Twas sunny both days this weekend so I have been out! I went to the Gov Grrrellas singing group yesterday and had a great time. Did a warm up with Ms Vicki on the piano aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa up and down and eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and ooooooooooooooooo. Then we got into some songs. Had a great time. Oh I said that. Ceridwyn an old friend/acquaintance introduced me to it as she goes most Saturdays. I must say I was pretty stuffed after tho. There were about of 8-9 of us and a couple of other newbies too.
Today I got out of my cuddly warm bed early and went down to Semaphore St Bedes Market to have a squiz and watch the Gov Grrrellas perform in the hall. When I get better at my singing and know the songs well I could be up on the stage too. But I won't be. Why? you ask. Can't get up there can I? Nup, as it about a metre high. Vicki suggested yesterday that they (there's always plenty of strong people around she reckons) could lift me and my chair up onto the stage. I didn't say no they won't or anything yesterday, I just smiled. People mean very well but they don't get it that my wheelchair and I weight 160 kg. I weigh 59 kg by the way!! They also don't get it that I do not trust strangers or anyone for that matter, to not drop and damage me or my chair or themselves. As well it makes a spectacle of me (watch em all gawk) and is terribly undignified.
That's ok... When I got there today I was watching the Grrrrellas singing and singing along quietly when I knew the words, out in the hall. One of the market organisers had been told I had joined the group and came up to say hello. lovely friendly woman. She suggested that they could clear a little space below the front of the stage and the others could be on the stage and I could be in front of them on the hall floor. Points for being thoughtful and caring and trying but WHAT???? NOOOOOOOOO!!! I just smiled again and said nothing.
Either we are all up or we are all down. No apartheid around me thanks. I know people don't see it that way and get quite offended if I say such things. I know it's an old hall and it would be hugely expensive and quite impractical to make the stage accessible. That's ok - I can deal with that.
I will talk with the Grrrellas next week and explain. Many of them are old feminists (mind you feminists are just as ignorant of the needs of plwd too) and I am sure they will get it. We will work it out together. And I will not compromise on this one. All up on the stage or all in front of the stage. Simple really.
People often say to me "why don't you find something fun to do instead of disability activism all the time?" This is why. But I will not just go away from this one and I am sure the Grrellas wouldn't want me to.