Recently a very well written blog by a woman who needs to use a disabled toilet because of an invisible disability went viral, she has no colon because of her illness and so her needs mean she has to use disabled toilet. This obviously causes people to comment and stare because she is emerging from a disabled toilet and yet looks perfectly okay!
This happens to many people, I read about one woman using disabled toilets because her son is autistic, “so what?” some people might say but her son hates the sound of hand driers and due to being scared I can imagine he would be very hard to control, also she would have to be with him when either of them needs to use the toilet. These are two examples of many reasons why people who aren’t in a wheelchair would need to use a disabled toilet.
I fully understand how it feels to have an invisible illness, I was diagnosed with ME/CFS in 1997 and it wasn’t until 2009/10 that I started to use a wheelchair when my knees became problematic and I was diagnosed with CRPS.
The original post has also highlighted the need for greater understanding of invisible illnesses/disabilities but it has also brought about debate on the disability logo. one comment on the Scope community was “I don’t think it helps that the sign for Disabled facilities in public places is of someone in a wheelchair. People can be very ‘black and white’ in the way they think and seeing that image makes them think the facility is just for wheelchair users. We need a new design!”
Whilst I agree with this, I can’t see how this can be overcome? A sign, a logo needs to be instantly recognisable, the current logo is instantly recognisable and works well. I have been trying to think of how this problem can be resolved but in my opinion I don’t think it can! How can a logo incorporate all disabilities, the logo doesn’t show amputation, it doesn’t show race or gender, it’s a manual wheelchair not electric and we could pick holes all day long!
Life will always bring about situations where we don’t feel included, where we are judged harshly and unfairly but does that mean we have to change the system?