In recent years I feel that mainstream media has made important steps in promoting disability awareness. However society generally speaking has a long way to go in terms of true equality for disabled people, whether it be a sight-related impairment like mine or a disability of greater severity. I and others feel that the portrayal of disability doesn’t accurately reflect its true nature. This I feel is a combination of ‘inspiration porn’ (where a person is deemed inspirational solely or in part on the basis of their disability), and in some cases a desire for empathy and sympathy from those who publicly discuss issues surrounding disability.
An ex software programmer turned musician and writer with an equal passion for engineering and electronics, I was born in 1996 with an eye condition called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) which renders me totally blind in both eyes. This has presented me with a number of unique challenges throughout my 21 years, and endowed me with many early life lessons of acceptance, trust, friendship, self-confidence and equality, not to mention a unique perspective on the world around us.
Through a combination of straight-talking honesty, total openness and (hopefully) a large collective of readers, I hope to share what it’s really like to be a disabled person today. I’d like to break down some of the barriers we face and to help the general population understand that we all have something in common, that we too are ‘normal’ people with unique personalities and gifts to share and that the majority of us don’t wish to be defined by our disability.
To call this “the disability series” is a topic that has caused me much debate and is a title that I’m still unsure of. While the series will focus on aspects of a disability, its intention is to promote and demonstrate ability, rather than a lack of ability as the word disability implies. However in the absence of a better name it is sticking. The above few paragraphs were, and continue to be used as pitches when pitching articles to media outlets, but are reposted here as they accurately sum up what I hope this series will become.