Etiquette Becomes Politics
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Hey guys, I've got an interesting dilemma here, and I was wondering
if any of y'all could offer some feedback. I've moved into a new
apartment, which is not accessible like my old place was. I'm now
up a flight of stairs. I'm going to be having a get-together, and
a number of my friends use wheelchairs. Some of them could potentially
walk up stairs, while some cannot. My question is this: Do I invite
everyone, with a note about the access problem, or do I only invite
friends of mine who I know can potentially handle a flight of stairs.
I feel bad about leaving people out, but at the same time, is it
bad form to invite someone who I know cannot make it up to my apartment?
In the world of Cripdom, I guess stairs are etiquette AND politics.
you need to invite your disabled friends to your housewarming. Excluding
them from the get-together is not good, and shouldn't even be considered.
Perhaps some of the guests can slide up a flight of stairs on their
butts and have somebody else bring their chairs up for them. Or
maybe able-bodied guests can carry others up the stairs. There are
several ways to go here. Just make sure that everyone gets included.
Excluding a person because of a disability can be quite hurtful.
Trust mebeen there, done that! It hurts!
my first thought is to invite all your friends, but make sure to
tell them your new home is not accessible and that you know some
of them might not be able to come. In this situation, a phone-call
invitation might be better than a written one.
invited to inaccessible venues can be tough, but not being invited
is worse. I think everyone will understand, and you'll probably
be surprised that some folks will go out of their way to make it.
What's not good (and is not the
case here) is when you set up an event which you know will include
folks with access limitations, but choose inaccessible location
when many better options were available. A party at your home doesn't
fit into this category. Dinner at a restaurant would.
think you should invite your friends, just make sure to tell them
the party is not in an accessible place. Describe the number of
steps and any other access problems, then let them decide if they
can manage and what additional accommodations they might need. If
many of your friends can't come maybe you could have a second get
together in an accessible restaurant. If I were invited, I'd demand
to be guided up your steps by a particularly nice guy. In fact,
maybe you could do the honors, and
Harley could run ahead to sniff out the place and greet the guests
who are already there. Harley has perfect eyesight and climbs steps
much better and faster than I do! Congratulations on your new home.
I hope your party is a big success. Let us know how you wound up
arranging things, and if many of your friends came.
Feinstein & Guide Dog Harley
It depends on what the goal of the party is. If it's to show off
that super cool view of the skyline from your new apartment that's
one thing. In that case, invite all your friends and arrange to
have a couple of scantily clad muscle men to haul them up the stairs,
wheelchair and all. That way they will be the envy of all your nondisabled
friends. If the goal of the party is simply to be with your friends
and there is no real reason to have it at your place, just pick
an accessible location and have it there. I think it would be a
very bad move not to invite your wheelchair friends. It reminds
me too much of that song that goes something like; "Hey little boy,
you can't go where the others go, because you don't look like they
do...." (I forget the artist!).
now, how about equal accommodation? What about those of us who CAN
walk up a flight of stairs when we have to, do we get to be carried
up by a couple of hunks? I mean, really, what you do for one you
should do for all [grin].
everyone, even those who may find your apartment inaccessible. As
a wheelchair user, I definitely understand that the vast majority
of private homes are not accessible, but I would still want to be
invited to a gathering of my friends even if I couldn't come. As
for making arrangements to carry people upstairs, I think it should
be the option of the person in the chair. If that is how you plan
to get them upstairs then they should know that beforehand so they
can back out if they are not comfortable with the arrangements.
Maybe you could meet someplace else for a few drinks before or after
the party. That way you can always say something along the lines
of, "Meet us for drinks if getting into my apartment is too much
of an ordeal." It gives everybody a sense of participation.
let me tell you, as a wheelchair user I think that being carried
in by two or three big gents is not a bad way to arrive at a party!
As long as guys know about the problem beforehand and the proposed
fix, well, you can rest assured that most chair users wouldn't miss
the chance to enter your new home in so grand a fashion. I hope
it's a blast.
agree with Bob. My boyfriend reckons that everywhere is accessible
with a few friendly muscles. As long as you make sure to invite
a couple of strong boys I'm sure that all will be well.
Lord, of course it's a good idea to invite a wheeler to any inaccessible
event. I go every year to our gay men's Christmas banquet, and it's
three steps up into the house. And always two or three men volunteer
to help, sometimes three or four or five... at which point I explain
exactly what my 74-year-old mother and I do on occasion: she merely
lifts and steadies my foot rests while I pull myself (and my superduper,
ultralight titanium wheelchair) up backwards step-by-step. Of course,
that requires sufficient upper body strength, but hey, it works
for three or four steps, and who knows, maybe for 10 or 12steps
could take pictures of the new place, then invite those who can't
make it because of stairs out to eat and have a fun time showing
the pictures. Even better would be a videotape, with you describing
everything. Spending time telling your friends who can't make it
about the new place and answering their questions can help avoid
any hurt feelings. It would at least show that you consider them
your friends and want to share the new place with them even though
accessibility is a problem.
Inaccessible Ray: Miss Manners is on vacation, so Master Manners
will respond. Please invite all your friends to your housewarming
party, but make sure to emphasize the issue of stairs. Also, make
it a SMBD party. Dressed as a Dominator (or Dominatrix, if you like!),
welcome everyone by standing at the bottom of the stairs with a
whip. If someone needs to get off his or her chair and crawl up
the stairs, it would be fun for you to reward them with a few lashes
as soon as they reach the top. If they need help, get a couple of
submissive slaves to obey your commands and take your disabled friends
up in their arms. If they do a poor job, you can discipline them
by making them kneel before the wheelchair while you and your friend
whip them and tell them how unworthy of serving you they are. If
they do a good job, take them to the bedroom and use their bodies
to your full satisfaction. I am sure Miss Manners would agree with
me that this is the perfect solution to your problem.
Julio . . . what do I have to do
to get you to plan my next party? On second thought, maybe I'd better
not ask . . . Seriously, though, thanks for all the advice, guys.
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