Missing voices and invisibility

Missing voices and invisibility
Posted on Wed 22 Sep 2021

Written by Hannah Diviney, author, activist and client of CPA. She will be writing a regular column for CPA exploring her journey with cerebral palsy and activism – you can read the first blog post here.

 

Oh, my goodness you guys, how is it September already?! I feel like I was just here, sharing my 22 lessons with you to celebrate my birthday, and now I’m back again. Time flies when you’re having fun?! Hope everyone’s coping OK in lockdown – we have a light at the end of the tunnel now, at least…

This month, there’s a few things I wanted to share with you. First, I wanted to talk to you all about the brand new podcast Cerebral Palsy Alliance has launched, called Cerebral Conversations - a really great series of illuminating chats between some familiar faces at CPA and high profile Aussies we all know and love. I’m even in an episode chatting to writer, model and disability advocate, the all-around legend, Tara Moss!!!

Tara and I have known each other for a little while now (we connected as part of the huge and vibrant disability community on Twitter), and it was honestly a real treat to get to sit down and chat with her, about all things identity, accessibility, representation and a whole lot more. You can hear our episode on World CP Day, October 6th, but check out Cerebral Conversations and all its great stories so far, wherever you get your podcasts.

A lot of my work as a disability advocate centres around the idea that disabled people are often missing; onscreen, at work, in the community and from conversations where their voices deserve to be heard and their stories told. Our visibility is still not normalised. And if things are ever going to get better for our community, that needs to change. Like, now.

But, unfortunately, this trend of invisibility and voicelessness is not an experience isolated solely to the disabled community. It’s experienced by Indigenous communities, other people of colour, refugees, migrants, the LGBTQ community (with that becoming even more stark for transgender and non-binary individuals), and it’s also experienced a lot by women. Everywhere.

In fact, recent research by Luba Kassova of The Gates Foundation indicates that the representation of women and girls in news, media, democracy and decision-making is at an all-time-low on a global scale. This also obviously means our engagement with these things is at an all-time-low. If you’re not seeing yourself or you don’t feel heard, and the decisions of people in power, or even the people themselves don’t reflect what you need in your life, why would you engage with the oppressive systems that keep that status quo in place?

That’s where Missing Perspectives comes in. Missing Perspectives is a global publication platform, built off the findings of Luba Kassova’s research. Our mission is literally to address the marginalisation of women and girls across those fields I just mentioned, worldwide. I am fortunate enough to be the Editor in Chief at Missing Perspectives, and it is a job I have been fulfilled by every single day, since our launch in June earlier this year. At this stage, we have featured the work of women from across 35 countries, all of them writing from their lived experience about issues that matter to them and their communities. This is a world first and we are pioneering lived experience journalism.  That includes putting disabled stories front and centre but also creating space to talk about: climate change, period poverty, racial justice, the importance of girl’s education, reproductive rights and so many other amazing things.

To be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect with Missing Perspectives. Our founder, Phoebe Santilan, and I knew that we loved the idea and saw how important it could be, but we weren’t sure how other people would react. We hoped they’d love it, because 2021 definitely feels like the right time for people to be having these important conversations, but we still held our breath a little bit. We didn’t need to – Missing Perspectives has readers in over 80 countries, can you believe that??? I can’t.

Now, the reason I wanted to spend some time this month, telling you all about my work with Missing Perspectives and introducing you to the community we are building, is because NEXT month, some pretty exciting, Big with a capital ‘B’ stuff is going to be happening for me and the team. And I want to make sure you guys have front row seats to watching it all unfold. So stay tuned for my October column, or you can check out our website www.missingperspectives.com and follow us over on Insta @missingperspectives or Twitter @missingperspec My lips are sealed until next month, but I promise all will be revealed then…

In the meantime, stay safe and dream big. See you here in October. To connect and let me know what you'd like to chat about in these columns head to Facebook to our Cerebral Palsy Alliance Community Group. xxx

It’s Dogtober! October is officially the month dedicated to raising awareness of Assistance Dogs in Australia. To celebrate, we spoke to Paralympic gold medallist Amanda Reid about her experience as someone living with cerebral palsy and how her Assistance Dog has had a major positive impact on her wellbeing.

A cerebral (palsy) conversation with filmmaker, actor, advocate and CPA client, Emily Dash