Matthew – LGBT+DISABILITY, PRIDE WEEK 2021
The Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) has teamed up with MGRM to spread awareness during Pride Week 2021. In particular, we are focusing on persons with a disability who also belong to the LGBTIQ+ community, since their stories are often the most overlooked.
These stories show that identity is a complex construct which is not defined by one single aspect but can intersect with other experiences, to create narratives which are diverse, rich and human.
I am 21 years old and I identify as a transgender non-binary person. Recently I have been diagnosed with ADHD and autism. It has been a long journey for me to navigate both of these aspects of who I am.
From a very young age, I have always been the odd one out, whether in class or at home. I was labelled as the ‘tomboy’ and the one who has their heads in the clouds. As I grew into my adolescence, I found it hard to accept myself and the ways that I was different, both in my behaviour and thoughts as well as my gender. It was even more apparent as I went to an all-girls school. I didn’t make friends and didn’t feel like I was part of society because of the way that my classmates bullied me because I wasn’t ‘normal’.
To make things even harder, my neurodivergence and the way in which it interacted with the neurotypical world prevented me from navigating and processing my maturing queerness. For example, it’s hard for me to formulate my feelings into words, which was what others typically asked of me. With the help of therapy and support from the queer community, I was able to accept my differences, as well as learn how to live with them.
I learned how to express myself in words as well as through alternative means such as drawing and stimming, and also broke my habits of masking my disability. I discovered my gender identity and accepted the fact that I would never be part of the ‘norm’, as my peers expected me to be. Thanks to this emotional and psychological journey, I am now at peace with myself and happy with my true self.
Something that the disability community within the queer community struggles with is the lack of inclusive and accessible spaces. I wish that a place where we can all come together without limitations can someday exist.