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Finding Strength At Our Intersections: Disability, Neurodiversity & Queerness.

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

As part of disability pride month, we asked a selection of our Queer Leaders: How do you think the intersection of your Queer and Disabled/Neurodivergent identities gives you strength? Here are the thoughts they'd like to share with you...

This image has a dark teal background with textured stripes. The title is in handwritten, white text that reads: “Finding Strength At Our Intersections.” The subtitle reads, “Disability, Neurodiversity & Queerness. by We Create Space” In the bottom right corner are black and white photos of six people. From left to right: (top row) Ryan Zaman, Mark Travis Rivera (bottom row) Anick Soni, Char Bailey, Coco, Tatum Karmen. They are surrounded by white sparkles.

A black and white picture picture of Coco. She has a medium skin tone and has dark textured hair that is coming out from under a black cap. Coco is wearing a dark tank top and is heavily tattooed. They have their hands clasped in front of them.

1. Coco (she/they)

“I think they both sit side by side, [the intersection of these two parts of my identity] give me strength to be my authentic self and learn to love the real me. It’s also given me further strength to be able to share and inspire others; so that they can see their neurodiversity as a superpower, rather than something that’s negative, which is what society tells us.”

A black and white picture of Char. She has dark skin and long dark hair that is styled in cornrows. She is smiling and wearing a white collared shirt and two necklaces.

2. Char Bailey (she/her)

“It gives me a unique experience of the world and therefore I have a different perspective. Being able to paradigm shift is a huge advantage. I simply see more and that gives me more empathy.”

A black and white picture of Anick. He has a medium skin tone, short dark hair and is wearing a dark turtleneck sweater and a blazer. His nose and ear are pierced.

3. Anick Soni (he/him)

"Being Queer and Disabled are two parts of me that contribute to my wholeness. It wasn’t until I accepted them, and made my own adjustments that I was able to find my strength. Oftentimes, I would try and control or minimise these aspects of myself to fit in, but it was always to my detriment. Now I’m vocal that it’s our worlds that need reshaping, not me."

A black and white picture of Tatum. They have pale skin, long blonde hair and are wearing a blazer over a white t-shirt. Their nose and ear are pierced and they wear a necklace.

4. Tatum Swithenbank (she/they)

"Being Queer and Disabled teaches me to live outside of the boxes which have been projected onto me, my identities guide me to be adaptable, creative and unapologetically me."

A black and white picture of Mark. He has tanned skin, short dark hair and is wearing eye makeup. He wears a dark blazer over a white shirt that is unbuttoned to reveal a “III” tattoo on his chest.

5. Mark Travis Rivera (he/him)

“Before my queer identity entered my consciousness, it was my disability that taught me the power of resilience and resistance. At the intersection of both of those identities, I recognize that I am strong and unstoppable.”

A black and white picture of Ryan. He has pale skin, very short bleached hair and is wearing a white hoodie.

6. Ryan Zaman (he/him)

“Growing up, I think I had a lot of difficulties when it came to how the queer parts of my identity interacted with the disabled parts of my identity. Now I’m older though, I think these two parts of me work together to give me strength by how they afford me a high level of emotional intelligence, and allow me to consider several perspectives in all that I do.”


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