I'm married woman, I am a civil servant I am Irish, I am a mother with a daughter with Down's syndrome, I have a gay best friend who will wed soon. I have my own social security number, I work full time and enjoy (mostly) a good lifestyle.
I will be 40 in August a milestone indeed what a different world it was in August 1973. Had I been a female 40 year old Irish civil servant in 1973 Ireland, I would not have had a job ( the marriage ban was still in place and I would have been forced to leave work after I got married.) I would not have my own social security number, identified only by a "W" on the end of my husbands social security number.
My daughter may or may not be living with me,perhaps she may have been placed in care, not seen as worthwhile, she certainly wouldnt be receiving the help to support her development that she receives today and my best mate would most definetly be living life in the closet and most definetly not getting married.
Many of the changes that happened in 40 years I take for granted, and I rarely think of the people who went before me who battled hard for me to enjoy the life I enjoy now. The womens movement in Ireland fought hard to get the marriage ban lifted and they were successful. In late 1973 a female civil servant could remain in a job after marriage.
Human rights groups fought hard to remove the criminal status of homosexuality and were successful, in 1993 it was no longer illegal to be homosexual in Ireland. From the mid 1980's women received their own social security number. Services, supports and awareness of people with disabilitiy has grown enormously in the past 40 years and people with physical, sensory, learning disabilities are enjoying a much better quality of life than previous generations.
The ins and outs of how these changes are for another day, but what is important is that people fought and fought hard to change things, they didnt get it easy, it was a hard slog they met battles all the way, prejudice, arrogance, ignorance and in most cases simple fear. Many of the opposers to change were politicians, fearing change, fearing the loss of votes never wanted to rock the boat.
Collin Brewer made the headlines for his hideous comments about people with disability, incredulous statements about the burden of a child with a disability. The bad side of public representation is that its mostly the Collin Brewers that make the headlines, for every Collin Brewer with his ridicuous statements you can be sure there are ten Champions of Equality slogging away trying to change things, but never hitting the headlines, Controversy sells!
But I have learned to be thankful for the Collin Brewers of this world, (and there are many of him, too many) What he has done and what his likes will always do is to create a platform for the positive story to emerge, you see we now live in a world where Collin Brewers statements are just not acceptable, people will not sit back and listen to his spout such venom, he will and is being challenged. Social media and a new generation is his worst enemy, You see from the moment he uttered those words, he had lost, and his loss is the world of equality's gain.
So Mums & Dads of babies & children with a disability dont get mad get replying! Now is the time, Mr Brewer has given you all centre stage , he in his ignorance has put the spotlight on disability and it is shinning bright so go get him xxxx and when you're all done with him can you all come to Ireland and help me, Mr Brewer has plenty of protoypes in the Emerald Isle!