Belo Miguel Cipriani, a blind gay man, seeks to inspire those with disabilities.
About Belo Cipriani
Back in 2011, when Cipriani was just 26, he was attacked in San Francisco’s Castro district. This act of violence caused Cipriani to lose his vision.
However, the incident was never designated as a hate crime.
Blind: A Memoir
Now, Cipriani is turning poison into medicine.
In his first book, Blind: A Memoir, Cipriani reflected on the lessons he learned. He was forced to adjust to walking, reading, writing, cooking, and living in darkness.
‘I think the attack took the longest to write as it brought me back to that moment each time,” Cipriani told the Windy City Times. ‘Some consider the attack scene the most dramatic part of the book—it was definitely the most intense for me to write. Other parts of the book helped me to recognize my physical and spiritual growth.’
Oleb Books and Firsts
Cipriani is behind the Minnesota-based company Oleb Books. The mission behind the publishing company is to ‘expand representation of disability in literature by publishing disability stories by writers with disabilities.’
The first literary release from Oleb is titled Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities. It is slated for release in October 2018.
One of the book’s authors, Amy Silverman, told LGBTQ Nation she felt like she ‘was given a ring of keys, and that each one allowed [her] to enter a different world.’
‘Each narrator is unique, each world fascinating – at turns heartbreaking, funny and hopeful – and yes, disability is center stage. But it’s not the only thing that makes these characters jump off the page,’ Silverman continued.
In addition to running Oleb Books, Cipriani is also behind the advocacy group Oleb Media. He has served as an accessibility and recruitment consultant for many Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, Toyota, and more.
‘People with disabilities, at the end of the day, are just like everybody else,’ Cipriani told Queerty in 2016. ‘We have desires, dreams and goals. We also have fears. The only difference is we negotiate life differently. But that doesn’t mean that our lives are any less valid.’