It’s disability pride month, I’ve written a list of things not to do to disabled people.
1. Dont guilt trip disabled people for not being ethical enough. We know Bez0s is awful, we know amaz0n treat their staff like crap, we know all the issues with fast fashion and ‘unnecessary’ plastic packaging on fruit and veg. Shops often aren’t accessible and many of us don’t have the energy to kook through charity shops and second hand shops. The pandemic made people even more reliant on places like amaz0n especially those who were shielding. Plastic straws have such a negligible impact on climate change and single use plastic and that ‘unnecessary’ plastic on fruit and veg may be the only way someone can eat it (trust me we don’t like paying more because we can’t cut up a mango)
2. Do not touch someone’s mobility aids, they’re an extension of our bodies, our freedom to access the world. Grabbing someone’s wheelchair could cause pain and injury or damage it (do you know how much those cost?), moving someone’s mobility aid to somewhere more convenient might take away their ability to move from where they’re sitting, if something is in your way ask (nicely) if we’re able to move it, we don’t bite (often).
3. Don’t touch or distract a service dog, they’re working and distraction puts the handler at risk.
4. This should be obvious – don’t report them for benefits fraud because they walked or you think they’re faking it when they’re having a good day, despite what the Daily Mail says benefit fraud is not the massive problem they try to say it is. Don’t make comments like ‘it’s a miracle’ if a wheelchair user stands or walks, not everyone is paralysed or unable to walk at all.
5. Following on from 4…..don’t complain about accommodations made for disabled people, motability cars aren’t free they’re rentals with the money being taken out of benefits, yes we can often get a carer in free to events but thats because we need help and assistance, you might have to wait for the next bus or move your buggy but wheelchair users have a legal right to that space (I’m an ambulatory disabled person and that’s the only space I can safely stand so if I can move so can non disabled people).
6. Don’t make assumptions about our abilities if we say we can do something or we don’t need help don’t argue or do what you think we need.
7. Don’t assume somewhere is accessible because it has a lift or ramp, accessibility isn’t that simple, ask what accommodations we need or if we want to look into it instead.
8. Don’t take photos or videos of us in public. I can’t believe I have to write this, our appearances, behaviour, the way we interact with the world or the way we physically move may not be the same as everyone else but news flash we’re people too, don’t do this (and if you do please go suck a bag of dicks).
9. Don’t blame us for the lack of access effecting you, we can’t help the amount of time it takes for trains or buses to put out ramps, we have places to go too.
10. Don’t take advantage of things that are in place to make like easier for disabled people, don’t park in blue badge parking spaces if you don’t have a blue badge even if you are only going to be a few minutes, don’t use the accessible toilet to go for a poo or to take selfie’s, priority seats are near the doors on a train or bus because we need them to be please don’t sit in them unless you need to.
These are just a few things and nowhere near an exhaustive list, everyone’s circumstances are different and not all disabilities are visible, my comments about not using an accessible toilet or priority seat are not aimed at people who aren’t visibly disabled.