#WeAreUnhidden February 2021

Somehow it's February 12th- we are well and truly in to 2021 now and it's feeling a bit Groundhog Day perhaps but we send hope you are keeping as safe indwells possible.

Founder Victoria spoke on behalf of Models of Diversity at Disability Talks' poetry competition- if you would like to see that the link is here.

Unhidden model Moeed is making more waves and can be heard on the Hidden Spoons podcast.

This week we have handed the reigns over to Leanne Thompson, our wonderful brand ambassador and model- the below is all Leanne, we hope you will take her words with you.

Leanne is wearing a white t-shirt that says Unhidden in black text across the chest. She has a topknot hairband on and long dark blonde hair.

We live in a world that constantly reviews who we are, the way we look and where we come from, so it’s important that every”BODY” is given equal opportunities!When it comes to clothing and fashion for people living with disabilities, sadly there is still a huge gap in the market and although there are some adaptive clothing brands like Unhidden, it’s still a far cry from becoming part of the fashion and beauty industry! 

I was privileged to be a part of the documentary: ‘Clothing For Every Body’.

Watching myself in this documentary, I felt proud to be able to share my thoughts and feelings, about adaptive fashion and the serious lack of it available on the high street!

There are more clothing lines for dogs than for people with disabilities in the UK. 

A woman in a purple coat and cream hat sits in her electric wheelchair on a hughstreet outside a shop. A camera man and woman are filming her.

This short documentary investigates why and how little it takes to make a difference.. 

We are seen as a separate “body” of people and considered as inferior, when it comes to the powers to be in the fashion world.

It’s still us and them, equality and inclusion is definitely missing.

 Leanne is in a purple coat and cream hat with a black mask on, on a busy London hughstreet in her electric chair.

As disabled people living in an able bodied world, we face prejudices, stigma, discrimination, exclusion, isolation, negativity and multiple barriers that can make it extremely difficult or almost impossible for us to function and live life to our full potential.

Disabled people do have rights, but sadly this doesn’t change the way society views us.

We should be entitled to the same freedom, choice, equality, opportunity and control that able-bodied people have in their lives. We should have the same rights to independent living.

Inclusion means all people regardless of their abilities, disabilities, race, gender, age or sexuality.

We have the right to be treated as human beings, to be given respect for who we are and appreciated as valuable members of our communities.

No one is ever too disabled to be excluded from their community.

 Inclusion is not separating people with disabilities from non disabled society.

We don't need pity, and we aren't asking for special privileges- just the same as every one else gets to enjoy.

So why is there still a lack of inclusion in our modern day world and why has it been so slow moving forward?

Lack of knowledge and understanding, sheer ignorance, fear of the unknown, negative attitudes surrounding the stigma of Disability, prejudices and discrimination- these are what we still face in today’s world living as disabled people.

These attitudes can arise from lack of education and the continued negative perception of disability.

People can perceive our disabilities as a bad thing, a personal tragedy, something that needs to be cured or prevented, or that we’re being punished for something we did wrong- which. is horribly ableist, untrue, and narrow minded.

We are stereotyped assuming that we have a poor quality of life, because we are disabled; we are patronised and perceived as helpless, unable to live enriching, independent lives.

Modern attitudes towards disabled people dates back to the workhouses of Victorian Britain.

For more than a century now, disabled people in Britain have been shut out of society, denied basic human rights and treated with fear and prejudices.

The  BBC2  Documentary Silenced: The  Hidden story of disabled Britain is a shocking, poignant portrayal of how disabled people were shut out of society for decades, locked away in institutions for the Feeble Minded and young female adults were sterilised, to prevent them from having children, in a cruel attempt to wipe out disability under the guise of helping us.

It’s a very sad, shameful part of history, that shows the true reality of how disabled people were treated and seen as inferior and how they fought back to win their freedom.

Watching this as a disabled person was so heart wrenching, to see the realisation of discrimination and to think that if I had been living in those times, that’s how I would of been treated, it’s just horrific!

Although things have changed, there is still a long way to go, for disabled people to be accepted, to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities and their hearts desires.. We are all far more than our disabilities and we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and a seat at every table.

 Leanne Thompson, Unhidden brand ambassador and model.