This Easter, much like Jesus my hidden disability rose from the ashes! My previous blog ‘On my Last Legs to see The Last Leg‘ instantly went viral, creating heated discussions on Twitter and multiple Facebook networks, with over 6000 views in the first day alone. I feel truly humbled by the fantastic support I have received.
Public response from both the UK and around the world was, and continues to be overwhelming. I have been inundated with heartfelt messages from people with both ‘visible’ and ‘hidden’ disabilities identifying with my experience as well as sharing their own with me. Additionally and almost more importantly, just as many able-bodied people are clearly shocked that this happens at all, with comments of ‘I had no idea’ and another describing the piece as ‘an eye-opener to the barriers disabled people face on a daily basis.’
One of the first respondents to my blog was Cherylee Houston, the Coronation Street actor and avid disability campaigner who was on Channel 4 News that very week debating disability cuts with Conservative MP David Burrowes. She was super supportive, tweeting that ‘this policy needs to change’ and connected me with Miranda Wayland the ITV Diversity and Inclusion Manager, who pledged to look into the incident.
However less than 24 hours after my blog was published, as myself and my boyfriend Rich, sat in Chinatown’s Beijing Dumpling for dinner, something terrible happened. Yes, that’s right, I became one of those twatish people who constantly looks at their phone at the dinner table. I was a Twitter twat. Sipping on gin and dim sum like Snoop Dog with the munchies, I was bombarded with what must have been well over two hundred tweets during dinner.
Adam Hills tweeted, ‘I’m so sorry. I had no idea any of this happened. I’m fuming’ and The Last Leg invited me to the series finale show on April 1 as well as to the after show Green Room drinks. Fans of The Last Leg from around the globe were quite frankly just lovely describing the treatment I had received as incomprehensible given the nature of the show. Tweets included pleas of; ‘please discuss hidden disabilities on the show’ to ‘send a car to pick her up this time’ to ‘send her flowers’ to ‘put her up in a hotel’. One tweet which made me smile urged; ‘make it right Adam, accept her friend’s marriage proposal!’ It was really fantastic that The Last Leg took responsibility for the action of their door staff on March 18 and I was confident that the future disabled access policy would be amended. Or so I thought.
On day of the finale show I wondered what would welcome me at the ITV studios that evening after such a traumatic experience last time. It was ‘take two’ 🎬 and like the previous visit, as mentioned in On My Last Legs to see The Last Leg, I started getting ready the day before, duly changing my weekly biologic injection and chemotherapy dates to accommodate the show. I fought through the raging fevers and relentless pain of my Rheumatoid Arthritis to catch the arduous tube journey to the show, easy for some but not with RA. So to the Tweeters that asked, no the show did not put on a car. I arrived battered and bruised all over my body from the journey and I could feel my white blood cells literally trying to murder me on the Southbank but of course nobody could see this, my illness is apparently ‘invisible’. Fraught with pain, I almost cried into the Thames, that’s right Justin Timberlake, I almost cried me a river.
Nevertheless I pulled myself together and with a cuddle from Rich, we made our way to the ITV studios. I felt a shiver of anxiety as we passed the queue where I had been subjected to the humiliation and discrimination to that of a Victorian freak show. This time we had been invited to the main reception area to wait amongst those with VIP entry. Now this was much more civilised and sensible! Disabled people should go to an area where it is warm with seating…but the people next to me were not disabled, these were the privileged few with no fuss entry, sitting comfortably in the warm simply because they ‘knew someone’ or ‘worked in media’. This simply by any means was not right. It saddened me that potentially someone like me could be outside right now, walking the long mile past the raging queue to be greeted by offensive door staff, all whilst *said* disabled person is being made to stand for the pleasure. The very least you could have offered was a seat while you victimised me.
After popping painkillers and anti-inflammatories, that barely touch the pain, we were led with the VIPs through the ITV building to the television studios. After an hour of rehearsal, The Last Leg trio kicked off the show live with fantastic comedic execution. Special guest Charlotte Church’s gloves (and shoes) were off for the perfect political rant, championing everyone from the steel industry to the NHS to our schools with a bit of a Trump bashing thrown in for good measure. In homage to Bernie Sanders’ ‘bird on podium’ moment, an actual vulture was released above our heads which thankfully didn’t claw out my eyeballs or worse, poo on my new dress. But things really got surreal when The Cheeky Girls randomly appeared in the show’s closing political skit 👯.
