Motivational speaker Spencer West on living as a gay man with a disability

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Spencer West, motivational speaker and disability rights activist

If you are an able-bodied person, it is hard to comprehend how much of the world is closed off to you without the ability to use your legs. Everything from simply going to the washroom or grabbing a pizza to being able to address the complexity of developing close relationships becomes infinitely harder as a result of living with a disability.

Having lost his legs at five years old, Spencer West understands this better than most people. Whether it is in rural Wyoming or downtown Toronto, Spencer has seen multiple times that society generally fails to consider the basic needs of people living with disabilities. To add to these struggles, Spencer has also dealt with the frustration of people seeing him only through the context of his disability, especially when it comes to dating in the gay community.

Despite all of this, Spencer has been able to thrive through his optimism and challenging himself to exceed expectations. He now works as a motivational speaker to help others overcome obstacles and as an activist to build accessible spaces for both people with disabilities and the LGBTQ2SI community.

Spencer joins hosts Gilad Cohen and Simona Ramkisson to discuss his experiences as a gay man living with a disability, why we need to make Toronto more accessible, and that time he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Download the episode transcript here.

Hosted by Gilad Cohen (Founder, JAYU) and Simona Ramkisson, produced and edited by Brandon Fragomeni and Alex Castellani. Associate Producer: Ron Ma.

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