Disability Discrimination.... Strikes Again
A lady at Scope has suggested I post my most recent blog post here. If you like it feel free to look at my other posts some focusing on my disability and others on parenting. If you do like it I would love for you to become a 'friend'.
Disability Discrimination…. Strikes Again
I'm really torn: I want to tell you all about how life is as a newly disabled person, because although it can be depressing, in so many other ways it's surprising and interesting.
But I also don't want, and can’t afford, to depress myself by purposely thinking about all things that totally wind me up.
So, dear readers, I have decided I am going to list all the things that are winding me up at the moment but do so briefly and not dwell and not make myself cross! I have also written this post in several sittings to avoid REALLY winding myself up:
I haven't done a blog about discrimination for a while because I didn't want to come across as just whinging about my disabilities.
However, when things are done by other people or companies which actually make it even harder, it's already hard enough, there is a big problem.
Disability can happen to anyone at anytime - as I found out.
In her book, Discrimination Law, Sandra Fredman (second edition, 2010, Oxford University Press) talks about how surprising it is, given its random nature, that society stigmatises, is prejudiced against and excludes disabled people.
Below are my current niggles. They range from what I see as ‘proper’ Disability Discrimination, in particular Indirect Discrimination and a failure to make reasonable adjustments right down to things that don't seriously affect me but really wind me up.
Before my brain haemorrhage in 2013 I was a solicitor. And to be honest, I wish I hadn't studied discrimination law because thinking something is discriminatory, saying it is and then having absolutely nothing change is incredibly frustrating!
I feel like I constantly have to battle for everything that able-bodied people take for granted. And to be quite honest, it's exhausting. I have written so many letters and emails. The harsh reality is it OK because it isn't you…But it is me, it is my life and it is for the 13.9 million other disabled people in the UK.
So here we go. The current (there have been and will be others) list of things that wind me up:
· NCP have an under 2-hour time constraint on the car park I want to use in Colchester town centre, which I think is very unfair. Sure, it might sound fair as it’s equal - everyone pays £6 for under 2 hours parking (as of Nov '18). But we aren’t all equal! I can do hardly anything in 2 hours because of my mobility. The truth is, I am not equal in this sense. Because of my disability, because of the restrictions on my mobility, I need more time.
However, this policy hasn't been adjusted to make it fairer for people like me. I don't want free parking - just fairer parking!
· The access pathways from the much-needed new disabled car park at Colchester General Hospital are in opposite direction to the main entrance. I mean, seriously, it isn't rocket science to install them in the direction users might actually want to go…
· A local theatre has a segregated area for wheelchair users. Perhaps wheelchair users like this? I was told they did have feedback and it was very positive (!) Apparently if you sit in a wheelchair, you have to be in their special area but if you can transfer you can sit elsewhere. I was hoping wheelchair users had a choice - there was a flat level previously for wheelchair users, indeed I have used it, at the end of row J (I think). However, I was told that having wheelchairs at the end of this one row on a flat level was awkward for other theatre goers...
I know that when I was in a wheelchair (and this was luckily only for 6 months), I would have flatly refused to go in a special area just for wheelchairs only even if I could have my friends and family with me. I wouldn't have wanted to be differentiated just because of my disabilities relating to my mobility from other theatre goers. I go to the theatre to escape my reality, not to be reminded of it.
· There are no maps available showing disabled parking available in Colchester town centre. You would think something like this would be easy just to print off, but it’s not. Because the maps don't exist. You know what? They really should! I’ll draw one for them if they want.
· I was going to complain about the market on Colchester High Street preventing disabled people parking on the high street on certain days. Therefore you can't be disabled on Friday and Saturday...However, I understand that they have moved it - yay I think it had more to do with low market figures as opposed to preventing disabled people parking but yay anyway
At the risk of sounding like I am just whinging, I know life is harder than it should be for those of us who are disabled. Changes should and could be made to make our lives better. So, I will carry on writing my letters and emails because as I have mentioned before, I persevere. And on this subject, I know I am right.