I know a lot of fat people.
Call it what you will. Morbidly obese, overweight. And some, downright fat. My friend Su laughs with her head thrown back at the notion that she’s a lesser woman because of her weight and drinks another Coke. She’s been known to call herself Fatty McFatfuck, thanks to the movie Ted. Su knows that she is a glorious specimen of womanhood and she will bloody well eat and drink whatever she likes, thank you very much.
Clearly, Su doesn’t have a disability.
If she did, her choices would probably be severely restricted – a menu of limited options. You want a Coke? Is that a good choice, Su? You know you’re watching your weight. That takeaway? Is that the best choice you can make? It’s hardly nutritious. And that shirt – well, it’s not actually appropriate, is it? We don’t want people seeing your cleavage, do we?
What time are you going to go to bed tonight? Well, the attendant won’t be able to work past nine, so it looks like you’re going to have to miss going out with the girls. Sure, other people go to bed at eight or nine. It’s not unusual.
Who is going to give you a shower today? Do you want it to be someone you know, or like? A man, or a woman? Does it matter who sees you naked?
God forbid you should want to have sex with a partner of your choice, let alone a partner of the same sex. And try telling your religious service provider it’s okay for you to be gay. I dare you.
In Serviceland, they call it ‘The Dignity of Risk’. But it doesn’t seem to impact on the way there are always single beds in group homes, nor the way people’s diets are restricted, nor the way people aren’t allowed to spend their own money in the way they want.
We need new language around human rights.
The Right to Sexuality (including the right to have sex with someone of the same sex)
The Right to Be Fat
The Right to Be a Slut
The Right to Vote (and you thought we’d won that already)
The Right to Get Horribly Drunk and Fall Down
If you have a disability, it doesn’t mean you don’t know what you want to do or when you want to do it or who want to do it with.
The Dignity of Risk. The language of risk says, ‘What if something terrible happens?’ But it doesn’t allow people to make their own mistakes, to experience life, to be free. What if we said, ‘What if something wonderful happens?’
Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.
- Ray Bradbury