we're working on the accessibility of that building, and it feels a little bit like identifying the problems, looking at it and then coming up with solutions, but trying to even go above, above and beyond. Like, how do we even not just do the limited like best practices? But that sounds like an inclusive, welcoming, like beyond welcoming space, like we value you here so much that we will do anything to make sure that you're comfortable on. I think that that's very rare.

Terri Lynne:   16:18
I mean, it's It's a space where they're not just tacking on access as an afterthought, but it's we have to do access. We have to do it. It is not optional. So we are walking in here with access is a priority.

Liz:   16:33
I wish that model and that way of behaving could really transfer to some of these bigger theatre spaces the regular theaters, the improv theaters but also just other performing arts spaces.  Speaking of a show like that, one thing that I was thinking about when you when you get a group of people that have disabilities together and they do a show, I love the Who Dis? show. But one thing that always worries me is that the performers end up standing up there feeling like an inspiration, or that they have to feel like an inspiration. And I don't I hope the Who Dis? show doesn't feel like that. It doesn't feel like that to me. But what are your thoughts on that? And that any time we get up and we perform about our disability or we perform as a group of people with disabilities that were almost putting on a show of inspirational quality, which they call inspiration porn...

Terri Lynne:   17:25
Um, so some of the things that don't feel inspiration porny to me about Who Dis? is that you're not putting forth any requirement that anyone's material necessarily be happy. You know, like I didn't even feel pressure to do comedy. I had that bit. That is a comedic bit that I went ahead and dead, but I didn't feel like I had to do that. Fo me at least, it was a show that I was putting on for the other disabled people who were there more than any non disabled audience members. So it's really just about who your centering, I think. I think it's about making sure that the disabled artists have artistic freedom to put up there what they want to put up there, and to just kind of not care how the audience feels about it and that challenges the audience to feel differently about what they're seeing than what they would normally feel.

Liz:   18:25
Yeah, no, I love that. And I think that that's the goal in the requirement. I don't have any requirements other than if you identify as someone who has a mental health condition, a chronic illness or disability. Come do whatever you want. Like I'm looking for dancers. I'm looking for painters. I'm looking for spoken word. I'm looking for storytelling stand, you know, comedy. It could really be anything. And whatever you put up on there on the stage, I feel like it's totally yours. Yours to just to be yourself and be yourself as an artist cause I think we get we get labeled or pigeonholed as the token disabled person on a team or the token disabled person in a show. And I don't want that space to feel like that or that they have to inspire.

Terri Lynne:   19:11
Yeah, I don't think it does. I mean, you're inviting a space that's you're inviting us into a space where it's disability first - is how I feel about it. So it's not about being anything to anyone else. It's about putting us in community with each other, and yet we're showing that to other people. But they're showing it to the other people, is more of the afterthought than the forethought. And I do feel like with some of the other disability theme performances like then what I mentioned that was out of state, that it was like we have to tell happy, uplifting, positive stories. If we're angry, we can't be too angry. You know, we have to leave people walking out the door feeling like everything is OK for them and they're not challenged or call out in any way. And I'm like, but that's not how you get progressive change. That's not how you get access. I mean, I think a lot of the blowback we get about accessibility is people thinking they've already done enough. Or that, you know, not realizing that they're stopping other things from happening.  

Liz:   20:17
That sort of speaks to you is a disability activist. I would love to hear a little bit more about what you do here. If you have any organizations that you would you would like to plug or people or things to follow, because I think awareness is such a big thing that I want to increase with this podcast, Who should we be looking out for? Who should we be paying attention to in this city?

