This wheelchair user has a voice

Here's my contribution to Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD) 2016.

This wheelchair user has a voice
by Sam Mason
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Lara Loser is the University's Exams and Progress Manager. Her job is to ensure that every student takes the right exams at the right times.

Of course that's a very important job. But Lara's notorious for bigging up her own importance, making mountains from molehills and taking out her emotions on her staff. She took out her ablist (disablist) emotions on me.

For four years in season I'd worked as an exam invigilator (proctor). Then Lara suddenly got rid of me. Her emotion seemed to have grown from fear of my wheelchair.

People are people. I'd worked steadily as an invigilator, appreciating my fellow invigilators who'd been (still are) the salt of the earth. It'd been like the steady work I'd done for five years previously in the undergrad teaching labs.

I'd no idea that Lara wanted rid of me until she wrote a long, elaborate letter of dismissal. She claimed to have 'received numerous complaints' about my 'manner and conduct'. Contrast that with how I'd been told to stop working in the teaching labs because my PhD had made me overqualified.

From the academics who'd employed me to assist their teaching in the labs, and from the people I'd worked alongside in those labs and the exam rooms, I'd heard no serious 'complaints' about my 'manner' or my 'conduct'. Indeed when my PhD had led to my dismissal from the teaching labs, several of the students and academics had sought me out to bemoan their loss.

So what had bothered Lara about me? She'd called me 'vertically challenged' for using a wheelchair. She'd said my clean feet, resting in clean shoes on a chair to ease my back, had been 'offensive'.

Er... that's it. When Lara dismissed me she announced that my zero-hours contract didn't require her to give me any work at all. Also that the contract would 'not be renewed'. She invited me to meet her to discuss the decision she'd already made. As if!

Ablism is part of my reality now that I'm visibly disabled. I've seen many people's true attitudes.

Most ablism is fear and bad manners. The reason I chose Lara Loser as my topic for Blogging Against Disablism Day 2016 was that she was more than rude. She hit me hard in the wallet.
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Thank you for this. I know plenty to say rude things about! But in this public forum, I won't sink to Lara Loser's low level.