Polly Gillepsie’s column about disabled parking spaces and toilets proves why she was called a moron by a man in wheelchair. What an unbelievably entitled and uninformed person.
As if it’s something we disabled people haven’t heard before, Gillespie starts her revolting rant by having a go about disabled parking spaces.
“The sticker is so that you, you poor infirm, elderly, arthritic, mumps-bearing person can park and only have to toddle a few steps to buy your Tena lady pads, broccoli, or cat food. It’s not a free pass “Advance to Go. Collect $200″ sticker. If your friend is able and going into the store, then you can park bloody anywhere. Stop taking the piss.”
To begin with, I’m fucking offended by “you poor infirm, elderly, arthritic, mumps-bearing person.” None of these is the same fucking thing. I have arthritis. I don’t need your pity, I’m not infirm or elderly, and mumps is a goddamn illness not a disability. Oh, and cool, make fun of people with bladder difficulties too.
Secondly – here’s an amazing thing to consider. NOT ALL DISABLED PEOPLE LOOK DISABLED. That person you see getting out of the car and walking into the store? Reality check. You have no fricking idea what their story is. They may be like me a lot of days – able to walk, but in so much pain they can’t see straight. If a person with disabilities is driving – they get the disabled park regardless. Again, they might be in a lot of pain, and they need their friend to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. No one is taking the piss. They’re just trying to live a life with what’s been thrown at them. Step the fuck off.
Now. Let’s get to the toilet thing.
“Because of the nature of my ailment I chose the outer disabled bathroom. To be fair, this was a disabling condition.”
Here’s another news flash. NEEDING TO POOP ISN’T A FUCKING DISABILITY. (Caveat: unless you have a condition that causes that). Comparing your situation to being disabled is seriously offensive.
Reasons to use disabled toilets:
1. You have a disability. This includes invisible illnesses like Crohn’s Disease, for obvious reasons.
2. You are unsafe in the gendered toilets.
3. You’re a pregnant person and the other toilets are all busy. (Other people might disagree with me on this one. Fair enough).
Being asked to leave the toilet by a man who is in a wheelchair is completely acceptable. I’m not surprised he called you a moron.
Someone pointed out to me that the person in the wheelchair didn’t necessarily know the writer was able, because, as I said earlier, disability can be invisible. Which is why I would probably never lose my rag at someone who walked out of a disabled toilet.
However, we the readers know. So my reaction to this particular story remains the same.
Especially when it ends like this:
“Look shorty. I know your life is quite possibly shitty and I feel very sorry for you, but get a grip, take your hand off it, and learn to wait like everyone else!”
I marched off with my chafed bottom and 14 shopping bags as he called after me:
“Moron! Idiot! Moron!”
So the moral of the story is, don’t take the piss with disabled parking, but feel free to use the disabled bathroom if the others are full, or your chicken enchilada was bad.
Is it wrong that I wanted to punch wheelchair ranter in the face? I didn’t.”
It isn’t against the law to use a disabled toilet if you’re not disabled.
But it definitely makes you the sort of ignorant person I never want to have anything to do with.
This is a great column, I have CP and I agree with everything here.
Thank you Ant. You may have noticed I mentioned you in my latest blog!
Sometimes the only baby change table is in the disabled toilet(looking at you Auckland Airport)too as the only room/cubicle large enough.
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Totally agree with you.
I am “able bodied” but was disgusted by the gobsmacking narcissism demonstrated in the article you refer to. At the time I read it, the “Comments” function was available for the article, and I posted a comment calling PG out in much the same way as you did above. I note that she has since taken “faux offence” at your article above.
Imagine my “surprise” when I checked back a couple of days later and found that the “Comments” function had been turned off and no Comments were showing against the article!? It’s still like that it you check it now. Yet all other PG articles before, and since, have Comments enabled and posted.
I was so “intrigued” by this interesting “anomaly” that I emailed both the “Letters to the Editor” and the “Forum Editors” at the Herald asking for an explanation. Deathly silence. PG would appear to be so thin skinned, and was probably so severely hammered by those who did manage to get in and post Comments before being gagged, that she is now hiding behind the skirts of her Editors.
Yet her offensive article is still sitting there unopposed in all of its offensive glory. Shame on the Herald for this deliberate self-censorship. If they’re going to provide an open rant platform for PG and her “opinions” then there should at least be the ability to respond and call it out for what it is.
Unbelievable and appalling state of affairs of our so called “media” these days. I recommend that all readers of your post bombard the Editors at the Herald in the same way as I have until a suitable explanation, apology or withdrawal of the article is provided.
Thank you for this David. I’m sad but unsurprised that your letters didn’t get a response.
I too feel that there is something seriously wrong with the fact that Polly Gillespie is given a platform by the Herald to attack and abuse people. And then when we respond, in the only way we can (ie here on this blog) – we get further attacked on her national platform. She used her position of power to attack and mock marginalized people, and then, instead of responding directly or responsibly to being called out on it – she repeated the process. She had every opportunity to discuss my response with me, and I would have been willing. But she blocked me on Twitter – then used my Twitter profile as a feminist to launch a more personalized rant in her next column.
You’re right. I really should write the editors – but I also lack the energy to fight, when I know I won’t win.
Revolting as her attitude is, Gillespie is actually right about the friend going into the store. One of the conditions of a mobility parking permit is that if the person with the disability is going to stay in the car, they can’t park in a disabled space, even if the friend is running an errand for the person with the permit. This comes up for me a lot as my business partner has a visual disability, and as I’m driving, I need to be clear that she will be getting out before I use a disabled spot. If not, I park elsewhere. That seems a fair rule to me, otherwise the disabled spot is advantaging a person without a disability while blocking a person with a disability from using it.