Terri Lynne:   20:40
There's a fellow named Mike Irvin who is a playwright. I don't know how often he performs anything, but he's a playwright and a speaker, and he has a blog called Smartass Cripple, and I've known of him for a pretty long time, and, um, he's amazing. I know that we have Access Living here in town, which I am not yet connected with. I do say yet because I keep meaning to do something about that, and then I keep getting overwhelmed with my own personal performance life and not connecting with their lovely though That's good now, yes, because I mean, you know, I've been on my crusade to find, like, a cohesive list of accessible spaces to for disabled artists to. I jokingly refer to myself as a disability rights guest rapper because what I do more often than not is show up somewhere and just rant at people on and then go off about my own business. Like there was an interview with Red Theater Company a couple of years ago, and the artistic director was asked to write an article and then came to me and asked if I had anything to contribute to it. And I just sent him like a page long rant it like I have. And it didn't fit in what he was saying because it was my perspective, just like, you know, I'm not a non-disabled person who thought I'm making a theater company first and then we're going to start talking about access. I'm like I am a disabled person. Access comes first. Access always comes first. Yes, these people are doing some good things. Let me tell you what everybody else ought to be doing because I've got the mic now. Hence the disability rights guest rapper. Give me the mic. That's what's gonna come out of me.

Liz:   22:26
Well, I think that's so great, though so many of us need to speak up. You know, when we have the opportunity or somebody does reach out to us and say, What do you think? What can we do? What can we improve? Really being honest and speaking the truth and not trying to sugarcoat it for people. There's this trope that being bitter and disabled is just ,those things go hand in hand so you can't be mean and you can't be upset about access. And I think what it does is it puts people on their heels and it puts them into a defensive space. But I think we have to let that go and just be honest with them, regardless of people's reactions to our criticisms of their accessibility.

Terri Lynne:   23:03
I mean, we get to be bitter, we are allowed the full range of human emotion right, and that's something that I feel like a lot of non disabled people don't want to give us a lot of the time. I also do a lot about disability and sexuality because desexualizing disabled people is a huge, huge problem. And so I will just get in your face and go - No, I am going to do this burlesque piece in my leg braces and you have to deal with the fact that I am one body doing both of these things at the same time because that's reality. You know, it's like we have sex. We date. We have great days, we're happy and we're still disabled. It's not that we overcame our disability in order to be happy. T Spina Bifida is here. It's not going anywhere. I'm not doing anything despite it. I really kind of hate that word. I'm doing it with it. It's here. It's not going anywhere. Some days it doesn't let me do things, you know, and I just go, 'Okay, you are in the driver's seat right now. I said you were kind of a jerk. Here you go.'

Liz:   24:09
Yeah, I always like the phrasing that despite of but because off, you know, I do these things because of my disability that they are just as much a part of me as some days and then some days there, not some days. I'm like, Oh my gosh, I chipped a nail and that's the worst thing that's ever happened to me. And some days I can't you know I can't get out of bed. But even more than that, what I love is you talking about sex and disability. And I find that lately I've been doing this thing on stage as an improviser where I'm constantly playing over sexualized characters - and I'm loving it. And the reason I think I do it is because because I know people don't see people disabilities as sexual beings. And I know that when people are on dating ap with disabilities, people will ask one of the first questions is: Can you have sex? And there's so much misinformation about whether or not people can be sexually active. And I think you're the one that told me about Andrew Gurza. Yeah, I think everyone should follow Andrew Gurza. And so I think because I've been following Andrew and reading Andrew's post all the time, it's like I am wanting to present this like over-sexualized disabled person, so the audiences have to see it and and understand that that yes, like we can be sexy. We can be attractive. And all of that is just because I walk around with the crutch doesn't mean my body doesn't have value in that way.  

Terri Lynne:   25:29
Exactly. LOVE Andrew Gurza -  Disability After Dark. Oh, my God. Um, but yeah, totally. And it's the thing is, it's not just about personal fulfillment. The desexualization of disabled people is dangerous. You know, you have people who grow up disabled and don't get to have sex-ed because they're disabled. I had a girlfriend for a while who also had Spina Bifida, who was told for no reason whatsoever that she couldn't get pregnant and had a baby at 18 years old, because she thought she couldn't get pregnant. So she didn't bother using a condom because she kept getting told she couldn't get pregnant. And it turns out that the so called data on people with Spina Bifida and pregnancy and birth was coming from the fact that you had all of these adults with spina bifida who weren't allowed to have adult social lives, okay. And so they were living at home with their parents and they didn't date. It's just are we permitted in sexual situations?

