(Single panel in top center that features two friends, Jaz and Will. Jaz is a light-skinned woman taking medication and wearing bracelets to cover her scars. Will is an amputee with dark skin and crutches. He also has some trouble with volume control and speaks very softly. They’re having lunch together and smiling. )
Text: Jaz and Will are best friends.
Text: And they’re both disabled!
(Panel of Jaz with bags under her eyes typing on a laptop in her cubicle.)
Text: Jaz gets her work in on time and is more social. They call her “high-functioning.”
(Panel of Will having a depressive episode. He’s lying on his bed and staring at the ceiling. Piles of clothes litter the floor. The sun shines in through his window.)
Text: Will does not get his work done on time and is less social. They call him “low-functioning.”
(Jaz as a child sits with her parents in front of a teacher’s desk. We see the teacher’s hands from the teacher’s perspective behind the desk.)
Text: People don’t think Jaz needs support.
Teacher: Well, if her grades are good, I don’t see the problem. Diagnosis would just upset her.
(Will as a child plays with some toys in a doctor’s office. We look down upon Will from the white doctor’s perspective.)
Text: People think Will’s not worth the support.
Doctor: Illiteracy and bad manners are common among boys of his demographic. I don’t think treatment would do much.
(Jaz is using a walker nearby a disabled parking spot. A man comes over and starts screaming at her.)
Text: They try to prove she’s lying about her disability.
Man: You can’t park here! You were walking a second ago.
Jaz: Yes, but my Multiple Sclerosis—
Man: So you think you can cheat the system, while us hard-working Americans pay taxes for your welfare?
(Will looks uncomfortable as a nurse grabs him by the shoulders.)
Text: They assume his point of view doesn’t matter because he’s not “sane” enough.
Will: I don’t like that doctor.
Nurse: Nonsense, sweetie! The doctor is wonderful. Come along.
(Jaz is on a dinner date.)
Text: Jaz worries about others’ reactions when she comes out as disabled.
Jaz: So, uh, second date?
Date: Eh, you seem a bit too high-maintenance.
(Will walking down the street while everyone stares at him in horror and clutches their purses.)
Text: Will assumes he’s as bad as everyone makes him out to be.
(Jaz and Will chatting happily with each other. They have speech bubbles with the logos of resources they think would help the other. These include ASAN [Autistic Self Advocacy Network], HealthGrades, NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Health Illness], Ramp Your Voice!, StimTastic, and the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] site.)
Text: But when they’re together…
Text: They trade info on disability services and survival tips.
(Jaz and Will looking at each other’s meds and laughing.)
Text: They can bond over shared experiences.
Will: Your Abilify is square.
Jaz: I didn’t know these came in orange!
(Jaz is crying outside the doors of a party. Will sits nearby, trying to comfort her.)
Text: They can look out for each other in ways others can’t.
Will: Now, uh, name two things that you hear.
Jaz: There’s cheering and Beyoncé.
Will: Yes, good.
(Jaz and Will lead a protest below some stairs that lead up to the restrooms they can’t reach.)
Text: They can rally together to demand accessibility.
(We look along with able people on the second floor down upon the first floor, where disabled people occupy the space with signs demanding access.)
Text: So really, who does their separation protect?