Disability Community Profiles: Alex
How do you introduce yourself?
I’m Alex Creece, a glitter grub, grotty gremlin, and goofy goober.
What are you passionate about?
Literature! Arts! Creativity! Human rights and inclusion! Community goodness! Mental health and wellbeing! Kindness! Critters! Friendship! Sleep routines!
How do you spend your time?
Reading, tinkering with words (either my own or other people’s), collecting treasures as if I’m a crow, crafting bizarro art, collaborating on community projects, very occasionally gaming (I get obsessed too easily), hiding from my dog as I try to eat crisps (she’s like the ear monster from A Quiet Place), and trying to hold myself together as a human being (somehow!).
What does Pride mean to you?
I hate to call anything a ‘journey’ because it’s rather clichéd, so I’m not going to do that. (Although obviously this word came to mind, so the implication is that it may be something of a journey.)
I have a lot of confidence issues, so concepts like pride and self-belief make me a little swampy behind the knees. But I think pride can come in many forms – it’s about owning your identity in a way that’s comfortable for you. Phrases like ‘loud and proud’ describe pride as more of a shared experience, or one that manifests as a euphoric celebration. Although pride can definitely be fostered as a community, it’s also a process that we continue to negotiate within ourselves. These internal manifestations of pride are much quieter, yet so important.
Furthermore, pride doesn’t mean glossing over the challenges. You can still be proud without liking everything about yourself, or without pretending that aspects of your identity are easy to bear. Society can be hostile, and there are times where my vulnerabilities feel like such an ill-fitting burden within it. But being proud means believing that I deserve to be treated with dignity, and that I deserve to be included, even at times when I’m unfortunately not. Pride is knowing what you deserve, even when other people haven’t yet caught up to it.
What is your favourite thing about yourself?
My chaotic energy. I spent years too scared to take up space, to share anything about myself, to let people see or know me in any meaningful way. But it was never enough to even convince people – I still came off as chaotic, just in a different way – and I was miserable the whole time.
I love the progress I’ve made in becoming myself – someone who leans into their chaos and vulnerability, feels the big emotions, cares and overshares, and who’s intense, ‘cringey’, sensitive, dorky-but-not-in-a-hip-way. It’s messy, but it’s actually me.
What do people find surprising about you?
I’m not super surprising because I tell everyone everything. But perhaps I can be surprising in a mundane way – for example, I enjoy board games, but I’ve never learned how to play chess or Uno… so that’s kinda weird? And like Harry Styles, I have two teensy extra nipples also known as polythelia or witch’s teats. I collect human teeth and hair. I once kissed Hayley Williams from Paramore (with consent and in a friendly way!). I don’t understand the purpose of dancing, but I’m playing along for everyone else’s sake. I love eating dirt and play doh.
What’s something you’re proud of?
My writing, which you can browse at creecedpaper.com. (Smooth, right?)
Where do you stay connected?
Currently [during COVID], nowhere much! I need a lot of solitude anyway, so it’s important that I have friends who respect that our connection is solid and full of love, even when I go quiet. With friends, I enjoy low-demand hangs – I’ll fall asleep nicely on your couch – as well as mundane activities – let’s go to Bunnings! – and occasionally higher demand activities like queer theatre, drag shows, and art/literary events.
Where do people start if they want to connect?
I’m not an expert in this field by any means, but my personal approach is to angle new experiences towards my interests and needs. For example, I love arts and crafts, so I may choose to go to a queer crafternoon as a ‘safe’ way to potentially open myself up to new people. In the worst-case scenario, I’ll make some cute crafts in a low-key environment, even if I don’t forge any lasting connections. But in the best-case scenario, I’ll make some cute crafts in a low-key environment, meet a couple of amazing people, and fast-forward to today, where one of them has asked me to write this very profile!
What is one thing people can do to support LGBTIQA+ people with disabilities?
Don’t treat the LGBTIQA+ community and the disability community as mutually exclusive entities. Queer venues and organisations need to be disability confident. Disability organisations need to be LGBTIQA+ inclusive.
You can’t welcome one aspect of someone’s personhood while rejecting or neglecting another.
What's an example of practising self-advocacy?
I often have trouble saying what I feel at the right time – or even knowing what I feel at the right time. I can also be quite slow in processing whether a transgression has occurred. Sometimes, I don’t know I’ve been mistreated until well after the fact, or until someone else points it out. This is especially true in new situations with unfamiliar people, and/or situations where I’m relying on a social script.
As a result, I find it easier to address difficult situations in writing. This way, I can type up my immediate feelings, take a break, and then edit the complaint or feedback to ensure that I’m being even-handed. I would like to get better at self-advocating on the spot, but I also think it’s reasonable to practise self-advocacy in the ways that are most accessible to you, especially when you’re still developing this skill.