10 Questions For Activists No. 1 – Clair Lewis AKA Dennis Queen

Clair in Trafalgar Square prior to DAN Welfare Reform Demo

Clair in Trafalgar Square prior to DAN Welfare Reform Demo

Clair is a personal friend. I have worked with her on actions for the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN) and Not Dead Yet UK. She inspired me to start the We All Shot Pudsey Bear Facebook group by sending me a picture of a wounded Pudsey. She is well energetic and when not actively on the streets she is blogging and facebooking away in support of her causes. Here beginneth the questions and answers.

How did you first get involved in activism?

I went for support to an impairment specific support group almost 15 years ago looking for the answer to the prejudice I saw all around me. I came home with a politicised friend who introduced me to the social model of disability and converted me. Then I got involved in training at my local coalition, after which I joined D.A.N. the Disabled people’s Direct Action Network,

What causes do you currently concentrate on?

a) Equal rights for disabled people.
b) Equality in matters of sexuality rights for all people.

What are the big issues?

a) Disabled people face prejudice and exclusion at every level of society, and are prevented from having a fair chance at life. So many things need fighting.
b) The government wants increasing control over what it views as ‘acceptable’ and ‘not acceptable’ forms of relationships and sexual interests. Thus pointlessly criminalising consenting adults.

Do you have a favourite chant?

“What do we want? FREEDOM! When do we want it? NOW!” because it works in both movements.

What values underpin your activism?

A fundamental love which I feel for humanity. The basic truth in the Human Rights Act that all humans are born equal in dignity and rights. I would add to that in value, also. I see my job as trying to implement that in reality.. .pushing for positive change and calling out discrimination and oppression.

What do you think you have achieved personally as an activist?

Just being part of a big machine.. a movement.. doing my bit to make the engines work. Sharing information. encouraging others to fight back.

When and where did you have your best day as an activist and do you have a link to a photo that i can use that shows this day?

I have had many best days. When I am beside my people fighting for equality, it’s my best day.

Why bother to do activism at all?

Because every day the world changes and grows and I want to take part in shaping the future. We have a choice to do nothing, and keep the status quo, or to make our part really worth something. I want to leave this world knowing I did my tiny part along with many others to make it a better place. corny but true.

What is the best and worst thing anyone has said to you about your activism?

“You gave me my heart back” is the best thing ever said to me. I love encouraging others to fight back, to fight for our equal rights.
The worst thing which nobody has said yet would be ‘You make me feel ambivalent’ .. the worst thing anyone has actually done is ask me why I can’t just accept my lot in life… as if some of us somehow deserve this inequality. I will never believe that and exist to challenge that belief and help others to do so.

Which other activists have inspired you the most?

So many people. All Danners inspire me and being together on protests fires me up like nothing else. The biggest mass inspiration I had in one go was when members of an entire website showed me how important an issue was by getting really worked up. That was the day I came out and became a sexual rights activist, because we needed to do something with that energy, and by then I knew what to do, having learned it in the disabled people’s movement. I am not going to list my personal heroes – they all know because I make a point of adoring them whenever possible. and the list would go on forever. People inspire me all the time, I look for hope and inspiration in every corner of life.

When i show your answers to these questions on my blog do you have a link to

a) a photo of you that I can use,
photo attached

b) a link to Clair’s blog,

c) a link to another useful site recommended by Clair


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