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July 23, 2018 | by  | in Can Do | [ssba]

Access Denied

On Being Disabled And Queer
Disability — as I have defined in Salient earlier this year — is a diverse and complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between an individual and their environment. In Western society, ableism and accessibility issues arise in many situations. One might think that within the queer community that might change, as I (in my own experience) have found the community to be welcoming and accepting of diversity. Despite this, queer disabled people often still face discrimination and accessibility issues within their interactions with other queer people.
Many people consider disabled people to be “other”, and often discard their personhood over their impairments and how society disables them.
Unfortunately, this can extend into the queer community. Take Wellington’s most well-known gay bar, Ivy. Despite being a friendly environment, it is only accessible by stairs, leaving people with mobility aids unable to frequent the bar. It’s also very small and becomes uncomfortably crowded and loud on busy nights. That said, Ivy is just one example of an inaccessible space.
Another part of being queer and disabled is navigating relationships. Romantic and sexual relationships with disabled people are seen as unwanted, due to the social stigma of disability. However, disabled people exist on the spectrums of sexuality and gender. No matter how a disabled person identifies, their needs and wants are still valid.
With all that said, many disabled people have found acceptance and accessibility within the queer community. Being queer and disabled can be tough, but there are people in the community who welcome everyone with open arms.


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