One of the things i’ve learned that’s not so great when dealing with inaccessibility and ableism etc as a disabled person is that if i want much of anything to change, i gotta be at least some part of people’s internal (made external almost every single time) process around that change, if that makes sense. Like, i don’t really want to talk about how you feel ashamed & embarrassed about your inaccessible space. i really don’t. i respect that this is all a process, and that those are emotions that can happen, but i’m not here to guilt you or to soothe your guilt. i’m here to try to make stuff accessible and hopefully in the process encourage you to think more about access than you did before, and more broadly, and possibly even about ableism.
When talking about / mentioning the access at this or that space, i try to find a balance between making sure a connection can happen (because if no one is engaging in the process, nothing will change, that much is super clear), and not stepping in someone else’s crap (because while it might feel good for you to get it all off your chest, it’s really draining for me).
i wish it was just as simple as saying “hey, this isn’t accessible, how can we change that? here are some resources, what do you need to move forward? how can we make that happen? what can you bring to the table? etc” and then move forward. But it’s never just about a step or a air “freshener” or lack of ASL interpretation, or cloak-and-dagger organizing, or outrageous prices, or not providing high weight-bearing furnishings, because it’s a systemic thing, and that freaks people out when they start to put some of the pieces together. And it should. But i shouldn’t have to engage with people’s internal ableist dialogues just so i can go to a queer dance party or “radical” gathering, y’know?
i’m willing to meet folks half way, but not more. So let’s make a deal: i will bring you whatever resources and energy i have at my disposal to help you to make changes, and you can tell me (briefly!) if you feel guilt & shame about your inaccessible space if you actually make the changes necessary to make it accessible ok? It’s like intent, yeah? If you didn’t intend to do something problematic, you take proactive steps to not do it again. Otherwise, its just an excuse. And there are too many of those around when it comes to accessibility and ableism already, and frankly, there are way more fun things i’d rather be doing than slogging through that stuff.