Two years ago, one evening while sim-hopping in Second Life, I discovered the renowned UK-based dysability consultant and activist Simon Stevens‘ famous disability themed nightclub called Wheelies. He was presented with the Revolutionary Award in 2008 by then UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown for creating the virtual club, the first of its kind, where disabled and non-disabled people would unite for fun! Simon Stevens also has cerebral palsy.
Last Tuesday, he very kindly agreed to the following interview:
After reading your blogs, I have come to understand that you prefer the word ‘dysability’ to ‘disability’. And, according to you, dysability means a “difficulty in ability” which definitely sounds positive unlike ‘disability’ that labels people with impairment as incapacitated. But, do you think that the usage of the word ‘dysability’ by people with impairments in some countries will make it even more difficult for them to get disability benefits?
Simon Stevens: Language is complex and Dysability is able the issue, people will still always define themselves in whatever way the state requires them to receive when they need
How understanding do you think most people inworld are? Have you ever come across disability discrimination in Second Life?
Simon Stevens: Yes, as a wheelchair user I have encoutered poor designed SL building with steps and no ramps and sometimes no door! Culturally, it is important to me.
Why do you think it was so difficult to get sponsors to help run the world’s first disability themed virtual nightclub called Wheelies, that you had to give up in 2016, despite all the media attention you and your club received?
Simon Stevens: I believe sl never become as mainstream as it could have been because of the intensity of being inworld, in terms of multi-tasking, and that the technology has not really caught up yet
How important are virtual abilities (like flying) to you?
Simon Stevens: I love teleporting, being able to get from one sl location or another including out of a tight spot
What are you doing in Second Life these days?
Simon Stevens: Not much as I have little time, but it would be handing about on the Dublin sl
If finance was no concern for you, what kind of projects would you work on in Second Life?
Simon Stevens: If money was no object, I would restore Wheelies to its former glory as a 24/7 nightclub
Simon Stevens’ website: http://www.simonstevens.com
Follow Simon Stevens on Twitter: @simonstevens74