In fact in the words of The Cheeky Girls, I then asked Rich to ‘touch my bum’ as I needed my painful derrière, back and legs massaged from being seated for two hours, not complaining just a fact. We were soon escorted along with the ‘privileged few’ to the Green Room. In need of a seat already, I had no choice but to awkwardly slide onto the sofa next to Alex Brooker, his friend and The Cheeky Girls. I smiled at a Cheeky Girl and said ‘hello’ to Alex who introduced himself.
A perky Ben Wick, executive producer of The Last Leg then appeared in front of us and introduced himself to me. I explained who I was and he apologised about the previous week and asked if I enjoyed the show. I thanked him and told him the show was fantastic, at this point Alex said ‘Oh are you the one who had all that shit last time?’ I told him I was and turned to tell him more when Ben grabbed my attention asking, ‘did you like the show tonight? It was good wasn’t it?’ I again said it was great but asked him if the show’s access policy would be changed now for future disabled visitors? He looked uneasy saying, ‘that would be difficult’ followed by, ‘but the show was good wasn’t it?!’ Was he trying to hypnotise me? I explained that the show is a separate entity to the access policy which currently allows disabled people to be treated appallingly.
I expressed it would be as simple as applying the entry I had that evening; come to the main reception, away from the maddening crowd, simply give your name, sit down and wait to be led to the show. He again repeated that it would be difficult (and yet not so difficult that the ‘privileged few’ do this for every show?) He then added ‘well there’s never been any problems before!’ This statement made me shudder, it is reminiscent of the stereotypical retaliation to sexism or racism in the workplace which instead of taking ownership to investigate, is to isolate the individual thus reversing the guilt and responsibility back onto the individual. In turn the establishment does not need to be accountable because it is the individual who is the problem. Under The Equality Act 2010 this is called ‘victimisation’. The act describes disability as a ‘protected characteristic’ and outlines four types of discrimination, one being ‘victimisation’ which the act states as ‘treating someone unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment’.
Let me also explain that just because Ben may be unaware of whether there has been a problem before, does not mean there has not been a problem before. Odds are there has. The majority of the time disabled people do not complain because it is too traumatic to relive the experience only be told it is all in their head and they are the only one complaining. I know it took a lot of courage for me to write about this experience which is usually just reserved for my partner and friends with RA, friends who can finish each others sentences because this kind of thing happens all too often. Ben did inform me that there has been a meeting about my case before adding, ‘but look, the main thing is you enjoyed the show right?!!’ Hmm no it’s really not. He swiftly left my company, I think I confused him.
I was next approached by the lovely smiley Sarah Croker, Line Manager at Open Mike Productions who had emailed me instructions for that evening’s entry. She also asked me if I enjoyed the show. I repeated that I had but again asked what would now be done about the disabled access policy? I explained as I did to Ben how much simpler the system I used to enter that evening was, away from the queue, away from abuse. She was no longer smiling and said ‘that would be difficult’ I was beginning to feel sorry for this lot, I thought having a painful, debilitating, chronic illness was difficult but no, life in television seems really ‘difficult’. She explained that ‘everyone has different needs’, however it is not for her or anyone else to judge a disability, it is the law to provide suitable access to a building.
Sarah then followed with, ‘and then there is the issue of equality’. Now this did spark me, equality for able-bodied people? I haven’t heard that one before! Even if ‘equality’ is the angle being used, it was not applied here. Let’s address the ‘equality’ of my situation a couple of weeks ago. Were the able bodied people in the queue bearing an equal experience to myself, the disabled person? The able-bodied people were standing carefree, pain-free in the queue whilst the disabled person with a severe painful illness had to stand whilst being heckled, humiliated and intimidated by the able-bodied queue and the Clipboarder door staff. The able-bodied people in the queue were not subjected to this behaviour therefore we were not treated equally. And to voice concern for the equality of able-bodied people in this instance is highly inflammatory and offensive.
