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Equitability, not equality: a conversation for Brisbane Pride

For Brisbane Pride, we reached out to Power to You co-designer Justin to highlight his advocacy for people with disability who are also a part of the LGBTQIA+ communities, how he developed his voice to empower others and to dispel some common myths surrounding intimacy.

Read on to find out about how Justin uses his voice for equitability, empowerment and truth.

What is the difference between equitability and equality?

Justin: Equality is about equal treatment for everyone but also when you don’t support anyone in any way to bring them up to the same level. What you’re doing with equality is giving people the same opportunity, however some people may need a little bit of help to get the same chance of excelling at those opportunities.

Equitable treatment would lead to that because it’s giving someone a push up to help them get the same level of access and opportunity as any other person.

An illustration of equality on the left versus equity on the right. On the left, three people of varying heights stand behind a fence with only two of them being able to see beyond into a field. On the right, the same three people are brought to equal height by use of stacked boxes so that they can all see past the fence.

What or who inspired you as an advocate for equitability?

Justin: No one person inspired me to take up disability advocacy. It’s actually more my politics that inspired me. I am what you call an anarcho-socialist, which basically means I support the idea of power to the people by standing up for the community and advocating for everyone to have a voice. You would have a voice; I would have a voice; even my grandfather would have a voice!

How can someone develop their voice for self-advocacy and advocacy?

Justin: For me, being confident in myself and my identity helped to develop my voice for advocacy. That kind of confidence is important and something others could try to grow as well.

Remembering to focus on yourself is also important because focusing on other people doesn’t allow you to develop that strong sense of self. Once you have that, help others to develop a strong sense of self as well so they can develop their own voices for advocacy.

How have your experiences shaped you and your activism?

When I was growing up, my parents gave me a lot of freedom. I was able to develop my own opinions and my own voice because they never restricted the kind of content I watched or read, other than adult content. For example, I was very into ancient history and Greek mythology.

You’ve talked about people with disability and sex. What myths do you want to dispel?

Justin: Well, there’s a particular myth going around in society that disabled people are sexless and that we don’t have a sex life. However, disabled people exist within the same spectrum as able-bodied people and have the same right to intimacy. We can be asexual, bisexual, gay, straight, pansexual or transgender—though being trans is not connected to sexuality but more about gender. So, a trans person can still be gay, bi, straight et cetera.

One reason for this myth existing is because some disabled people with intellectual disabilities, even though their sexual desires have always existed, may find it difficult to get this fact across to others.

A glossary can be found at the bottom of this blog.

What advice and resources do you suggest for people in the queer and disabled communities who are in less supportive spaces?

Justin: Find a support group or friendships that allow you to develop your voice. It can be hard to develop your voice if your support network is trying to control your life. Being able to find people that will support you—even if they aren’t queer or disabled but just supportive and friendly—is the most important thing.

I was very lucky that I had parents that were supportive of my freedom and independence, as well as a safe home where I could develop my own opinions and be safely challenged in them to grow my perspectives.

In terms of useful and informative resources, I would direct them to the Power to You program. There are also resources that can help you find your way out of unsafe environments such as the Human Rights Commission. Reaching out to your support groups and friends can also be helpful because you never know if someone might be able to direct you to more resources.


  • Asexual: An asexual person can experience little to no sexual attraction to others.
  • Bisexual: A bisexual person can experience sexual attraction to more than one sex and/or gender.
  • Cisgender: A cisgender person, commonly referred to as cis, is someone whose gender identity does not differ with the gender and sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Gay: A gay person or lesbian can experience romantic or sexual attraction to someone of the same gender.
  • Intersex: Intersex people have innate sex characteristics that don’t fit medical and social norms for female or male bodies.
  • Non-binary: A non-binary person is someone whose gender identity does not conform to the traditional gender binary (i.e., male or female).
  • Pansexual: A pansexual person can experience sexual attraction to all sexes and genders.
  • Straight: A straight or heterosexual person can experience sexual attraction to someone of the opposite gender.
  • Transgender: A transgender person is someone whose gender identity differs from the gender typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.

For more information and resources, please visit

On Wednesday 27 September, Power to You is hosting a FREE event to celebrate Brisbane Pride. If you’re an adult with intellectual disability who also identifies as LGBTQIA+, come along for a free art workshop where you can take home your own canvas painting and connect with new people and make friends!

  • When: 10:30am – 1:00pm Wednesday 27 September
  • Where: Cork & Chroma, Shop/15A Little Stanley St, South Brisbane QLD 4101

A free lunch and art supplies are provided. Click the button below for more information!