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National Disabilities Month is Here!

We here at Pop Culture Uncovered LOVE diversity in all things.  That being said, welcome to National Disabilities Month at PCU!

For those of you who did not know, March is National Disabilities Month.  Therefore, we wanted to showcase some of the amazing talent out there that comes from geeks, artists, musicians, cosplayers, and the like – who just happen to have disabilities.  What better way to start this month off, than by revisiting & re-featuring one of the most amazing cosplayers that I have ever seen?

Aracknoid 3 Cosplay, aka Ronald S. aka Spider has been a recent fixture in the con & cosplay circles, and has been building amazingly detailed cosplays, all the while successfully incorporating his wheelchair.  2016 will be Spider’s 4th year cosplaying and he is starting it off with a bang by debuting his scratch-built HALO costume.

That’s all well & good, and we absolutely love Spider’s cosplay.  However, did you know that he is also a musician, AND works with a large charity organization helping sick & disabled kids?  Yep.  It’s true.  Spider has been writing, singing, & playing various types of music (rock, R&B, & dance to name a few) for just about 30 years.  He has even done vocals on the ‘Fetal Zombie’ song “Numb 17”.  When asked about his history in music, Spider replied, “I never really considered myself a musician because I had never been taught. I didn’t know of the things I was doing. I was just doing them. When I was stationed in German my 1SG heard about what I was doing and made me represent my unit in the battalion talent show. I told him I’d never performed in front of anyone, but he insisted I do it. I had no choice. And I won. It lead me to going up into the military star search. I won all army Europe 2 years in a row”.

In addition to his amazing cosplay and his music, Ronald spends a lot of his time working with the Maker’s United for Children’s Hope (MUCH) Foundation.  He’s been doing work with them for approximately 6 months; at various functions, events, and programs in order to bring smiles to disabled children.  Cosplayers & makers from all over go to visit the kids, take pictures, spend time with them, raise money for things that they or their families may need, and give the kids a sense that there are people out there rooting for them.
Spider has done a lot over the years, but one thing he stressed to me was his public speaking.  He is a very impassioned speaker, and has devoted much of his time to speaking out against body shaming, sexism, race issues, and “anything that would take away the fun of cosplay”.  Spider told me about his most impactful experience in speaking on these panels, which happened at Meggacon 2015: “There was an older couple sitting in the audience. They were decked out in some awesome steam punk cosplays! I was on a panel with Envy Us and Ivy Doomkitty. After the panel, the couple was among a group that wanted to speak with me. The man had tears in his eyes. He told me he was someone who kept to himself and was kind of an introvert. Cosplaying changed his life. He now has friends at work just because someone saw one of the figures on his desk from a con. A guy asked about it and it turned out he was into the same thing. Then more and more he found out there was so much he had in common with others. He said when he heard me say how cosplay saved my life it really got to him”.

So, ladies and gentlemen remember: there’s more to everyone you encounter than meets the eye.  Just like anyone else, people with disabilities have their own lives, their own loves, their own hobbies, and their amazing personalities.  Just as we’ve always said here at PCU; diversity is amazing.  It adds so much to life, and really allows us all to participate in the things that we love doing.  Keep your eyes open all this month for more articles about amazing people with disabilities in the geek/cosplay/artistic/creative communities!

About Doug T. (491 Articles)
A lifelong gamer, disabilities advocate, avowed geek, and serious foodie. Doug was born in South America, currently resides in Northern VA, and spends the majority of his time indulging in his current passions of gaming & food, while making sure not to take life or himself too seriously.
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