When I’m faced with exclusion and ableism, I find it productive to use these stories in a piece of writing or a speech.
I did that at a conference – I spoke in front of 1500 people at the Melbourne Town Hall (!) last week. It was for Progress 2017.
A couple of months ago I was removed from a Facebook group for being too political about my disability. Apparently it wasn’t the group for me, and I was making people uncomfortable sharing my experience. It’s a group run by feminist women. This might seem like a trivial social media fallout. But to me, this microaggression represents the systemic exclusion and ableism faced by women with disability. And so I’m talking about this – how disability is the forgotten part of diversity.
Here’s a bit of my speech.
“Disability is part of my identity, just like gender, race, sexuality and religion. It cannot be separated. I am a proud disabled woman and I will speak about it. I will make you uncomfortable with my politics and pride. You will not silence this part of my identity.
You can’t be a good feminist if you are not intersectional. That means you must include, listen to and value people with disability in your conversations, policies, writings, conferences, and protests. It hurts when we’re excluded. Even from Facebook groups.”
Thanks for the inspo, ladies! I turned those lemons into a cocktail. I felt utterly exhilarated.
Here’s a video of my talk. I’m sorry not to provide the transcript – I want to do something with it that probably prevents pre-publication.
Thanks to Kevin Rennie for filming it.
During and following the conference, I spoke out about the lack of accessibility at the event – you can view that here.
Here are some photos of the day.
Has this piece of writing helped you or made you think? Will you use it in your workplace or classroom? Please consider buying me a drink to show your appreciation.