Cathy Reay is a writer, editor, disability consultant and influencer. She is also a single mother of two and her Instagram account provides a great insight into life as a mum with dwarfism, disability justice, sex and dating, as well as some great skincare tips.
Cathy tells me about what it was like for her growing up in north Norfolk and how moving to London helped her find out who she was. We talk about celebrating our weirdness.
She talks about her experiences of becoming a mother, about medical ableism and how she did not feel welcome in motherhood spaces. Cathy shares her journey around learning to empower her kids to navigate their own journeys, and not constantly trying to protect them, by emphasising the importance of boundaries and consent and staying silent when she needs to - advice that will be relevant for many parents and caregivers.
We share our experiences of ableism and air our frustrations around unwanted help and Cathy shines a light on her understanding of the reasons for this.
Not wanting to be defined by her disability, we spoke about how people with disability are often automatically given the role of activist or spokesperson, and Cathy maintains that she is not here to educate people. I observe my own internalised ableism when looking to Cathy for answers about ableism.
We chatted about dating as a queer polyamorous woman and Cathy provides some advice for navigating dating apps with a disability. We discuss self-love and self-acceptance, and we unpick the internalised pressure about the way women are often programmed to behave around men, which can be heightened by disability. Finally Cathy shares how she’s found her community and has been able to connect with others who share similar identity markers.
You can find Cathy on Instagram here.
And find Sophie here.