Don’t tell me, in the tone you use towards a pouting child, that I need to understand that those were different times. That people didn’t think about accessibility when designing houses, buildings or public spaces.
And said ‘fuck it.’
You don’t seem to understand that the idea of accessibility isn’t new. You know how I know? Because people with disabilities didn’t spring up in the human population just a couple years ago. We’ve been around forever. Really. Forever.
You killed us.
You put us on top of mountains to die.
You locked us away in basements and attics.
But we’ve been here. And you know what we’ve been doing? Experiencing you. And you attitudes. And your barriers. And your disgust. And your superiority.
Buildings were built for access for exactly who they wanted there.
And we weren’t part of their plan. We weren’t part of their imagined customer base. We weren’t the right sort for the right crowd. “It was a different time,” is no excuse because it’s the same prejudice, the same fear and, yes, the same hate. It may feel like a different time to you, but every time any one of us faces a public space where we are clearly unwelcome, barriers placed purposely in our way (yes you read that right) it feels like the same old shit.
Young men and women went off to fight wars, lots of wars, over our entire history. They came back, bloodied by war then beaten to submission by prejudice and exclusion. Cities build monuments to war heroes and then create public spaces that they can’t access. Ever notice that the soldiers are always portrayed in monuments standing? Whole bodied? Without the slightest whiff of blood, or sweat, or rotting flesh?
Bumper stickers ask you to thank a vet. Maybe the best way to do that is to make it your goal that every veteran in every city lives as freely as you do. They bought you your freedom, maybe you could demand that they have theirs.
It’s getting better you say.
You say as if it’s a gift we should treasure.
I’ll tell you this every fucking cut curb, every auto door button, every bar placed behind accessible toilets was put there because we fought for it.
It’s not a gift.
Now here comes the part where you call me a snowflake and tell me that my feelings of exclusion at an event I really want to attend are lacking in understanding, on my part, of the world as it is.
I’m from Canada honey, and let me tell you, I know exactly the power that a snowflake has when it is accompanied by a storm.