A week of lows and high

Last week I went to the Disability Hub meeting. A police officer from the community neighbourhood team came to speak to us about a toolkit they are in the process of creating to help raise awareness of different diversity groups within the public for the force. The police representative seemed to be well informed and aware, however when I asked him if he had the documents he passed around during the meeting in electronic format, he wasn’t sure what to answer as he had not thought about it!

On the way to the disability hub, I thought I was having a pleasant exchange with the taxi driver and was able to not feel on edge, only for him to ask at the end of the journey ‘if you don’t mind, what happened to you?’ When I refused to answer him, saying ‘no actually I do mind’, he said ‘it’s OK, I’ll pray for you’!

Wait, it even gets better!

On another taxi journey, the driver turned to my PA and said, ‘what is wrong with her?’ When my PA brushed off the question, the driver started to talk to me in a very loud voice saying, ‘ARE YOU OK LOVE?’. I cannot comprehend how people can be so patronising and not realise how rude they are being.

Last Saturday we went to see a play called ‘Dancing Bear’, a semi-autobiographical account of LGBTQ+ community and the isolation and discrimination they face on daily basis and even within their fate community in churches in modern Britain. I could see lots of parallels with the disability community – similar oppressive structures. A BSL interpreter was creatively and cleverly embedded in the play, which was fantastic. However, the audio description did not live up to expectation, and most scenes, including the key moments were left undescribed, so I was not able to follow the play fully.

The Q and A following the play was interesting and some disability issues were discussed. We have sent a feedback email to the writer and have informed her of my concerns. I am hoping that they will take the VIP’s access needs on board more for their next iteration of the show.

The highlight of this week was to see my article in print in the current issue of Disability and Society. It is important for me to tell my story of the Armenian academic trip in which I gave lectures and workshops while only relying on my wonderfully supportive parents. I hope my point was clear that it should not be down to my aging parents to provide support in that specific context rather academic mobility should be the norm for disabled researchers as it is for non-disabled scholars, and the academic community should be inclusive and accessible to all.

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