It’s 2016 and I’ve now been living with Cerebral Palsy for 33 years. Attitudes towards disability have changed and largely improved over that time. Yet, it still amazes me how ignorant some people can be and resist being educated.
Yesterday, I was out and about with my mum who has always insisted that she will not speak for me – if somebody wants to know something, they can ask me, not her. As we waited for a bus a fellow passenger asked mum if I was her daughter. Mum politely confirmed that I was, before being asked the old age question, “How old is she?”
I quickly told the woman my age, hoping she would get the message that just because I have a disability, it doesn’t mean that I can’t speak for myself. Far from! Anyone who knows me or has read my memoir, will know I have my own views and opinions and that I’m not shy in voicing them!
I was hoping to have made my point with this lady but sadly she hadn’t got the hint. She continued to quiz mum about me as if I wasn’t even there! Having experienced this type of ignorance more times than we would have liked, Mum and I were both mildly irritated but also amused by the woman’s inability to take a hint.
Mum decided to put it bluntly: “Actually, SHE is a university graduate with a 2.1 honours degree and is also a married with a child of her own!”
“Where’s her child now then?”
Argh!!!! Some people will never understand or even attempt to put themselves into my shoes but if you’re the lady at the bus stop reading this, let me say this:
Yes I am disabled, No that doesn’t mean I can’t think or speak for myself, and No it doesn’t entitle you to ask me personal questions that are none of your business!
How many other complete strangers at the bus stop did you ask their age?!