The F Word: Disability
Feminism and disability rights are both about questioning social norms and removing obstacles to equal access. They look at social constructions of the body, identity and public space. What does ‘normal’ look like – and is there such a thing, or have we subconsciously agreed on an ideal that doesn’t actually fit the majority? To what extent should individuals change to fit with society, and in what ways should society itself evolve to meet different needs? What does an inclusive society look like?
We look at how feminist analysis has helped illuminate some of the social institutions and cultural obstacles that impede the rights of people with a disability, just as disability activism has informed feminism. And we find out how feminists with a disability express their identities, fight for their rights, and envisage a society that works for us all.
This discussion is Auslan interpreted and captioned.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Maxine's short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, the Age, Meanjin, the Saturday Paper and the Big Issue. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015 and the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. She was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists for 2015.
‘We must adopt an intersectional approach to understanding the experiences of the LGBTIQA+ community with disabilities. Intersectionality provides us with a political framework to understand how multiple forms of discrimination are experienced and lived ... our identities don’t exist in a vacuum, they overlap and inform each other.’
Jax is a passionate activist committed to addressing the disadvantages LGBTIQA+ people with disability face. They adopt a social model perspective where disability is created by structural exclusion and ableism. Through their extensive work as a writer, workshop and forum presenter, university lecturer, spoken-word performer and theatre producer, Brown aims to challenge disability stereotypes and spotlight serious issues for change.
Naomi Chainey is a freelance writer and filmmaker with a focus on feminism and disability rights. She has a degree in media studies.
Jessica Knight is a writer, performer and comedian based in Melbourne. She has appeared in The Emerging Writers Festival, Red Dirt Poetry Festival. Her writing has appeared in Meanjin and Scum Mag. Jessica is a 2018 recipient of a Creative Victoria grant that will help fund her one woman show, Mormon Girl, about growing up Mormon and how she disentangled herself from that belief system to became the unapologetic feminist she is today. Jess won this November's MOTH story slam by telling a five minute version of her Mormon Girl show.
Kath Duncan is a 50-something writer, activist and raconteur with many decades of feminist and disability pride under her belt. Kath works in social media, and has a background in journalism and teaching communications.