The wider Disability community is in outrage over TEDxSydney’s #StellasChallenge campaign, and ASAN is standing in solidarity. Many Disabled people are bombarded daily with invasive and insensitive questions by non disabled people. This can be very demeaning and objectifying for People With Disabilities. Individuals are never defined by their disability alone, but this campaign seems to suggest that they are.
TEDxSydney also seem to be under the impression that all disability is visible. Autism is an invisible disability, as are a vast range of conditions, both neurological and physical, and others may never think that these individuals are disabled, unless they initiated conversation about it. This shows that while TEDxSydney may be well meaning, they have an incredibly limited and rigid understanding about People With Disabilities, as it would be likely that they would only seek information from people with visible disabilities, not all kinds of disability.
Furthermore, there has been limited true leadership in this campaign from People With Disabilities, and of course, ASAN AUNZ’s motto is one shared with the wider disability community-Nothing About Us Without Us!
On the base line, this is a campaign that is named after late disability advocate Stella Young. It is a campaign that Stella would not have endorsed in her life, so in her death we must defend her legacy from opportunistic and insensitive campaigns such as this.