Dylan Alcott wears many hats.
He is an eight-time Grand Slam champion, disability advocate, a basketball wheelchair athlete, Paralympic gold medallist, and Australian television and radio host.
Alcott added yet another award and accolade to his impressive repertoire on Sunday, winning the Graham Kennedy Logie Award for most popular new talent during Australia’s 61st annual TV Week Logie Awards.
The 28-year-old — who was nominated for hosting the ABC’s live music program The Set and covering the Invictus Games — used his acceptance speech to celebrate and inspire fellow Australians with disabilities.
"This award means a lot to me,” Alcott told the crowd. “I used to absolutely hate having a disability. One of the reasons I did hate it was because when I turned on the TV, I never saw anybody like me, and when I did see someone like me, it was a road safety ad where someone drink drives, has a car accident, and the next scene was someone like me whose life was over. That’s not my life.”
"I wanted to get a job on TV because I love sharing stories but also to show that people with a disability can be talented, funny, and humorous — just normal people enjoying their lives,” Alcott added.
Alcott went on to highlight the issue of inaccessibility and specifically called out the Logie Awards for failing to offer a wheelchair accessible stage.
"I actually thought I had no chance of winning because when I got here, I saw stairs,” he laughed. “There was no ramp. I can’t win. But there’s a ramp out the back, baby.”
Accessibility has long been a critical campaigning topic for the star. In recent years, Alcott has organized Ability Fest — a festival which uses music to normalize disability by ensuring people of all abilities can easily attend and enjoy. The festival includes elevated platforms, sign language interpreters, and quiet hubs for festival-goers with an autism spectrum disorder.
Beyond his festival, Alcott has worked with event promotion companies like Live Nation and Ticketmaster to help improve accessibility at all live music events around the country.
Almost 20% of Australians live with a disability.
Those living with a disability often fail to have their needs met for meaningful community participation and are significantly more susceptible to insecure housing, low levels of education, unemployment, and poverty. Forty-five percent of individuals living with a disability in Australia live either close to or below the poverty line — a figure twice the OECD average of 22%.
Alcott ended his speech by urging Australians without disabilities to help rectify these issues.
"There are four and a half million people like me with a disability, so whether it’s in education, employment, going on a date — whatever it is, please give them an opportunity too,” he stated. “Because there are a lot of bloody talented people out there, and I promise you, they won’t disappoint.”