Some people get confused when I talk about being tired of the stares, comments, questions and discrimination because of my face. They aren’t sure what to do, sometimes even asking “well do you want people to look at or ask about your face or not?”. It implies I can’t have it both ways. That I can’t ask for people to see me, but also not perpetuate the tiring micro-aggressions and outright discrimination.
But I can.
When I ask you not to stare, or ask me intrusive questions, I’m asking just that. I certainly don’t want people to launch into a question or comment about my face when they haven’t even said hello (which is why I called my book Say Hello). I am not an object of curiosity.
When I ask you to see me – I’m asking you not to look away, not to be fearful, and not to discriminate based on my facial difference and skin condition.
When I ask you to see me, I am asking you to see my joy and intelligence and humour and confidence – to see that I love and am loved, and that I am happy. Please never pity me for looking the way I do.
When I ask you to see my disability I’m asking you to see the disabling barriers and discrimination I endure, believe that it happens, and do your part in dismantling it.
When I ask you to see me, I’m asking to be treated with respect – like you’ve treated the people without facial differences and skin conditions.
It’s the last day of Face Equality Week. Face Equality is a human right, and it needs to be recognised as such every day.
Has this post help you think differently about facial difference and disability? You can buy me a drink here.
PS: Here’s my book Say Hello – available in paperback, ebook and audiobook worldwide. Find it here.