I’ve recently been accused of appropriating my disability and race.
That I just “came out“ as a person of colour.
This is when I came out as a person of colour – born with Ichthyosis. December 1981.
If you’re interested in my family and race, you can read my story in Growing Up African in Australia – published in 2019. Maxine Beneba Clarke asked me to contribute a story, and I did so with the support of my agents Jacinta Di Mase and Danielle Binks, and of course my Mum.
My Mum and I talked on ABC 7.30 last year – and I mentioned how her blackness would be whispered about in the small town I grew up in.
I was also shortlisted in The Horne Prize in 2019 for a personal and political story on disability and migration. It hasn’t been published yet but I’d love to find a home for it.
I also wrote this piece very recently – it looks at the intersection of race, appearance diversity and disability, and how I’ve been assumed to be white. It also details my journey to seeing my race as part of my identity. It had a fantastic response and I have been encouraged to write more on this topic.
And I wrote about my family and my race in my memoir Say Hello.
I didn’t always call myself a woman of colour – even though I’m mixed race – but now I do. Just as I didn’t always identify as disabled – even though I was born with ichthyosis. Identity evolves when we understand ourselves better.
And yes, I also have a writing, speaking, activism and arts career that pays me a wage, allowing me to live my best life. I am not apologising.
Nobody will deny me of my identity and family history.
PS: how beautiful is my Mum? If you’re not following her on Twitter, what are you doing with your life?!
If my work has helped you or made you think, or if you use it in my work, please consider buying me a drink. Thanks.