Disability Visibility Matters

People living with disabilities need more representation

People with disabilities make up the largest minority in the world. Around 10 per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability.

Despite this, they are rarely represented in the media. Even within social movements, such as body positivity, disabled people are often left out.

This invisibility often translates to them being ignored, forgotten, and misunderstood in everyday life.

What can we do?

It’s clear that many able-bodied people need a lesson or two about what it’s like to live with a disability, and how we can challenge our own behaviour to be more inclusive.

Thankfully Robyn Lambird, a young athlete with cerebral palsy, has given us some great insights into what everyone should know about people living with a disability in this great Teen Vogue article. 

In short, she makes three great points about the diversity of disabilities, need for representation, and importance of not pitying disabled people.

 

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about societies projection of narratives onto the ordinary actions of disabled people, such as how they get around, and how society often views the wheelchair as a symbol of struggle. When in reality, for myself and many other disabled individuals, the chair is more representative of freedom. For me it’s a symbol of keeping up with friends, being active, and the good times I’ve had even though my legs were too tired to carry me. I often wonder how my life might be different if society understood this, and perhaps viewed my wheelchair through the eyes of a child; seeing it as a fun filled green machine, rather than a result of misfortune. I guess what I’m trying to say is that wheelchairs are rad, rolling is fun, and without it I wouldn’t be able to be as active in the community, but at the end of the day it’s just a way to get around. A chair isn’t someone’s story, it’s just a different pair of shoes. #disability #disabled #wheelchair #cerebralpalsy #identity #bodypositivity #babewithamobilityaid #streetstyle #streetart #androgynous #tomboy #nonbinary #awareness #ootd #wiwt #style #disabledmodel

A post shared by Robyn The Trex Lambird (@robynlambird) on

Ask questions

Even after reading her short article, you may have a ton of questions. That’s totally okay. Robyn believes that the best way to learn about people’s experiences of living with a disability is to ask them about it in a polite and respectful way.

Challenge yourself to learn more about disabled people’s everyday lives and how you can become an ally by simply speaking to people with disabilities.

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