About Haddayr Copley-Woods

I am a scifi/fantasy writer, radio commentator, and essayist with pieces and performances in places such as Minnesota Public Radio, Apex, Story Club Minneapolis, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Best American Erotica.

I write dark fantasy and horror short stories. My radio commentaries, essays, and spoken-word performances cover disability issues, community, queerness, and politics. Most of these are available to watch or read free online and linked above. I also write the advice column “Bitter Butch” at bitterempire.com.

I live with my weird, wonderful, unconventional and sprawling family in Minneapolis.

If you’d like, visit me at Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or email me at haddayr@gmail.com.

The views I express in this blog are purely my own and not that of any entity which may hire my services or employ me.

I am so motherfucking inspirational

Last nighb587bfb85af8480e8e4d9179574f1029-adaptive-sports-wheelchair-sportst, I was in a Fringe play, and my character was a disabled woman who has figured out how to monetize pity and guilt by going on a motivational speaking tour circuit. (It’s fun! You should see it if you’re in town.)

This morning, I was at a coffee shop with a very young and charming gentleman who was chatting with the woman in lineahead of us.

The lady assumed that I was Connor’s mom, and he straightened her out on that with enormous detail. We chatted a bit. Little boys excited about scones are delightful. She is from Galway; I have been there. We all like scones and hash browns. Tea is good.

Because I knew that I would be carrying things in both hands, I hadn’t brought my crutches. Because I was standing in line, I didn’t move as we spoke.

She left with her stuff and Connor and I got ours and I lurched with him out of the coffee shop.

He asked me to move my wheelchair from one side of the seat to the other so he wouldn’t have to get in on the busy side of the street, because he is smart AF.

I proceeded to do this.

That’s when I saw the lady who likes scones and hash browns, sitting at an outside table, staring at me with that Very Special Expression.

“You’re amazing!” she said. “Good on you!”

I took a deep, cleansing breath. “Thank you,” I said.

“No, I really mean it— you’re astounding!” she said.

I took another deep breath. “Thank. You,” I said through clenched teeth.

So she started talking to Connor. “Isn’t she wonderful? So full of life and love and verve!”

Connor looked at her blankly, and then looked at me like: “What is this weird lady going on and on about?”

I smiled widely.

“Have a good day!” I said to the woman, staggering to my door and trying to get in without leaping over it and punching her.

“I really mean it!” she said. “You are AMAZING! Good on you! Good on you!”

I could not bring myself to thank her again.

“That lady talked funny,” said Connor as I pulled out into traffic, and I don’t think he was talking about her accent.

These sorts of scenes set me off for hours afterward, and I NEVER know how to respond. When you’re disabled, the micro or macro-aggressions are often SO well-meant. Responding to them with anything but brusqueness comes across as assholedry of the highest order. She’s probably sipping her tea, imagining she made the day of some poor crippled lady by complimenting her.

But I am shaking and furious and right now feel just as helpless as she clearly thinks I am.

I prefer the assholes who demand with hostility: “What makes YOU deserve that handicapped placard?” Or who try to Jesus at me. Those ones are so much easier to deal with.

Second open letter to union-busting Seward Co-op: stop illegally harassing Amy Swenson.


This is my second open letter to Seward Co-op’s board, HR, and managers regarding unionization efforts at Seward, and your by-the-book union bashing.

After my first letter, Sean sent me an email all about how cooperative they were being with the union. Look! He said. Look how great we are being!

This letter was clearly a lie.

You continue to have ‘disciplinary meetings’ with one of the major organizers.

I see you. I know what you are doing. This is a classic intimidation technique, and an attempt to not only silence her, but cow others into submission and fear.

I am beyond disgusted. Stop this NOW. Everyone can see you. We can all see what you are doing. This is NOT what the co-op movement is all about.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. You are on the wrong side of history. Stop. NOW.

Most extremely sincerely,
Haddayr Copley-Woods
Member # 31XXX

On Being SEEN

Today, walking downtown, I approached a man sitting on a windowsill, holding a cane.

We locked eyes and exchanged the Crip Nod. We know what it’s like to have people look away from you on the street.

“How are you TODAY?” he asked.

“TODAY is good,” I said. “How’s it going TODAY?”

“Good, good.”

No one else would have heard the emphasis I provided. Just us. We know some days are better than others.


A few blocks further down, I was stopped at a light waiting for it to change when a beautiful young woman with a sleek, close hair cut stood next to me.

“Happy Pride!” she said.

I looked down. I was wearing no rainbows, no ‘GAY AF’ shirt, no Secret Queer Army pin. She just knew.

I lit up. “Happy Pride!” I said.

All the way to my errand, I was grinning.

Thanks for seeing me, random strangers. I hope you felt seen, too.


My open letter on union busting by the Seward Co-op


Dear Board, Manager Sean Doyle, and HR Director Liz Wozniak,

When I received your ridiculously slick corporate letter about the unionization efforts of the workers at Seward Co-op, stating that Seward would be forcing them to hold an election, I immediately knew you were engaged in an illegal intimidation campaign.
I knew this because forcing an election in the face of an overwhelming majority of signed cards is a classic union-busting technique, and I was not born yesterday. 
You are stalling to give yourself more time to intimidate, harass, and probably fire one or two of them as an example to others: to fill them with too much fear to vote for the union.
My assumptions, of course, have since been backed up by multiple sources working in the store that I co-own.
I know you. I see you. And this garbage is utterly abhorrent, especially as a co-op. 
I demand that you recognize the union.
I demand that you stop illegally harassing workers, specifically Amy Swenson.
How dare you use my membership money to union bust? How dare you?
Most definitely sincerely,
Haddayr Copley-Woods
Member/Owner, Seward Coop
PS I am not threatening to leave the coop. I am not going anywhere. I am contacting leaders right now after I have sent this email to find out how I can help them.

This is what white privilege looks like

Here is what white privilege looks like, even if you don’t have a lot of money and have other stuff stacked against you:
I saw a couple cops at Chipotle a few days ago. I was very very very tired from moving and painting and moving again and moving again, and so my usual wary look whenever I see cops probably looked much more hostile.
The cops immediately changed their order to go, followed me and my boys out of the place, and begin to follow me. They followed very closely, and waited until I put on my signal each time I turned to put on their signal. They wanted me to see that they were following me. I raced through my mind whether I’d paid my tabs, weather my very hungry breath might be confused for alcohol on my breath, if when I got pulled over Arie would flip out, I wondered if they were running my plates and made sure through my head that there is nothing they would find, which of course there wasn’t. I kept my hands at 10 and 2. I came to a very very very full and complete stop at all stop signs, and I waited for a while before I started when the lights would change. I was so so careful. 
After they had seen me nervously checking my rearview mirror over and over and met my eyes multiple times, I guess they figured that they had taught me not to glare at cops, and they turned and went their way.
At no point during any of this did I have even a MOMENT of fear for my life.