Leanora Volpe


The theme is ‘not every disability is visible’.
I tried very hard to make my disability as invisible as possible, because I thought that would make my life easier. But that doesn’t make my disability invisible if you look close enough. Ultimately, I have spent so much time in my life pushing myself beyond reasonable limits, not living life to the full because I couldn’t bring myself to ask for whatever accommodations I needed to actually do what I wanted to do. That’s not fair. I’m trying to go beyond this now, and be the whole person that I am without being afraid of being seen as less of the great, smart, talented successful person that I ALSO am. Disabled people are great ✨
I asked about what sprang to mind when I said ‘diversity in climbing’ and you all had such cool ideas. (Swipe!) Ultimately I guess what it comes down to, is that as a sport, we can still do more to make everyone welcome. Not just pointing people from diverse backgrounds to the door and expecting them to find the way in, but holding that door open and making it a place people want to stay. When I think of paraclimbing, a lot of progress has been made, but some people are still excluded. Many disabled people are excluded from competing in Paraclimbing, but there’s no home for them in able bodied comps either. Many MANY climbing walls aren’t wheelchair accessible, and once I showed up to a wall only for the receptionist to say ‘well i assume you’re not here to climb’. So hiding away feels easier, but then you lose out to inaccessibility. So there’s a way to go, and I’m glad to see change but I want it to go further and I want disability to be included in EVERY conversation about diversity in our sport because it’s integral and we go far as a sport if we take everyone with us.
all this to say, I wonder if, in a different world, more disabilities might be visible. If we might be more seen, able to go through the world without hiding away. Whether if more people knew where to look, they might see more diversity, and come to celebrate rather than fear it.

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