Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hey, I was wondering about something I was hoping you could give me some insight on. If a person is in a wheelchair and you're offering to open a door when you see them struggling (more inside, like if they are trying to get into the bathroom while you're waiting for a class), how should I word it so I don't imply that they can't do it themselves? I usually say "May I get the door for you?" or "May I help you?" but I wanted to see if there was anything possibly more polite I should be saying

[Image is: a close up on a wooden door]



I can only speak for myself, but I definitely appreciate the offer of help, as opposed to a person insisting: “Do you need help?” as opposed to “Let me get that for you,” for example.  I’d say, too, that you can feel free to address a person in a wheelchair the same way you might offer to help anyone else who has their hands full.  It’s not so different, really. 
Thank you for asking! If you have anymore questions, let me know.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thoughts on Ironside

I don’t have a spinal cord injury but do use a wheelchair. Some insights on the remake of Ironside
POSITIVES:
He pushed himself and didn’t rely on others to get around.
The wheelchair he used is apparently built for multiple terrains, seems appropriate for a detective in the field who needs to navigate on various surfaces.
Had mostly person-first language, and the only C-bomb was dropped by an obvious bad guy. (Of course I’d prefer it if this language weren’t used at all, but my bar being set as low as it is, this was pretty good.)

[Image is: an animated television set with the word TV on the screen]

NEGATIVES:
The off-color “guy in the wheelchair” references (made, ironically, by “the guy in the wheelchair.”) From what I’ve seen, and experienced, people in chairs don’t usually say “you wouldn’t do this to me because I’m in a wheelchair,” or “she wouldn’t shoot the guy in the wheelchair.” Why? It’s arrogant and makes you look like a jerk. Also? Being in a wheelchair does not make you immune from violence. He, of all people, should know that.
The fact that, after sitting through an entire episode, I can’t tell you what Detective Ironside’s first name is, and he’s the main character, who we should care about the most.
The scene where he comes in on the hostage crisis and not only is he not armed (so irresponsible and would never happen) but he’s telling his righthand person what to do with the gun and where to shoot after the interrogation goes bad. What was his purpose in that scene? Really? To make some jokes about how he’s already been shot so he should totally go into this dangerous situation with an obviously uninformed rookie? I could have this wrong, but I think that if this were a real situation, an injury like that would take him out of the field and he’d be on desk duty. I thought at least he’d be armed…
Body language. Just watching him in a chair, it was obvious to me that he doesn’t USE a chair. Most people (that I’ve seen anyway) don’t do a lot of extraneous movement while talking, because we like our hands free to gesture. That’s not to say that there’s never movement, but he really struck me more as a person playing in a wheelchair than a person who actually uses one. Like, whoever directed him (or the actor himself) was trying to translate what he might normally do standing, directly into what he might do sitting.
And finally? What was up with that weird freakout scene when we find out how he was paralyzed? I get that emotions are high, but it struck me as almost laughable, which, I doubt was the intention. Not the acting in the scene, because that was well done. Specifically the chair related aspects. The ramming himself into the wall. And then that he’s so upset and he still manages to spin in a perfect circle…to what? Get out his frustrations? Newsflash, but if you’re THAT upset? You’re probably not going to be able to spin in a perfect circle… Nobody would really take the time to do that if they were really upset. (At least, I know I wouldn’t…)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is having to use different entrances sometimes an issue in college?

I’m not saying it’s not an issue, but what was more an issue for me in college (not in the location in question) was weather issues. I remember missing classes due to snow, because I honestly couldn’t maneuver through it. Crossing a street on campus, I once got stranded in slush. When plows go through, they sometimes pile the snow in front of the ramps, Complete inaccessibility then.

[Image is: a panel of elevator buttons]


Elevator issues? 

