Disability Discrimination and the Undead

I came across an article on the BBC Ouch website about Vampirism as a Disability where Lisa Egan discussed a number of impairments that the vampire suffers from – the fact that they’d either have to work nights or in an office without a window, for example. There’s also the difficulties in explaining your “disability” to others:

I imagine that explaining Auditory Processing Disorder to my mates when I can’t understand a word they’re saying in a noisy bar, would be far easier than having to explain why I’d just gone all fangy because someone with a tasty-looking jugular had just walked past.Lisa Egan

Similarly, Rob Crossan — also of Ouch! — tried to convince me that Ghosts are just disorientated disabled people. Hmm, I’m not buying that. But he does bring up a serious point. Lisa has considered vampires as being disabled. But why should we stop there? Surely other ghosts and ghoulies have specific disabilities that will affect their quality of undeath too?

So let’s look at a couple of the other conditions:

Bi-Lunar Lyanthropic Disorder

……sufferers of which are still sometimes referred to by the perjorative term “werewolves”. Now most of the time your BLLD sufferer is pretty much an average Joe, although possibly a little hairier than normal. However, during the course of the full moon they turn into a wolf, resulting in a certain degree of cognitive disability, a critical lack of an opposable thumb rendering most websites entirely inoperative, and an overwhelming blood lust leading to ripping people limb from limb and devouring their corpses.

Obviously this can lead to some trouble from the authorities who may have difficulty in understanding the condition — particularly since when they catch the BLLD sufferer the next day it’s not full moon any more — and therefore they will not be treated with the due respect for their condition.

Unfortunately, it also appears that the “rending people limb from limb” part of BLLD would mean that the condition — or at least this part of it — would not be recognised as a disability under under the UK DDA, as the code of practice specifically excludes it:

Are any conditions specifically excluded from the coverage of the Act?

Yes. Certain conditions are to be regarded as not amounting to impairments for the purposes of the Act. These are:

  • tendency to physical or sexual abuse of other persons;

Code of Practice (Access to services)

And I think dismembering people and eating their still warm corpses would probably count as a “tendency to physical abuse”.

Spectral Intangibility Syndrome (Deceased)

This is an unusual condition because it is very rare for someone who is medically dead to be diagnosed with additional problems which started after they died. This is a shocking example of the vitalist bias seen, and still largely accepted, in our society today. Your choices are usually respected while you are living, but once dead your decisions no longer count for anything — people will simply refer back to the last official “will” you made when still alive! Dead people do not have the right to vote, own property, or stand in an election, although it is believed that there may be some closet “deadies” in the House of Lords (although it is not thought that these are SIS sufferers).

SIS is a condition which so far is known only to affect dead people, and results in them being unable to touch or interact with any physical objects. This means that most day to day interaction is impossible, including an inability to operate a keyboard or computer mouse, open doors and so on, although the ability to walk through walls does alleviate the problem of not being able to open doors somewhat. This can lead to a number of problems, and SIS sufferers are known to experience problems in forming close personal relationships as a result.

SIS is also frequently associated with damage to the (now spectral) voice box which results in communication being carried out only by a series of moans, wails and the clanking of ghostly chains — which again makes it more difficult to be understood. Again, this condition is not covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, as you must have suffered from discrimination on the grounds of disability during your life in order to be covered. Again, shocking vitalist bias in legislation.


The disability discrimination act is only in effect in the UK, which means that it is of no benefit to some other entities — souls forever in torment in Hell are by their very nature outside the UK and therefore outside the scope of this act, although they would be permitted to apply for asylum in the UK, and of course each case would be considered on its own respective merits.

Sprites, boggarts, goblins, demons and imps are also not protected by the Disability Discrimination Act, which seeks only to protect humans, although vampires make be able to receive some protection under the law (although it has to be said that there has not yet been any case law to confirm this, and this would not apply to the physical assaults bit) providing that they could demonstrate that they had either not actually died, or at least that vampirism (which I’m presuming is some rare form of haemophilia) was contracted prior to death.

In short, our current legislation means that ghosts, ghoulies, monsters and the undead can be freely discriminated against solely on the grounds of monstrosity and there is very little in the way of legal recourse.

3 Responses to “Disability Discrimination and the Undead”

  1. Mike Cherim responds:

    As GEICO claims in their commercials over here in the US, their website is so easy to use “even a caveman can do it.” The commercials are funny because they feature a couple of cavemen that are really put out by the insulting reference.

  2. Lisa Egan responds:

    Ha ha!

    I’m glad I inspired you.

  3. BloodCopy » Blog Archive » Tourism slows down responds:

    [...] and refusing to admit that their next door neighbor is a vampire. Wanting to hurt the vampires because they’re different. That’s just human nature, and it’s a little unfortunate, but it’s just a part of [...]

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