Articles/journals Disabled vegans

Prejudice on the parking lot

I turn into the parking lot of a new wharehouse in my neighbourhood. I park in one of the disabled places. I place my disabled parking permit visible on the front windshield.

I get out of the car. I figure I will manage to just walk in and out of the store, without my cane or wheelchair. I only need a handful of items. I will use the shopping cart as an aid.

After only five steps, nearly at the entrance of the store, I hear a lady calling me, from some parking rows further away on the parking lot, with a sort of compelling voice, in my direction. ‘Miss!
I ignore her.
Again, even louder now. ‘MI-SS!
I look at ther. ‘Yes?
That is a disabled parking place!‘, pointing at my car.
Her tone of voice comes across as slightly blameful. I interpret it as ‘Well, caught you didn’t I? You can’t park there!‘.
I reply calmly. ‘Yes, I have a disabled card‘.
I see the disbelief on her face. Confusion. Perhaps also some embarrassment. She mutters some words about how the disabled parkings spaces are not indicated clearly enough at this new wharehouse.
The only thing I reply is. ‘Ma’m, I have placed my card‘.
I don’t owe her any explanation. I take a shopping cart and walk – using the cart as a rest – into the shop. I feel examined, her eyes as arrows on my back. Looking for possible faults or deviations on my body, which would justify my need of a disabled parking spot.

It still needs to sink in with her, and apparently a lot of people, that a disease or disability is not always visible. That persons with a disability not always (and some never) use a wheelchair.

One the one hand I can sort of of appreciate her support and dedication to make sure disabled parking places are exclusively used by people who are allowed to use them (if that was really her motivation). She could have also taken the trouble first to see whether I had actually put out a disability card before calling me out.
It still needs to sink in with her, and apparently a lot of people, that a disease or disability is not always visible. That persons with a disability not always (and some never) use a wheelchair.

Sometimes visible, sometimes invisibly ill. Not all disabilities are visible.

[ID: Grey-blue background with text and symbols in black. Text: Some disabilities look like this, with underneath a row of symbols of persons with a visible disability (using a cane, wheelchair, walker, ..). Text: Some look like this: symbol of standing person]
Originally published on my other blog SpondyGazet.

 

Geertrui Cazaux (Trudi in English). Vegan. Gardener. Wife. Disabled. Writer. Activist. Caretaker. Ex-academic. Wannebee drummer. °1970. Belgium. Vegetarian since mid '90's and vegan since 2010. My main motive has always been the ethical perspective, although I am also inspired by the environmental and health aspects. Writing about veganism, animal rights and ableism on Graswortels.org, Brugesvegan.com, and CripHumanimal.org

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