Crowded? I mean, crowds aren’t necessarily problematic for me, especially in elevators, but crowds generally can be intimidating to navigate through, because everyone is twice as tall as you. Once, a few years ago, I was on the fringes of a conversation with family. One of my family members was talking animatedly and took a step back, ran into me, and lost his balance. He landed in my lap. (This is a full grown man. And yes, I am a full-grown woman, but on the small side.) Nothing prepares you for that. Though, I was glad he landed on me and didn’t fall all the way to the floor, it took me a couple weeks to recover. One of my legs was really sore afterward because it was caught behind the footrest and got torqued.
Broken? YES! Let me tell you a story. It’s called, I was in the computer lab on the second floor in college. Took the elevator to get there. Two hours later (around 10 PM when the lab closed and everyone left) I discovered that in that time the elevator had stopped working. I had to call my sister, who called someone else to all a maintenance guy who took an additional 40 minutes to fix it. I’ve seen Out of Order signs on elevators in public places - which, what are you going to do when that happens, if that’s your only means of getting where you need to go.

Bonus: 

Bathrooms. Even if it says they’re accessible, they may not be. Case in point, one building on my college campus seemed a lot older than the others and only had one bathroom that was easily reachable. The problem? The doorway was nearly too narrow to enter through and then it was completely impossible to get into the stalls. Luckily I can get up and walk a few steps if I have something to hold onto along the way, but imagine if not. Then you’d be out of luck. Also, it kind of defeats the purpose of having accessible bathrooms when the doors weigh 15 tons and cannot be pushed open by mortal beings.
Hope this helps!

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Thoughts on Our America with Lisa Ling: God & Gays

As shocking as it is to know that an organization that Exodus International existed…for me…it’s not that shocking. I went to a nondenominational, charismatic church for around seven years. I got invited after confiding in a college classmate that I struggled with anxiety and possible Post-Traumatic Stress. What, at first, was a haven, eventually, became a place where I felt judged, hurt and, in all ways, insufficient.
My needing crutches or a wheelchair was a distraction - one certain people in the church and its community sought to fix. For someone who was also dealing with far more pressing issues, it was hurtful that the only time anyone approached to offer prayers it was “for my legs.” What about my heart? What about my soul? What about my spirit? What about the fact that I felt like I was drowning?

[Image is: a child beside a pair of Canadian crutches]

Still, I kept coming back, craving community. Craving acceptance. Not caring that ultimately, going there made me feel unworthy every single day of my life. Not caring that prayer for my physical healing failed at a conference in front of an auditorium full of people…and I was blamed. In 2007 (six years after the botched healing prayer) I finally stopped going, feeling that I had been sought out BECAUSE I was vulnerable…feeling kind of…preyed upon. Almost all of my friendships from the church were disintegrating.
On June 2, 2008, I wrote:
So much time has passed but not much has changed. Whatever happened to my faith? To my desire to pray and praise and be with God? It’s like I’m so wounded now that there’s nothing left but defensiveness. It feels like the whole faith is contrived and underhanded…It just seems like everyone around me has given up on me regarding God…It’s so easy to throw in the towel when everything is contingent - dependent on how good I’m doing or what I’m doing instead of who I am. I’m sick of using Christianity as a mask. I’m proud of who I am and my faith should be a part of me - not something I use to hide the truth in me. I am who I am. And that HAS to be enough for God. No one should live a new life just to please others or because they came to believe that who they were before wasn’t enough. They should live a new life because they know they’re worth it just as they are. Well, I’m not hiding anymore…
In short, I guess, Lisa Ling’s report didn’t surprise me. Hearing about people being blamed for their personal losses because they were honest about who they were… People being pushed to receive prayer… It all felt twisted, and familiar. Because I’ve been there…I’ve felt that. For me, it wasn’t about being gay, it was about being different. I was born with a disability, and that's not something I can fix.  I can fix.  It isn’t right to bully or abuse people under the guise of faith.
I related so much to the side of the discussion filled with people who tried to change themselves…who felt isolated…and I guess I’m just trying to say that this kind of Christianity is not so uncommon. It’s not just Exodus International. It’s smaller churches, who in big and small ways pressure parishioners into fixing the unfixable about them. When youth pastors are completely out of their depth and simply do not know how to cope with a gay child in their midst…
It’s a start…Exodus International closing down…but days like today…I just feel like there is so much farther to go.