Change the wheelchair disability symbol to be more inclusive of invisible disabilities

Change the wheelchair disability symbol to be more inclusive of invisible disabilities

2,031 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
Petition to
Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC and

Why this petition matters

Started by Larni West

The white icon of a person in a wheelchair set against a blue background is known worldwide as the universal symbol for disability. But this symbol has never resonated with me and others like me.

My name is Larni West and I am an 18 year old girl who lives with an invisible disability. There are many Australians like me - in fact, only a very small percentage of disabled people use a mobility aid to support themselves. The majority live with a disability that can’t be physically seen. This includes a wide spectrum of chronic pain, chronic illnesses, mental or behavioural conditions, and/or other medical conditions.

Public ignorance towards invisible disabilities leads to discrimination. I myself have dealt with physical and verbal abuse on many occasions due to the lack of awareness surrounding invisible disabilities. The current wheelchair disability symbol perpetuates the stereotype of “how a disabled person should look.”

This stereotype is extremely discouraging for people with invisible disabilities, and negatively affects their confidence to use accessible amenities, such as accessible parking spaces (granted a permit) or accessible bathroom stalls, over the fear of being abused. 

I’m calling for a more inclusive disability symbol in Australia to help fight against stereotypes about disability so we aren’t discriminated against for not “looking” a particular way. Disability should be seen as a spectrum and the image symbolizing it should be too. 

I want the symbol to be a gentle reminder for people not to be judgemental towards people with disabilities, despite their appearance. My wish is for Australia to be more compassionate and inclusive of people with all kinds of disabilities, and it starts with a more representative symbol.

Thank you for considering signing this petition to show your support as a disability ally.

2,031 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!