Listen to Disabled People When We Talk About Accessibility
Accessibility is a topic that brings me to angry tears just about every time it’s talked about now. It’s a battle I deal with daily, and lack of accessibility has opened my eyes further than I want it to, simply because I’ve realized society has such a long way to go. Not only should accessibility be present in all public places, but accessibility is important in all cars, homes and other places and situations where things are offered to others. We shouldn’t have to be OK with a select few cars we can drive or even ride in. We shouldn’t have to miss out on get-togethers with people because they are too afraid to make their homes and cars accessible, or they don’t know how to make accommodations to what’s already present.
We should be able to get up and go without the worry of judgment and being told that accommodations or accessibility is too much for someone to handle. We shouldn’t have to miss out. We shouldn’t have to find ways to be fine and adapt on our own, even in our own spaces. We shouldn’t have to strictly be with people who have known us our entire life because other people can’t understand the ways in which we need support. We shouldn’t have to, but we do. We do even if it breaks our hearts a little more every day. Deep down many of us aren’t OK with it, but we have to be because as of now, there isn’t any other choice.
Please just imagine for a moment how it would feel to limit the places you go and things you do with other people and for yourself. Imagine for a moment if society told you, “too bad, suck it up and deal with it, because we don’t want to take the time or means to include you with everyone else.”
Imagine the massive amount of effort it takes to find a slim way to fight for normalcy that you know you deserve. Imagine for a moment the isolation or frustration when people tell you to figure it out or pity you for feeling a certain way. It doesn’t seem big, but it’s there.
Imagine that these things happen simply due to lack of access. Maybe then you’ll realize why it’s such a big deal.
Until you realize all of the things above, I don’t think you’ll understand the pride I feel within myself and people with disabilities every day as we fight to reach goals society indicates are not important or possible for us. Hopefully one day there will be other choices and full access, because our disabilities don’t make us any less than you.
Getty image by Colobus Yeti.