Two of the biggest issues I wanted to cover whilst writing ‘How To Love’ were the different attitudes faced by someone who not only was disabled but also part of the LGBT community and the actual physical barriers faced within society in the UK.
So much about society’s view of disabled people has definitely changed for the better in my 43 years on this earth. I remember vividly how if I went to a concert as a very young person how I was forced to sit at the back of the arena. Not able to see a single thing happening onstage.
I remember countless occasions going on family Holidays only to find my wheelchair had been damaged or the inflatable wheels let down with no way to pump them back up. That meant having to spend the entire holiday with flat tires. So now I focus on modern-day life as a wheelchair user and here comes my rant….
It frustrates me greatly that I still come across venues who seem to ignore that fact that the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) is in existence and they STILL don’t make their building more accessible. In addition, why are we still governed by out dated building regulations that do not permit changes to some buildings of a certain age?
If more proprietors would just wake up and realise there are many ways to get vital Access Grants more people could enjoy a better social life therefore spending more money and making the proprietors more profit. It is my experience that the bigger the venue the more they find excuses to not make these changes.
On a more positive note, since I have been socialising within the LGBT community I have come to witness that the smaller community based organisations/ festivals and unsigned uncommercialised bands/artists invest a huge effort to make venues/sites accessible. Spending time finding out what we as disabled fans/ punters need to be able to access the events they are creating and sometimes going far beyond what you would expect. If more venues used this example as a starting point we would all live in a much more inclusive environment.
If this does not improve, then I ask myself “how do I find more venues as a writer to deliver my work?” Whilst I value greatly the Disability Arts World I would love to be part of an Arts World for ALL!!
My final thought is how do we as a community get the powers that be take note and make changes.Reflecting on recent experiences I can hand on heart say that Goliath was beaten by David. The small community won this battle let’s keep fighting for equality for EVERYONE!!!