The Disabled Coalition will host a disabled and queer content creator and activist on April 14.
At 7 p.m., Spencer West will speak at the Penn Museum's Harrison Auditorium. He will share his experience as a wheelchair user and member of the LGBTQ+ community at the talk, which is titled “Diversability: Leveraging Disabled & LGBTQ+ Talent,” in partnership with Weingarten’s Disability Services, the Greenfield Intercultural Center, the LGBT Center, and Office of Student Affairs. West’s keynote will focus on intersectionality and the positive impact of bringing in talent with disabilities.
“We want disabled and queer students on campus to feel like they are included, they are seen, and that they have a place here on campus,” founder and president of The Disabled Coalition and College sophomore Lex Gilbert said.
The event is open to students who might not necessarily identify with the words "disabled" or "queer," Gilbert said, inviting anyone who wants to come and learn.
West — who has identified as disabled from a very young age — is a disability and LGBTQ advocate with 4.3 million followers on TikTok. His achievements range from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to climbing the workforce ladder, Gilbert said.
West will discuss diversity and how to best include people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQ+ in the workforce and in academic spaces, Perelman School of Medicine Ph.D. candidate Dale Brokaw said.
“We wanted [West] to come to campus because we haven’t seen a speaker who identified as disabled, let alone disabled and queer,” Brokaw said.
After losing both legs from the pelvis down at the age of five due to a genetic disease, West began — and regularly presents — keynotes on his experiences.
Brokaw added that they hope attendees walk with a sense of “inspiration for those who might identify as being in a similar position as Spencer, and awareness to help others think about things from a different perspective.”