If anyone is interested in reading my profile of Canadian MP Steven Fletcher, which ran in the September issue of New Mobility magazine, here it is.
I'm not thrilled with some of the editing - I think the piece I turned in was a bit livelier - but other than that, I'm happy with it. I very much enjoyed interviewing Fletcher. Although I don't agree with his politics, I fully admire the man.
I very rarely feel sorry for the people with disabilities I interview. They lead full lives, and their burdens are not necessarily greater than those of non-disabled people, just different. I've gone beyond disability rights; I subscribe to disability pride.
Fletcher, however - like Brooke Ellison, who I've written about several times - evokes different feelings for me.
Being unable to walk does not seem particularly tragic to me, and to many wheelchair-users. The circumstances that result in disability are often traumatic, but life itself may be very ordinary. In a fully accessible world, wheeling is a perfectly good way to get around. (That's a central tenet of the independent living movement: it's the barriers that need fixing, not us.)
But imagine not being able to move any part of your body - not an arm, not a hand, not a finger. Imagine being a fully functioning head on an inert body. Someone like Rick Hansen - or even Sam Sullivan, who is fully independent - is in a very different position than Fletcher or Ellison. But Fletcher and Ellison have forged rich and meaningful lives for themselves, and they want to help others do the same. I deeply admire them both.
So here it is. You might be interested in how a profile like this is written for a disability audience. NM is written for - and mostly by, but not in my case - people who use wheelchairs.