I know many people and many organisations use the term ally, to encourage people who aren’t part of a certain demographic to show their support for diversity, equity and inclusion and I’m not suggesting that’s not the right thing to do.
However, I am not an ally. To me, “ally” suggest there’s a them and there’s a me. It doesn’t matter what makes someone who they are, I’m not their ally, I’m simply another human being who believes we’re all in this together.
I’ve never had a disability, but I’ve always felt very strongly about disability inclusion and experienced disbelief and frustration at how slowly the world is catching up. It may not impact me directly as an individual, but it does impact me directly as a human being and as a professional.
My proactive efforts to improve disability inclusion and accessibility span over a decade and I’m proud of my achievements in this space. Not because I’m supporting a minority group (who aren’t such a minority anyway), but because I want to make the world one where everyone can have access to opportunities, services, digital solutions, learning, employment, shopping, entertainment, the list could go on and on.
There’s also a selfish element to this. If my own situation were to ever change and I became disabled, right now the world isn’t set up to enable me.
Would my contributions be worth less?
Would my money, as a consumer, reduce in value?
Would my thoughts and opinions be less valuable?
Would my experience and competency no longer exist?
Of course not! But, if I couldn’t use those things then I wouldn’t be able to keep adding the same value that I can today.
So, no, I do not consider myself an ally. I consider myself a human being.