One simple truth: when you build disabled accessibility in to your events as a non-negotiable, from the start, bottom line, you get it done. Because believe me, nothing motivates a bunch of kinksters more than telling them they can’t have something they want. (i wrote this originally thinking about kink stuff and how utterly ridiculous dealing with accessibility has been in these communities; but every part of this translates to most other communities pretty easily)
i’m sorry but as nice as people are and as much respect i have for so many (this critique isn’t about lack of respect or personalities or fairness or some shit), and as much as i actually do understand that there are constraints (and i tire of the sentiment that if disabled folks are saying this we obviously don’t understand what’s really going on, which smacks of paternalistic hoohaw to me),…
the holdup is NOT fundamentally about
– lack of awareness . Though a lack of investment in understanding is definitely hurting things; these same sometimes exact conversations have been happening for decades, these “new” ideas some folks keep coming up with are not new at all; it’s just that for the most part people who are not disabled have not been paying attention to the VAST, BEAUTIFUL, OVERFLOWING conversations we have been having. Got something that’s stumping you about some aspect of accessibility? Wondering how/if addressing one aspect of accessibility impacts another aspect of accessibility (which, historically speaking, most folks only seem to suddenly give a shit about one kind of access when it means they won’t have to think about that other pesky kind of access)? i guarantee you that we have already covered it;
– or lack of funds. Though a lack of willingness to earmark community/ organizational/ personal money/resources for accessibility, and failure to recognize where disabled folks actually know a thing or fifty about making do with very little, y’know, because structural fucking ableism keeps most of us in poverty (so please don’t give me that shit about how it’s “too expensive” and “classist” to make shit gimp accessible. Just don’t.); and wow if another able bodied kinkster who pays $30/month to go to or $800/month to throw a party talks to me about how money is why they can’t do this “access stuff” i’m going to fricken choke myself;
– or lack of ingenuity. Because these are often hella creative and thoughtful folks/ communities, often with a wide variety of connections and get-it-done-edness (though what you are missing when you don’t make access a priority –YES, BEFORE YOU BOOK YOUR FUCKING EVENT– is the ingenuity we as disabled folks could bring to the process. We HAVE TO work shit out, so we do. Ableism tell you differently –yes, even you “allies”– but believe it or not, we know shit you don’t);
– or even lack of space. Again, when you prioritize accessibility it feels like you’re limiting yourself somehow –ableism, anyone?– but what you’re actually doing is expanding your possibilities, your resources, your options, what you conceive of as an “appropriate” space, etc. There are so many spaces you are not understanding as possibilities because you have so limited your scope because you are coming from an able-bodied-centric place with it. Get a bunch of gimps in the room, and actually include us / centre us in decision making processes and stuff beyond decision making processes, and i guarantee you will hear about more.
What it really is to me is an unacknowledged lack of openness, lack of dipping into the unknown a little, and most importantly a lack OF WILLINGNESS TO GO WITHOUT FOR A LITTLE OR A LONG WHILE SO WE CAN ACTUALLY WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN WHICH WILL INCLUDE AND VALUE DISABLED FOLKS IN ALL AREAS OF THIS COMMUNITY.
i mean the truth is no, you actually don’t NEED to have your kink event in a totally non-accessible space. You don’t NEED to have it right now. You don’t NEED to have it at all. And if you were serious, like, really serious, about disabled inclusion and participation and leadership in your organization/ events/ communities, you would prioritize disabled access from the start and you would get it the fuck done.
We’ve been doing so for years. Ask us how.