I wrote and filmed this for Disability Day 2023. Saying “I don’t see you as disabled, you’re just Carly to me” is not the compliment you think it is. I also meant to add, you don’t see my access needs.
I’m Carly Findlay and I’m a proud disabled woman.
I know you mean well.
But it is not a compliment to say “I don’t see you as disabled”, or “I don’t see your disability”.
What you’re really saying is you don’t see the ableism and discrimination I face on a daily basis.
You don’t see that there’s a diverse spectrum and experience of disability.
You don’t see the barriers you can assist in dismantling.
You don’t see one of the things that makes me uniquely me.
You don’t see that disability is a key part of my identity – I can’t leave it behind.
You don’t see that disability means community, culture, joy and pride among so many disabled people
And you think disability is a bad thing, a deficit, a tragedy, an insult…so how could I possibly be disabled?
I’m asking you to see me, see my disability. Its OK for you to see me as disabled. It’s part of me.
Video: Carly, a woman with a red face and short dark curly hair, standing in front of a bookshelf, talking to camera. She’s wearing a pastel pink, purple, green and orange rectangular print dress, and a brooch that’s a pale pink and gold glitter sunrise with a face on it. The video has captions. Transcript above. Image is a photo of Carly wearing the same thing, with “What it means when you say “I don’t see you as disabled” in purple text over white.