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PrettyQueer.com | June 30, 2015

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About Edward Ndopu

Edward Ndopu

Edward Ndopu

Named by the Mail and Guardian Newspaper as one of their Top 200 Young South Africans, Edward Ndopu (22) is a young social critic, community organizer, consultant, activist, scholar and public speaker. After graduating from the African Leadership Academy, Edward won a scholarship to attend Carleton University where he is currently furthering his commitment to social justice advocacy. Edward is the founder of the Global Strategy for Inclusive Education and is known for his advocacy on the educational rights of children with disabilities in developing countries. He is a regular on the international conference circuit, and has participated as a panelist and discussion leader at the World Youth Meeting in Italy and gave a Master’s Tea at Yale University. He is also a consultant, and has worked for the World Economic Forum, producing a white paper on the role of business in addressing youth employability and education. Edward is primarily an activist, focusing on the intersections of genders, sexualities, race, ability, and class in relation to structural discrimination. He is currently the administrative coordinator of the GLBTQ Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity at Carleton University. He also serves on the board for the Institute of Research, Education, Accessibility, and Design (READ).

Posts By Edward Ndopu

On Ableism within Queer Spaces, or, Queering the “Normal”

December 7, 2012 | 5,774

Pride Parades are organized around the notion of marching and, therefore, requires that people are able to physically move to showcase their belonging.

Our daily existence as two black queer men—one a (dis)abled queer femme man and the other an able-bodied (sometimes) masculine queer man—informs our belief that our quest for liberation from oppressions based on sexuality and gender expression must also account for the ways that ableism also often subjugates some queer people. Ableism shapes attitudes, policies and systems that ultimately dehumanize, pathologize and criminalize people whose bodies do not fit into socially constructed notions of what constitutes a ”normal” human being. Indeed, ableism shapes our understandings of gender expression.

As Eli Clare brilliantly puts it, “the mannerisms that help define gender—the way in which people walk, swing their hips, gesture with their hands, move their mouths and eyes when they talk, take up space—are all based upon how non disabled people move…The construct of gender depends not only upon the male body and female body, but also on the non disabled body.” Ableism renders invisible those bodies not privileged by dominant definitions of ability, those bodies that do not fit the conceptions of gender that we often imagine.
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