, a Paralympian, is bringing attention to a common issue that many people with disabilities
face: harassment from people who do not believe they are disabled.
The swimmer, who has 13 Paralympic gold medals, recently posted a TikTok
video in which she expressed her
frustration at being shamed for parking in a handicapped-accessible spot despite being an amputee with a disabled person parking permit.
@jessicatatianalong To the handicap police
... please be kind! #amputeelife #fyp ORIGINAL SESSION - Tik Toker
Long explained that once, while parking, a woman in another car gave her a disgusted look, rolled down her window, and informed her that she shouldn't be parking there. Long explained that she is an amputee, and the woman "just drove away."
The 29-year-old athlete emphasized how often the "handicap police" shame her for using a parking spot she needs in her TikTok video, which has over 1 million views.
“I was never bullied as a child
, and I had no idea that I would be bullied by adults because I park in handicapped parking
, and I get it. I'm young, athletic, but I'm also missing legs! And I know I make it look easy, but it's still really hard. My legs are heavy, they hurt me, and I'm in pain.”
Long, who you may recognize from a Toyota
commercial about her life (above), has fibular hemimilia, a condition in which she was not born with lower legs, as she explains in another TikTok video. Her adoptive parents amputated part of her legs when she was 13 months old so she could learn to walk in prosthetic legs.
Despite her achievements, Long stated in a September 2020 Instagram
post that she is frequently harassed for parking in handicapped-accessible spaces.
Jessica Long (@jessicatatianalong) shared this post on Instagram.
“I get two to four comments per week just going about my normal routine and parking in handicap spaces,” the caption of her post reads. “I've had people yell at me, leave notes on my windshield, knock on my car window, or wait for me to get out
of my car just to tell me I can't park there. My worst experience to date was an older couple who followed me around a grocery store and kept making communications with me.
Unfortunately, disabled people are frequently harassed by parking lot vigilantes who believe they do not have the right to park in handicapped-accessible spaces.
It's critical to remember that not all disabilities are visible.