Move over disability discrimination. I am coming and I am not going away
A few weeks ago, two comments left on one of my posts really hit home. They both felt that in my writing this blog, I have an opportunity to raise awareness about disability. Boy do I ever feel that, and I will take it one step further - it is my responsibility and my moral obligation. I was not given such a big gob, dogged determination and so many opinions for nothing.
Although I have stated what I am going to write about and then written about it, I have never really explained why I am doing it, so think it's time to properly set out my stall. I have always been interested in equality and human rights. It would be strange if I had not been. My mother is a social anthropologist and one of the world's leading experts on stigmatised minorities. I grew up believing that everyone deserves to be treated equally and that embracing the differences in this wide and varied and fascinating and diverse human race of ours was always the way to go. Tolerance was not enough. Acceptance was a notch above tolerance. But to embrace. Yes. This would be nirvana.
When I became 'disabled', all of my values and beliefs got together and started hassling the disability and tried to give it meaning. At first, the disability told them to sod off. It was happy on its own and didn't want to come out to play, but they kept on nagging and I finally realised that I just had to do something about it. So, I started to do business mentoring with disabled people. This was good. I got to help others using my skills and experience. I liked it, but this was not enough, so I got involved in other charities in and around disability, but something was missing. I was helping others, which was great, but I was also experiencing discrimination and I was not going to take it lying down.
I started to look at the way that disabled people were perceived in society, so poor Mom got bombarded with calls and emails and requests for research and contacts. She was happy to comply and I got a pretty rapid and intense education. And within my new found knowledge, I found my purpose and that purpose will drive me forward for the rest of my life. I don't know how long it will take or how far I will get, but I do know that I will do everything in my power to create a positive perception of disability.
I will be able to put my feet up and rest once discrimination and the stereotypes and stigma that discrimination evokes are gone, so I expect to be at it for some time.