Disability Community Profiles: Jax
What are your pronouns?
How do you introduce yourself?
A queer non-binary wheelchair user. I’m also an educator, activist, writer, parent, partner and friend!
What are you passionate about?
LGBTIQA+ disability rights, the social model of disability, and the disability rights movement. I'm passionate about LGBTIQA+ folks with disabilities having our rights and identities respected, and how we can feel resilient and connected to each other in this f*ed up world! I also think a lot, and care a lot about people with disabilities having the right to become a parent respected and supported - if that's something they want to do!
How do you spend your time?
Working as a freelancer in the LGBTIQA+ disability rights space, parenting my kid and playing silly games with her, wearing too much rainbow, watching serious political documentaries, drinking good coffee/being a coffee snob, and catching up with chosen queer family.
What does Pride mean to you?
It means feeling like I can be all that I am and that the things that make me different are celebrated. I can be non-binary - and out and proud of that. I can be out about having dyslexia and being a wheelchair user - and those things are not things to be ashamed of or to try and hide but are interesting and valuable.
Pride means allowing myself to bring all parts of my identities to my work and life.
Pride isn't always a static thing, something that you arrive at and then are able to hold on to and feel always, sometimes it waxes and wanes, ebbs and flows, and that's ok. We live in an ablest world which tells disabled people we are less than others, so sometimes that still effects me and that's understandable but I know that I have resilience and will come back to a place of pride! Pride to me also means belonging to community- be that LGBTIQA+ communities, or disability community and having a shared connection and feeling of belonging together.
What is your favourite thing about yourself?
My hairy legs! It's taken me a long time to love them and let them grow and not feel ashamed of them because they are super hairy and non-normative looking. These days I wear shorts in summer time with pride!
What’s a cool thing about you?
My amazing collection of bowties! I have some seriously funky ones!
Photo Credit: Equality Institute and Eliza Allard
What’s something you’re proud of?
I'm proud of the communities I belong to. I'm proud to see young trans disabled people coming out and being political and outspoken. I'm proud of all the people who have gone before me and fought for my rights. I'm proud to be a small part of that movement for change.
How do you stay connected?
Social media - being connected to some fab people in the online space!
Where do people start if they want to connect?
Follow some of the people profiled here and ask them what groups they are connected into.
What is one thing people can do to support LGBTIQA+ people with disabilities?
If you think we are spunky - let us know! Seriously though, I think that a lot of non-disabled people are scared of dating someone with disabilities. You shouldn't be because we are in fact the best lovers - just FYI.
Can you give us an example of practising self-advocacy or of receiving inclusive support?
I have a really great queer GP who understands disability both from a medical perspective, but also from a human rights and social model of disability perspective. It makes me feel really understood and safe and supported by them. It's the first time in my life I've had a doctor I trust and feel understood by who can look at my body and mind and 'get me' and think about my health holistically. I know how lucky I am to have found them.
As for an example of practising self-advocacy - one of the biggest, toughest spaces I do self-advocacy in is my NDIS planning meetings. I argue for my plan and goals to be LGBTIQA+ inclusive. I've worked really hard at educating my LAC [Local Area Coordinator] about why being able to connect with LGBTIQA+ community and being an active member of LGBTIQA+ social groups is a key goal of mine and deserves funding. I also have goals around having an equal relationship with my partner and being supported by support workers to attend rainbow families playgroups with my kid. I also make sure to write my own participant statement (the little paragraph about you at the time of your NDIS plan) which outlines all the things I do and what a fabulous queer I am.
Being out and proud about my disability and queer identity is really important to me. I'm yet to come out to the NDIS about being gender diverse, maybe I'll feel confident enough to do so in my next plan!