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Being A Good Ally

Hey readers, it’s Jason Clymo here again! I’m back with another educational blog. This week you’re going to learn some ways on how you can be a better ally to people with disability.
Firstly, you should learn about the social model of disability: https://pwd.org.au/resources/disability-info/social-model-of-disability/

If you’re new to this conversation, then I would really love for you to also go and
follow some activists/people with disability. Here are some of my faves at the moment:
- Carson Tueller (IG: @carson_tueller)
- Nina Tame (IG: @nina_tame)
- Ruby Allegra (IG: @rvbyallegra)
- Imani Barbarin (IG: @crutches_and_spice)
- Julian Gavino (IG: @thedisabledhippie)
- Cathy Kamara (IG: @thatsinglemum)
- Tyla (IG: @autistictyla)

So, I’ve given you some places and people to learn from. But what can you now do to help? The number one thing to note here, is to advocate alongside us - not for us.

You need to listen, learn, follow our lead and amplify our teachings. Share our posts, and support our creatives and activists. Blow us up on social media! Help us to create our own influential platforms, so that we can educate the masses. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t educate others in your own network - it just means that your “voice” should not be drowning out our “voices”.

Your next step is to fight alongside us. This means calling out ableism when you notice it. This exists everywhere - so it’s a big job. But even if we all just do a small amount, big changes will occur. Also, the more you start calling ableism out (in a constructive way) - the more you recognise it within yourself, and can adjust your own perceptions, language and actions.

Keep inclusion at the front of your mind. Does your workplace hire people with disability? Do they provide access to all people? If not, ask them why. These same 2 questions can be applied everywhere - your favourite cafe, restaurant, clothing store, bank, library, museum - everywhere! Remember that our creative industries - like Fashion, Film & TV - have a responsibility to be inclusive in front of the camera, as well as behind the camera. This means hiring models/actors with disability, as well as the creatives that work “behind the scenes”.
Lastly - continue to do your own research. Naturally, the more you learn about
ableism - the more questions you’re likely to have. Of course there are loads of
people who talk about this stuff on social media and Youtube - but please don’t ask them to do all the work for you. If you have questions that aren’t being answered by the people you follow right now - try doing your own research. Use Google, or follow more activists with disability. There is bound to be somebody out there who has discussed the topic you’re interested in or have questions about. I sometimes do a “call out” to my Instagram followers to submit questions. I love the thoughtful queries that are submitted during these times.
However - outside of those times, it can be overwhelming when my DMs are filled with questions from non-disabled allies. Don’t get me wrong, I love the enthusiasm and support. It shows me that you are becoming aware, and care about the issues we face. It’s the exact result I am trying to achieve.
However, I cannot possibly do all the work myself. You need to find more leaders to learn from, and begin to educate others in your network - based on the knowledge you have learnt from us.

I think that’s enough calls to action for this week, so I’ll leave it there. I want to say a big thank you to all of you who are reading these pieces - and thank you to JAM the label for providing me this platform.
Thanks,
Jason

Jason Clymo is a 25 year-old model and activist with disability. He is incredibly passionate about the representation
of people with disability, and lends a knowledgeable and personal voice of reason to all that he does. Jason also
blogs and creates social media content for business owners, as part of his own business - J2 Content Creation. You can follow Jason on Instagram here.

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