An accessible toilet has been made inaccessible.

The door used to swing both ways, which is more important than you can imagine when you need access to the loo. I used this toilet all the time, I’d swing the door out, then back in beside the toilet, then swing the door closed. Easy peasy. Then, I went and found that the door had been made inaccessible because they put a governor on it so that it could not longer swing outwards, only inwards. This effectively makes an accessible toilet inaccessible to wheelchair users.

I discovered this when I had to pee. I arrived, fully confident of a toilet that I could access, to find that I could not use it. The nearest toilet was down an elevator, for which there is always a wait and then a long push down a long corridor. I navigated all this and then had to wait outside the other accessible toilet for it to become free. Thank heavens I have a bladder that can hold more than a super soaker.

I mentioned this to someone.

They asked what I was going to do.

I said that I’ve already got a call in to the property manager.

“You look like you are ready to pick a fight.”

I thought about that. I’ve been accused of that before. I need to say that in the conversation I’m recounting, it wasn’t an accusation but a friendly joke. But even so, hearing that reminded me of the other times it’s been said to me, often in a less friendly manner. Like I’m rolling around looking for offense. (Don’t have to look far, ever.)

But I thought about it.

No.

They picked a fight with me.

They made an accessible space inaccessible.

They threw down the gauntlet.

They initiated.

To respond is not to pick a fight but to engage in a fight where the first punch has already been thrown.

We need to see provocation for what it is. We need to see that our response is often second to the action of another to deny access, to make unwelcome, to exclude.

So bring it on. They picked the fight. Now they have to deal with who they picked it with.

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