Meet Antonio Centeno, from Barcelona (Spain)

antonio centeno

antonio centeno

I am 38 years old. I have a degree in Maths and I have been working as a teacher in secondary education. I dedicate my time and energy to social activism (Independent Living Movement) and political movement (ICV).

Since 2006 I have participated together with 7 other people in a pilot project of self managed Personal Assistance that we are developing together with the Barcelona Town Hall. This has allowed me to become independent from my family, to live alone and participate actively within my community

What is your personal experience of disability?

I began to feel discriminated due to the way my body works at the age of 13. I had a sports accident which caused a spinal cord injury and this changed the way in which I had to carry out all my day to day activities; but my social environment did not change in the same way, and that lack of adjustment is still there today and it does not allow me to exercise my basic rights in equal opportunities.

I would thank you if throughout the rest of the interview we changed the word “disability” to person with “functional diversity” so that I don’t feel attacked.

Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?

I am interested in generating an identity – pride of the people with functional diversity as a lever beginning from a personal transformation that will end up generating a social, political and cultural change and thus enhancing the value of human diversity and emancipation as a base for coexistence.

Who has influenced you the most, and how?

Regarding the ideas on Independent Living, without a doubt Manuel Lobato. The generosity with which he shared his privileged intelligence, his unending vitality, his deep humanity, helps me to be aware always that in the concept of “independent living” we must never forget precisely the “living” part.

What personal achievement are you most proud of?

I have felt and feel loved, in a variety of ways to many different degrees.

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

Depending on the day, but normally something as simple as the fact that I feel ravenous.

What makes you laugh?

Intelligent irony with a degree of tenderness, let’s say Woody Allen for example.

What makes you angry?

The disregard for life in general and humanity in particular, recalcitrant stupidity, neglect…

What do you do to relax?

To stroll along the beach, sex, share beers and laughter with friends, a session of reiki…

Where were you and what were you doing 10 years ago?

I was enjoying the first year in my small apartment that I had bought in Barcelona to come and work as a Maths teacher in a secondary school… and here I am today.

Do you think anything has changed for people with disabilities in the last 10 years?

The changes have been uneven in the different geographical areas. I would highlight the extension of new information and communication technologies due to their potential to share/generate experiences, knowledge and empathy as pathways for the transformation and emancipation.


Spanish version



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