15 June 2012 My London experience: Glasgow Girl
Challenging disability hate crime
So, recently I had a really good excuse to go down to London, the APPG parliamentary meeting on Disability Hate Crime. Now I'll be the first to say I've never been bullied (well I think so) at school or outside of school and never really had any violent run-ins with people who hate or are hostile to my disability or maybe I have. That's the thing about hate crime it's not entirely clear what is meant by a hate crime and people aren't always so clear with their hate. The more I think about it, there have been people in school who have been hostile or basically laughed at me. I can't tell if hostility towards disability is a mitigating factor, it probably is in some cases.
Even if you haven't ever run across anyone being threatening or whatever, you have to be aware that disabled people if they are attacked they are considerably more vulnerable in those situations. In primary school, I've had a milk carton thrown at my head, I've had some posh girl put me up against the wall with her hand on my throat, a few teases here and there. In high school, I've had people laugh at me when I fell down, I've had ‘special needs' assistants failing to do their jobs (forgetting to take me to class), not giving me the ability to have a normal social life, I've had some patronising teachers but well meaning I suppose.
All in all, what I've had is at the low end of the scale, this is what I consider getting off lightly, I would almost say it's normal but it isn't really. Even if you're bullied and disability isn't the reason or its just an extra motivation, just being bullied is bad imagined an extra topping of bullying and abuse according to your disability and in some cases you can't physically get away from it because you have reduced mobility and in others it may be difficult to cope with because you may have learning or communicative difficulties. If you think it's bad for people without disabilities, it's ten times worse for us.
Well I don't think I could handle anything more than what I've already experienced but I know others have. It makes me sick; makes me right browned off (I realise I'm not using swear words but I really do want to).
Anyways, that's why I'm down in London. But I'm also doing some volunteering in the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign office. So I've made a list of attendees for our meeting, so much fun! I get to use those skills I learned in that crash higher of Information Systems and my great typing skills I learned in primary school that no one else got but I did because I was disabled. It was a particularly advantageous skill to learn, typing without looking at your hands, perfect for dissertations and other 4000 word essays. And I also re-arranged a news story; the most important points were already but needed a bit of magic with the admin system. So cool how they edit news stories, very organised, very impressed. And I also was filmed talking about how disabled people need employability skills because we are at a disadvantage.
Filmed on employment
Look basically I've personally never did an interview for a paid job, all my experience has been with volunteering. I'm personally anxious over doing interviews because I know that in the line of work that I want to do, sometimes does involve lifting heavy boxes and I probably will need an assistant. But I've never really heard of disabled people being archivists. I've heard of archivists getting old and still being in their job but they probably don't have assistants. I'd have to convince the employers of the archive job that I can do my work as long as a have a helping hand with the more physical aspects of the job but I'd have to train them how to properly handle boxes or handle certain items. You see we do need help, well I do. Where there's a will there's a way and sometimes employers have no will. Or the recruitment agencies don't have the will.
Meeting in Parliament
So the meeting was good as 2 hour meetings on disability hate crime can be. However, although I am more confident in reporting hate crime and I'm not convinced how they'll keep their own officers in check when training them. The police protect the police more than they protect the public has been my general impression. They often don't like admitting fault. I don't know exactly how the police system works but I think we'll need a disability hate crime meeting in Scotland where we can talk to our own police too, I think that what goes on in England might not happen in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. I admit being slightly uncomfortable with Maria Miller because of all the anxiety from these new benefit laws, I wonder if all this focus on benefits and disability also fuels hatred and jealousy towards disabled people. Envy for our entitlement to using spaces that are closer and wider, I mean wow what rewards we have for being disabled, right? Well I would gladly let someone saw off their leg so they can park in disabled bays.
Krishna made an awesome presentation of her experience and it set the meeting up perfectly well. And Tmara Senior's story which made me angry...again...is totally confidential although if you google it you'll probably find it. You should google it because that's what the college/uni doesn't want you to do. It was great to meet everyone and I talked to Laura Gosman who is situated in Aberdeen, hopefully if I make a trip to Aberdeen to look at some archives I'll meet her again; she has or is in the process of making an Aberdeen Action group for Disability. We got talking about how people with hearing impairments (deaf) and visual impairments (blind) sometimes have their own social clubs but there aren't many for people like us with mobility problems. I've never been bowling and I would totally do it in a wheelchair because I'd probably bowl better sitting down than standing up. I remember Paul Maynard because I got asked on a radio program about him when some morons decided to mock him. I don't vote Tory but I'm not amused by those Labour folks who mocked him, not amused at all. I actually wished I spoke more on the radio programme about it but all I said was that it was terrible and it shouldn't happen, god knows why it happened. It was my first live radio experience and it was like, 7 in the morning and I was terribly nervous and the interview was about leisure facilities, thank god I read about it before the interview otherwise I wouldn't have known what he was talking about.
Time off and the train home
Thursday night I went to the IMAX theatre to see Prometheus, it was awesome...Michael Fassbender is the best actor, I mean really. Access was amusing because we'd never been but the wheelchair seats are in the middle of the auditorium which is awesome, good view, don't know why anyone would want to sit at the front. There were a few homeless people sleeping on the underpass, I hope they were warmer there and no one moved them on. Have a heart for them, I think my heart broke.
Anyway, lastly I'd like to say something about the train journey. Normally it's quite good if you're getting on at Glasgow to London rather than getting on at Penrith because the train moves on pretty quickly and I wonder if people would remember to get the ramp out. We had a hiccup with the tickets, the printed tickets said one area and they had a list saying we were on the other. Other than that it was nice. I'll be going back up to Glasgow in a couple of hours.
Signing off. Chocks away!