|Image description: Poster for a Mardi Gras party, will be described in the post below.
When people do it right, they do it right.I was sent this image last night and was stunned by the overt, intentional, inclusivity. I don't see it often and may never this clear. The three people pictured,, one dressed as a unicorn, one dressed as cupid and one dressed as a feathery fairy. The unicorn isn't white. The cupid has a regular body shape, not idealized, not 'ripped', the feathered fairy is a woman sitting in a wheelchair. The back of her chair and the feathers in her hair use colours from the trans flag and the other two display the colours of the rainbow flag. The woman in the chair is holding on to the wheel indicating that she self propels and the chair is fitted to her, it isn't one of the hospital kind of chairs. The image is remarkable.
Even more remarkable is that this isn't just a good picture. At the bottom there is a whole section on Accessibility, no need to go phoning people to get information, no need of sending email after email confirming ability to enter, ability to pee, ability to get through doors. It says: Wheelchair Accessible Venue. It also states, who are these people, Auslan interpreted shows. (Auslan is an acronym of Australian Sign Language.) And finally it states that there are Gender Neutral Bathrooms.
Joe and I don't go out to dances like this but I tell you, if we could do it, we'd fly to Australia just to go. I want to be in a place where I'm told before I go that I'm welcome. I'm used to going places with the hope of welcome but with the fear of simply being tolerated. We went to a restaurant recently and were 'welcomed' with an annoyed hostess who had to move a chair for me to get into the table and apparently it was a really big deal for her and not what she was paid to do and why did I expect that level of service. I just mentioned that she and everyone else expected chairs, what's the difference with me expecting space. Yes, we stayed, yes, we were hungry and no I didn't feel like going on a hunger strike at that moment. I put up with unwelcome but was rewarded with a very, very, good veggie burger.
So advertised welcome, that's a big deal.
And admit it.
I know I know, they are all youngish, they are all fit-ish, there is other diversity missing. I know. But give me this for me - I don't see disability represented in welcoming ways, I don't see disability included as sexual adult being, I don't see disability being given space at all.
And this, as a disabled gay man, moves me.