anarchist, author, barriers, disability, feminist, firebomb, Frustration, inequality, labels, Morning Star, obstacles, Othering, poet, pussycat, second class citizen, socialist, stereotyping, storyteller, writer
The swifts stay high and the sparrows still chatter by my seaside home.
Yet this week The Naked Punk wants a riot of her own. Not in the sense of fun and riotous pleasure, but in the sense of approaching the level of firebombing. On each little Molotov cocktail there will be the word FRUSTRATION. What has set off my rarely seen streak of aggro?
The fact that today, again, in 2018, the 21st century, I was forced to use a stinky back entrance to access services.
This was after being told at the front of the building that not only was the platform lift broken, but pointy man gesticulated and exclaimed “that thing” (i.e. my wheelchair) couldn’t go on the lift anyway. Naturally this was said over my head, aimed in the general direction of my PA. Add to this the journey to the rear entrance was bumpy and unpleasant, smelly overflowing commercial sized bins crammed up along the path hindering access further.
This all screams SPECIAL NEEDS. It all screams medical model. It all screams inequality.
That’s my experience earlier of an environmental barrier, which quite frankly in this day and age should not exist.
Meanwhile, just a little reminder that I work for a living as a writer. I know I’ve worked hard and I’m proud of my achievements. But still I am patronised, still I am shoved into categories I don’t like and I don’t choose.
Every day as a creative I face vast inequality and it is overwhelmingly rooted in prejudiced and hypocritical attitudes.
I love and thank those that have had faith in me and my work, who have seen beyond the stereotyping, who understand I am a storyteller with a lot to say.
Yet love and understanding on its own may not remove a barrier and I am tired, as I fly fast through my 50s, of this very long battle that is never ending. But we can never allow ourselves, those of use defined as the Other, to slip back and accept our status as second class citizens, those who must “accept reality”, “be pragmatic”, accept our labels as “common sense”.
The next time a venue tells me it has no accessible space for me to perform in, I will not be indulgent.
And the next magazine to claim no one is interested in these stories I tell will be shamed with full throttle Pepper retaliation.
But hey, you know I’m a pussy cat really – although even we will show our claws when me must. You have been warned. Miaow.