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Mette

My name is Mette, I am the new Campaigns Officer and I am #DisabledAndProud. I am autistic, have a connective tissue disease and a mental illness. I believe in the social model of disability, which states that a large part of what creates disability is not our physical differences but whether society is adapted to those differences. For me identifying with the label Disabled means acknowledging that I am playing life on “hard mode”. Acknowledging that I am disabled has helped me adapt to my differences, take pride in how I’m managing, and find a supportive community.


Giulia

Hey everyone!  I’m Giulia and I’m proud to be the new Communications Officer. I have cerebral palsy, chronic pain, dyslexia and dyspraxia. For my whole life, I struggled to create an identity for myself where I was not defined by my disability and not just “ the poor disabled child” but also not treating my disability as some sort of terrible secret that would ruin people’s perception of me if exposed. My relationship to my disability is ever-evolving as my condition goes through flare-ups and flare downs, but having a community of disabled people around me to share and empathise our common experiences has been vital in my growing self-confidence and finally being able to say that I am #DisabledAndProud.


Hester

Hi everyone, I’m Hester and I’m the LGBTQ+ Disabled Officer this year! I have a bunch of chronic illnesses and ADHD and I first started using the term disabled for myself once I realised that it didn’t have to be a bad label. At first, I had a lot of internalised ableism and thought that I couldn’t use the term because being disabled was something that happened to other people, and that using the term would be “giving up”. But I realised that calling myself disabled meant that I could accept that not only do I need accommodations to help me through university life (and outside) but also that I deserve them, and shouldn’t feel guilty for asking. So today I am #DisabledAndProud!


Zohar

Hi folks, I’m Zohar and I’m your Disabled Students’ Officer this year. I have an autoimmune illness and I’m neurodivergent. I resisted the term disabled at first, preferring to call myself chronically ill. However I eventually found out that the point of the label is to unite a community rather than to define anyone as ‘lesser’ - and in many ways, especially as a neurodivergent person, I feel my disabilities have given me unique perspectives and skills compared to abled people. In the disability community I have met lifelong friends, and a community that can support me and empower me. Most importantly for me, it gives me a community of people who have faced the same struggles who I can now give back to. I identify proudly as a disabled activist and I am proud to be working on disabled people’s civil rights at UCL. #DisabledAndProud


Abigail

Hi, I’m Abigail and I’m the new Web Officer for this year! Being #DisabledAndProud is a label I shied away from in the past, perceiving that there was a ‘disability threshold’ I needed to pass. I realise now it was from the internalised understanding of what society considers disabled and that I, as we all are, am valid. Today, meeting the amazing community here at UCL and my wonderful committee members, I can confidently say that this hashtag couldn’t be more true. Taking on this hashtag is helping me trust that my adjustments are just as valid as I am, and to begin to gain the self-confidence to ask. I’m here and I’m #DisabledAndProud.


Find out more about the Disabled Students’ Network

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