Vale Stella Young

Photograph of Stella Young

Stella Young: Twitter photo

As a few people already wrote in the Welcome back thread, Australian writer, comedian and disability activist Stella Young died suddenly on Saturday, December 6.

I didn’t know Stella in person; I knew her work mostly for her writings on ABC’s Ramp Up, but the many other places she appeared as a performer, speaker and writer included TEDx Sydney, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Global Atheist Convention. You’re welcome to link your favourite appearances and pieces in comments.

I loved Stella’s writing, and I’m really sad. I wish 80-year-old Stella had got to read the letter. Goodbye Stella.

Categories: Culture, disability

Tags: , , ,

5 replies

  1. vale Stella.

  2. Benjamin Law has written a lovely tribute as well. It is wonderful that Stella had so many clever friends. Somehow the shock of her passing is eased by their words. I never met her, but I wanted to and hoped to one day.

  3. In Stella’s words:

    ”This weekend a young woman with OI that I only knew from Facebook died. I was really sad to hear it. I didn’t know her well at all, but she seemed like an interesting person and someone who was highly regarded in the OI and LGBT community.
    Within hours, my Facebook feed was flooded with pictures of snowflakes. And poems about snowflakes. And analogies about snowflakes melting as a symbol of death. Apparently at some point a parent of a kid with OI decided that their kid was like a snowflake. Presumably because having Osteogenesis Imperfecta make you small, fragile, delicate, unique, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. Call your own child whatever nickname floats your boat. They may grow up loving it, or they may grow up rolling their eyes. Who knows. But this snowflake business seems to have caught on in the OI community and it makes me pretty uncomfortable.
    I understand why it may resonate with some people, and having a symbol like that can be comforting when you lose someone from a community you feel a part of. It does remind us of our own mortality. And I know there’s no real harm in just letting people have their thing.
    But in case I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I want to make something clear.
    I am not a snowflake. I am not a sweet, infantilising symbol of the fragility of life. I am a strong, fierce, flawed adult woman. I plan to remain that way in life, and in death.”

    [h/t Samantha Connor.]

  4. I spoke to Stella in email once. I wrote to the ABC about their disability coverage and they passed me along to Stella, who was working for them at that time. Our conversation was brief but she was so kind.

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