An Accessible Piece of Writing

SIGHHHHHHH!!! They are at it again. The Government has decided that I need to be spoken of in a certain way. I am, you see, a person. Not that I did not know this before but I have to be constantly reminded. Nothing, absolutely nothing must come before the person.  I am a not a blue eyed person. NOPE! I am a person with blue eyes. If I was lucky enough to have lots of money I would not be a rich person but a person who is rich, Of course I am deaf but not a deaf person rather I am a person who is deaf. You get the gist. I am sure Yoda was educated by our Governments and the ensuing confusion led to his unfortunate style of speech. What would Yoda say. “Deaf are person you” or “Person deaf you are” One fancies that the confusion and fear of getting it wrong would be enough to banish Yoda to silence forever.

In a moment of well meaning madness the Government has tried to develop a guideline to ensure that we speak about issues that are correctly of disability. You can not put at the front of anything disability… You must focus on the person. Of course in doing so the Government has unwittingly reminded us that a bad thing is disability.  So bad is it that last must come disability. Voldermort had it easy .. “Oh we do not speak his name…” Just try saying disa…. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

And seriously what this political correctness does is put a pox on disability. It’s like it is taboo, undesirable and only to be mentioned as an after thought. In making people worry so much about using correctly the term disability we unwittingly portray as a bad thing disability. Not wanted, not needed and something to be tip toed around. In a society that already makes negative assumptions about disability, this is a bad thing. ( And yes my placement of the word disability in these sentences is sarcasm at its worst.)

But this Government has actually gone a step further. You see if a person with that nasty trait needs to go to the loo we can no longer say they need a disabled toilet. We can’t even say they need a toilet for the disabled. Disabled has been banished from the loo for ever. We now must call these special loos an accessible toilet. I am not kidding.

It gets worse. You know those special parking spots, those ones with the symbols that look like someone is sitting on a very big potty but are actually supposed to symbolise wheelchairs, well you cant call them disabled parking spots any more. You can’t even call those spots parking spots for the disabled. You have to call them accessible parking spaces. We are fast removing the word disability from our lexicon altogether.

Perhaps you think that I am over-reacting but I am not the only one that feels like this. Stella Young wrote about this recently on the Ramp Up Blog.  Says Young, a proud Crip and wheelchair user, “Now, I find the concept of having to clarify my status as a person extraordinarily condescending. No one else is ever asked to qualify their status as a person. Gay men and women are not “people with homosexuality”. Women are not “people who are female”. Footballers are not “people who play football”. I’ve met a lot of disabled people in my time, and not once have I ever met someone whose impairment is so profound, that their status as a person is in doubt”

And that pretty much sums it up.  Come on world get over it. Disability is not a dirty word it is an integral part of our society. Sure it is not always a barrel for fun having a disability but please just use the word without reservations. The DISABLED – there I’ve said it – by and large don’t care where in the sentence you use the word disability just so long as you can use it with out it making it seem like the most deadly of taboos AND PLEASE stop spending countless millions of dollars trying to work out how to speak about us properly, just ask us and we will tell you.  The money, I am sure, can be better spent elsewhere. Like on an extra shower for someone who needs it for example.

As Yoda would say. Disability? Care not that you say or where us.