Are left-handed people disabled?

During a discussion at work yesterday about the difficulties of being a leftie, one of my co-workers stated that “** I actually consider myself disabled.**” That gave me pause.

Being a leftie is difficult, and you have to do a hell of a lot of adapting so you can use even the most common of objects, but disabled? I can do anything a right-handed person can do, with the exception of drive the stick-shift Saturn my dad had while I was high school (however, I cut my right hand quite badly as a preteen, and they were concerned about nerve damage, so it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s weaker than it ought to be.) If I think about it at all, I think of myself as “inconvenienced” or, when something’s really frustrating to use, as “really fucking inconvenienced” but never disabled.

Yet I wonder… with talk about giving the disabled label to obese people and those with alcohol/drug addictions, does being left-handed fit the bill after all? More so than either of those (with the exception of those obese due to medical conditions), being left-handed isn’t something a person brought on themselves, and it does cause people difficulties in day to day life…

It makes me wonder if classifying it as a disability might not be such a bad thing after all, because at the very least it might raise the average right-hand person’s – particularly those in the manufacturing sector – awareness that yes, we do exist, and we’d love it if products were made that had our safety and convince in mind too. Maybe it’d get young left-handed children some help adapting too, so they suffer less needless injury and frustration growing up, much in the way people strive to help other children with learning disabilities cope and adapt as well.

So what do dopers think, is being left-handed a disability or not? If so, should accommodations be made in schools and workplaces to help lefties be safer and as productive as possible?

Why can’t you drive a stick shift? I mean in Great Britain, cars are right hand drive and they still make cars with manual transmissions. Presumably most people are right handed there and would have to shift with their left hands.

Disability is a word with meaning beyond simply lack of or lessened ability. So a left handed person is not disabled any more than a clumsy person is disabled. I have driven stick shift in UK and USA and so I know there is no reason your handedness will prevent or even make more difficult the driving of a stick shift car. If your right hand is too weak to move a gear stick, then it would also probably be too weak to be the only hand on the wheel should you have to make an emergency manoover when shifting in a British car. In fact since in US you would be keeping your better hand on the wheel it could be said that all US stick shift vehicles are left handed. Of course the position of the blinkers control is more awkward for left handed people, but then again no one in US uses their blinkers anymore.
Though it is possible to feel indignant about people who are dissabled through apparently their own fault, I don’t think it can be argued that left handedness is as much of a problem to someone as extreme obesity or a drug problem.

I didn’t have the hand strength/dexterity required to get the thing in anything but first or second gear. It might have been that particular car, but I don’t care enough to make another attempt at learning.; it’s not like there’s a shortage of automatics, and if an emergency required me to drive a standard, I guess I’d just keep the car in low gear :slight_smile:

I’m a lefty and in no way do I consider it to be a disability. As for the driving example you provide - I’ve driven manual / stick shift vehicles all my life without problem.

The only drawback I experience is dragging my hand through text I’ve just written and smearing it (but even this problem has a workaround).

As for left handed products, they are available.

If anything, being left-handed has forced me to learn to use both hands effectively, which is something that the average right-handed person doesn’t have going for them. That’s not a disability.

Isn’t the PC term differently-abled? If so, then yes, lefty’s are. :slight_smile:

I’m left handed, and right footed. I golf right handed, play tennis (badly) left handed and will probably play guitar left handed.

My first driving experience was an MGB and I drove it uphill from a standing start without any previous instructions. I don’t see a problem with stick shifts. Everybody has a skill they are good at from day one or suck at on day 100 (I can’t draw and my father and mother were artists).

I can’t see any shade of grey that would create a disability out of left-handedness.

While I don’t consider myself disabled, I can remember a time when lefties were considered almost as such. And I’m only 43.

When I first went to school (1966) the teachers actually had determined that I had a learning disorder because I could not write very good, or cut paper.
When they called my parents in to discuss putting me in special classes, my Pop told them that the problem was that I was left handed and that’s why I could cut or write with my right hand, the schools response was “yes, we’re trying to cure him of that”.
The fuss my old man made ended up with “left handedness” no longer being considered a handicap (at least at that school) and the following year the school was equiped with left handed scissors and such. Afterwhich, I excelled in school.

In this day of everyone being a victim of something or other, let’s not give anyone any ideas!!!

I am a south paw, and I am NOT disabled!

We lefties are most definitely NOT disabled.

PS I also drive a stick.

Left-handed = disabled?

This lefty says “Bull-SHIT” to that notion. Good grief!

Another total lefty reporting…

There are occasional instances of incovenience. Only occasional.

In some sports activity, like cricket batting, it’s an advantage, as most bowlers are used to right-handed batsmen.

Being lefthanded is certainly no disadvantage in sport (except field hockey) and is a great advantage in tennis and cricket. I have also noticed that compared to people I meet in real life, far more actors seem to be left handed. Even Bart Simpson.

I’m a lefty who’s disabled because of it. My aunt has a punch bowl with a ladle I’m completely incapable of using to fill a glass with punch because it’s shaped such that using the spout on the ladle is absolutely mandatory and of course the spout is on the wrong side. If that’s not disabled, I don’t know what is!

Being left-handed isn’t a disability. The reason it sometimes appears to be one is that most people are righties and as such, a greater number of hand-specific items are tailored to them. I would say this is much less of a problem than it used to be. So on behalf of the oppressors, I apologize for the inconvenience. :wink:

Yes. The main drawback for me is that I cannot draw on the computer because I use the mouse with my right hand.

Actually, when one plays golf “right handed”, the left arm is supposedly the more important of the two. It’s often referred to as a “left handed” game. And on guitar, the fingering, which requires the most manual dexterity, is done with the left hand, as with most string instruments.

Total hijack, but an interesting anecdote - this is probably the reason the Greeks changed the direction of writing (Greek was originally written right-to-left, like Hebrew - so the righties ended up getting dirty)
[/hijack - Sorry, and carry on!]


Yeah. Riiiiiiiiight. Suuuuuuuuure.

My mom’s a lefty. Her mom started off as a lefty but was forced to switch. While I know it can be an inconvienence sometimes, being a lefty does NOT make you disabled. Uh uh. No way.

Why do I get the distinct feeling that this thread is the precursor to frivolous litigation on an unthinkable scale? “Oh gosh! I am different from my co-worker/neighbor/etc. This must be someone’s fault! Ka-ching!”

A subsequent prize, presumably, to be offered to first to prove beyond a doubt that blue-eyed people are disadvantaged compared to green-eyed (or vice versa, or any permutation you choose).