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Simone Biles is Not a Wimp. She’s a Woman Prioritising Her Mental Health, and I Respect That

TW: this article mentions of sexual abuse, in particular the abuses carried out by Larry Nassar against gymnasts.  


Simone Biles deserves a gold medal in courage. 

When she stepped away from the Olympics all-around event and decided not to compete, that took a huge amount of guts. But it’s no surprise she’s become a pro at being brave in the face of overwhelming stress. She’s had to, given her past. As the last gymnast abused by Larry Nassar (the prior doctor for the United States women’s national gymnastics) team still performing, she has been forced to deal with her ongoing personal trauma in front of the media.

 When the word came that “medical issues” were the reasons for her withdrawal, most people assumed them to be physical—an injury to her body, perhaps. That it takes society a beat or two to realize that mental health concerns are equally important, and also a potential medical issue, says something about how far we still have to go when it comes to awareness and compassion. 

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The National Disability Strategy Ignores Those With Energy Limiting Chronic Illnesses

Like many other disabled and chronically ill people, reading the new National Disability Strategy released by the government yesterday left me feeling a little underwhelmed. 

I live with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, a connective tissue disorder that is also classified as an Energy Limiting Chronic Illness (ELCI). The Chronic Illness Inclusion Project says that an illness is considered an ELCI if it “[has] energy impairment as a key feature”. 

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all features opinion Pain chronicles

Pain Chronicles: The Additional Cost of Being Disabled

Pain Chronicles is a monthly(-ish) column from Caroline McDonagh-Delves about coming to terms with living with a chronic illness. It will include funny stories and brutal honesty, with some thrown in chats with her mum Shaz, and other friends too, along the way. 


Caroline’s note: I’ve written this month’s column along with my mum, Shaz. You can find my bits in regular type, and hers in bold (because she always is). Hope you enjoy.

I’ll always remember the doctors’ note I got at university so that I could type in exams rather than handwrite. The doctor mentioned I’d been doing the same in ‘A’ Levels. Inverted commas and all. I can’t quite remember how much it was, I think around the £30 mark. £30 so I could access the same education as my classmates. And disabled students’ allowance may have covered that, but the forms were arduous and I really didn’t have it in me to do it.

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all features opinion Uncategorised

Tech Companies: Focus on fixing the Infrastructure, not Disability

It’s like an ableist version of Groundhog Day. Except instead of Bill Murray as a disgruntled weatherman, it’s a young spectacled 20-something in a chequered shirt telling you how the seventh pair of sign language gloves “really is the one this time, folks!”

And if it’s not sign language gloves, then it’s wheelchairs which can make its user stand up or, more recently, vibrating shoes for the blind and visually impaired. Every day tech companies leave us spoilt for choice when it comes to accessible technology we actually don’t need – or want.

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Surprise, I’m a Disabled Person

Today on Twitter, someone informed me I was a person. This may sound weird but if you’re a disabled person who tweets about the injustices we live with it’s actually a regular occurrence.

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all features opinion Uncategorised

#FreeBritney has Shown Just how Damaging Conservatorships are to Disabled People

Last week when Britney Spears bravely gave evidence in her own conservatorship case, the world was rightly horrified to hear how her abusive father and team have controlled her life for the past 13 years. However, the case has drawn light to how similar practices are used to overpower disabled across the globe, as H.J discusses. 

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all disabled and sexual opinion

Disabled and Sexual: Disabled LGBTQ+ People Deserve to Feel Welcome in Queer spaces

Disabled and Sexual is a monthly(-ish) column by Hannah Shewan Stevens which will explore all the challenges, comedy, and fun that disabled people experience as sexual beings, even while we are desexualised by a predominantly non-disabled society.


If you took one look at a Pride parade or any of the capitalist Pride advertising during June, you’d be forgiven for assuming that disabled people are almost non-existent in the LGBTQ+ community. 

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Disabled Representation on Love Island Could be Monumental but Society’s Ableism Won’t Let It

TW: ableism and inspiration porn


Ahead of the new series of Love Island returning to our screens tomorrow, the line up was announced last week. It’s supposedly their “most diverse” cast to date, including the show’s first physically disabled contestant, PE teacher Hugo Hammond from Hampshire, who has played disability cricket for England.

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Doctors Need to Stop Minimising Our Trauma with the IUD and Listen to Our Pain

TW: This article features medical gaslighting, medical cPTSD and discussions of the mirena coil IUD procedure that many who have experienced it may find traumatic.


This week, I sat in the GP’s surgery with my son as she explained his care in child-friendly language; “Pain is the body’s way of letting you know it thinks something isn’t quite right.” The simplicity of such a statement was striking.

Our bodies are complex, yet they have yet to evolve to override pain that has positive outcomes – we still ache after exercise, bleed after vaccinations and wince with the dental hygienist. We generally accept a degree of pain in exchange for our health and bodily autonomy and contraceptive control are undeniable health benefits.

But how can we make informed choices, when pain experienced by AFAB people is minimised, scoffed at or completely denied? 

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The Pandemic Made my Industry Accessible, I’m Worried About Going “Back To Normal”

Back when I was legally blind instead of totally blind, I was lured in by covers just as everybody else was. If I spotted a brown boy on the cover, I’d eagerly pick up the book, wishing to read different perspectives and experiences, and even injustices. I knew a lot about my own injustices as a gay blind man, but I was very ignorant of the system’s ways of stomping on POC every chance it got.

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