I'm Not 'Disabled But', I am #DisabledAnd

Sophia Kleanthous

Sophia is a disability rights campaigner. She tells us about her social media campaign #DisabledAnd and her plans for her platform "Ableism and me".

Sophia posing in her bedroom with her walking aid

I am Sophia and I’ve been working and volunteering in campaigning and advocacy for the last five years or so. My real passion is working on disabled rights campaigns, and as a disabled woman myself I have worked hard to lobby governments, organisations, and international institutions to be more inclusive of disabled people.

My #DisabledAnd campaign

Most recently I started a social media campaign called #DisabledAnd through the larger group/campaign I created called Ableism and Me.

#DisabledAnd was inspired by conversations with abled people which often started with ‘your disabled but’ or ‘your so x for a disabled person’ – No I am Disabled and!

People from around the world have taken part in the campaign sharing that disabled people have hobbies, careers, passions and personalities (who knew *sarcasm*) just like abled people but this is so often left out of media portrayals and public discourse around disabled people.

I am so tired of us as a community being pitied, used for inspiration porn (like in Sia’s Music) or seen as grotesque and horrifying (like in the revival of the Witches). The next steps will be to organise a photoshoot and work with the accessible clothing brand Unhidden Clothing, create a book of everyone’s #DisabledAnd and finally T-shirts which will allow people to add their own wording and show the world who we really are!

My future plans for Ableism and me

Coming up is the International Day of People with Disabilities on the 3 December. So I am also planning to launch the ‘Ableism and Me’ website. The public will be able to upload and share their experiences of different types of ableism in any format, like a drawing, video, poem etc. The aim is to not only show how big a problem this is but also show how talented, creative and skilled the disabled community are!

I hope this will start a conversation on the different forms of ableism. As well as how common (ie everyday) these experiences are and maybe even give the disabled community our ‘me-too moment’!

I recently found out that Nina Tame actually started the hashtag #DisabledAnd which I wasn’t aware of at the time, and you should definitely check out her fantastic page and incredible activism! 

So if you want to get involved in the campaign please DM and let’s work together to break these harmful assumptions around disabled people.

Where to find me

Top 10 disabled and chronically ill advocates

To celebrate International Youth Day Sophia has shared her top 10 disabled and chronically ill advocates from around the world that you should know about!

Find out who Sophia's top 10 young disabled and chronically ill activists are