Do you identify with the label ‘disabled’?

Disability has long been seen as a negative label, for the large part, conjuring up images of people in wheelchairs. But disability is wide-ranging and comes in many forms. So, do disabled people still identify with the label ‘disabled’? Bathing Solutions has been speaking to three very different disabled people – a makeup artist, comedian and musician – to find out.

2017 was a real year of change for media. Everywhere you looked, more and more different types of people were being represented across TV, film, cinema, advertising and business. Women were telling men that their time was up. The LGBTQ community was making itself heard. People of colour were starting to see themselves portrayed more frequently. It seemed like times were changing.

But, as the media becomes more and more inclusive, it seems that disabled people are still being left out of the conversation. That’s why we at Bathing Solutions want to highlight the voices of real, everyday people who identify as being disabled, and help get them into the spotlight, to help break down some of the stigmas around disability.

We’ve produced Identities – a series of interviews with disabled people, looking at what it means to be disabled and ultimately how a label can make up part of your identity.

CEO of Bathing Solutions, Lawrence Warriner, said: “We consider ourselves advocates for disabled people and supporting them has always been at the core of our brand. Through these three stories, we hope to connect with people by demonstrating there are others out there battling the same issues with labels and identities.”

Makeup artist Umber Ghauri, comedian Laurence Clark and musician John Kelly have taken part in the campaign to tell their stories and discuss their relationship with the ‘disabled’ label and the stigma surrounding it.

Umber Ghuri

Umber Ghauri is a professional makeup artist who mainly works with people of colour and the LGBTQ community. Umber explores how many different labels come together to form an identity, as well as how we choose labels for ourselves.

Umber discusses what it means to be disabled, especially when you have an invisible disability. She also touches on what the label ‘disabled’ means to her, and how she didn’t identify with it at first.

Laurence Clark

Laurence Clark is an internationally-acclaimed comedian, writer and actor. Laurence’s comedy is observational and political, but filtered through a lens of humour and warmth.

Laurence talks about how he uses comedy to educate people, especially when it comes to how they perceive a person with disabilities, as well as how comedy affords him the chance to interact with people that otherwise wouldn’t interact with him.

John Kelly

The third interviewee was musician, writer, actor and activist John Kelly. John performed at the Paralympic Games in 2012, singing ‘Spasticus Autisticus’, and is an active voice for disabled rights.

During his video, he talked about how labels are assigned, even though they’re sometimes not necessarily the labels we would like.

Identifying with being disabled

Across all three videos, we wanted to portray diversity and inclusiveness. We wanted to help break down the barriers to these conversations in a new way.

Ultimately though, we made these videos for the disabled community. We want to know how you feel about the videos. Do they represent you? Do you identify with the messages that Umber, John and Laurence are talking about?

If you do (or don’t!) then let Bathing Solutions and Disability Horizons know, either on Twitter @BathingSolution and @DHorizons or on Facebook.

By Bathing Solutions


  1. Make any word or words you like out of the word ‘disabled’ and throw it back at those who abuse us!
    I am proud to be recognised as ‘disabled’ because, I was once Able-bodied, I grew up amongst person’s with disabilities and used to fight for their dignity.
    I became a victim of a hit-and-run driver and I knew what was coming.
    You lose your life, self-respect and ability to challenge everything, as every ignorant prat talks to my companion and only sees the chair!
    This has a knock-on effect, affecting your mind in a way it becomes like your body; Broken.
    So, I say I am not going to waste my time on those disrespectful wallies and make it as difficult, as they have made it for me!
    Disabled? Too right and I am going help my fellow disabled brethren and say “Screw You the Able-bodied world!”
    Spit on me all they wish, because the ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ and I am highly skilled in covert surveillance.
    Gliding along on their bigotry wave and bang, they’ve come back down to below my level!

  2. John Kelly, what wisdom you have! “So sometimes I’m a musician, sometimes I’m a disabled person, and I’m always a disabled person and I’m always a musician.” From now on, I will stop being apologetic of my son’s intellectual disability when people ask, “What’s wrong with him?” as sometimes he’s a musician… Thank you.

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