As a ‘protected characteristic’, I experienced every type of discrimination outlined in The Equality Act 2010:
Despite the name, the Equality Act 2010 actually provides equality for disabled people via ‘equity’. Equality assumes everybody is at the same starting point with the same requirements, in this case disabled people and able-bodied people. Equity acknowledges a different starting point for disabled people, and the need to make adjustments for a level playing field. Equality provides sameness, equity provides fairness.
For example; a child with dyslexia uses headphones in a classroom to assist a writing task but the other children do not have headphones. It does not matter whether the other children want headphones, what matters is whether a child needs headphones in order to complete the writing task. Would Sarah consider there to be a lack of equality here because the children without a learning difficulty were not also given headphones?
I think this info graphic illustrates this concept well:
However I did not get to press Sarah further on this issue as she then asked how we were getting home informing us that someone would escort us from the building. I am sure this was not aggressively intended but we decided to leave all the same. On the way out we spoke to Adam Hills who apologised again for what happened the last time at the door. He said, ‘the (Last Leg) show champions physical disability very well but I realise that hidden disability is a whole other level which still needs to be addressed’.
Despite a leaving hug from Adam, myself and Rich exited the ITV building quite forlorn. The production staff I encountered were at best patronising and at worse hostile. They seemed annoyed at the suggestion that seeing a TV show was not as important as a fair access policy for all disabled guests – not just the ones (or ‘one’ it seems) who complain. The reason for my blog was to highlight on behalf of every disabled person the disability discrimination and intimidation that took place from the queue and Clipboarders who were representing ITV, Channel 4, The Last Leg and Open Mike Productions that fateful night. It was not so I could watch a TV show, as great as the show was.
It has now been 3 weeks since the Clipboarders, 2 weeks since the first blog and 1 week since I eventually saw the show and met the staff. To date I have had over 9000 people read my blog but I am still waiting to hear a response from ITV on the incident and how they plan to address their access policy.
I do realise it may be a case of ‘biting the hand that feeds you’ on behalf of the production staff. However I do not think hostility is needed, I would like to think we are all on the same side, wanting a fairer policy allowing disabled people to access buildings as easily and as stress free as their able-bodied friends do. Although extremely traumatic, I am glad my experience has brought the issue to the table as Cherylee Houston described. Whatever way you look at it, the fact that I am having to write this blog at all proves that the current ITV access policy for disabled people is not working and clearly contravenes the Equality Act 2010.
One friend responded online to my blog with two beautifully choice words namely ‘Clipboard’ and something that rhymes with ‘tankers’. The cute response came when her delicious two year old daughter ‘rang’ me on her toy phone singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ to make me feel better. I think the SRO Clipboarders, ITV studios and Open Mike Productions could take note from little Dilys, in short: when a person is suffering and in pain, be nice, don’t be a tanker.
See the public response to this blog A Change is Gonna Come and ITV Studios response to the discrimination ITV Studios Response to The Last Leg
A brilliantly written piece again. It really is astounding how ignorant and self centred people still are. What a great job you have done at bringing awareness to this issue. You are brave and inspirational and I hope your blog goes some way to changing attitudes and policies. XX
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Ah thanks Susan! I know, it’s strange that some people are so bothered/ uncomfortable by disabled people! Xx
Thank goodness for you, highlighting hidden disabilities. I have RA, long standing, severe Brinchiectasis and a Carebral Aneurysm, all hidden. I often think about applying for various shows, especially BBC ones, as I live a 10 minute drive away, But you have shown how futile that would be. I cannot stand for very long either . It seems, from your blog, that those of us with hidden disabilities are not welcome to TV land. Interestingly most Theatres are excellent at offering low cost, accessible seats to disabled. GKeep up the great work and most of all good luck and THANK YOU
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Aww no thank you Julie for your support and sharing your worries. I know it’s a very real worry, but I would urge you to go if you want to and if it doesn’t go well then complain as so many have, myself included. You shouldn’t be made to stay in your home because production companies refuse to adhere to the law. The more awareness that their policy is not working the better. You may have a good experience with the BBC I’ve no idea. But I know the very ‘not knowing’ is stressful in itself.
