Kassandra Ruhm - That's how she rolls


Her singularity makes her her own role model – Kassandra Ruhm is committed to a better Federal Participation Law, equal rights for everyone and she wants to create accessibility both in live and in thinking. Why female actors can have some more kilos and why people generally should show more empathy, she tells us on REHACARE.com.

Photo: Kassandra Ruhm dancing with dancing partner; Copyright: Kay Michalak

© Kay Michalak

Name: Kassandra Ruhm
Age: 46
City: Bremen, Germany
Occupation: Graduate psychologist in a counselling center for the 3.500 employees at Bremen University
Impairment: Images, short films, texts and more about the topic of disability and society, founder of the inclusive dance project called "bunter umso schöner tanzen" (the more colourful the more beautiful dancing), wheelchair user myself
More about Kassandra Ruhm (only in German) at: www.kassandra-ruhm.de
Photo: Kassandra Ruhm in a park; Copyright: private

© private

When did you last laugh heartily and what about?

Kassandra Ruhm:
The day before yesterday, when something did not work the way I wanted because of my disability – but looked much funnier thus.

What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?

Kassandra Ruhm:
If I really want to do something, I reassure myself as long as I have the courage to dare it. Rather barriers keep me from doing something as my lack of courage.

Which person has influenced you most?

Kassandra Ruhm: Even if it sounds absurd: myself. As a visibly disabled, lesbian woman, born in 1970, I would have wished for role models in my life situation. Sometimes it was difficult to be "different" that often and to not fit in anywhere naturally. So I became my own role model. That was good as well.

You have the chance to become the German Federal Commissioner for the Disabled. What would you do first?

Kassandra Ruhm:
I advocate for getting a better Federal Participation Law and that no one will be pressured anymore to live in a home for disabled people, because it is too difficult to get the necessary assistance, accessible living space and other disability compensations in the middle of our society. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities we are entitled to that since 2009 by the way.

Your life is made into a film: Who would represent you?

Kassandra Ruhm:
Jasmin Tabatabai or Sibel Kekilli are great actors. On the other hand, it is important that disabled people should not always be played by non-disabled people in movies, but rather from actors who are disabled themselves. Furthermore, it would be a good measure if not every female actor would not be very slim. That you could see in movies how beautiful and attractive woman with some kilos more can be.

Photo: Poster with two pictures. On the left: Smiling woman with the question "Fears of contact?", on the right: flower meadow with saying "All should look the same"; Copyright: Kassandra Ruhm

It is very important for Kassandra Ruhm to have the freedom to be different and to live with fair chances in society anyway; © Kassandra Ruhm

I would like to be ...

Kassandra Ruhm:
… in a world in which people, who discriminate against disabled people without any problems, feel themselves for over one year in what kind of situation they have brought us. That would solve a lot of problems, I think.

Which questions would you like answered the most?

Kassandra Ruhm: I would like to know how many positive reactions my next project will bring. Under the motto "Poster der Woche: bunt ist schöner" (poster of the week: colored is more beautiful) a new poster of myself will be ready to download every week from spring 2017. I was riveted by that idea just this summer and I could not get this out of my head. Since then I’ve been developing image ideas and good texts, I’ve been searching for adequate models und appointments for the pictures, on which the weather will not upset our plans hopefully. It is really exciting. :)

Most of my models are disabled people, but there is also one poster about a lesbian “rainbow family”, one about the topic that “gay” is no swearword and one about that a woman of colour is probably a teacher or boss in Germany, even though some people see her as a housecleaner automatically. And more about many similar topics.

Moreover, I would like to know when the rights which the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ensures us will be observed in Germany. Instead of politics using many nice words, but improving not enough actually.

I also wonder how social recognition of lesbian and gay people will enhance in future. If homosexual partnership will be equal with heterosexual partnership and if they can adopt children together in some years? If teenagers do not have to be frightened anymore when they do not hide themselves and their love in school? Even though we still do not have the same chances, more than I would have dreamed of has improved in the last 20 years. That is great. Otherwise: If there should be a regression and it will be the same like in the 80ies or 90ies or even in the four decades before – maybe I do not want to know yet after all…

What I finally want to say...

Kassandra Ruhm: 
You have to be really angry or sad sometimes if something is wrong. Otherwise you are not able to see the beautiful things in life anymore.