I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’ve been made to feel like I must put non disabled people’s comfort before my own when requesting access from them, and when I’ve spoken up about their ableism (intended or not).
I’m going to stop doing that.
I’m going to ask and speak up, publicly, loudly and unapologetically. And if they make it clear that disabled people are not welcome in their events, organisations, stores, movements and online spaces, I’ll leave.
Me politely asking for accessibility is not asking for too much. Its not humiliating a business or ruining their reputation. It’s asking for a human right to be met.
(Last year I got this statement from the Australian Human Rights Commission::
“The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) makes direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of disability unlawful, unless an exception or exemption applies (for example, unjustifiable hardship). The DDA operates in the context of different areas of ‘public life’ such as education, employment and the provision of goods, services and facilities. The accessibility of websites and social media are relevant to a number of areas of public life – for example, using a website to access a service.
Article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities asserts the right of people with disability to participate fully and independently in all aspects of society, including the internet and access to information. While accessibility has traditionally been thought of in relation to our physical environment, it must now also be central to the decisions we make about the hardware and software we invest in, together with how we communicate information on the internet and through social media.”)
Telling someone their words or actions are ableist, discriminatory and harmful is not an attack on them. It’s asking them to reflect, apologise and do better.
I won’t accept unchanged behaviour. I’ll support and follow and feel safe in the spaces of those who commit to access, inclusion and respect. I’ve got no time for those who don’t make time for me and the wider disability community.
Also, this is my first wisteria sighting – it’s not even Spring yet!
Has this post helped you think about disability and access differently? Will you use it in your work? You can buy me a drink here.