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Written by Elenore Stolz, LBTQ+ Disabled Student Rep

I guess I never used the term disabled until recently. I got emails aimed at Disabled students then looked at the definition of what counts as a disability and was like ‘oh I have that’. Being disabled to me is living with a health condition that makes life different for you than for other people. People have this stereotype of what disability means and what being disabled looks like but that’s really not the full picture. That’s part of what disability awareness is about: showing people what the term disability means. The other part is showing the world that it needs to change to be accessible rather than us needing to change and ‘overcome’ our disabilities. I have tried and tried to ‘overcome’ my disability but at the end of the day, that’s not how it works. The biggest thing to overcome with my disability is people’s stigmas and neglect. My health is the way it is and that can be alleviated but it won’t be perfect. People though, they can change.

This DHM (Disability history month) is about how far have we come and how far have we yet to go? I think people think that the world is suitable for people with disabilities as it is because we have come so far. We have so long still to go though. Hearing people’s stories and reflecting on my own all I can think is ‘wow they (UCL) really think they have nailed this when they neglect so many people?’ I had to take a gap year because of the NHS, charities and UCL neglecting my health. I think they mean well. I think they don’t have the funds.

I can see them improving since my gap year though, and that was only 2 years ago. Change is happening, we need to ensure it keeps happening.

If you want to find out more about the Disabled Students’ Network and all the work they do to make change happen, then you can do so here.