New year, new disability awareness goals

03/01/2023 0 Comments

Welcome back to Caring About Sex and Disability.  

Well, friends, we made it to 2023.  Let’s be really quiet and careful not to touch anything… It has been a tough year for a lot of us, with COVID still looming and taking its toll on disabled community members, the loneliness of disability whilst trying to make connections – it has been quite a lot. 

So, for 2023, I want to look bring you a blog that offers some goals to make ‘23 happy for those with disabilities and those who work with them in care.  Let’s crack on, shall we?

Goal #1: Address your ableism in 2023.

Ableism is something that we don’t talk about enough in care settings or anywhere really.  The best way to start that shift in 2023 is to address ableism within our own lives. 

So, I’d suggest setting small goals to address your ableism daily.  Think about the language that you use when you talk about disability to clients, or as a disabled person.  Consider some of the beliefs that you have around disability, and break them down.  If you turn breaking down ableism into a daily offering for yourself it won’t seem like this large, looming task.  Put your thoughts in a journal so that you can refer back to them to review your progress.  

Goal #2: Make accessibility something that all of us need to think about.

We only talk about accessibility in really small ways.  It usually only comes around as an afterthought or a footnote.  Accessibility is something that all of us can partake in. 

In 2023, talk to your friends about what accessibility means for them and for you.  Perhaps you could go down to your local bar or favourite restaurant/hangout spot and gently ask them about accessibility.  When disabled people talk about accessibility or a lack thereof, it can be easy to get frustrated and upset really quickly.  In 2023, make it your goal to turn accessibility into a friendly conversation.  Give solutions to your fave hangout spot on the little ways they can provide accessibility they may not have thought of.  Do this without shaming them or anger, and see what happens! 

Goal #3: Take a second to rest; really, it’s okay.

Can we dub 2023 as the year that rest is a right?  So many of us who live with disabilities and those who care for us, struggle with rest.  If you’re disabled, you may feel like if you haven’t been productive due to disability, you are a burden to the system and you have no worth.  I feel this way all the f&cking time, and it can be exhausting.  It is okay to stop and take time to rest.  So many disabilities and chronic pain conditions mean that we need to rest.  Guess what, that is okay.  If you are a carer to a disabled person you may feel like you can’t rest due to your responsibilities to someone else.  As long as they are safe and cared for, you can also rest.  Disabled people appreciate what you do, and without you we couldn’t do what we do! 

Take time to honour your disabled or carer bodies in 2023, and take that rest – it’s your right!

Goal #4: Disabled Joy in 2023 

If you are disabled, it is all too easy to find the things about disability that are difficult, unpleasant, unsexy, the list goes on and on.  Trust me, my list is a lot. 

So, in 2023, take a moment to look for disabled joy.  What is it, you ask?  Those are the moments where you as a disabled person find joy in being disabled.  Here are some examples to start you off: 

  • Tilting back your power chair and napping in the sun (my favourite in the summer) 
  • Helping to change someone’s worldview around disability 
  • Disability humour 
  • Talking about the hard parts of disability in a safe space.

These are just a few things that bring me disabled joy, and I hope you can find your own disabled joy too. 

Welp, I hope this list was a kick off to 2023 for you and gave you gentle nudges of what you can do to make disability better for disabled people in your life, or as a disabled person yourself.  If you have your own 2023 disability goals, let me know in the comments below.  Stay tuned for another Caring About Sex and Disability next month.

Andrew Gurza

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