If you didn’t know her in life… don’t waste any more time! Get acquainted with her right now.
Stella Young was a naturally gifted comedian, journalist, disability activist, educator, thinker, and all-around great human being. Her journey sadly ended on 6th December 2014. She was just 32. There are no words.
Stella had so many interests and passions, but she had a particular and remarkable gift for getting people to shift their perspectives about disability – in particular, for getting people to understand that:
- Having a disabled body is not a bad thing in and of itself – it can be a source of pride, rare insights, and community.
- There is virtually nothing different about the dreams and desires of disabled people compared to that of “able-bodied” people.
- What diminishes the quality of life of disabled people is not so much the physical or intellectual condition of disability itself. It is the ignorance of others, being shut out of over 80% of public spaces and social life due to inaccessibility, and the marginalization and endangerment that comes with living in a society that regards disabled people as unfortunate burdens, not the vital and valuable citizens they are.
She argued with focused and unwavering clarity that the autonomy, self-determination and basic human rights of disabled people matter, against the backdrop of a society in which the autonomy, self-determination and basic human rights of disabled people are still regularly violated.
Stella helped make disability, widely seen as a minority interest, a mainstream issue in many people’s minds. She did it by absolutely refusing to be marginalized herself – by being vocal about her needs and rights, and calling discrimination when she saw it. And she defied dodgy expectations through the sheer force of her personality and presence.
In the process, she created change. And changed countless lives. Mine was one of them.
I urge you to get acquainted with Stella through the body of work she has left behind – her comedy, her media work, her interviews, and her writing. Stella will be entertaining, educating, and creating change for years to come – this I am certain of.
Stella Young’s life and activism will be honoured with a public memorial service at Melbourne Town Hall this coming Friday, from 11am.
The service will also be beamed out on Federation Square’s Big Screen and broadcast live on ABC News 24 and on 774 ABC Victoria.
The memorial dress code is “Fabulous” – bright colours and minimal black.