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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > April 2019 > “My disability won’t ever define me”

“My disability won’t ever define me”

Born with cerebral palsy, Neil Dunk insists on leading the same sort of life as everyone else: having sex, fighting with his boyfriend, going out to work every day and travelling overseas

I was born in Aberdeen in 1986, and due to complications at birth, I have cerebral palsy. It’s a neurological condition that’s caused by being starved of oxygen for a period of time, and as a result is very wideranging in its effects.

I’m lucky that my CP is mild, and mainly affects just my legs. When I’m outside, I walk with crutches because my balance is atrocious. They also, for the most part, stop people asking irritating questions — they just think I’ve broken my leg or something.

As I’ve grown older, the other major problem I encounter is fatigue. I have to be careful to manage my energy levels and not overstretch myself (luckily, I like to nap). I get muscle aches and stiffness, and after 15 years of using crutches (and swinging on them when I was younger), my back is probably not in the healthiest condition it could be. You’re supposed to have physio all the time, but I didn’t really bother until I reached my late twenties and realised my body was starting to say, “You need a hand now.” I don’t like to identify myself as being disabled, or as being gay. I’m just a person who happens to be disabled and gay.

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On the cover: The BODY issue starring NYC go-go turned Insta-star Matthew Camp Inside: Pose. Simon Amstell. Dr Ranj Singh. Plus: what it’s like to be a trans man in the gym.