Dylan Alcott AO

These videos feature 2022 Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott AO sharing his messages for IDPwD. The videos were produced in partnership with the National Australia Day Council and the Australian of the Year Awards.

Dylan Alcott AO – IDPwD 2022 – full version

I’m really proud of my disability. I wasn’t always though. I used to hate my disability. I used to hate myself, and I used to try and hide it.

I felt like a burden on my family and my friends, but I realised that I was being ridiculous.

And often people come up to me and they don’t want to acknowledge it, but I want you to acknowledge my disability because it is a part of me.

There is this stigma or this perception when you have a disability that you are you know, unachieving, undateable, can’t have sex, unemployable, don’t work, aren’t consumers, don’t shop, don’t travel, don’t get out there and do anything.

But we are, we are consumers. We can work but we need to get given those opportunities to be ourselves and most importantly have the choice to be ourselves.

The choice to choose where we want to eat, the choice to want to go on a plane, the choice to choose where we want to work, but it often gets taken away from us because people think we aren’t members who can contribute to this society and we want to change that as a disabled community and the time is right now to do that.

You know for the generations that came before me, life was a lot tougher; employment opportunities, access, inclusion.

But you know, it is getting better. The time is now to do it. The train is leaving the station and if you aren’t inclusive as a business, or as a school, or in your everyday life, you’re going to get left behind because other people are and it’s an exciting time.

International Day of People with Disability is an important day because we get to celebrate people with disability for who they are and what they can do. It’s a great day to start conversations, to challenge your unconscious bias, lift your expectation of what you think people with disability can do, but that’s just the start.

We need to do that every single day and keep building. So we look back in a few years and you know, inclusion of people with disability is just normal in mainstream schools, in our sporting fields, in our workplaces, on our boards, in our parliaments, right.

It really is a team effort to get out there and try and break down barriers and give people with disability the opportunities to be themselves in whatever they want to do.

I’ll do it every single day for the rest of my life. I really will.

We need people to lift their expectations of what we think we can do and give us the opportunities to be the best versions of ourselves.

Dylan Alcott AO – IDPwD 2022 – 30 second edit

International Day of People with Disability is a really important day for me.

It’s a day where we recognise people with disabilities, but also start conversations and challenge unconscious biases and negative stigmas about what it’s like to have a disability.

If you wanna speak about somebody at a table, they need a seat at that table, and December 3rd is a great day to start that.

But we need to go to beyond that.

We need to go beyond that every single day and make sure we are being accessible and inclusive and listen to lived experience so all people with disability can get out and be the people they wanna be.