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Greetings from the toilet lady!

SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Member Posts: 16 Connected
edited February 2019 in News and opportunities

Hello, my name is Sarah, I’m 31 and I’ve just joined the forum. I returned to uni last September to complete my BA after a 4 year break because of my health issues. I have a variety of chronic health conditions including fibromyalgia, arthritis and dissociative seizure disorder as well as depression and anxiety (it’s quite a list – I know).

I’ve joined today in the hope that some of you may be interested in helping me with my 3rd year anthropology project. I posted a discussion in the ‘events, research and opportunities’ group about my project but wanted to say hello here as I’m very new to all this and it seemed rude not to say Hello.

I’m interested in people’s experiences of using disabled public toilets; whether you ever get stopped or questioned for using them because you have a so called ‘invisible’ disabilities (my fibro isn’t very invisible to me!) Or if maybe you see a lot of non-disabled people using them?

If anyone would be interested in telling me about their experiences, whether you are disabled, a parent, a carer; please feel free to reply to me here or on the research group. I will not use ANY information in this thread or anywhere else on the forum without your express permission – If anyone wants to chat about any issues they’ve faced when using disabled public toilets but not want to have their words used in my project; that is absolutely fine.

[Removed by moderator] I know it can get a bit personal talking about toilets and I don’t want to make anyone embarrassed or uncomfortable.

 I’m happy to chat about toilets if you are =) Just call me the toilet lady! - I prefer Sarah, but will answer to either =)

[Removed by moderator]


  • Antonia_AlumniAntonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Welcome to the community @SpendingSpoons , thank you for sharing this with us. Unfortunately, we will need to remove your email address, as it goes against our community guidelines.  Please have a read through our guidelines
    We have some posts about this topic you may be interested in: 
    To the woman who tutted at me for using an accessible toilet
    The Importance of Changing Places | World Toilet Day 2018
    I was assaulted for using an accessible toilet
  • steve51steve51 Member Posts: 7,175 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SpendingSpoons

    Good Afternoon & Welcome 🙏🙏🙏

    Yes I would love to know what it is that you are doing❓❓

    Please please let me know how you feel 😀


  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Member Posts: 16 Connected
    @Antonia_Scope Thank you so much for directing me to those posts - they are extremely helpful. And apologies for the email mistake, I have read through the community guidelines and will endeavour to respect and follow the forum's rules.
  • Antonia_AlumniAntonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    edited February 2019
    Hi @SpendingSpoons

    You're very welcome. No worries at all, thank you for reading through our guidelines.

    You may be interested in our dealing with chronic pain and mental health discussions.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions.
  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Member Posts: 16 Connected
    @steve51 Thank you so much for welcoming me here. I have several disabling health conditions but sometimes they are 'invisible' to others. I noticed that when I used disabled toilets in public I found myself being questioned at times as to whether I should be using these spaces designated for disabled people.

    I couldn't help but recognise a similar feeling I had felt during the countless drs appointments and PIP assessments where I was scrutinised about my body and questioned over why I felt entitled to help. This got me wondering if it could be argued that due to current cultural ideologies regarding those with disabilities, especially neoliberal and austerity attitudes of recent governments, the disabled body has become 'fair game' for questioning in everyday settings such as public spaces.

    As I study anthropology I decided to persue this idea for my dissertation, which I have given the working title of 'The Neoliberal Toilet'. So I decide to join this community in the hopes of finding people with similar experiences to my own to help me work on these theories.

    If you would like to help me with this you are more than welcome to tell me about any of your experiences or your thoughts on this idea. You can either post it here if you feel comfortable but you are also more than welcome to message me directly - some people have already done this as the things they told me were private and a bit embarassing.

    If I decide I want to use anything people have spoken to me about, I will get your express permission first. No one gets to see what I discuss privately with people except me (not even my dissertation supervisor!). And if people just wanna chat but would rather I didnt use any of their words or ideas then I will completely respect that and welcome any discussions either way. Some of these experiences are very personal and traumatic and I have no wish to upset people or disresepct their words.

    Hope that all makes sense? I know its a bit long but I want to make myself as clear as possible to people =) Thank you again - I really appreciate people helping me figure out these thoughts I've been having.
  • steve51steve51 Member Posts: 7,175 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SpendingSpoons

    You are very very welcome 🙏🙏

    Yes I would be more than happy in helping you with things if that is ok❓❓❓❓❓

    Yes I have also had big problems with “Hidden Disables” since 1998 following my Stroke when I was in my 30’s.

    The 1st thing that comes to mind is when I started to use a walking stick for the first time.

    This was my only sight of my disability.

    But the number of “How are You’s” was crazy!!!!!

    Please please let me know how you feel ??

  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Member Posts: 16 Connected


    Visible signs of disability are treated very differently in my experience. I've been having a good spell at the moment with my health and haven't needed to use my crutches. But last august I broke my foot and I had to use crutches for the first 8 weeks and I've had a fracture boot on ever since. Ive lost count of the amount of people - complete strangers in supermarkets - who tell me 'get well soon' or 'hope you get better soon'. Its a strange feeling cos I almost want to stop them and say 'actually I have chronic health issues and I won't ever really be fully well'. My fibromyalgia woke heal like a broken bone unfortunately.

    I've also had far less people stop me when using a disabled loo since I broke my foot - because its a very visible disability - even though its temporary. I've been feeling a little guilty using the disabled loo lately cos I know a lot of people will assume its because of my foot, when its usually because of my hidden issues. Its almost like I want to tell people that I'm using it due to hidden problems - which i know is silly but I feel as though I have to justify myself.

  • steve51steve51 Member Posts: 7,175 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SpendingSpoons

    “Yes Yes Yes” that happens all the time!!!!!

    Once it got so bad (every day) that I thought being thought it was a “Stroke” that I had I would have “Stroke” tattooed on my “Forehead”

    But I changed my mind in the end as I didn’t want people coming up & “Rubbing” my “Head”

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