Earlier today, I had a series of tweets on accessibility and geek social fallacies under the #accessiblecons hashtag. I am putting my tweets in a post with some additional links and edits.
I have thoughts about #AccessibleCons and Geek Social Fallacies. There’s been a lot of talk about Geek Social Fallacies in the last few years in the context of geek communities and the social repercussions of abuse. We talked about how abuse is glossed over or minimized, sometimes for many years or even decades, because of Geek Social Fallacies 1 and 2: “ostracizers are evil” and “friends accept me as I am.”
Ater some years in fandom, I get this feeling that many – most? – geeks are secretly proud of Geek Social Fallacies. Many, most of us have been bullied and/or excluded. It feels wrong to exclude others, when we are afraid in turn to be excluded.
Except those Geek Social Fallacies only seem to apply to certain people. They do not not SEEM to apply to disabled fans.
Con after con after con, conversation after conversation, geeks ostracize disabled and neuroatypical geeks.”Friends accept me as I am,” except for that geek in a wheelchair who keeps being invited to panels, but is without a ramp for YEARS. And it’s never, ever “friends accept me as I am”, it’s “your access is too expensive”, “we did not know,” “it’s your fault.” Disabled fans give up on the field and leave, while serial sexual harassers will have friends who accept them as they are, defend them, claim they were misunderstood.
And let’s not pretend that it’s only the disabled and neuroatypical fans who are excluded from Geek Social Fallacies.”Friends accept me as I am” unless you are [insert marginalization here], then Geek Social Fallacies will not apply to you.Then you are too costly, too fussy, too loud, too touchy, too sensitive, then you harsh the squee, then you are erased.
Why is it that calling out serial sexual abusers AND at the same time getting Mari a ramp BOTH harsh the squee? “Ostracizers are evil?” Then why do we need to have the conversation about the appalling lack of accessibility at many major cons over and over and over for years?
“Geek Social Fallacies” are in themselves a fallacy. There are many people – not just the disabled -pushed away from fandom.
It’s not expensive to get a ramp in the US with pre-planning. Most hotels have them ready because they are ADA-compliant. If you invite a person in a wheelchair to speak at a con, and there is no ramp, you ostracized them. Own it.
It’s not because it’s too difficult, too expensive, it’s not because the fan did not ask nicely or loudly or politely enough. It’s because you did NOT accept them as they are. It’s because you ostracized them. Will you own it?
Year after year, I see defensiveness. I see the same arguments repeat. It’s too pricey. It’s the disabled person’s fault. Where are our Geek Social Fallacies when it comes to access? Can we as a community stop ostracizing disabled fans already?
As Lev Mirov (@levmirov) effectively summarized, it’s “come as you are” unless you are disabled, then it’s “don’t come.” We need to fix this.
Thank you for reading.
If you are a conrunner, please consider before commenting here with more defensiveness. Thanks.