>Deja vu

>I do voluntary work a few times a week. And twice a year we get together socially.

We do this thing when we go out to eat where every seat apart from mine has a number and after each course everyone gets up and moves on so many places. It’s always arranged so I stay put so I joke about how it makes me the Queen of the evening and how everything revolves around ME! So you talk to loads of different people and you talk about loads of different things. It’s really fun. You learn things about people you never knew and you get to talk to people you rarely see – those who volunteer on different days to you for example. It’s a practice I would recommend for any big group meal or some such.

Last year we went to for an Italian and I was sat there eating pizza and talking to one of my colleagues about Ashley X and the issues surrounding her and all the controversy. It was January and it was a hot topic at that time. And she hadn’t heard of her.

Fast forward one year and we went out to eat again last night. We went to a different Italian Restaurant in a different town to the last one (which I think I preferred but which has now shut). I ate a lasagna which could really have done with some more pizazz.

Again in a general current events type conversation I talked with a couple of colleagues about disability rights. Specifically, about Katie Thorpe. And again, just like the majority of people I mentioned her/The article in the Guardian to over the last few days, they’d not heard of her. Talk about deja vu!

Shane Graham

Brent Martin

Ashley X

Charlotte Wyatt

Terri Schiavo

Katie Thorpe

Different from me and yet the same, they are “my people” who have suffered and in some cases continue to do so from a system that doesn’t care or which cares but not enough. Who have their rights abused and their lives considered worthless because they share (or shared) the same tag I do – Disabled.

They matter to me.

I hope that this time next year when our post Christmas “Christmas meal” comes around there won’t be another name on that list and that I won’t spend my time socialising, chatting in general and educating my colleagues about another name on that list.

Enough is Enough.

>Katie, again.

>And me, this time, too ;o)

The Guardian has an article on it’s website about Katie Thorpe – Whose Life is it Anyway? And they included an extract from one of my blog entries about her in it.

How cool is that?!?!

I quite like the article, I think it does a fair job of describing the thoughts and feelings of disability bloggers and of Katie’s mother. And it hasn’t degenerated into disablist language or such stereotypes, which had concerned me.

As I’m writing this there are two comments left on the article online and neither of them particularly fill me with joy. I’m waiting to see if there is any further response on the article before I comment myself (and also until I’m less “argh!” about the comments). They are the sort of comments I would expect to see but to me they are ones that seem to miss the point. Or at least the point I was making in my entry.

The point being that this could have been (and still might) be a very, very slippery slope.

I pray it won’t be.

I’d love to hear your views on the issues involved/ Katie Thorpe’s case specifically/ Ashley X / the article in The Guardian. They can be left in the comments.

However I will be moderating them and if this is your first time posting it won’t show up until it’s been approved. If you have commented before and been approved before, however, it’s business as usual. That is standard procedure on my blog and is not new today.

>Equality and Disability Rights

>I just received an e-mail from Scope about their equality campaign.

National disability organisation Scope is calling on the Government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a matter of urgency.

The Convention is the first treaty in history to give the millions of disabled people across the globe comprehensive human rights and recognise that disabled and non-disabled people share a common humanity.

The Convention is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and was the fastest negotiated convention in the UN’s history. Negotiations involved individual disabled people and their governments from all over the world, but at present the Convention is not enforceable.

20 countries need to ratify the Convention before it becomes legally binding. So far only five have done so. The UK is not among them.

The UK should demonstrate its full and lasting commitment to disabled people’s human rights by being one of the first 20 countries to ratify the Convention and sign the optional protocol.

If you are British or are resident in Britain, you can sign Scope’s petition calling for the convention to be ratified here

And in other news, Katie Thorpe will NOT be having a hysterectomy. That was in Scope’s e-mail too.

I find a lot of that article disturbing and think it could have been a lot better written. Of particular disgust/concern to me is the the headline “Teenager refused hysterectomy”. It’s not exactly a bad thing that the hospital said no, is it?!?! They have said that when Katie does get her periods they will consider doing a partial hysterectomy IF a clinical case for doing so can be proved. Her mother claims in the article that they have proved a need for Katie to have the “necessary evil” removed. Obviously the NHS Trust don’t agree.

In other words, the excuse “She’s got CP” ain’t enough.

I am pleased by this development but saddened that it’s not made more of a splash in the news – it’s HUGE. I also want to note that I think this equality issue becomes more and more of a feminist issue too as the stories come out. We’ve still heard nothing about boys having their growth halted prematurely or puberty prevented due to disability – but I’m sure we will someday and that they’ll be more of an outcry than there has been for Katie and for Ashley. Cos they aren’t just disabled, they are girls too.