Scent-reduction can’t be just an option, a preference; it’s got to be a practice.

When scent-reduction of events and spaces is framed as an option, a “please”, a “we’ll try to”, a “preference”, with few-to-no clear boundaries or outcomes if folks do arrive scented, that doesn’t create the necessary container required for an accessible space. i go through the world assuming that chemical scents are going to be everywhere, so i prepare as best i can. But when a space/ event/ etc calls itself scent-reduced or scent-free and doesn’t consistently follow through, that creates an extra dangerous situation. Please, if you’re going to advertise as being scent reduced or scent free, just fricken do it?

1 thought on “Scent-reduction can’t be just an option, a preference; it’s got to be a practice.

  1. Thank you for writing about this. As a organizer committed to inclusivity, I completely agree! People need to know what to expect, and it’s good when coordinators have thought out ahead of time how to deal with contingencies. As a person with olfactory damage, I find certain smells unbearable, and use unscented products generally speaking (laundry soap, personal care).

    However, as a organizer/attendee with a disability, I sometimes struggle to navigate scent-free spaces because of my reliance on Tiger Balm to relieve chronic pain. I always ask people around me before applying it, but it does linger for hours (the cloves and cinnamon are what people still seem to pick up after the menthol and camphor have worn off). There are often days when I can’t function without it, and it is my first line of defence before having to resort to prescription medication.

    I’m interested in any navigational advice/suggestions other folks have.

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