Accessibility is Everyone’s Favourite Buzzword but Actually Requires Commitment

Stop saying you’re accessible when you do absolutely nothing.

Accessibility is much talked about but there’s little coherent action. A lot of the time people think it’s left up to big corporations, and while workplaces and those who have power in society should do everything they can to be accessible, it’s also about the people who are living life right next to you.

Accessibility is about resources, and accommodation and adjustments to physical places to ensure that everyone can access them. It is also about providing an accessible environment, and that doesn’t just begin and end with disabled toilets.

People don’t take personal accountability for whether they themselves are contributing to ensuring the workplace is accessible. Poor communication? That’s not accessible. If you don’t tell disabled work-mates what’s going on they will stress, get anxiety and likely end up the ones being dumped on with work. News flash: I know there’s a stereotype about how disabled people aren’t that productive but actually, it’s far more likely disabled people will become drained from doing everyone else’s work out of constant fear of dismissal or being called out and able-bodied, biotypicals and/or neurotypicals won’t even notice.

“People don’t take personal accountability for whether they themselves are contributing to ensuring the workplace is accessible”

The fact is everyone always asks disabled people to tell them if they need anything. But the conversations about physical disabilities are much the same as for people trying to manage their mental health. People say it’s okay to talk, so you do and tell them what you need and instead they offer you a hug or links of cats meowing. Hugs aren’t what is needed. That’s what immediate friends and family are for. The main reason people speak up is because they need change. They need actual tangible support.

Without people actually committing to solidarity themselves, disabled people are shut out. They’re left to pick up the slack, and work in isolation. It’s not just the responsibility of the boss or venue host. It’s also about the people around. Accessibility isn’t a vague concept. It is something we must all work toward.


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