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Things in common / 6 March 2009

One of the things that really gets up my nose is when people assume that just because I’m Disabled, I must therefore enjoy being with other Disabled people and will get on with them like a house on fire.

 I can remember one occasion when I’d been invited to a small gathering by some friends and I was introduced to a guy who had some form of muscular impairment. I was using a power wheelchair that evening and the assumption was that both being Disabled we’d have a lot to talk about.

 The fact that he was just to the right of Genghis Khan, wouldn’t recognise the Social Model understanding of disability even if it bit him in the arse, and talked incessantly about his various doctors appointments didn’t exactly endear him to me. I think I feigned a slow puncture or something and made my excuses before going off in search of someone with a pump!

 I’ve done lots of cartoons based around the concept of ‘the disabled’ and how the term identifies us as being a homogeneous group of people, in effect all being the same. This is unfortunately how a lot of people see us and I know that a lot of decisions that affect our lives are made based upon this assumption.

 I don’t think that there’s the expectation that non-disabled people aren’t allowed to make friends with Disabled people is there? So why the surprise when we enjoy the company of non-disabled friends as well? People are attracted to people, regardless of race, religion, gender, age or impairment; simple enough concept I would have thought?!

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