See more then my disability

Through the work that the I Weigh Community were doing in 2018; the incredible Nina Tame created her little spin on this work and called it “disabled and …”. This was for a little bit of fun, but also to break down the stigmas and barriers that is associated with disability.

As many of you know I love raising awareness and breaking down stigmas, that are associated with disability. When I started writing in 2018, I didn't know much about disability rights and advocacy.

Later that year I met some people on the Youth Disability Advocacy Network, a small non-for-profit organisation. These people advocate on the behalf of young people living with disabilities. Through meeting this group of people, I knew what I was writing about was real, and that there is activists like myself, out there making a change in the community.

It’s not the disability that defines you, it’s how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with. We have obligation to the abilities we do have, not the disability.”

– Jim Abbot

Growing up, I didn’t really “idolise” any disabled people, and this is due to the lack of representation of disability that there was in the media. When I started sharing my story, I was also getting to know more and more people within the disability community. Through this my prospection about “cerebral palsy” and “disability” ended up changing. I would love to see change within this space, as the lack of awareness really does put stigmas and opinions of minority groups into perspective. This fight doesn’t happen overnight, laws don’t get put into place within weeks. This takes years, and years in the making.

Through listening to other people’s stories, I have seen how massive the stigmas and the lack of understanding about disabled people is. Yes, having a disability is a massive adjustment, but we also have other words and phrases that we identify with. I personally believe that people need to see a lot more of this, rather than assuming that our life is always hard and difficult.

I personally don't like stigma's and barriers that are associated with in minority communities, as there are so many more terms and phrases that a person can identify with. For me, as you can see in the picture above there are so many more words I identify with, not just my disability.

A picture of me and a colourful background. This is for see more then my disability, and my words for this are volunteer, sister, daughter, young person, advocate, committee member, cousin, writer, athlete and friend.
Image description: Layne is a young lady who is wearing dark blue jeans, orange t-shirt and bright blue glasses. She has her hand out to her right showing something, while the other hand is on her hip. On the wall is a bunch of sandbags hanging down from a pink flat roof which has a few wooden houses on them, as well as trees. There is a stairway up. In front of tis there are a lot of words. Up the top of the picture there is a blue box that says, “see more then my disability and throughout the photo there are purple boxes with words, “volunteer”, “sister”, “daughter”, “young person”, “advocate”, “committee member”, “cousin”, “writer”, “athlete” and “friend”.

Living in the 21st century, I am so incredibly lucky to be doing what I am doing, and particular doing it as young as I am. If technology hasn't and isn't evolving like it is right now. I wouldn't be able to do what I do, and so I'm so grateful for this space and opportunity that has come my way.

Living within the 21st century I am so incredibly lucky, and thankful to be given the opportunity to do what I do. If technology wasn’t growing as fast as it is in today’s world I would most likely not have been given this platform to use. To amplify my voice, and to teach the non-disabled community about people living with disabilities.

Let's break down this barrier, not just for people with disabilities, but for all diverse and minority communities, to make the next generation a better place.

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