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them to indicate that she had “given up on trying to be like one of them.” She remade
and reclaimed space on her own terms
Laura spoke positively of her decision to stop hiding her impairment, but instead to
be proud of her identity as a disabled woman: “I thought, Sod it, this not being able to
see is part of me and I'm not denying it anymore and I'm not going to be embarrassed
about it, so I sort of came out the closet and started doing Disability Equality Training”
(Laura 46-51 years).
emphasizing her sense of relief at making a decision to come out as a visually impaired
woman. Veronica put much time and energy into concealing her sexuality. As a wheel-
chair user concealing her impairment was not an option. It would seem that any act of
repression may be detrimental to an individual's well-being, although in psychoanalytic
part of a self-survival mechanism regardless of whether it be denial of an impairment or
Veronica spoke positively of coming out of the closet. Brown suggests that the closet
2000, 1). Likewise, the need to pass as non-disabled reflects the socially valued visible
attributes of “normalcy.”
The notion of hiding or concealment of those who do not have a place in the world
unless they pass as something they are not, can also be translated to disability. By com-
ing out Laura self-identified as a disabled person. Choosing to come out of the closet
representsapowerfulactofpositiveself-identification (Linton1998),andalsoservesto
turn socially valued physicality on its head. In addition, for Veronica, her self-identific-
ation as a lesbian freed her from heteronormative sexual oppression and enabled her to
explore and express her lesbian sexuality.
I used to be anorexic … when I came out all the kind of things like that disap-
peared … I feel like I've come alive within the past four years … because I feel
I can finally be me, I can finally be the person I want to be. (Veronica 21-26
Boadicea spoke of resisting societal expectations that were impressed upon her by
man she was nonetheless expected to present a sighted image of femininity. She talked
of her decision to stop wearing makeup:
What made it really ridiculous is that I had to present a sighted image, what they
thought as beauty, what they thought as feminine…. [The decision not to wear
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