Wednesday, November 4, 2009

not accessible? then don't invite me.

Not wheelchair accessible? Then please DON'T INVITE ME.

More specifically:
Let's get real, people.
Meaning, if you are putting on an event that you think will be fun and fabulous and you just want all your friends to attend? But that event is being held in a NON accessible location? Then yes, please do not invite me. i am tired of being put in the position -- by ENabled (able-bodied) folks -- of having to choose between solidarity with my friends and/or lovers and/or community members who are unable to access such spaces, and attending because the friends and/or lovers and/or community putting something on are ENabled and just arent thinking about access, and no matter what i'll just keep missing out on the good stuff.Tired of having to choose between dragging my ass up the stairs (which i often cant do) that you seem to think are no big deal, or staying home.

i am so. incredibly. tired.
There are times when i feel like i cant stand even one more incident of ableism in my communities. One more incident and my brain will fucking implode for good. One more incident and my heart will shrink back to its old, fucked up, defeated size; and i will go back to not going out, not being part of fun, educational, inspiring, challenging community events, not volunteering my goddamned gimped ASS off for them. And that is fucked up. All because way too many people cant get their shit together and do some actual, for real solidarity. That is a goddamned shame, and yes, even though im no fan of "shoulds", you absolutely should feel something for participating in it. You should want to change that. You should want this to be different. You just should. Dont you think so? It's just such incredibly basic shit.

And while i know that this will never be easy for anyone, particularly those of you who cannot or will not conceptualize what ableism means on the ground for those of us who live with it every day, i do continue to expect better. i expect more. i expect it in large part because so many people talk a streak about solidarity, but dont seem clear on how that is impacted by ableism. i expect it because i and so many other disabled folks put our gimped asses on the line literally every day for this stuff. We put in time, energy and what little money we have working on accessibility. i've certainly never asked for one single thing in return. Not money, not notoriety, not even your attention for more than it takes to consider something ive written on the topic. i do it because i need it to get done lol, and there are so few people doing it. i do it because my friends/lovers/comrades need it done, and so few people are doing it. i do it because its right. i just wish more people for whom this didnt directly impact would step up and do it too. Because, yknow, they tend to be the ones with the resources to make this stuff actually happen.

Please, think about the ways you have and havent been honestly looking at this stuff, and endeavour to do better. Listen to what disabled folks have to say about it, we are, after all, the actual experts in our own experiences--which is a critical piece so many ENabled folks seem to miss when it comes to disabled folks.

i know perfectly well what im missing out on because so so few are doing anything about ableism and inaccessibility in our communities. But i fear that so many have no idea what yer are missing out on by doing nothing. And that is a damn shame. (im not going to go to that other place, the one that is about how i know that some folks do know what theyre missing out on by excluding gimps, and because of their fucked up notions about disabled folks are quite happy to maintain the status quo...thats for another post.)

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