I wrote this in December 2022.
Most of the time I advocate for accessibility for the broader disability community as it relates to other disabled people. Only occasionally do I advocate for accessibility for myself. It is harder to advocate for access for myself, as so often disabled people are seen as difficult, party poopers, too political.
I often say a line in my speeches – ensure accessibility, from the boardroom to a birthday party, because it makes people feel welcome. And I also refer to the Disability Visibility Project’s initiative, Access Is Love – meaning by ensuring accessibility, you’re showing someone they are loved.
If someone says that a venue or event isn’t accessible to them, don’t tell them to organise something themself.
Do better as an ally and be the one to ensure accessibility, don’t expect the disabled person to do all the heavy lifting in enquiring about accessibility, and speaking up about in accessibility.
If someone tells you they feel excluded by your behaviour, don’t gaslight them by saying you’re not excluding them.
If someone says something isn’t accessible for them, don’t be the devil’s advocate and say how much that thing has benefited you because it was accessible to you.
Asking for accessible venues and events doesn’t mean they’re doing to be less fun.
Expecting us to leave our disabled identity behind hurts.
Asking us to do all the work so you don’t have to think about accessibility is exclusionary and privileged.
When you endure discrimination by those close to you – be it family, friends, colleagues, teachers, medical professionals, and people who should know better, it hurts the most. And it takes a lot more work to practice pride.
I’ve worked hard this week – not just at paid work, but also at practicing disability pride.
I think about Laura Hershey’s poem You Get Proud by Practicing a lot.
“Remember, you weren’t the one Who made you ashamed,
But you are the one
Who can make you proud.
Practice until you get proud, and once you are proud, Keep practicing so you won’t forget.
You get proud
Has this post helped you think differently about disability and appearance diversity? Will you use it in your work? Please consider buying me a drink. Thanks!