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Showing posts from January, 2016

A Man Stood Up Out of His Wheelchair After a Roger Federer Miracle Shot

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Caption - the author, five years ago. Text description - A woman half sitting on a car bonnet with a forearm crutch in her hands.

You don’t see that every day, the article says.

The headline is compelling. ‘A man has sensationally jumped out of his wheelchair after Roger Federer hit an unbelievable shot in his three sets to one loss against Novak Djokavic at the Australian Open semi finals’.

A miracle, they say.

‘The ~miracle~ occurred after Federer managed to get onto the end of a particularly slight touch from Djokovic’, the article reads, and is followed by a flurry of Twitter posts mocking or denouncing the man in the wheelchair, who had the audacity to stand up in his excitement.

Well, it’s miracle time at my house – along with the homes of millions of other wheelchair users who do not have a spinal cord injury.

Let’s explain wheelchairs. They are mobility devices, used to assist people who cannot walk, who cannot walk far, cannot walk without pain, cannot walk for long d…

The March

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Image description: A woman with red hair and a green shirt is being pushed in a wheelchair. A sign on the back of the wheelchair says, 'Black lives matter. Disabled lives matter.'
“Will you come and march with us on January 26?”

I think about it. The young man who is asking me is a young indigenous man named Clinton, and we are sitting at the outskirts of a homelessness community at Matagarup, a place that means ‘leg-deep’. It is home to a dozen homeless families, a few hard core activists protesting the closure of black communities, a few people who are travelling from interstate or who have moved to the city after their communities have been closed.

‘Why would we march?’, I ask. I am a disability rights activist, but I sometimes visit the island. The people there are always warm and polite and helpful. Sometimes I take food. Always, I learn something.

‘For change,’ Clinton says. ‘For the Australia we want to be. Do you want anything to change in Australia? I do.…

The Buck Stops With Us

Let's put it into tiny little words, simple little concepts.

Do you remember the time your mother said to you, 'I feel so much grief and anger that I had you instead of the child I really wanted'?

No, neither do I.

You can't talk about love and grief in the same mouthful and expect your child to buy it. What, you'd never say it to their face? Do you not think that they see it in your eyes every time you look sad on their birthday, every time you look resigned that they didn't achieve on the same level as their peers?

End this bullshit myth that disability is tragedy and that disabled children are lesser, unworthy. I'm tired of it. I want to see we parents pulling the Welcome To Holland posters off our fridges, tearing the awareness bracelets off our wrists, stopping the channeling of hate and disappointment through our own internalised ableism.

It is the only way we can change the world for our children. The buck stops with us.

Damien Little and Geoff Hunt were not 'good blokes'. But who are the perpetrators we are NOT talking about?

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He’s not a good bloke. He’s a murderer.

Two days after Damien Little drove his car off a Port Lincoln wharf with his two children, we’re calling for some balance. You’re not a victim if you take out your two small children with you – you’re a criminal. The same goes for Geoff Hunt, who gunned down his entire family in Lockhart last year before killing himself.

A ‘good bloke’ would not have shot his eight year old daughter in the face as she sat up against the bedhead.

These are unquestionable truths. A murderer, by definition, is a person who commits murder. By annihilating your entire family, you become a criminal and a perpetrator of familicide and filicide.

The upholstery in Damien Little’s family car will still be damp, and we’re dissecting the details of the murder with enormous gusto. He was mentally ill, his mother speculates. This is part of a wider discussion about violent men, say the feminists. Google indicates that there are 25,700 results for the search on…

It's Time to Have a Conversation

Trigger warning - abuse, hate speech, offensive language

Freedom of speech advocates say that society will regulate itself, and that hate speech against disabled people has no impact upon those people. They should turn the other cheek.

I do not think this is true.

'People kill abortion providers not simply because they believe abortion is immoral, but because widespread hate speech against abortion providers creates an atmosphere of perceived acceptance and impunity for their actions.'

It is easier to kill a mong, or a retard, or a cripple, or an 'other' than it is to kill a human. It is easy to define a disabled person by their impairment and the 'burden' they place upon others or impose able bodied constructs around the 'nature of our suffering' - it is not so easy to regard that disabled person as a valued member of society. It is easy to devalue us, and the easiest way to do that is through being a purveyor of hate.

If there was not a causa…