I agree theatres have very good procedures in place, other establishments could learn from them. I hope you’re having a good day with your illnesses and please know that you have the same rights as any able-bodied person when you wish to access to a building, whether that involves going to the BBC or somewhere else. Xx
Here I was awaiting with abated breath of your next blog. Funny as I knew there would be no positivity from you. I for one have been to the last leg and admire all who are involved including door staff, running staff etc who do an incredible job.
Why would you have expected a car to be laid on for you? From what I can see it looks like they went above and beyond to assist and make it an enjoyable evening for yourselves.
Green room passes…meeting the presenters!!! I personally think even if a red carpet had been laid out for you, you would have still had criticism.
Many of us suffer pain in everyday life and there again are many that do not have the opportunity to actually attend show audiences as they are housebound.
I just hope the show realise that whatever they try to do there is just no pleasing some people!!
Kim I find it strange that despite not liking my previous blog post, you were waiting with ‘abated breath’ to read the next one?! Given the amount of online articles we all read everyday, it’s impossible to revisit all the ones we like, let alone the ones we don’t like…weeks later! Plus my last post was about being victimised and discriminated against and your response to this is ‘I knew there would be no positivity from you’. Nope, no positivity in being victimised and discriminated against.
Your comment focuses mainly on two things: how much you ‘admire’ the door staff and the fact I had a Green Room pass. It’s shocking you feel a virtual pat on the head with a Green Room pass should negate fair access for all disabled visitors. You’ve completely missed the point. The alternative entry I had the 2nd night was great and is what every disabled person should have, yet they were outside and next to me comfortably in the warm were able-bodied people. Your suggestion that I should be happy with my access and forget every other disabled person is shallow and selfish. Plus as you know, at no point did I ask for transport, this was suggested by many others who understood the toil involved for someone to travel with a painful chronic illness and mobility issues. You do not mention the reason I was there i.e: I had been subjected to disability discrimination.
Your insinuation that I should be grateful that I am not ‘housebound’ is offensive and laughable, you clearly have no concept of people with disabilities. Our priority is not to sit around daydreaming about the relative trivia of being in a TV audience, we spend everyday overcoming huge obstacles, struggling to do menial tasks most take for granted such as making a cup of tea, enduring types of pain you could not even imagine and gruelling biologic and chemotherapy treatments, that’s on a good day! Prolonging the function of our bodies and maintaining a quality of life is our priority, not seeing TV show as fab as The Last Leg show is. And to suggest a housebound person would have been grateful for the derogatory reception I had is offensive to every housebound person in the country. Kim they are not subordinate to you either, do not want your pat on the head and deserve to be treated with dignity like any human being.
But more to the point the terminology you use Kim suggests you are production staff; ‘running staff’ ‘Green Room pass’ etc terminology I have not used once because I do not work in TV so am not familiar with these terms but now I am so thank you. Your comment is offensive, patronising and very much in tone with that of the other production and door staff I encountered at the ITV studios. You think disabled people asking for basic rights is having ‘a red carpet laid out’. Disabled people should not be treated as grateful subordinates in the 21st-century. My blog clearly praises the actual show but also highlights the hostility I received when I questioned future disabled access policy, you make no reference to this or the original discriminatory events, which means either; you agree with them or you didn’t read the blog…yet still commented – I don’t know which is worse!
Across both visits I have been subjected to every disability discrimination type described in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, 2005 and the Equality Act 2010. That’s right Kim disability discrimination is against the law. Would you be willing to stand up in court and read your comment on behalf of the production company?
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I would love to be able to work, I like yourself encounter obstacles most days. You mention ‘green room’ passes, I’ve watched enough Jeremy Kyle to know what runners are! I felt awful for you with your first experience but then I read your blog over and over, it was as though the show wasn’t really the interest here but any negativity you could find. you have made a stand which is great, there is a long way to go….I will agree with that. One day it will all change hopefully.
Kim, I am sorry to hear that you watch Jeremy Kyle 😉. And yes we all know what ‘runners’ and the ‘Green Room’ are. But you used the industry term ‘running staff’ as opposed to ‘runners’ and I never said I had a ‘Green Room pass’ I just said I was invited there. More importantly I’m glad you finally realise that seeing the show is not the focus here but oddly you still do not refer to the discrimination which occurred, or that it is unlawful which every other disabled person reading this blog has, either on here or on Twitter. Many describing their own experiences of this.
