Close up of ju90

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: how long has she been in that chair? How many years has it been?

I could tell you: fifteen minutes - I get nervous before performing.

I could tell you: I’m like every other wheelchair user. I get out of my chair to sleep, get in a car, chill out on the sofa, or, like fifteen minutes ago, to use the loo.

Like 95% of wheelchair users, I can walk a bit too - though not after sitting for hours in the same position, of course, could you?

But you won’t accept that, will you? No. Because once we use a chair, we’re confined to it. If you see us getting out of our chairs, you either think it’s divine intervention, or that we’re lying when we say we need to use them.

I’ve read newspaper reports that say: “She’s been in a wheelchair for twenty-five years.” Do you really believe that’s true, just because you’ve read it in the papers?

Do you really think that it’s possible? Do you think that I’m some kind of cyborg, permanently bonded to the technology, that I take my wheels to bed with me? Or that I don’t go to bed at all, that I just sleep in the chair?

Is that why you think I’m asexual, genderless? Is that why the loos are divided into “men”, “women” and “disabled”?

Are you enjoying looking at me? Didn’t they teach you not to stare? To look away, in case you catch something?

Because I can be invisible, you know. I have special powers. My chair comes fully equipped with an Invisibility Cloak.

Picture the scene. I’m out and about, red crew cut, silver boots and all, yet no one can see me. Everyone seems to be looking at something else, but if they do look in my direction, they seem to see straight through me. I can’t see the Invisibility Cloak myself, obviously, and I certainly didn’t order it along with the flashing wheels, but it must be there - because what other explanation could there be?

It can cause problems when I’m trying to get through crowds, of course, but after a few difficult experiences I came up with the solution . . . [sounds horn loudly]

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Brightly coloured photograph of an Edwardian bath chair

Dr Ju Gosling aka ju90's ABNORMAL: How Britain became body dysphoric and the key to a cure is available now for just 3.09 for the Kindle or in a limited-edition hardback with full-colour art plates for 20 inc UK postage and packing. Book cover