Liz:   26:32
It's almost like people turn their head and they don't want to focus on disability. They don't want to learn about these... they don't want to learn about these things. It's like the forgotten marginalization.

Terri Lynne:   26:42
Well, you've got a whole generation or two at this point of people who were raised, that it was rude to mention anyone's disability. And then it was rude to ask any questions about anyone's disability, which just leads to further marginalization. Further misinformation, et cetera. Just like what's happened since we had a whole generation of white people who weren't allowed to mention race, you know, it just makes everything worse. You have to talk about it. You have to discuss it. You have to listen to people with lived experience.

Liz:   27:13
And I think it's it's interesting, too. I'm very vocal. I know you're very vocal, and I think it's great, though, to see people who aren't there yet. You know, I used to be like we have to talk, we have to communicate. And then I realized that that's okay for me. But that might not feel safe for other people with disabilities. I have friends who are like I'm not. I'm not there yet. I don't want to talk about my disability. So one of my other question is: How have you found your journey to becoming an activist? But then also talking about your disability in your art and incorporating that instead of being a comedian who's like, I'm going to do everything BUT talk about my health and my art?

Terri Lynne:   27:51
Well, I mean, early on, I did have you know, we're all raised in this stew of Ableism, um, everyone is raised in it. Disabled people included we're not exempt. And I definitely know that my approach in my early twenties like, straight out of college trying to navigate the Chicago acting scene. Was: If no one finds out, it'll be okay, so I need to make sure no one finds out. And that was actually really bad for me. I did things that I should not have physically done, and I didn't have health insurance at the time, which is a whole nother mess that, you know, is a big problem. And so Terri, at 23, would have taken a job at an inaccessible theater and just hope that no one ever saw me limping or cramping going up stairs and that sort of thing. And I'm not really sure when it turned around for me that this was not an okay way to live. I do think getting older was, ah, big contributing factor because now I just have to be more careful about what I do with my body or suffer the consequences if I don't take care in the ways that I need to take care. I'm an extremely active person. It's not that, but I have to watch the parameters of how I'm active. It's like: well, if I do this, I could end up exacerbating like a hip and knee dysplasia issue. So I'm gonna not do it so that I can use my body, you know, as long and as pain free as possible, as opposed to burning my candle at both ends and ending up in pain, injured, et cetera.

Liz:   29:30
Er, yeah, I think that it's like there's a balance right with our bodies and with art that we create. We have to create balance in all areas of our life and on stage, that's one of those things. I think getting lost in a performance or wanting to be passable as Abled it's a hard urge to resist.

Terri Lynne:   29:49
Absolutely. I cosign all of that.

Liz:   29:52
Yeah. Okay. Um, I feel like we're getting close to the end here, so I have 1 question for you. Our final question is, if you could take any artist or performer living out to dinner, who would you take out and where would you go? What kind of food would you eat?

Terri Lynne:   30:13
Wow, that's really, really, really hard. Wow. Because it's hard for me to choose one of anything, ever..  under any circumstances.

Liz:   30:27
I like that, it means that means you're a connoisseur of experience in life. 

