Cameron Bloomfield, 34, represents his community at university lectures and conferences. He has had his challenges in life and has come out the other end in a better place. He spoke with F2L.
Tell us about your disability?
I have a mild intellectual disability. This means reading and writing are hard to do and I find it difficult to understand people. I can get quite frustrated when trying to write stuff down. For example, if I want to send an email, I don’t know how to word it properly. And spell check only works if you spell words reasonably right in the first place, which I don’t!
Tell us about your family life.
I live with my boyfriend who has an intellectual disability and cerebral palsy. Growing up was OK. It had its ups and downs. I was one of six kids and the only child who had a disability. I grew up in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. It was probably a bit hard on my family but to be honest I don’t really know. I’ve never spoken to them about it. Today I’m not particularly close to my family. I speak to them but we’re not super close like other families can be.
What about your education?
I was diagnosed with an intellectual disability when I was 12. I can’t remember too much about what it was like, but I knew I was slower compared to the other kids at school. For example, I had a teacher’s aid from Grade 6 to Year 10 to help me with my reading and writing. She would sit next to me in my classes and help me understand my schoolwork. At high school, I was trying to understand my lessons, but I really started to feel my intellectual disability hinder me. It was challenging, like when I had to do homework and didn’t have help, so I struggled.
Tell us about your work life.
I am lucky to work with Rainbow Rights. I am employed for the group and at the moment we are building our website and working on getting the name of our group out there. I do public speaking for Rainbow Rights and other organisations like Inclusion Melbourne and Deakin University about my life story and how I’ve got to where I am today.
This year we had a tent and a stall at Midsumma. We marched in Pride March. Last year we had an event in Melbourne’s Multicultural Hub. We used videos, a photo display and artwork to tell the story of Rainbow Rights. Our special guest was Ro Allen, Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality.
What are your future goals?
My goals are to be living independently and to have a regular job. I am not just a person with an intellectual disability, I’m a proud gay man who has had challenges and came out the other end in a better place.
If you have an NDIS plan what have been your experiences/challenges?
Through my NDIS plan I have a support worker who assists me one to two days a week, helping with the work I do such as emailing and with my personal life, with cleaning, household work, cooking and budgeting. In a way the NDIS can be hard though because there is always a new person to deal with each time to do your plan. You have to tell the staff about yourself over and over again.
Cameron Bloomfield was the recipient of the Inclusion Award at the National Awards for Disability Leadership in December 2019.