Accessibility is not for those who need it "the most". It is for those who need it -- FULL STOP. You cannot claim to support accessibility while also rationing it.
This morning I was reminded of the time I first applied to @SPARCBC for an accessible parking permit, and they sent my doctor a note citing my age ("only 33") and casting doubt on the permanence of my (genetic!) disability.
The note said that in order to "protect the integrity of the program", parking permits should only be granted to those who need them "the most". They declined to issue a permit until my doctor, who had already submitted documentation, provided additional information.
I didn't find out about this until I called the SPARC office because so much time had elapsed since I had sent in my application. The person who answered the phone treated me like a cheat and a criminal and ablesplained my disability to me.
I had just been wondering what was taking so long because every day that I went without a permit was another day that I couldn't access my community. (Yes, I know: how very suspicious of me. I'm sure her hostility was totally warranted...🙄)
The person on the phone wouldn't give me any information about my application other than to say they'd faxed my doctor. Meanwhile, my doctor had not seen the fax. If I hadn't called, I assume my application would have languished in someone's desk drawer for all eternity.
My doctor was the one who showed me the notes someone at SPARC had written by hand across the secondary screening forms. My doctor, exasperated, simply scrawled "WHEELCHAIR" in reply. But the fact is that even if I didn't use a wheelchair, what SPARC did was unacceptable.
If the "integrity" of a system rests on privileging the misconceptions of nondisabled people with zero "body literacy" and a penchant for policing over disabled people's needs and the supports to which we are entitled, then "integrity" is the wrong word to describe that system.
It is infuriating that people whose literal job is to facilitate access do not grasp that young people's disabilities ARE disabilities, that variable/dynamic disabilities ARE disabilities, that invisiblized disabilities ARE disabilities...!
Too often, nondisabled ppl's poor body literacy separates disabled ppl from needed supports. It also leads to ppl within the disability community doubting whether they are "disabled enough" or whether calling themselves disabled "takes away from" other ppl's disabilities.
Every time I confront barriers such at this and find a way through or around them (whether due to other forms of privilege that I possess or by sheer dint of crip rage), I think of the folks who couldn't do it...
The process of accessing the few existing social supports is often so biased against the populations these supports supposedly serve that many of the people who need them to simply exist are weeded out along the way -- not bc they failed but bc the system failed them.
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