It’s Not Our Job To Comfort You

Published: May 20, 2018

Dear able‐bodied people,

The world is an inaccessible place that we have to confront on a daily basis. Every public space we move through is full of hazards that we have to catalog and remember to remain safe. It’s exhausting.

So, when inaccessibility ruins your plans, please don’t expect us to comfort you.

We’re not going to join your chorus of “This is Bullshit” as you frantically look for an alternative route across the sidewalk.

We will not have your back as you glare in disgust at the one accessible table in the restaurant.

We most certainly will not go along with your half‐assed plan to carry us up the steps of the restaurant because surely that boutique‐y vegan joint being run out of the back of a victorian townhouse is totally accessible once you’re inside. They probably just ran out of money for the ADA retrofit by the time they got to the front door.

Look, we know you mean well and we know you’re used to going to new places and not worrying about this stuff. But that’s not the world we live in. For you, inaccessibility and discrimination have ruined a nice night out. For us, that kind of harm gets applied to our entire lives. It means we struggle to get things like jobs, and healthcare.

If you really want to avoid these kinds of situations in the future, do your research. Visit that new restaurant and take a look around. Check the bathroom for an accessible stall and make sure it’s not lit like a goddamn crypt. Put in the logistical work and research for one evening that disabled people have to put in every day and you’ll be both a better ally and a better friend.

And if you do fuck up and create a situation where inaccessibility has ruined your plans, own it. Own it, apologize, and move on. If we’re frustrated at you, at the inaccessible venue, or both don’t expect us to dig into that well of “positivity” disabled people are supposed to have and give you some. It’s not our job to comfort you when your one evening is ruined by the thing that’s been holding us back our entire lives.