Thursday, 16 October 2014

I won't take any lectures

I am disabled. I am very ill.
I am also human.
This means that (*gasp*) occasionally I might get things wrong.

I often discuss disability matters online. It turns out that there is a lot I don't know, in particular about other illnesses and other disabilities which I don't personally have.
Being sick and disabled doesn't suddenly make me an expert on every single illness in existence. It doesn't make me aware of every obstacle other disabled people have to face.

When other disabled people tell me that certain disability related ideas, preconceptions or stereotypes I have are wrong and tell me about their own experiences,
I don't tell them that "I don't need lectures from anyone", just because I also happen to be disabled.
I listen.
I learn.

Being disabled isn't a "Get out of Jail Free" card which allows me to discount all other disabled people's opinions and experiences.
At most it should perhaps make me more sympathetic and more willing to listen. Sometimes there are shared experiences which make it easier to relate. That is all.

David Cameron continually uses his own experience of disability to brush off any criticism and shut down any debate of his government's disability or NHS policies.
This is wrong.
His experiences are no more a "Get out of Jail Free" card than my own disability status is.
His policies should be just as open to scrutiny and criticism as those of any other Prime Minister before him. If anything he should be more open to listening, not shutting down debate at every turn. It is time to stop walking on eggshells and address the issues which so desperately need debating.

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