Dr Amy Kavanagh
Visually impaired activist and Campaigner
Dr Amy Kavanagh is a visually impaired activist who uses social media to share her experiences as a low vision Londoner.
Amy was born with a complex visual impairment which means her sight constantly changes. It wasn’t until 2017 that Amy picked up a white cane and started truly embracing her disabled identity. Now she celebrates disability, mobility aids and encourages others to learn about the social model.
Amy advocates through writing, policy influencing, media and public speaking. She is engaged with a variety of disability issues including, public transport, social inclusion, video games, accessible social media, feminism and the built environment; all with a core commitment to challenge negative attitudes towards disability.
In 2018 Amy started the #JustAskDontGrab campaign to raise awareness of the experiences of unwanted touching, forced help and harassment that many disabled people experience when navigating life in public. #JustAskDontGrab has become a global campaign and has even reached the UN Safe Cities programme. The campaign has also inspired a ground-breaking academic research project into disabled women’s experiences of non-consensual touching and sexual harassment.
Currently, Amy is enjoying life as the landlady of an accessible online pub, The Staying Inn. Started during the Covid-19 lockdown, the pub has grown to a community of more than 650 disabled and non disabled people who enjoy weekly events such as quizzes, craft clubs, activist interviews and skills workshops. As The Staying Inn landlady, Amy is committed to tackling loneliness through inclusive online spaces for disabled people and anyone feeling isolated.
“Disabled is not a bad word, disability is not shameful. I try to live each day as a challenge to those attitudes and the barriers they create.”