June is Pride Month. Scope and Disability Services Australia (DSA) are proud to celebrate it with all its customers and staff who identify as queer.
What is your name, age, and pronouns?
My name is Eric, I am 18 and my pronoun is he/him.
How long have you accessed DSA services?
I have been coming to DSA now for 6 months.
Tell us about your experience as a queer person living with a disability?
I try to embrace who I am in all kinds of ways. Just because I am gay and living with a disability I should be seen as no different to anyone else.
When did you realise you were queer, and what was that experience like?
I realised this when I was about 10 years old and at first I didn’t understand why I was different. I started wearing my sister’s high heels and dresses around the age of 14 to 15 and that was when I realised who I really was.
What was your experience of coming out to friends and family like?
At first I was embarrassed. I felt more embarrassed telling my Family, than I did my friends.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered navigating queerness as a person with a disability?
To be honest, I have not encountered any challenges so far.
What is your favourite thing about being queer?
I absolutely, love EVERYTHING, about me!
How have you been able to engage with the queer community? Or has this been a challenge?
I haven’t been able to really engage with others similar to be in the community just yet, it has been a challenge in the way that I don’t really know where to start with joining groups that I can fit into. This is something that I am only starting to look into now. Since I have been coming to SLES at DSA Campbelltown, I feel very welcome, have made some friends and everyone here does not judge me – the staff are all friendly and welcome and have made me feel even more comfortable about who I am.
How can people be better allies to you?
People can be better allies to me, by accepting me for who I am. I have had many people call me names on the street – lots of name calling. I feel strong enough to be able to stand up for who I am, asking them to kindly mind their own business.
What else do you want people to know about being queer and having a disability?
Don’t be ashamed of who you are – be proud and live the life you want to live.