Every Australian Counts mourns the loss of Stella Young, a passionate feminist, comic, writer and disability rights campaigner who died on the weekend at the young age of 32.
Stella advocated for people a disability to be treated as equals. She hated being commended for what she saw as just everyday living, rejected pity, and demanded a society less patronising towards her and others with disability.
You can check out her 2014 Ted talk I am not your inspiration thank you very much.
Through her comic work, Stella bought disability issues to the fore in a way that made them accessible to the masses and she wasn’t shy in entering into lively debates on disability reform or raising issues of inequality when she saw them.
She championed the National Disability Insurance Scheme and was a strong advocate for its introduction. Speaking about the NDIS, Stella famously said: “I don’t think the question is whether or not Australia can afford to do this. It’s how much longer can we afford not to.”
While she claims not to be an inspiration, her tireless campaigning and refusal to be treated differently means she was indeed an incredible role model, especially for young people with disabilities.
You get a great insight into Stella’s approach to life and forthright view of the world in this letter she recently wrote to her 80 year-old-self . In it she says: “On my path to reach you, I promise to grab every opportunity with both hands, to say yes as often as I can, to take risks, to scare myself stupid, and to have a shitload of fun.”
And here are 17 things Stella Young wanted you to know.
Stella certainly made her own opportunities and had plenty of fun along the way. She will be deeply missed.