For far too long, people with disabilities have lacked representation in popular media. It’s time to do something about it.

Our Open Letter

Where other minority groups have made significant progress in recent years, people with disabilities still struggle to have their lives portrayed and their stories told.

Over one billion people worldwide have some form of disability. In Canada, that amounts to 3.8 million or nearly 10% of our population. The country’s largest minority group is also the least represented in popular media. Disability is part of who we are as humans, and it’s time our culture reflected that.

The Calgary Society for Person’s with Disabilities has always empowered us to live our lives to the fullest. Disability doesn’t define you — we hold jobs, play sports and are active in our communities. We don’t want your pity, nor do we want to be portrayed as heroic just for living. Our lives look a lot like yours — complex, imperfect and undeniably, beautifully, human.

Many of you reading this will never have the opportunity to spend time with us — to hear our stories, to appreciate our perspectives, to see how we live. That’s why it’s so important to have truthful representations of people with disability in the media we consume. We won’t see the disabled as normal, until seeing the disabled is normal.

We’re calling on you, the content creators of the world, to pledge your support. Whether you’re an emerging filmmaker or the head of a studio, an ad agency or a brand manager, a TV producer or a Youtuber, yours are the voices that ripple through our culture. We encourage you to stand with us — to commit to giving people with disability a voice, to commit to increased representation in all stories, not just those specific to disability.

We also call on you, members of the public, to ask more of your media. When a person without disabilities is cast in a disabled role, take to social media and remind them of the alternative. When your favourite TV shows or brands miss opportunities to tell truthful stories of disability, let them know they can do better.