It is with great sadness that I am compelled to write my latest opinion piece.
On Saturday, at one of our shows, one of my employees came out of the disabled lavatory, to be greeted by a woman who not only reprimanded her for using a disabled toilet, but also mocked her stating “you’re not disabled” whilst doing an elaborate and offensive mime of what a disabled person in a wheelchair might look like.
Aside from the fact that this person chose to make a judgement on someone that she’d never met or spoken to before; someone she couldn’t possibly know the first thing about. Aside from the fact that this person clearly has a limited, offensive and disparaging view of anyone who is disabled, how can we still be living in a world in which people are still so bigoted and unaware of hidden disabilities.
The employee in question has an epileptic seizure approximately every 8 weeks. Being in a small enclosure is potentially very dangerous for her. But why am I even trying to justify the reasons why she needs to use a disabled loo?
This employee, so shocked by the woman’s attitude and put off guard because she was at work, offered to get her blue badge as proof. The woman’s reply continued to shock “you’re too pretty to be disabled”. What is the message here? Disabled people can’t be pretty? If you are pretty, then your disabilities, your daily fear, pain and struggle is cancelled out?
Why are we failing members of our society by not educating people about the many varied types of people that make up the wonderful tapestry of our world?
How entitled, ignorant and cruel must you be to mock a complete stranger and make instant judgements on them without even bothering to ask them a question or getting to know them.
The irony is not lost on us that all this happened during Invisible Disabilities Week.
Guildford Shakespeare Company is proud to have been regional winners, and national finalists, for Inclusivity, at the Institute of Directors annual awards, and will not tolerate any form of prejudice amongst our staff or audiences.
Written by Sarah Gobran, GSC Co-Founder