You now say you can’t work – which means you are disabled right? Have you experienced discrimination because of this? Can I ask if you are in wheelchair or have hidden disability? How was your entry to The Last Leg? How long did you have to queue and which entrance did you enter via, was it also the reception? Contrary to your first comment you now say you felt bad for me, yet describe me as negative for also feeling bad? You also say you hope ‘one day it will all change’ but yet you do not agree with standing up against discrimination. I’m confused which one is it? Was Rosa Parks being negative for refusing to give up her seat on the bus?
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The days of expecting disabled people to be grateful for special provision whilst basic access needs aren’t met should be long gone.
As Tutu said:
“I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.”
Rights not charity!
Being disabled with a severe impairment is a club anybody can join at any time. I hope you don’t come to experience the effects of treatment such as this yourself.
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On point! How is the ‘grateful disabled’ still acceptable in 2016? And I like this quote! 👌
Excellent blog. I agree with you and support you 100%. One would think that disabled people had only just been invented and that rights of access were new. Their priorities are really screwed: reasonable adjustments aren’t a “nice to have”, an optional extra, they’re a fecking legal obligation.
I’d support you 100% in suing ITV and their subcontracted company. But why should you have to? Why doesn’t access happen as a matter of course? Why isn’t it a reportable offence to fail to comply, like it is with (say) food hygiene regulations?
I feel your anger, share it, and support you 100%.
Love from that Firstbus guy.
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Thanks for sharing.
Did you consider raising that the Equality Act expects ‘reasonable adjustments’ to be made and that your suggestions are very reasonable?
That aside, I blog about accessibility on a regular basis and wonder whether you would mind my recounting your story?
It would be a great awareness raiser for other businesses.
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Hi Jim yes of course feel free to share my experience on your blog, thanks! I have quoted the Equality Act through my blog but not directly to the production company Open Mike or ITV who have said they will get back to me at some point.
I agree it is all venues whether a private business or in a public building need to be aware of this. The law is just not enforced when it comes to disability unfortunately.
Thanks. I’ll let you have a link once I’ve posted (probably next week).
On the enforcement of the Equality Act, that is its big weakness, it is poorly framed on enforcement – well meaning but largely ineffective.
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Because the law relies on us to pursue it and unless an organisation is willing to work with you you might as well be whistling into the wind.
from your fightback post
my take…i wish it had never happened…want to swear but wont…ignore them..sue them…from there own website..30/3/12 12:06 PM CHANNEL 4 – EQUALITY OBJECTIVES March 2012…
Click to access C4_Equality_Objectives_2012.pdf
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in general what’s wrong with this world, is there are far too many people looking to be offended. People playing the victim, whilst constantly waving the disability card.
Maybe if less people treated the disabled (whether physical, mental or hidden) fairly there would be no reason to “play the victim”.
I’ve never met a disabled person who goes out of their way to play the victim, sure the odd one will be out there same as any type of person you can think up, but every disabled person I’ve met wants to be treated the same as those around them without disabilities.
Now sure, it would be easy to say “we queue, they queue, all the same”. Which would work if not for the fact that this person ends up in agony by queuing. Should they not be allowed to visit certain places because of this? As that’s not being treated the same then.
We all should be treated equal, yes. But we need to get to the point of being equal at starting point for that to happen. Clearly that didn’t happen here.
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To somewhat play devil’s advocate, at least a bit, i can sort of understand it being difficult to change door policy. For a start it would need lengthy discussions rather than just a quick fix.
The lengthy discussion is fine, management get paid for that anyway. What’s harder is how to truly implement an idea. In an ideal world you would turn up, state you’re disabled, and get shown in via a side door, and all is okay.
But this isn’t an ideal world. What would happen is if it’s cold out, or even wet, or hell, some people feeling lazy or hoping to meet a celebrity, would claim they are disabled to get preferential treatment.
