Sweden is a country known for its humane values, but ironically enough, our government seems to have forgotten the concept of democracy regarding minorities. Young people with disabilites are not being heard, I am not being heard.
As a young woman living with a disability, I have faced significant challenges in life. Yet, the biggest challenge of them all is the general attitude towards me coming from abled-bodied people.
Personal assistance has been a legal right for individuals with extensive disabilities since 1994. In this reformation, the Swedish government promised to protect, help and support their disabled citizens – not only those who required personal assistance. Nearly 26 years later, it is almost as time has frozen, and the younger generations who are living with a disability are still fighting for fundamental human rights.
You have to be an activist to survive.
We have experienced budget cuts and unfair treatment from the same political leaders who swore to protect us and listen to us. The Swedish labour market model is non-inclusive, which means that all of the surveys presented show a small engagement from individuals with some form of disability. The Swedish Gender Equality Authority states that disabled women have a much higher chance of ending up in absolute poverty since only 5% are able to land a job.
This landscape sends a clear message to the disabled youth – you have to be an activist to survive. If you choose to stay quiet – you don’t exist, don’t matter, and won’t stand a chance. It is not a matter of weakness or being in the wrong. It is about reaching the state of fatigue.
At some point – we all get tired of shouting.
As a 23- year old white privileged woman growing up in a middle-class household with minimal worries, I rarely felt bothered by my limping or the fact that I’m different. When I left my home to step out into the real world, I understood what life would throw my way. I had to put my guard up to be able to navigate through all of the injustice.
In discussions about equality, intersectionality, and human rights, this minority group, people with disabilities, are often left out, and at some point – we all get tired of shouting.