“Scent Aware” =/= Accessible for folks with MCS/EI

 

Regarding this upcoming conference:  http://www.butchvoices.com/conference/accessibility

 

Fellow butches, get your shit together. [Note: this isnt just about butches obviously, and it isnt just about this conference. This shit happens all. the. time. And every time it happens, someone has a reason why they did nothing, why they worked on nothing, why they did zero work around actually making any tangible difference whatsoever. We ALL need to get our shit together.]

 

i just want to say this because this same kind of thing happens all the time, and im tired of people throwing around “scent aware” without really seeming to really get what that means and how different it is from actually DOING something about it (which is, just to be clear, what ACTUALLY makes a difference).

 

Shit like this really pisses me right off actually. What is “scent-aware” if you’re not actually going to DO anything WITH that supposed awareness?

 

To me, what this kind of policy[sic] means is “It’s A-OK To Be *Willfully* Ignorant of The Impacts of Scents Because No One Will Say Anything And We Dont Actually Have Any Expectations of You So Basically Come As You Are And We’ll Hope That No One Complains Because Really We’re Not Going To Do Anything About It Anyways”.

 

Also, there are SO. MANY. LINKS. they could have included which pretty effectively cover SO MANY of the “hardships” (for people who want to wear scents etc, not the hardships faced by those who have to deal with it, per usual) they talk about in regards to not putting people in danger, but they didnt even do that.

Try this one: https://www.facebook.com/notes/leah-lakshmi-piepzna-samarasinha/fragrance-free-femme-of-colour-realness-draft-15/10150593367073817

 

Or this one: http://billierain.com/2011/05/01/3-steps-to-organizing-a-fragrance-free-event/

 

Or this one: http://www.peggymunson.com/mcs/fragrancefree.html

 

Or this one: http://dualpowerproductions.com/2011/05/01/mcs-accessibility-basics

 

Or this one: http://fiercebodies.com/

 

Or this one: http://eastbaymeditation.org/accessibility/scentfree.html

 

Or this one:  http://www.princesstigerlily.com/mcs/mcs_by_area.html

 

Or this one: http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/2333/

 

See what i’m saying? There are so. many. more.

 

And, way too many people use terms like “policing”, as in, “Don’t worry, no one will be policing anybody’s use of cologne, skin, and/or hair preparations…”, as though someone expecting you to not be slathered in cologne and making them sometimes violently ill is the same as “policing”, especially when those words are used within communities that routinely deal with actual policing. The casual use of these words ticks me right off, and puts the onus on those with MCS/EI [multiple chemical sensitivity/ environmental illness] once again to be the obnoxious bearers of bad news, and forces disabled folks, once again, to advocate for ourselves, while organizers needn’t be held to any standard whatsoever.

 

There is zero teeth to this “policy”, so it is not actually a policy at all. Again, what exactly does it mean to be “aware” when there is no real action expected of anyone except to “consider” the impacts? i am “aware” of racism, of classism, of fatphobia, of sexism, and so on. Just being “aware” of it, or that those exist as real things doesnt mean anything if there is nothing backing up what *behaviour* is/n’t acceptable in a space. If by my behaviour i make someone unsafe, i actively hurt them, i cause them to be ill, to be fucked with in some way, am i not to be accountable for those actions? So long as i’m “aware”, it’s all good?

 

If people are going to do basically nothing to actually make a space more accessible for those with MCS/EI and others, then stop saying you’re “aware” in a way that makes it seem like you actually get it. Pisses me off the way “we’re sorry to say this space is not wheelchair accessible. We know this is an inconvenience for some” pisses me off. It’s a useless statement when it is not backed by any action or dedicated future action of any kind. 

Come on, let’s work to get this together. The resources are there.

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