This means the only way to properly do anything is to demand evidence of a disability. Now if someone turns up in a wheelchair, well, easily proven. If someone with a hidden disability turns up evidence is needed. Now do they demand a doctor’s note? Or possibly evidence of benefits? But if the person is working and not claiming benefits, then what?
It really isn’t an easy problem to fix an there are those who, without checks, would massively abuse the system. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be fixed, i believe it not only should be fixed, but should be a top priority, not just for this company, but the government too as apparently they were within the eye of the law.
It’s just it clearly needs a lot of debate and discussion so that whatever is implemented is truly fair.
agree: “it’s not easy”. however, they’ve had the legal obligation to make such adjustments for 20 years so far, one would hope and expect that they would already have worked it out.
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Yes, and as so many people have commented on this blog have said, appropriate access systems exists in many venues already. I even used a working system that night at the ITV studios, but only because I write a blog and except this is usually an entry reserved for vip friends of the show and not disabled guests. And there lies the problem, it needn’t be ‘difficult’ at all.
Theatres & cinemas already have a system in place, its quick easy and there is little nor no hastle for anyone involved – the production companies could simply join up with the CEA scheme then all we’d have to do was show the same card we show at theatres & cinemas.
I can’t help thinking that the production company is being rather ungrateful – accessibility advice is a rather expensive thing to obtain but they have been given it for free and frankly being told to utilise an already existing system is *not* difficult.
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I agree Kitt, there is already a system already in place that works, it just needs to be utilised for disabled access. It’s really not difficult especially when so many venues make such a effort to make disabled access pain free physically and mentally
I became disabled after an injury at work, I was a nurse. I fought for almost 5 years to keep my job. They chose to retire me as medically unfit to do my job. I was told to claim benefits (I was 38 at the time). I ‘chose’ to continue working, I became a child minder – I must have been mad, but I loved the caring side of things and I loved children, so it seemed like the best thing to do. I did this for 10 years plus, but at 49, just short of my 50th birthday, my back, which was where I was injured, gave out completely so I had to retire. I was devastated, I had bills to pay so had no choice but to go onto benefits. I was told I needed an operation on my back, I refused because I knew that a positive outcome was not guaranteed (Consultants exact words were ‘we can operate but you may end up in a wheelchair, or worse’), and at least I could still walk and function, even though it wasn’t great and I was in a lot of pain. I was told by the doctors if I didn’t have the op I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 50, I am now heading towards 60 and still walking. I have a blue badge, which I have to apply for every 3 years, as I can’t walk far, I hate using that too. But use it I do. I can’t walk without a stick or crutches, but I do walk, I don’t ‘wave my disability’ at anyone, if people ask me what’s wrong I just say I have a back injury (I have a lot more but that’s not their business). All I want as a person with a disability that’s not my fault (I caught an elderly lady as she fell out of bed and had I not she would have broken her neck) is to be treated with respect and not be treated like a non person and ignored. The problem in this world is not that there are too many people looking to be offended, or people playing the victim, whilst constantly waving the disability card, it’s the people who feel aggrieved that people less fortunate than themselves are given a chance to lead a normal life, with a little bit of help from those who don’t have to worry about the normal every day things and can do them without giving it a second thought!
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Hi shaarrilu57 sorry to hear you have been through so much trauma. I think we all have issues with using a blue badge, whether it’s not wanting to use it, denial, or worry of retaliation from other people which is usually what is the case when you are young and disabled. And then there are many who use it with no apology (as they should) because for whatever reason we have one, we have it because we are entitled to one and more importantly because we *need* one. To do exactly the kind of things you describe; the little things everyday things most others take for granted.
