Simon Stevens, a sometimes contentious disability activist, is determined to encourage other disabled people to ‘‘forgive, like, love and enjoy themselves” to help them take back power. Read his story to really understand the man behind the controversy.
My name is Simon James Stevens. I am 45 and live in Coventry, and my core identity is that I have cerebral palsy to a significant degree. I also have nerve pain, mild bipolar (where I can feel up and down in mood at the same time), as well as mild asthma. In addition, I am gay.
I have found myself now being an internationally-respected disability activist, which I find humbling as it is just how I am. I am also a disability consultant, trainer, researcher, writer, actor, comedian and anything else I can be paid to do. I have worked with more than 200 organisations and I enjoy my work, although it can be hard to get paid opportunities.
I want to stress that I do not pity myself or think I am better than anyone else. I believe that in using my natural hyper-intelligence – which is more of a curse than a gift because I am living in a spastic body – as well as my determination and courage, mean I am merely taking up the opportunities offered to me.
I am open and honest and I am fully aware that this makes me controversial. I know I have upset a lot of other disability activists over the years with my challenging views. But I have no regrets.
However, because people who are prepared to listen to me understand my commitment to helping all disabled people have the best life experiences and opportunities, that requires taking on responsibilities.
My supposed achievements have been widely publicised. While they are amazing, they are by-products of who I am. Of course, it is exciting to go to a reception in Parliament or at Downing Street, but it is part of my work.
But my real achievement is helping others around the world in many ways, big and small. Despite all the helplines for disabled people, friends often ask me for advice as they know I actually do know it all and, if I don’t, I will find out very quickly!
You can find out more about Simon Stevens or get in contact with him by visiting his website.
Click here to read full article https://disabilityhorizons.com/2019/08/simon-stevens-im-disabled-im-gay-and-im-controversial/