A lot of people fall into the trap of assuming that disabled people are defined and limited by their impairments.
The social model of disability teaches us to think differently ... about the way that we limit such people by the obstacles we create. So, for instance, someone who uses a wheelchair isn't primarily prevented from getting to a meeting by the condition of their legs, so much as by the steps we built in front of the entrance, or the inadequacies of public transport provision.
With one in five of the population having some kind of disability, it's therefore important to get our thinking straight and realise all the ways people can work quite successfully, if only we don't perpetuate barriers and assumptions.
Tom Doughty has always been a musician. He only acquired his disability as a young man and, at first, he assumed that was the end of his guitar playing. But then he got determined to make sure his impairments shouldn't get in the way. The result is an incredible talent and a great sound.
In this interview I talk to Tom about his life, his music, and those barriers he's demolished.
If you're smitten like me with his music then you can visit his web site http://www.tomdoughty.com. From there you can buy his CDs and also reach his MySpace and YouTube pages.
Tom Doughty has a very evocative and soulful style of lap slide guitar playing. I'll be interviewing him next on Just Plain Sense. In the meantime, here's a taster and you can visit Tom's web site at http://www.tomdoughty.com
According to the British Crime Survey there were 3.29 million reported violent assaults on women in the past 12 months. One in four women have been assaulted at some time.
Much strategic attention is focussed on dealing with the outcomes of all this violence: Catching and punishing offenders; Counselling and supporting those on the receiving end; Teaching self defence ... even designing the built environment to make it safer.
But what about reducing the violence itself? Chris Green, UK Director of the White Ribbon Campaign, aims to do just that.
He says that wearing the campaign's white emblem involves a pledge never to commit, never to condone, and never to remain silent about violence against women. His organisation runs various campaigns targetted at men and boys in particular through areas such as sport, and in schools.
In this interview Chris talks to me about the statistics, the causes, and his campaign's work.
A new Trans Resource and Empowerment Centre launched in Manchester on 7th November. I spoke to two of the five organisers who are setting up this innovative project, creating (as it grows) a regular base where trans people can drop in for help and advice.
Just Plain Sense provides a mix of talks and interviews about Equality and Diversity in Britain today. There is a particular emphasis on the 'developing' areas such as LGBT but overall I set out to capture a truly diverse range of voices to talk first hand about what it means to work towards and live in a tolerant, diverse society -- and what we still need to do to get there.