We are worthwhile people and just as valid in this world as anybody, we have hopes and dreams, talents and opinions. Some of us are maybe not as physically strong or able as others but because of this often end up mentally much stronger than our able bodied counterparts as we go through trials and tribulations every second of the day that most couldn’t even fathom. And yes this can take its toll on us mentally too no doubt and often overwhelmingly so. But being disabled shouldn’t be a shameful cross to bear, just unfortunately for now the law is not being enforced to back up this validation
There is a card called access now that you can sign up for which some venues accept and are promoting. You fill in what needs you have on the form and it has images on the card to demonstrate what needs an individual has. Even if you don’t have a qualifying benefit, you could use that. I use a doctors letter at the moment as I haven’t got the card yet (the card isn’t recognised everywhere yet). For people who think it would be too hard to deal with this, many venues take care of disabled needs. At Shepherd’s Bush empire, for example, we were told to go to the side door and knock, got issued our tickets, taken up in the lift and shown to our seats. Not hard. Even in small o2 venues in Birmingham there has always been someone to get us to the lift and take us to our seats. In one they even did drinks service so we didn’t have to travel way back to the bar! If a venue really wants to create equity then they can. Some are better than others for sure but the treatment described is appalling. Just from booking a ticket the difference starts in how you have to approach a trip when you have a disability/health condition
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Thank you Vivien this is really useful information for anyone with a disability. As you described it needn’t be difficult, many venues are accomodating and helpful. And actually this then provides a smooth process for all: able-bodied as well as disabled people. Your experiences sound wonderful and as it should be, a disabled person should not be expected to queue for drinks in a venue, the O2 Birmingham and Shepherds Bush Empire sound like they’ve got it right. And I’m guessing as a result you did not go home in unnecessary added pain or trauma. Unfortunately there is not a standard requirement across the board which is enforced and that is the problem. But here’s hoping that will change for the future x
Beautifully written & thank you for highlighting the every day endurances of someone with autoimmune conditions. We all suffer in a different way but still the fact that we suffer is enough to entitle us to fair and helpful treatment! Keep writing!!
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So happy to come across this I too went to see a show at the ITV studios and waited and waited in the line and was let in in groups where people were herded like cattle into their places. I don’t know how many times I just thought about going home and when confronted by the stairs it was almost the straw that literally broke my back but the person I was with was doing a bucket list. Thankfully not a dying bucket list a leaving London list and this was high up on her list so I persevered and got into my uncomfortable seat to sit through a couple of hours of a reasonably good show. Accepting the fact that I would be exhausted and in extreme pain for at least a week and I didn’t complain because in all honesty I just didn’t think there was any point.
You see I’ve complained before, I complained to my university when my dyslexia tutor laughed at me when I said at wanted to get a first and told me to be realistic. I complained about having to spend the first ten minutes of a lecture trying to track down my chair. when there was a different question online to the one in print and the lecturer said tough I can’t tell you are dyslexic. I gave up complaining until my final year where I chose to do an Erasmus course which included an intensive two week course in Hungary. Before deciding to apply I checked to see where we were to stay, was it accessible, how far from the uni, a desk to work on and online access and once satisfied applied and was accepted onto the course. Days before departure everything changed and we were moved from student halls next to the building we were attending to a hotel miles away, with nowhere to work in the rooms and internet access only in the lobby, a very uncomfortable lobby. The whole thing turned into a complete nightmare and when I finally lost it and complained my tutor responded by saying I saw you at lunch you were smiling! It didn’t matter that I had already quoted the relevant sections of the 2010 Act and that the duty is anticipatory in nature the response was basically it cant be that bad because I saw you smiling and you didn’t tell me you had any specific needs. I was on a Law course and this was the culmination of my experience at uni despite duly presenting myself to the disability unit from day one and submitting to green stickers plastered over my work to signify my dyslexia. I’ve also since complained to my local council who built an inaccessible community grow space, their respone….it was too expensive and we are going to get a ramp, that still hasn’t materialised a year later and wouldn’t address anything anyway. But and this is a big but until their are some actual teeth to the 2010 Act and it doesn’t have to rely on individuals themselves to pursue a complaint through to legal action people with disabilities and I think more so with hidden disabilities will continue to be treated like second class citizens and keep on coming up against the same ignorant and insulting behaviour and comments thrown ever so casually our way over and over again.
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Hi Decidendi, I cannot believe you experienced all of this whilst studying Law of all subjects?? I think you can put in an officially complaint to your university (unless you mean you already have) as your tutor has inflicted bullying and intimidating behaviour on to you because of your disability. Absolutely outrageous I feel so bad for you, I agree the law is useless unless it is enforced there needs to be tougher regulations in place, not just left up to the organisation to decide if they want to bestow the gesture of equity x
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