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Twoc Gather -- First Post

strangely, the biggest thought i had last night as i was trying to sleep (it took me maybe… 20 minutes to fall asleep which is a reallly long time for me) and i was not so much thinking about the fact that i had just spent a day hanging around a bunch of twoc (which is amazing and i still haven”t eally processed he whole experience).

but i was thinking about how this was eaisly the most disability inclusive day that i”ve experienced. it wasn”t perfect because the venue was really shit for people with mobility disabilities. and we didn”t really do much to support people with anxiety and socializing difficulties. i”m sure there were a lot more things overlooked.

even so… i know, for me, i found the day significantly more accissible than any event i”ve ever attended. not because we did anything to specifically support my needs (we didn”t), but because of the general cultural difference around disability in the event/group.

yesterday was the first time i really felt like i could exist as a disabled person in public. my disabilities where mainly invisible, but i was still able to have a day mostly within my abilities and without feeling shamed about it.

example: i need breaks from activities. and i didn”t necessarily participate in all activities. but absolutely no one attempted to pressure me into doing things that i didn”t want to do. if i decided to sit an activity out. wander outside for freshh air (the room was stifling).

not a single solitary person tried to restict my movement or was up in my face about not wanting to do a thing. it was awesome.

also… re: autism and stuff. because of the community norms of how we established the space, people generally where encouraged to articulate their own access needs/boundaries. this shit is fucking perfect for me b/c i function much, much better in social situations where people have clearly defined the boundaries for acceptable ways to communicate/interact with them. it was soooo nice to not have to worry about ‘being awkward”.

that said…

one hting i relaize is really fucking missing from a lot of the discussion i”ve read/seen1: resolving conflicting access needs.

so. when we create these environments where people are safe and welcome to express their access needs…

what happens when these needs conflict?

it happened a few times yesterday and i wish i could say that they were all resolved… but they haven”t really been, not really. as far as i can tell, there really aren”t any guides or whatever for how to deal with this sort of thing. and even with all the work i”ve seen around these issues (re; accommodation), very few appear to address this rather important issue in an intentional way. once we are successful in creating a world that is even close to being universally accessible and inclusive, how are we going to deal with situations where two people with incompatible accesss needs want to (or need to) share space? so far, all of our solutions are ad hoc, which isn”t a problem on its own, because you won”t know what possible conflicts exist until these two (or more) people actually attempt to share space.

but we don”t have any cultural norms/capacities to actually know how to address this in a way that will maximize the access and dignity of both parties. and i really mean this. because sometimes these things won”t be resolvable. who gets to stay? who must leave? how do we deal with situations like this???2

last. and this is a part that makes me sad.

even though a lot of work as been done…

do you know how many times i caught people yesterday apologizing for their disability and needing accommodations?

this is a group where apologies for this sort of thing (shoudln”t be necessary and i know that none of the coordinators thought ppl should be apologizing. fuck. some of us where the ones apologizing).

i guess for me, since i don”t get out often and interact with ppl (oh, hi, agoraphobia), this is the first time that i really noticed how much being disabled reduces you to a beggar.

we become so used to begging, begging people/organizations/etc to accommodate us and meet our needs. so used to trying to appease systems and people designed to exclude us. so much time spent just fuckign hoping that we”ll even be accommodated for 1/10th of our needs…

that we apologize all the time for the most basic fuckign shit.

“i”m sorry i want to exist in a space that doesn”t make me dizzy, nauseaous, and vomit”

“i”m sorry i want to enter spaces”

“i”m sorry i can”t hear very well and you keep talking so fucking quietly”3

esp. since i know that many of us struggle with getting our, um, struggles recognized by the medical machine jsut to receive basic care. fuck, to even have our struggles validated so we can access care and be deemed worthy by the state to acccommodate.

i”m tired. and need coffee and i need to put on makeup. so. um.

yeah. i”m done here.