I do not identify as a person with a disability. I’m a disabled person. And I’ll be a monkey’s disabled uncle if I’m going to apologise for that.
My parents didn’t know what to do with me, so they just pretended I was normal, and that worked out quite well for me.
Too often, we fall into the trap of thinking ‘equal’ means ‘the same’ and that we achieve equality by treating everyone identically.
As a wheelchair user, I am utterly obsessed with toilets, and all my friends know it. A simple invitation to the pub is consistently followed by, ‘Do you know if they have an accessible toilet?’
I really love filling out forms – quite fortuitous, really, given that as one of Australia’s 4 million-ish disabled people, ticking boxes and recording my life for other people is what I’ve spent a fair chunk of my time doing.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that from puberty onwards, the female body is disgusting and unruly and must be tamed, trimmed and tinted to within an inch of its life before it can be allowed to roam freely in the public eye.
I am not a snowflake. I am not a sweet, infantilising symbol of fragility and life. I am a strong, fierce, flawed adult woman. I plan to remain that way, in life and in death.
Throughout her career Young called for the achievements of disabled people to be valued, but insisted her disability – she was born with Osteogenesis imperfecta – did not automatically make her exceptional. “Disability doesn’t make you exceptional, but questioning what you think you know about it does,” she said in a TEDx talk in April…
“A feminist, an atheist and an activist with her own one-woman show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival – Stella was afraid of nothing and believed she could do anything,” they said.