I’ve been awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM). It’s for my work with disabled people
You can read the whole Australia Day Honours list here.
I admit to having a massive case of imposter syndrome – it’s a strange feeling. I’ve known for over a month and haven’t been able to write anything down about it until now.
But I’ve reflected on my achievements – editing Growing Up Disabled in Australia, writing Say Hello, speaking at various writers festivals including Ubud, Melbourne and Byron, working as Access and Inclusion Coordinator at Melbourne Fringe, creating Access to Fashion at Melbourne Fashion Week, running the Australian Ichthyosis Meet, appearing on You Can’t Ask That, working with advocates to change policies, writing for the media and providing advice and support to countless people with ichthyosis, facial difference and disability (and their families). My work has always been about inclusion, representation and visibility for the wider community.
Someone in the media just asked what my greatest achievement has been. It took a while to answer. I said “defying others’ low expectations of me”.
It’s an honour for my work to be recognised on a national level, and I hope that other disabled people can see what’s possible.
There are so many leaders – past and present – who have worked hard for disability rights, and I am thankful to them for teaching me so much. We are a strong, resilient and hardworking community and I’m proud to be a part of it.
I am excited to continue to do work in the skin condition, appearance diversity and disability spaces, and the media, literary and arts communities – and beyond. I have some big plans.
While I’m proud to be an Australian, I didn’t want to mention this award yesterday as I don’t believe it’s a day for celebration. I strive for a more equitable Australia in all of my work, and this includes recognising and working with First Nations people.
Thank you to everyone who believes in me – family, friends, colleagues, readers and strangers.
It’s an honour to be included among great people including some of my faves – Tim Minchin, Rebekah Robinson and Georgie Stone, Jane Turner, Peter Combe and more.
Watch a video about my OAM on SBS.