Belo Cipriani went blind following an attack in San Francisco's Castro District.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

27 Aug 2018 - 2:32 PM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2018 - 2:33 PM

Belo Cipriani was only 27 years old when he was attacked in San Francisco's Castro District, an area synonymous with gay culture, community and history.

Cirpriani, who is openly gay, was left blind by the attack, an experience he wrote about at great length in his first book, Blind: A Memoir.

“I think the attack took the longest to write as it brought me back to that moment each time,” Cipriani told Windy City Times.

He added: “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 recognise my physical and spiritual growth."

Now the award-winning author, journalist and disability advocate is turning his sights to the members of his community, establishing his own publishing company, Oleb Books, which seeks to "expand representation of disability in literature by publishing disability stories by writers with disabilities".

The first book being released by Oleb Books is a collection of coming-of-age stories written by people on the spectrum of disability. Set to be released in October of this year, the book, titled Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities, sees a number of authors share "stories of vulnerability, honesty, and courage".

It's a subject Cipriano knows plenty about, having previously described the challenges of being blind in the LGBTIQ+ community.

"Sometimes people can’t tell that I’m blind," he told Queerty in 2016.

He continued: "In a dark club, under flashing lights, in dim rooms, I’m just someone else dancing. People often grab me and I ask them who they are and they get defensive... I have to explain to them that I’m blind, and then they apologize for my blindness, which is how people often react to a disability."

You can find out more information on the book here.

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