Amanda Leduc ♿️ Profile picture
May 10, 2018 23 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
So a couple of things have happened over the last few weeks that have reinforced for me how ingrained ableism is in #CanLit and I wanted to talk about it. *pulls up a chair* 1/
Before I go any further, I want to give a shout-out to @depalm @eatonhamilton @BergBronwyn & @AddyPottle, who speak about and draw attention to this ableism every day. I am constantly in awe of their strength and brilliance. Thank you, my friends, for your words. 2/
There has been a lot of talk in recent times about the accessibility (or inaccessibility) of venues where literary events are being held. Questions around what constitutes an accessible space, what people believe to be an accessible space, etc. 3/
For a lot of people, "accessible" immediately translates into "physically accessible". And for many, "physically accessible" immediately translates into "something that has no steps, or has a ramp". Confession: up until three years ago, I was one of those people 4/
But accessibility means so much more than this. In order to really, truly, actively consider the accessibility needs of a population, you must think about needs that go above and beyond the physical accessibility of a space. 5/
Is your venue wheelchair accessible? Great. But does it have wheelchair accessible washrooms? I recognize that bookstores often don't have public washrooms at all, but when you're hosting a launch event in your space and expecting people to hand around for an hour or more, 6/
all while feeding them nibbles AND giving them free wine and water--you have to expect that someone will need to use the washroom sooner or later. Having a space that allows a wheelchair means nothing if that person is then unable to use the washroom. 7/
It is, dare I say it, cruel. I recognize that for many it is not *consciously* cruel, but we can't hide under the umbrella of ignorance any more. There is enough talk of access out there now that people have no excuse to be ignorant of these considerations. 8/
I also recognize that many independent bookstores are small and don't necessarily have the means to make the necessary renovations--whether ramp-wise, accessible washroom-wise, or other--immediately. The solution: if you want to host an event, do it outside of your store. 9/
is great at this--they host events outside of their store all of the time. Yes, there are no doubt additional logistical concerns that come into play--securing another venue, transporting books, etc etc--but guess what the alternative is? 10/
The alternative is to continue creating community in a space that by definition is not allowing for community. One tiny two-inch step or a whole flight of stairs--it doesn't matter. Host events in accessible spaces. Provide accessible washrooms. Period. 11/
So, you've finally secured a physically accessible venue. Check. You have accessible washrooms. Check. BUT: do those washrooms have e-buttons? Is someone going to need assistance to get to them or can they open the doors of their own accord? 12/
Are you offering closed-captioning? Are you offering ASL? Do you have accessible seating set aside for patrons? Have you considered trigger warnings before going into the program of events? Are you hosting in a scent-free space? How comfortable are your chairs? 13/
Have you detailed your accessibility information on your website? If you do not have certain accessible items, do you have an plan in place to get them, and do you have temporary solutions? Is that plan publicly accessible? Is all of this information posted on your website? 14/
If you don't have e-buttons on your washroom doors, for example, and the washrooms have stalls, perhaps you could prop the doors open. Please do not assume that someone who is disabled will always have a helper with them. 15/
It's a lot of work to consider all of these things, but the work is necessary. Luckily, you have help! There's a whole Act that details what a space should have in order to be accessible. See here:… 16/
Consider what it *means* to provide an event that is truly inclusive. Try to consider things from every angle. We all of us come in a variety of shapes and sizes and we all have different needs. If you start to think about the variety of those needs early enough... 17/
...that then saves you from trying to scramble and change things later on. It's not going to be perfect--true accessibility is hard work. It's *long* work. But there are temporary solutions in many cases that can achieve accessibility while longer-term changes are underway. 18/
Finally, a plea & request to my fellow writers: if you aren't doing so already, please start asking yourselves these questions when planning your own events. Please consider taking the #CripCanLit pledge to only attend events in accessible spaces. Please ask: ASL? Captioning? 19/
Accessible washrooms? Scent-free? And any and all other accessibility-related questions you might be familiar with. Accessibility is not some magical golden pony that can never be achieved. It is, in fact, entirely possible. 20/
And remember: every time you attend or host an event in an inaccessible space, someone who might have wanted to attend your event and buy your book will be unable to do so. You don't have to change the world in order to change this. 21/
Also, this: for all of our collective love of independent bookstores, Chapters/Indigo (and Amazon) are often the only accessible place for many people to buy books. People aren't coming into your stores because they don't want to. They're not coming in because they can't. 22/
SO. You love books, we all love books. Let's keep on buying and loving and celebrating books and words together in ways that are accessible to everyone. /The End

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More from @AmandaLeduc

May 27, 2018
Super excited for my first @BareLit panel of the day: (Em)Bodying Lit: d/Deaf and Disabled Poetics, with Raisa Kabir, Kuli Kohli, Mark Mace Smith, and Khairani Barroka!
2/ Moderator Khairani begins by referencing STAIRS AND WHISPERS, the anthology that features today’s panelists. The book is available as an e-book and includes links to audio descriptions of the text. #BareLit18
3/ The session features a video from Scottish artist Bea Webster, who performs in British Sign Language. #BareLit18
Read 43 tweets
May 18, 2018
OKAY, OKAY, FINE, I WILL TWEET THE BROKEN-HEARTED CRUSH LETTER. But first, we'll need some backstory...
2/ It is 2008, & I live in Edinburgh. I work at a Blackwell's Bookshop, on the 2nd floor. My job is to order academic texts for the store. I am okay at it, not great. One afternoon, I'm working at the counter beside this lovely young chap named Greg. We are bantering, as we do.
3/ Then, suddenly, the cutest, sexiest blonde walks up to the counter. She's wearing a black leather jacket and has a motorcycle helmet under her arm.
Read 70 tweets

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