On Mary Robinette Kowal’s Convention Accessibility Pledge

I was aware of this pledge when it first came out, but I didn’t talk much about it at first. For those of you who have been out of the loop: it is a pledge, much like the harassment-policy pledge that went around a year or two ago, that the people signing will not attend a convention unless it has an acceptable accessibility policy. This is in response to a long-term pattern of many conventions failing to meet basic accessibility needs even when directly asked.

Even though I talk about disability stuff all the time here, I was hesitant at first. I felt defensive. Conventions are hard for me, as an autistic person, but they’re not impossible. I’ve invested a lot of energy in finding ways to attend that are possible for me – that is to say, ways that are draining and that fall well short of the level of participation I would like to have, but that I am physically capable of doing. Not every disabled fan is so lucky, but was I supposed to give up what I had worked for? Was I supposed to just… pretend that I couldn’t do those things, and quietly vanish, because I don’t deserve to be at a convention unless they already decided to be good at disability stuff without me?

Then I read this post by Rose Lemberg, realized how much of my objection was just me parroting other people’s ableist stuff back at myself, got over myself, and signed the stupid pledge.

It’s disgraceful that we talk about being an inclusive fandom and wanting ~*diversity*~, but still do not provide for people’s basic needs. It needs to change.

If you have gotten anything useful out of my disability-related posts here, I would ask you to thoughtfully consider also signing.