When you talk about disability rights with people, they just look at you like they didn’t think such a thing existed,” says Dr George Taleporos. “People don’t like talking about, hearing or watching disability. It’s not as sexy as gay rights or climate change. It’s just not.”
Taleporos is a disability rights activist, and a wheelchair user. He appeared in the first season of ABC TV’s You Can’t Ask Me That and now in the feature film documentary Defiant Lives. Director Sarah Barton tells a largely untold story, charting the history of the disability rights movement in Australia, the US and the UK. “As someone with a disability, it’s really novel to see a film about your people,” Taleporos says.
“Disability is never represented from a human rights perspective. It’s represented through a lens of pity, or stories about overcoming the odds. The hero who, despite their hideous impairment, was able to get into the Paralympics. It’s all about the hero and pity narrative. Never about the disability rights narrative.”