Terri Lynne:   30:30
Actually, now that there's, like food involved in, like, could we just go to like Revival Food Hall, where the 20 different food things and have all of them because I'm greedy, and I just want all the food. Who would I want to take its. It's a little frustrating with there not being more visibly disabled artists like out there in the world. I mean, I feel like there's a really great handful of them that, like I already know and come to my house and so I've already had dinner with them, but then I'm trying to think, you know, is there anybody like famous? I am going to go out on a limb here, though, and just invoke the entire cast of Poe's. I want to take the entire cast of Poe's to Revival Food Hall. Yes, that is what I want. Dveryone on that show is just amazing and incredible, and I'm obsessed with it. Granted, we're dealing with, once again, not any visibly disabled people.  But ya know, it's a thing where we just we need to be casting better. I unfortunately, have a whole list of TV shows I'm currently boycotting because it's either fake deaf people, orA c g i amputees. And considering that there's a frigging national deaf theater and there are tons of actual amputee artists out out there, I think the only reason they're not famous is they're dealing with what I'm dealing with; half the buildings that you would get into to start earning your way up the train, and what have you, are all inaccessible, and I just you know, it's really horrible to me to want to, like, profit off our lives and experiences without paying us, which is what you're doing when you cast that way.

Liz:   32:13
Exactly. I love always with amputee stories or films or plays. It's always like, well, we have to show the pre amputation life. Do you know how many people are born with limb loss? It just is one of those things that I find ridiculous. That's always the reason, and it just It just makes me if you C G I take away a limb. You know what I mean? Can't you C G I add a limb? I don't I don't understand.

Terri Lynne:   32:42
You totally can. There's nothing preventing that technically, except for Ableism because I've talked to people about that. Is it harder? Is it a problem? And people always bring up the Spy Kids thing because, like in the last Spy Kids movie that Ricardo Montalban appeared in, he was extremely elderly. He couldn't walk anymore, and they CGI'd him into this like body suit thing. And it's like if you can do that. Granted, you were willing to do it for an established name actor who could walk the previous movie, which seems to be what it takes at this point. But it's like if you can do that, you can consistently do that. And also the other thing is, it's an ableist gaze on the disabled body to think that there was always before story, or to think that that's all we think about. It's the problem of Artie on Glee, because their whole thing was, well, we cast Kevin McHale because we needed to be able to do these like dream sequences where he gets out of his wheelchair and it's like, You know what? Not everyone who uses a wheelchair sits around dreaming about wishing that they weren't using a wheelchair. That some stuff you're projecting on us and we don't appreciate it.

Liz:   33:48
I know we don't! Ahhh. I feel like we should have started here. Like, I think we're going to do another episode. This conversation is to be continued, because there's so much to say on just this alone, this alone, the ableist gaze.

Terri Lynne:   34:04
I could do a whole hour on the ableist gaze. I could do a whole hour on the ableist gaze on Glee.

Liz:   34:12
Okay, it's done. You have another episode in the future where that is what we do! I'm so excited that you're here. I really admire you. You're one of the first people that I met in this city that has a disability and is a performing artist. And I just loved the connection that we have. And I'm so glad that you're here. Do you have socials you want to share with us? You don't have to.

Terri Lynne:   34:32
I'm old. Y'all I don't really know the social medias. So I basically have a Twitter so that I construct my favorite black country music artist. He's aware that I'm doing this. It's fine. And also so that I can live tweet the Oscars once a year. But if you want in on any of that action, it's at Terri Lynn Hudso, because my three names or just one character too long. 

Terri Lynne:   35:02
I also have a fan page on Facebook, which is just Terri Lynn Hudson.

Liz:   35:06
Awesome. Thank you so much. I'm so glad that you were here.  

Terri Lynne:   35:08
Thank you.  

Jack:   35:11
The Who Dis? Show is hosted by Liz Komos and produced by me, Jack Matthews. If you'd like to support the Who Dis? Show you can tell a friend or leave a five star rating and review on apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts when using social media feel free to use the hashtag #whodis for more information on the Who Dis? Show, including upcoming live shows, we're on Facebook. Twitter at @thewhodisshow, Instagram at @whodisshow or on the web at www.whodisshow.com.  

Jack:   35:39
This'll episode was recorded the Chicago Public Library. Occasional piano accompaniment provided by the guy practicing next door.